Straying from the Itinerary in Volosko, Croatia

by Jeannine HendersonMidlife Road Trip Correspondent

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Sometimes the best travel moments are the ones you don’t plan. I was bummed that I had missed my bus to Split the night before and had to stay in Opatija another evening. I was eager to delve further into my Croatian adventure but had  resigned myself to spending another day in the resort town of Opatija. So I spent the day lounging by the rocks, listening to the waves crash against the concrete wall, eating lunch seaside, and napping.  Not a bad day, but I was bored.

I ventured into town for a few items and headed back to the hotel. Along the way, I saw a sign with suggested hikes to nearby places. One suggestion was the fisherman’s village of Volosko. I was intrigued. Time was ticking and I would be pushing it to catch the bus (there was only one bus each evening from Opatija to Split). Reason said: “Don’t do it, you will miss your bus. AGAIN!” But the adventurer in me said:  “DO IT! …but don’t miss that bus!” Heck, I needed the exercise to counteract all the gelato I had indulged myself with in Venice earlier in the week. I hurried back to the hotel to throw on my trainers and high tail it to the village. Power walking like a mad woman, I made the trek in about thirty minutes. It would have been more enjoyable had I proceeded at a leisurely pace, but I was determined to have my cake and eat it too; to see something new and not to miss the bus again.

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Volosko was a stark contrast to Opatija. The sleepy fishing village was a delightful surprise. Other than a few diners seated among the waterfront restaurants, there were no tourists in sight. I like these kinds of places. When traveling, I like to see real people in their element, living their daily lives. Sure, I hit the touristy spots, but I tend to enjoy the less-frequented locales more. Volosko was exactly what I picture when I think of small, quaint villages in Europe -tiny, weathered boats docked along the shore, neighborhood felines meandering about, looking at me as if they to say  “Why are you here, stranger?” It was so quiet that you could hear the gentle waves lapping against the rocky shoreline over anything else.

Volosko is the kind of town where everything shuts down around six in the evening just before the sun begins to set. I wandered up the steep and windy narrow stone streets past the restaurants into the heart of the tiny village; it was almost a ghost town. I could hear muffled conversations spilling out of open windows of homes here and there, but could not see their source. It was obviously dinner time. The sound of clanging pots and pans as dinner was being prepared caught my ear. I only saw a few residents during my impromptu visit; an elderly shopkeeper sweeping the stoop of her store, an old man walking slowly down the street as if he had all the time in the world. I nearly collided with a young boy with the glimmer of mischief in his eye. He  ran around the corner; his laughter echoing behind him as he disappeared from my sight. Everyone was in for the evening. Their day was done.

I took in as much as I could, snapping photos that would serve as souvenirs of my short visit. A plaque about the town’s local celebrity/scientist, Andrija Mohorovičić, was prominently displayed near the waterfront. Turns out this small town guy discovered the boundary between the Earth’s crust and mantle – a boundary subsequently dubbed Mohorovičić discontinuity. I would have loved to stay longer and explore more to the town’s history, but I had to get back.  I could not miss that darn bus again.

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I walked briskly back to Opatija as the sun quickly began to fade. Those I passed had to wonder: “Where is that mad woman going in such a hurry?” The waves had become taller and stronger, crashing loudly and splashing high against the stony seaside walkway that connected Volosko to Opatija. I took in the grandiose estate homes that lined the shoreline as I approached the busier resort town and I wondered who had lived in these posh digs? How did they amass their fortunes? Several of these grand estates sat empty now, some in ruin. Others housed art or served as museums, one was a swanky restaurant with a deluxe ocean view.

Once on the bus bound for Spit, I reflected on the little fishing village of Volosko and what a refreshing escape it had been from the tourist-filled beaches and bustling main street of Opatija. If I hadn’t seen that sign, if I had not thrown caution to the wind, I would have missed my favorite part of that leg of the trip. Now, whenever possible, I intentionally venture off the beaten path. I love escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city to see locals in their own element, even if only for a few hours. Give it a try on your next trip. You’ll be glad you did!

Have you ever accidentally or intentionally strayed from your itinerary?

