TOP 3 small campings in the Balkans

 I absolutely love road trips through countries of ex-Yugoslavia. First, it reminds me of my childhood and second, people are genuinely happy when I tell them we are from Slovenia. I especially adore the coastline Croatia – Montenegro – Albania and I have driven it at least dozen times. Since my daughter Sunny kid travels with me, these road trips are getting longer and longer, with lots of stops, lots of slow mornings and lazy beach days with no schedule. Exploring the known and unknown… We always choose small campsites, where you meet people travelling with RVs, motorbikes or bicycles, sharing stories and beers. The truth is that in small camps, like the ones I write about below, I can feel the positive energy and feel right at home. Since we are traveling alone, one of the most important things for me is to stay in places where my daughter can be independent and safe, exploring the surroundings and making new friends.

JASENOVO CAMPING – CROATIA

http://www.jasenovo.hr/en/

Little road through the camping

This small camping site lies close to Šibenik on the Croatian coast. We stumbled upon it accidentally and absolutely loved it. The owners are genuinely friendly and helpful and they are keeping their place under the pine trees very clean, peaceful and cozy. We visited at the end of June, so it wasn’t peak tourist season yet, but the camp was quite full. The overall atmosphere was very relaxed and quiet and I imagine it is not much different in peak season either. The toilets and showers were spotless, the cleaning ladies always close around somewhere and of course as usual they became Sunny’s big friends very quickly. The thing that made me especially happy was a free to use huge fridge and freezer with a great number of big shelves that can accommodate all your shopping. They are conveniently placed at the exit from the camp to the beach, so you can easily grab a cold beer or water on the way down or items for lunch on the way up. The whole camp has natural shade provided by sweet-smelling pine trees. 

Perfect sea water

It lies between the main road and the sea. There is a small, about 400 m long road leading from the reception to the beach andthat is it. Except when guests are arriving or leaving, the only vehicles in the camp are bikes or skateboards ridden by the kids. Sunny loved taking walks to the beach or around the campsite on her own and was really excited to get to know all the kids in the camp and to be able to visit them.  The coast is beautiful, the water very clean. The beach is public though, so besides the camping guests, there are also other visitors from nearby apartments. There are a few big sunshades made from bamboo, free to use for everyone. No sunbed renting, which I totally loved. There is lots of sea urchins in the water though, which is supposed to indicate that the water is very clean, but you need to be careful not to step on one. Big part of the sea bottom just in front of the camp is ok though, looks like the sand was brought to cover the bottom, so it is safe and there are no sea urchins up to about 2 m of water height.

Morning on the beach of Jasenovo camping

We paid 20 Euros per day here. Will definitely be back.

If you want to explore the surroundings, these are some places you could visit for a half or full day trips:

The town of Šibenik: https://www.sibenik-tourism.hr/en/why-to-visit-sibenik

Town of Zadar: http://www.zadar.travel/en/city-guide/attractions

Paklenica gorge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paklenica , http://www.np-paklenica.hr/

Town of Split: http://split.gg/split-attractions/

Krka national park:  http://www.np-krka.hr/en/

Plitvice lakes national park:  http://www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/

AUTOCAMP NALUKA – MONTENEGRO

Morinj river from the shore of the camping

http://campnaluka.com/

Driving from Slovenia, through Croatia and to Montenegro, this is our favorite place to stop. Dušan or Duško as everyone calls him, must be the best camp owner in the Balkans. No wonder that he also has the best camping place. It is situated in the magnificent Kotor – Risan bay in the area of Morinj. This small place is beautifully arranged, with olive, fig, lemon and mandarin trees. A river encompasses the camping grounds from one side, cooling the air. It is also a perfect evening spot to enjoy the sunset in the calmness of the nature. You can also swim in rivers with clear waters if you are up for freezing your ass off in 13 degrees.  Sunny was happy swimming in it and jumping from little docks, I went in just once to prove something to myself I guess.  You could also rent a boat or a kayak and follow the river down to where it flows into the sea. 

The showers and the toilets are the cleanest I have ever seen in a camping place. Seriously.

The quiet part of the beach

Spotless. The whole camp actually. I guess part of the reason is that Dušan, the owner, is also the one that checks, helps and works with everything. A fountain with water safe for drinking is also a pleasant surprise there. You can use a fridge in front of the reception for free. There is a fresh bread delivery each morning around 8, and of fresh fruit every few days, which is a totally awesome thing.  A little store is roughly 300 m away for some other things you might need. Dušan strives to keep the place quiet, not taking in big groups of party campers. The beach is about 200 m away, but you have to cross the main road to get to it. There is a bar and sunbeds, or you can find a quieter place a few meters further. The beach is not so spectacular, but the view from it definitely is. For me, sea combined with mountains in the background is a dream come true. Especially if I have time to climb them, too. Sunset view of Lovčen on the opposite side of Kotor bay is absolutely fantastic.

Sunset time with a view to Lovčen

For an adult, a child, a tent and a car the price here is 15 Euros.

If you want to explore the surroundings, here are some ideas:

Amazing little town of Kotor: http://www.visit-montenegro.com/main-cities/kotor/

Lovčen national park: http://www.nparkovi.me/sajt/np-lovcen

CAMPING RINO – MACEDONIA

https://campingrino.com/feel-like-home

Small, private camp beach

On the shore of Ohrid lake, with a homely atmosphere. The owner will probably meet and greet you with a glass of local made Raki. For you, not for him. This small, pleasant camp has its own little beach and a restaurant. There is a small shop about 300 m away, where I got a beer and ice-cream for less than a Euro. The place rocks its name: Feels like home, because it certainly does. Since the place is really small and the spaces for tents or campervans are not divided, you’ll probably end up in a family like atmosphere, sharing food and enjoying long conversations. with the other campers like we did. You can rent a kayak in nearby town of Struga and explore Ohrid lake. We were lucky, since one of camping neighbours had an inflatable one and we borrowed it for half a day. It was amazing. 

Kayaking on Ohrid lake

We paid 10 Euros per night. Wi-Fi, electricity and morning coffee are included in the price here.

If you want to explore the surroundings, here are some ideas:

Town of Ohrid: http://wikitravel.org/en/Ohrid

Prespa lake: http://www.exploringmacedonia.com/prespa-lake.nspx  

SAFE TRAVELS TO EVERYONE!!!! 

In the sweet shade of fruit trees.

Sweet smelling shade under the fruit trees – autocamp Naluka

Sunset on the beach of Jasenovo camping.

Above the Ohrid lake

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