Driving to Dalmatia: rest stops reviewed
No stone was left unturned. Reporter Sanja Kovac investigated each individual rest area along the highway from Zagreb to Split. Here are her findings, with overall scores on a scale of 1 to 5.
1. REST AREA: STUPNIK ZAPAD (WEST)
(immediately at the exit from the city)
The café next to the OMV gas station has an excellent Julius Meinl coffee. An espresso will cost you 9 HRK/1.20€, and they offer take-out. Sandwiches cost from 17 to 22 HRK/ 2.30 to 3.00€. You can order a meal off the menu between 8 a.m. and 6.p.m. throughout the week, though the menu itself could be a bit more imaginative. There is a small children’s park right beside the café. The rest area has one indoor and one outdoor toilet and both are very clean. Bonus: free wireless.
2. REST AREA: DESINEC
A Barcaffe coffee from the machine costs you 8 HRK/1.06€ at the Petrol gas station. Montana and Tvojih 5 minuta pre-packaged sandwiches cost from 19 to 23 HRK/2.50 to 3.00€. At the Laganini Café a Franck espresso costs 8 HRK/1.06€, beans with sausages 27 HRK/3.60€. Fresh sandwiches cost between 20 and 25 HRK/2.70 and 3.30€. The selection is more limited than in most other rest areas.
3. REST AREA: DRAGANIC
The Tifon gas station offers Franja coffee from a vending machine at 10 HRK/1.30€ and Montana sandwiches from 20.50 to 23.50 HRK/2.70 to 3.10€. Within the gas station is the Marche Café, which offers freshly squeezed natural juices, pastries, cakes, burek and muffins. A Franck espresso costs 9.50 HRK/1.30€, and sandwiches are 16 to 25 HRK/2.10 to 3.30€.
The toilette is clean, tidy and well equipped. The rest stop also has vending machines where you can get yourself a miniature toothbrush and toothpaste or refreshing mints. There is a three-star hotel at this stop, the Marche Hotel. One night including breakfast in single room costs 482 HRK/64€.
4. REST AREA: VUKOVA GORICA
Rating: 2 (without the souvenir shop it would be 1)
In the bistro at INA’s gas station, the interior of which takes us back to the past by at least 15 years, you can order a Franck espresso for 8 HRK/1.06€. The coffee is lousy. They sell Klara, Don-Don and Montana pre-packaged sandwiches from 21.50 to 23.99 HRK/2.90 to 3.20€. Across from the bistro is a gift shop with olive oil, replicas of historical artifacts…
The worst stop so far.
5. REST AREA: DOBRA
Tifon offers Franja coffee from a machine at 10 HRK/1.30€, while Marche Cafe serves Franck espressos for 9.50 HRK/1.30€. The sandwiches, priced between 24 and 27 HRK/3.20 and 4.00€ really do look tasty but they are a bit dry. The toilette is nice, clean and well equipped. They have a Privredna banka ATM, playground, and Marche restaurant that opens at 10 a.m.
6. REST AREA: MODRUS
This rest area only has a small restaurant serving Franck coffee for 8 HRK/1.06€, juices and alcohol, and sandwiches priced from 17 to 24 HRK/2.30 to 3.20€. There are also muffins, strudel and cakes from 7 to 10 HRK/0.90 to 1.30€.
The toilette is neat and equipped with toilet paper and the soap is in a plastic juice bottle.
7. REST AREA: BRINJE
INA’s Bistro offers Franck espresso for 8 HRK/1.06€, and you can buy Franja coffee to go at the machine for 12 HRK/1.60€… It sells Montana and Don-Don pre-packaged sandwiches, which cost 18 to 22 HRK/2.40 to 3.00€.
The toilette is in good shape.
8. REST AREA: JANJCE
The very slow staff of the OMV gas station café will serve you a Julius Meinl espresso for 9 HRK/1.20€. You’ll get a cookie with your coffee, and we hope you’ll be lucky and get a clean spoon, which we did not. You can buy a variety of sandwiches from 17 to 22 HRK/2.25 to 3.00€ as well as croissants, donuts, puff pastries and dishes off the menu. The sandwiches have been lying around in cellophane for too long.
9. REST AREA LICKI: OSIK
There is just a small café with Franck coffee at a price of 8 HRK/1.06€ here. The toilette is small but clean.
10. REST AREA: ZIR
INA’s café offers Franck espresso for 8 HRK/1.06€. The toilette is clean, tidy and well equipped. This stop has a restaurant and the Macola Motel. The motel has 32 rooms with an a la carte restaurant, self-service restaurant and cocktail bar. They also have a store, souvenir shop, currency exchange and a playground. And many stuffed and mounted animals in the restaurant, including rabbits and raccoons (playing cards) and a bear.
11. REST AREA: JASENICE
Tifon with a standard Marche and a Franck espresso for 9.50 HRK/1.30€, freshly squeezed natural juices, desserts, muffins and pastries. Sandwiches cost from 24 to 27 HRK/3.20 to 3.60€.
The toilette is nice, clean and equipped.
12. REST AREA: NADIN
The OMV Café has a great Julius Meinl for 9 HRK/1.20€. There are also various sandwiches priced from 17 to 22 HRK/2.30 to 3.00€. Dishes off the menu can be ordered from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
13: REST AREA: PROKLJAN
Rating: 3/4 (due to the view)
The INA petrol station and cafe within it are open 24 hours a day. They make Franck coffee for 8 HRK/1.06€. The coffee was good but had a very bitter aftertaste. They also offer cakes, donuts and Klara, Don-Don and Montana pre-packaged sandwiches for 21.50 to 23.90 HRK/2.85 to 3.20€. We were still hungry after our Klara sandwiches, which had only traces of flavor in it. There is a neat playground next to the café.
Special bonus: view of Prokljansko Lake
14. REST AREA: KRKA
Rating: 5- (the minus is for the toilette)
This rest area is worth visiting, if nothing else than for the view of the Krka and Skradin rivers, visible from both sides of the highway. The entire rest stop is linked through an underground passage beneath the highway and equipped with numerous benches and booths. They serve Vivas coffee for 9 HRK/1.20€. For 18 HRK/2.40 you can have 100 % natural freshly squeezed. Sandwiches cost from 17 to 26 HRK/2.25 to 3.45€, and you can eat in a self-service or a la carte restaurant which offers lamb.
The outdoor toilette is not really ideal, and there are no hand towels. The toilette in the restaurant is clean, tidy and equipped.
15. REST AREA: VRPOLJE
Lukoil gas station operates 24 hours a day. The café serves Vivas espresso coffee for 9 HRK/1.20€. They currently offer sandwiches from17 to 24 HRK/2.25 to 3.20€, and as of 1st June they plan on adding barbecued food to their menu. The toilette here is clean, but in poor condition. Only the third cabin’s door locks, the toilet tank is broken, and there are no hangers or shelves to rest your things on. There is also a Privredna banka ATM at the gas station.
16. REST AREA: KOZJAK
The café at the INA gas station offers Franck espresso for 8 HRK/1.06€, and you can buy Klara, Don-Don and Montana pre-packaged sandwiches here. The toilette is clean and tidy.
By: Sanja Kovac
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