Croatia joins the Schengen Zone AND the Euro on Jan 1st 2023
As you sip your glass of bubbly Slovenian sparkling wine at 2 mins after midnight, Jan 1st 2023, may we take this opportunity to wish you a fantastic new year and also let you know that potentially several of your Green Slovenian daytrip adventures just got a lot simpler!
Yep, from Jan 2023, Croatia has finally been allowed to join the Schengen zone and will ALSO join the Dark Side, adopting the EURO instead of the Kunar!
What on Earth is the Schengen?
It's a rag tag band of some EU countries where there are no border controls, (unless there is a "mini crisis" of course, when it becomes every country for themselves and the "European dream" is chucked out of the car window into the bushes and the border controls return!!).. but in principle and practice you can be pretty sure you will not need to stop at the Italian, Austrian, Hungarian and now the Croatian borders.. so seriously, it's really really handy for tourism!
This is really great news for Lodge guests as it means daytrips down to Istria and the rest of Croatia will be significantly easier to do and predict as you can just drive straight through the old border AND you won't need to muck about changing money anymore as you can use Euros!!
We absolutely DID NOT locate the Lodge in the very best position to hit just ALL of the best Green Slovenian secret places to visit in a daytrip.. We also had Venice & Trieste in Italy and Opatija, Istria & Rovinj on our radar..
Now it will be just as easy & carefree for our guests to choose to go somewhere amazing in Croatia as in Italy.. without needing to queue or present a passport at the border!
What is ISTRIA?
This is the big knobbly bit that hangs down under Slovenia and is mostly in Croatia now, but the Slovenian Riviera from Piran to Koper, with a huge Mediterranean hinterland is also part of it!
There are several routes to choose from the Lodge down to the stunning Istrian hill top villages of Motovun (1hr 15 mins), Labin (1hr 45 mins), Groznjan (1hr 10 mins) and our own personal favourite Istrian village of Buzet (1 hour).
And the seaside towns of Rovinj (1hr 40mins), Porec (90 mins), Pula (1hr 50 mins) and Opatija (1hr 10 mins and just outside Istria near Rjeka) are also fantastic day trips out!
There are so many options for places to go visit in a day from the Lodge that the potential delay at the Croatian border and hassle of changing money may have put some guests off going to get a unique experience of another country, ambiance and atmosphere, which was a shame.
But many guests did still choose spend one of their days at the Lodge travelling down to go explore Istria and we helped a bit by tipping the quieter border crossings, as you could never be sure if you would need to queue for 30 mins or 3 hours!
So now stuff like putting strange looking coins in parking meters, paying your first Croatian motorway toll charge in Kunars and having to divide everything by 7 will be things of the past!!
We also get guests either arriving here or travelling on to further flung places in Croatia like the Plitvica Waterfalls or stunning Zadar.. so now those travel times will be much easier to predict!
Not much will change for the army of cyclists who head down from Green Slovenia towards Porec though, but they will not need to be weighed down with extra Kunars!
We put some links above to some of the articles we have already done about just some of these wonders of Istria, but there are numerous other little Istrian villages dotted around to discover and explore too AND these just moved a little higher up our own personal hit list, now we don't have to mess around waiting at the border!
One last thing not to forget though, is you will STILL need to pay the motorway tolls in Croatia of course, but you don't have to think too much about this as there are barriers you have to stop at and the last thing to remember is ALWAYS ALWAYS follow the mysteriously changing Croatian motorway speed limits regardless of how ridiculous the speeds might seem on empty open stretches and regardless of what the local cars are getting up to!!