Bepa – Seafood fast food

One of my favorite places in Split, that opened this summer, is Bepa. It is basically a seafood fast food. It is based on local seafood tradition but one can also get a quality pršut  sandwich or, like at this very moment, to have an interesting pumpkin dish or two. Unusual but quite interesting and quite tasty!

Bepa is located on the main square (Pjaca) and has several tables outdoors and few less inside the actual place. However, if sitting inside, please be aware that the ventilation is not the best and you will most definitely smell of fried fish…

I love their tuna burger, chilly sardines and their most amazing blueberry pie. Even though the menu is not typically local – although the owners are claiming promoting Dalmatian  street food traditions – the quality of the food and  the very design of all the elements, make Bepa a success.

Shrimp burger, tuna burger and chilly sardines

Shrimp burger, tuna burger and chilly sardines

Chilly sardines

Chilly sardines

Menu on the wall

Menu on the wall

Bepa is my first choice when I don’t want to wait for food too long!

Almost a decade ago, a similar project was attempted. It was called Srdela Snack and it failed… The problem was that it was not as modern as Bepa and the food was not as good. It was more traditional but that simply did not work in the age of MacDonald s and other fast food chains. Bepa covered the design and the menu perfectly and I wish the franchise picks up soon in other parts of Croatia!

Learn more on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BepaSplit

Veli Rat Lighthouse

Veli Rat lighthouse is one of the most iconic places on all of the Croatian coast. Dugi Otok island is (to me) the most beautiful of all of our islands but it lacks press coverage, good accommodation options and more historic towns to have travelers visiting. Of course, the peak season is crazy but that is only about 30 – 40 days. The rest of the year is quiet and peaceful. I remember few winter visits and fantastic coastal drives from Telascica bay to Veli Rat lighthouse… Will have to repeat it soon.

Veli Rat lighthouse

Veli Rat lighthouse

Veli Rat lighthouse is the oldest (1849) and the tallest lighthouse on the Croatian coast (42 m). One of the most popular curiosities is that, for its yellowish facade, 100 000 egg yolks were used.

Standing tall since 1849

Standing tall since 1849

It was built back in the days when Austrian empire decided to protect increasingly important trading routes leading all the way to Northern Adriatic ports of Rijeka and Trieste. Along with Veli Rat, numerous other lighthouses were built and all of them are still standing and in use. One cannot imagine our coastline without these beautiful “monuments” and they are an essential part of our maritime heritage. Of course, many other places have had less impressive, much older “lighthouses” and one still survives on Murter. Probably from the Roman times or even earlier Some of the used to lure the unsuspecting ships to disasters…

The surreal interrior

The surreal interrior

In total, 189 steps lead to the top. Looking down, it is almost surreal and quite abstract. The same with the side windows.

The windows

The windows

Once you reach the top, beautiful views of the coastline open up…

Pantera bay and Veli Rat camp

Pantera bay and Veli Rat camp

The crystal clear seas

The crystal clear seas

The chapel of St Nicholas in the lighthouse courtyard

The chapel of St Nicholas in the lighthouse courtyard

Although many lighthouses have been abandoned and new, automatic lights have been installed, several will keep their crews due to their importance. Veli Rat is one of them and there is always one family living here. Its well known white light can be seen over 20 miles away and for many sailors and fishermen, is the first light of our home coast.
We met Zvone, current lighthouse keeper who is actually from Slavonija and lives here with his wife and two children. He is known for his 1980s Mel Gibson styling and is a great guy to hang out with!

Zvone on an August maestral wind

Zvone on an August maestral wind

If you are looking for a special accommodation option, Veli Rat lighthouse is quite popular although the two apartments offered can be much nicer and there is quite a bit of traffic in the peak season. But still, it is a very special holiday.

The bedroom

The bedroom

Veli rat is not as peaceful as it was while I was visiting as a kid, before the war, but it is still very special place to see and to visit. No matter if you are just coming here on a day trip or visiting in style as the guests on this monster:

Roman? Is that you?

Roman? Is that you?

We had a special privilege to organize a stay here for one of our royal clients on a very unique helicopter journey down the Adriatic coast.
Veli Rat lighthouse and sheer beauty of Dugi Otok  is equally impressive for royalty and commoners alike.

Veli Rat lighthouse

Veli Rat lighthouse

One can clearly understand why is there an ever increasing number of escapists applying for a job of a lighthouse keeper. Running away from the madness of modern way of life, this looks like a perfect job place where one can enjoy a good book (or hundreds of them) and to raise a family.

And am so looking forward to my winter visit!

Tours in Croatia

Travel in Croatia

Sv. Jure of Biokovo

Makarska and its riviera are rarely on my radar. We have no guests ever going there and I find other areas far more interesting. However, it is quite a lovely seaside town with nice beaches located just bellow the impressive Biokovo mountain.
Biokovo is a unique mountain. There aren’t many mountains in the world that are so impressively close to the sea as Biokovo is. The views are great but I find the views from the Vransko lake panorama far more exciting despite being on a much lower height than Sv Jure.

Biokovo mountain overlooking Makarska

Biokovo mountain overlooking Makarska

I have never been on the highest peak of Biokovo – Sv. Jure – so it was just about the time to visit it. Sv. Jure is the third highest peak of Croatia and the only one with the nice, asphalted road leading straight to the peak. Perfect for a weekend getaway!
From Split, it is about 40 min to an hour to reach Makarska  – it can be much longer in peak summer traffic! – and reaching Biokovo and Sv Jure is easy. Just turn right on the last traffic lights in Makarska. After Konzum. Follow the road to the entrance to Nature Park Biokovo and you are there: 50 kn per ticket. Continue up the road and watch for horses and traffic from an opposite directions as this is a one line road! There are numerous places where cars can pas one another but, it is still tight and with many, many curves.

First stop is a stone hut/info center at Ravna Vlaška with some quite nice views. We did not choose the best day for sightseeing as the air was hazy and we could not see even Vis. Still a lovely stop and lovely views!

Ravna Vlaska panorama point

Ravna Vlaska panorama point

Makarska Riviera below

Makarska Riviera below

And this is only half way up to Sv. Jure! We also had a nice chat with a park ranger who was friendly and informative.

Learning about Biokovo

Learning about Biokovo

And then we continued driving… Luckily, there were only few cars coming down the peak and we had no problems enjoying the curvy roads, fall foliage, picturesque hillside…

Picturesque mountain pastures

Picturesque mountain pastures

Fall colours

Fall colours

And then we reached the peak. It is everything we thought it would be (minus 30 minutes of driving) with the TV antenna on the very summit and that very area being fenced and restricted to the visitors.

Sv Jure

Sv Jure

Sv. Jure (or St. George in English) is 1762. meters high and offers great views of the region. It is possible to see Italian coast on a clear day and deep into Hercegovina. This is one of the coldest points in Croatia and, for most of the year, it is covered in snow! It is also a moody mountain and rapid weather changes are quite common

Hvar and Peljesac in the distance. And the pyramid shaped hill...

Hvar and Peljesac in the distance. And the pyramid shaped hill…

And then it was time to drive back to Makarska. A 40 minutes drive…

Early October is usually fabulous for visiting anywhere in the region – much better than it was this Summer – and only drawback being that there are only few restaurants in Makarska open in October.

In short – a lovely day trip. One can choose to hike up Biokovo marked trails but we did not have that much time. I only wish we had a picnic planned somewhere in the hillside. Next time!