About the Author

Jeannine HendersonJeannine is a born and bred southern gal hailing from Atlanta, GA. She fell in love with world exploration and cultural immersion during a trip to Barcelona, Spain in 2001 where she participated in a Spanish language immersion program. She’s been on the go ever since. Whether it’s a weekend trip or a month abroad- she is always up for adventure. Her trips are usually taken at the last minute, often solo, with little to no advance planning and that’s how she likes it. She’s a seasoned pro at tripping on the fly, working out the details and kinks as she goes. She makes the most out of each trip by connecting with travelers and locals, diving into the culture that surrounds her, and living in the moment. Jeannine is well versed in travel and enjoys sharing her travel tips and experiences with others so that they too can make the most of each trip. When she’s not scrambling to pack for adventure, she enjoys watching foreign films, hiking, baking, bartending, and volunteering in her community. 

twitter: @JeannineOnTheGo

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25 Comments

  1. We love reading about Croatia. It’s one of our favorite places. Opatija is a safe haven for us and where we always allocate the majority of our time in the country. We’ve only been in the fall though. The time when it’s quiet and sleepy.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures in Volosko. It just goes to show that hidden gems await around every corner.

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Tawny, thank you. I love Croatia. The next time you are in Opatija, take a stroll on over to Volosko.
      You will love it. Perhaps wander over a few hours before sunset. You can take a stroll around the quaint little town and have a nice dinner on the water. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
      Happy Travels!

  2. Sandra says:

    I say we all meet up in Croatia!

  3. Rick Griffin says:

    We need to all go to Croatia together soon!

  4. Kayla P. says:

    This was such an interesting read, having traveled with this particular author before, I can tell you that the trip will always be worth your while. JeannineOnTheGo is a one of a kind traveler and this is just one example of her “taking the travel bull by the horns” experiences. I love hearing all of your stories and experiences. It’s people like you that give travelers inspiration to continue to see and experience life without hesitation! Love Life & Travel Often! 🙂

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Kayla, thanks for being my partner in crime on several adventures. I’m glad my love of travel has inspired you to see the world and seek adventure wherever you are!

  5. Vhanv says:

    This is a delightful story which makes me want to put Jeannine’s advice to good use! Thank you for sharing your experience (and pictures)!

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Vhanv, hidden gems like Volosko are everywhere, you just have to seek them out or ask a local. The path less traveled makes for a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of touristy areas. Keep exploring. Thanks for reading.

  6. Damon and Jo says:

    Anytime you’re faced with the decision of doing it or not doing it, always do it. YOU GO JEANNINE, YOU GO!

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Damon. You will regret not doing it more than you would regret going for it.
      Keep adventuring. Cheers!

  7. Mark says:

    I want to go to there. Croatia is so beautiful and frank;y Volosko sounds like my kind of place.

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Volosko is a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle of its busier neighboring towns. I really enjoyed it and I think you would as well.

  8. Kim says:

    I love reading about adventures is Croatia! I also love straying from the beaten path! Great piece, Jeannine!

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Keep straying, Kim! Adventure is out there! My best adventures are from taking the path less traveled or making the most out of a trave mishap.

  9. aleene says:

    I love Croatia. It was truly a pleasant surprise whr I went to Porech a few years ago.

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Porec is on my list…I have it to be one of Croatia’s most underrated cities. I hope to make it there the next time I am in Croatia.

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Porec is on my list…I have heard it to be one of Croatia’s most underrated cities. I hope to make it there the next time I am in Croatia.

  10. Walter says:

    Great read Jeannine! I learned to swim in Trieste, just across the peninsula from Opatija, and your article makes me yearn to return some day and really explore the eastern Adriatic. The small, out-of-the-way places always seem to hold treasures for more adventurous travelers, don’t they?! Looking forward to your next article!

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      Definitely get back to the area and do some more exploring. You will love it. Thanks for reading, Walter.

  11. Make me want even more to go to Croatia, sound amazing. Plus I love to read feedback about spontaneous change of plans like that, they are always turn out to be the best. I’ll definitely try to go in this area and let magic happen.

    • JeannineOnTheGo says:

      That’s the spirit, Gilles! Let the magic happen. Wonder and beauty await, you just have to be open to it and have a sense of adventure. Cheers!

  12. Mikołaj says:

    I was in Croatia few times but the next time I will visit this place for sure! 🙂

  13. Jeannine Henderson says:

    It is a very nice little village to visit and escape the hustle and bustle. Opatija is a nice town as well, but much busier as it is a resort town. If you make it there, let me know how you liked it. Safe travels!

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