Join Date: May 2005
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Thanks for the (always good) avice Don.
We decided to give it a punt and spent a week there (October '06), getting a far south as Split. It was very beautiful and it would be a msitake to just stay on the coast.
We wild camped all the time and didn't get arrested (or sent to a hotel). Though it wasn't easy we stayed in some nice spots mostly on the coast with a view of the sea as good as you'd expect in Spain or Italy. Technically, I think it's illegal to wild camp - the Craotian tourist site says it's mandatory to register with the local police once you've arrived (but normally the camp site or hotel do this). This all sounds a bit cold-war to me and I don't think I'll be supporting theire application for EU memebership. Fortunately, we never knew where we were going so never arrived anywhere and it wasn't a problem.
Mostly we stopped late in the day though and left by 11:00. Only once did we stay more than one night in the same place. Some of the country suits wild camping but a lot is on the side of a mountain which falls straight into the sea - finding somewhere for a cuppa in our 8M van is a challenge, let alone somewhere for the night. There were plenty of places with picture signs showing 'no caravan's or tents' and a few with 'no campers or tents'. We took these to mean that it was OK to stay anywhere else. It wasn't that we were hidden we saw plenty of police cars. Our only brush with authority was when we stopped for lunch in a parking area which was clearly signed as 'no parking for camper vans'. However, it must be the biggest bit of beach-side parking in the country with enough room for probaly 500 cars. We wouldn't have been happy ovenighting there but it was the first stop we'd seen for some time. When we arrived there was one other van and a car. After about an hour and a half there was a knock on the window and civilian-dressed chap announced himself as the 'inspector' and asked what we were doing. I said we'd stopped for lunch and he said he'd had a 'report of a van parked early in the morning. Anyway, he seemed happy with my explanation, going off to talk to the other van, but advised us to leave as the fine was 600kn (about £60). A bit petty maybe, but I've had worse in the UK.
We didn't exactly see a lot of other vans. The only time was a camp site in Istria. A lot of the parking is charged but fortunately this seems to be in-season. One parking we camped outside a marina was £25/24 hours for anything >1.5 Tonne. Although food was cheap it looked a prosperous country and I got the feeling they are cashing in on their popularity (e.g. a yachtie I subsequent met in Italy said that last year a new law allowed authorities to charge boats for anchoring and in the more popular spots this could be €100 per night). Motorway tolls and diesel cost about the European average. Diesel is the same price everywhere including motorway services. LPG is available at a few loctaions (shown on the local maps we bought).
The roads were eithe very good or very bad. We had a couple of the mandatory 'narrow' experiences, the worst of which happend when we stopped to check the map just as the shift changed at the local shipyard. It was like a scene from 'The Matrix' with vehicles appearing from every orfice and going in every direction. We decided to get out down a road were there was no chance of passing anything wide. Obviously we met 2 trucks in quick succession, but everyone breathed out a bit and somehow we got through (only to find a dead-end 10 miles further on so we had to backtrack).
We enjoyed ourself but never found anywhere we wanted to hang around and I doubt we'll be heading back but who knows what a few years absence will do?