This is post one of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.
- Intro to Northern Ireland & Croatia
- Recovering from Jetlag in Dublin: Dublin Castle and Trinity College
- Bubblin’ in Dublin: Dublin Eats
- Chasing Scully: Staying at the Hilton Belfast
- The Land of Giants and the Northernmost Point in Ireland
- Hiking Glenveagh National Park
- Singing the Blus in Dublin & Letterkenny
- Heating up in Zadar
- Azure Waters Await at Kornati National Park
- Falling for Picturesque Plitvice
- Let’s Never Split
- The Jewel of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik
- Walking the Wall in Dubrovnik
- A Brief Stop in Bosnia
Since Mrs. Selfish is a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I decided to plan a trip for her birthday that would two new locations for us: Northern Ireland and Croatia. The trip spanned 18 days, which would have made for one MASSIVE trip report, so we decided to break it up into two separate trip reports for the sake of simplicity.
If you are interested in our Game of Thrones tour, you can find that report here. Otherwise, this trip report will cover the other things we saw and ate in Northern Ireland, Croatia, and Bosnia.
This trip was INSANE. Seriously crazy. For starters, we kicked off the trip with TWO REDEYES. Yeah. Two.
On US Airways, no less, not on a fancy European, Asian, or Middle Eastern carrier.
First we flew from San Francisco to Charlotte on a redeye, landing in that city at 8 the following morning. After getting 5 hours of sleep at the Hyatt Place Charlotte, we ate our weight in Carolina BBQ before boarding our 7pm flight to Dublin.
From there we made our way to the Radisson Blu Dublin, which I booked with 44,000 Club Carlson points for 2 nights. We spent 2 days trying to shake 8 hours of jetlag, hitting old favorites and new sites alike.
The ever-so-swanky buffet at the Radisson Blu Dublin.
Complicating things even further, was the fact that we were staying in 9 locations over the course of 18 nights. Which meant a lot of fast travel – mostly in the form of driving.
Dublin – Belfast – Port Stewart – Letterkenny – Dublin. Phew!
Fortunately, I already had experience driving stick on the wrong side of the road from our Selfish Year, but nothing complicates things like a load of jetlag, and I’m no spring chicken.
That being said, Northern Ireland is absolutely stunning. The northeastern coast is as beautiful, if not more beautiful than the Republic of Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, and is loaded with sites like Giant’s Causeway and the Glenveagh National Park.
From there, Mrs. Selfish and I returned to Dublin, where we jumped on an Ryannair flight (which was surprisingly not horrible), where we caught up with Cousin Selfish in Zadar, Croatia.
For years I’ve been reading about Croatia. How it’s an undiscovered gem. How it’s not on the Euro and is therefore cheap – and it’s true. Croatia is undiscovered by Americans (we hardly saw any) and is on its own currency.
Croatia is far from cheap or undiscovered, however. There are tons of European tourists – Italians, Germans, Brits, you name it. Also, oddly there were a ton of Korean tourists – a group we haven’t really seen outside of Korea save for the Philippines.
Since we were there in the summer, Croatia was pretty busy, and also expensive. While cheaper than Northern Ireland, it wasn’t the cheap third world country I was hoping for. Hell, South Korea is cheaper.
We spent 2 nights in Zadar at an Airbnb, which also gave us a chance to swim in the Adriatic Sea at the Kornati National Park.
We rented a car in Zadar and took to the road.
Zadar – Plitvice – Split – Dubrovnik
First, we headed to Plitvice National Park, one of Croatia’s more stunning natural beauties.
This also gave us a chance to cross into the Bosnian border, which wasn’t part of our original plan.
Where Croatia is a tad overdeveloped on the tourism side, Bosnia is completely untouched, and I had the feeling that we were the only non-Croatian tourists many people had ever seen.
The food was different (whereas Croatian food was basically Italian), and everything was cheap. In retrospect, I wish we had spent a few nights in Bosnia.
Nevertheless, we packed up the car and headed back into Croatia – specifically Split, which was jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
The real beauty was yet to come, however. When originally planning the trip I determined that we needed the most nights in Dubrovnik, which ended up being right on the money.
Dubrovnik is a basically Disney World + Venice on steroids. It’s a strange mixture of the old and the new, the authentic and the manufactured.
It’s easily the most impressive walled city, one of the most beautiful places in the world, and one of the worst tourist traps I have ever visited.
And that’s it for the intro. Join us tomorrow as Mrs. Selfish attempts to shake off jetlag at Dublin’s main sites.