Wojtek and Agnieszka are simply mad about Croatia. This young couple from Lublin in Poland have travelled to Croatia five times and every time they come they collect information and photos. After writing down their journeys, documenting their discoveries throughout the country, they decided to turn these musings into a blog. To say it went viral would be an understatement; crolove.pl is the most popular travel blog on Croatia in Poland. Through the summer more than 100,000 people visit their blog to read about the couples Croatian adventure. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with the bloggers to find out why Croatia is so close to their hearts.
Your blog is the most Polish travel blog about Croatia, when did you first fall in love with Croatia? And how many people visit your blog?
It all started with Wojtek’s sister who instilled in us a love for Croatia. She visited this country soon after the breakup of Yugoslavia. We were fascinated with her stories of crickets and their constant roaring, the crystal clear Adriatic Sea, amazing views from Biokovo, and we decided to experience it ourselves. It really paid off. We will never change Croatia for any other country, despite the fact that when we came there for the first time, Croatia welcomed us with rain. Our fascination has lasted to this day and it will last forever. We went on our first tour in June 2012. We had no particular plans, even when it came to the destination. The only thing we knew was that it had to be Dalmatia. When we see every corner of Dalmatia, which will take some time, then we will go towards Istria and Slavonia.
Indeed, our blog is the most popular Polish travel blog fully devoted to Croatia. Last year our website was visited more than half a million times. In the peak of summer season our site was visited by over 100,000 unique users monthly. Every year these numbers are doubling. At the end of 2016 we want to reach 1 million visits. Unfortunately, our blog is only in Polish. Naturally, we would have more readers if we wrote also in English.
How often do you travel to Croatia and how many times have you been in Croatia?
We have been to Croatia only 5 times. Last year we managed to go there in May and again in July. We try to make the most of every hour spent in this beautiful country and to get to know it as much as we can. We take lots of photos and gather valuable information from inhabitants of a given area, so that we can use it for our blog. Unfortunately, our jobs do not allow us to visit Croatia very often. We do not worry about it, though. Instead, we dream about having a small house near Dubrovnik in the future.
Why did you two decide to write your blog about Croatia?
At the beginning the blog served as our notebook. Instead of writing everything down on paper, we decided to create an online notebook. In 2012 we started to write a professional blog thanks to encouragement from our friends who found our tips very useful. Writing this blog makes us feel fulfilled. We do something not only for ourselves, but also for others. Currently, our website is a big online Croatian guidebook, which has already helped many people, for instance, in deciding to visit the country. Thanks to the blog we also had a chance to meet many interesting people from Poland and Croatia. However, the most important thing is that this blog makes us love Croatia all year round, not only during our visits.
What are some of your favourite places in the country?
It is definitely Dalmatia! We have a special liking for Dubrovnik and the surrounding area. We fell in love with this place from the first visit. I have to mention that I proposed to Agnieszka at the Jesuits’ Staircase in the heart of Dubrovnik. We love the Mediterranean climate, palms and cypresses. In Dubrovnik we also met two wonderful Poles living near the city – Daria and Paulina. Paulina is a certified tour guide in Dubrovnik. They both are managing the company "I Do in Du" specialising in wedding organization in Dubrovnik and Montenegro. We are even more eager to visit this place because of our friends, Daria and Paulina. Apart from Dubrovnik we also like visiting Zadar, Trogir, Omiš, Cavtat and their surroundings. There are also our small magical places which we must visit every year. This is Srđ Mountain, where you can admire the wonderful view of Dubrovnik.
How often have you been to Dubrovnik and what would be your recommendations to our readers?
We visit Dubrovnik each time we come to Croatia. We cannot leave without seeing such a magical place.
Everyone who visits Dubrovnik should:
- see the panorama of Dubrovnik from the Srđ mountain during the day and at night
- visit numerous interesting museums in the old town
- find a medieval graffiti on one of the walls in the old town
- walk along the Walls of Dubrovnik
- see Sveti Jakov beach
- sail to Lokrum island
- come at dawn to the old town when there are no tourists yet, drink a cup of coffee and enjoy the magic of this place
Polish people definitely should see the places connected with our country:
- the former monastery of St Jacob which became the home of Ludomir Michał Rogowski, the well-known Polish composer and writer, who was appreciated also in Dubrovnik. He was buried at the local cemetery.
- the statue of Ivan Gundulić, the author of "Osman". There are reliefs on the base of the statue which show scenes from the epos. One of them presents Hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz who is coming back after a successful Battle of Chocim. On the other side of the statue another relief presents St Blaise blessing Polish armies which are preparing for the battle with Ottomans.
What are your Croatian travel tips, what do visitors need to see and what needs to be avoided?
There are lots of beautiful places in Croatia. It is difficult to list them all. In Dalmatia you definitely have to do the following things: see the sunset in Zadar, visit the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik, walk through Trogir at night, visit the ruins of Salona, do the Zip line and rafting in Omiš, drive up to Sveti Jure, see Pasjača beach in Popovići, go for the whole-day fish picnic, try fresh seafood in Ston, drink wine in a winery on the Pelješac Peninsula and eat Burek.
I will not list any places that we do not recommend because others can have a different opinion. We also apply this principle to our blog. We do not want to harm someone's business.
How popular is Croatia as a tourist destination in Poland?
Croatia is very popular among Poles as a tourist destination. Our two nations are on good terms and Croats are very accommodating to Polish tourists. I guess it is the Slavic blood! The data presented by the Croatian Tourist Community show that in the first eight months of 2015 Croatia was visited by over 575,000 Poles. Poland is the seventh largest incoming tourism market for Croatia. A car is the most popular means of transport. Poles love Croatia but we would love it even more if flight connections were improved. Unfortunately, there are not as many fast and cheap flights from Poland to Croatia as in the case of Great Britain or Germany.
How would you describe Croatia in three words?
Friendly, Tasty, Sunny