Cue Game of Thrones music. We are entering the Red Keep and Daniel is embarrassingly singing the GoT theme tune. We had 2.5 days in Dubrovnik and had a great time discovering what it had to offer. I promise that we did more than march around the city looking for Peter Dinklage.
Getting to Dubrovnik
What a mission!! If you read our post on Mostar you’ll know that we had a bit of an adventure just getting the bus. The following difficulties slowed us down:
- The was late (nothing unusual about that).
- We discovered that I’d booked the bus for the wrong day!! We found this out once the bus had actually left Mostar and the co-driver checked our tickets. He very kindly let us remain on the bus. My panic indicated that it was an obvious mistake.
- EVERY BAG on the bus got searched at the boarder between Bosnia and Croatia. This involved 40 something passengers waiting their turn, in the cold, to go through customs. I had to explain every medication in our first aide kit to the officer.
- The bus route between Mostar and Dubrovnik crosses 3 boarders. You go into Croatia, back into Bosnia and then into Croatia again. They stamp all the passports EVERY time. Fortunately we were only searched the once.
- The bus stopped for the drivers to have a long lunch, 30 minutes from Dubrovnik.
- We stopped to check all the tire pressures.
Eventually we made it to Dubrovnik, where we began a long, hot hike up what felt like a million stairs to reach our accommodation.
Accomodation in Dubrovnik
Most people will suggest you stay in the old town. This would be great for exploring the old town in the evening and catching the night life. As usual we chose the cheaper option. We stayed about 20minutes walk from the old town. This meant that we didn’t get out much in the evening but we had a lovely balcony with a great view of the harbour.
Highlights of Dubrovnik
Our time in Dubrovnik seemed to fly by. Our first day was pretty chilly and it rained for half of the second. This was actually a bit of a blessing because we really needed to plan and book more of our trip. Were hoping to walk the Camino Portuguese in June and it’s quite a lot to wrap our heads around. There’s no way we would have done that with the sun shining!
The Old Town
The classic postcard of Dubrovnik is of the old town; the stunning medieval city jutting out into the deep blue of the Adriatic sea. It’s way better in real life. You can access the main town through a number of entrances, but I highly suggest going through the main entrance when you first arrive. The stone walls towering overhead are quite imposing.
We really enjoyed walking around the old town. There are bustling main streets with plenty of fancy cafes and lots of charming winding alley ways. There were quite a few similarities to Venice and we really enjoyed trying to get lost just as we did there.
Going down the alleys also seems to give a better idea of how the locals are living. I particularly seeing the strings of washing hung from windows and balconies.
The old city wall walk
This is one of the highly recommend activities in Dubrovnik. We had planned to do it but it was pretty chilly on the day we planned and I was optimistically wearing a very light dress. It costs 150 kuna to get on to the wall and you can then spend as long as you like wandering the walls. From the wall you get views into the town and over the Adriatic sea.
This bar sits on the outside of the wall of the old town, suspended over the ocean. A big regret from our time in Dubrovnik was not having a drink here as soon as we arrived. We arrived on a beautiful warm afternoon which would have been the prefect conditions for sipping wine while gazing over the Adriatic! Unfortunately we saved it for the following day, which, as I said was pretty chilly. Maybe next time?
The War Photos exhibition
This was a real highlight of our visit and also a great thing to do on a chilly day, when wearing a short, light dress. It was really harrowing but an engaging way for Daniel and I to learn more about the break up of Yugoslavia and the subsequent conflicts.
The gallery has a permanent exhibition with photos from all over the former Yugoslavia and descriptions to explain where each photo fits in history. We found the photos of Mostar particularly moving, having just visited there. You can read about that trip here. It was crazy to see the things we so loved about our time in Mostar so damaged.
Take a walk to Sunset Beach
On our last day in Dubrovnik we packed up a lunch and headed to the resort area. It was really interesting to see the extremely westernised resort area in contrast to the old town. There was a long strip of restaurants leading down to the beach, all selling steak and chips, fancy seafood and exotic cocktails.
If you past all of this and follow the coast round you will find a more rugged and in our opinion, more beautiful coast line. We loved climbing down onto a pier and eating our nerdy pack up in the sunshine. There is a walkway around the whole headland with stone steps leading down to small little private spots on the rocks. If it had been warmer we would have been there all day.
Climbing up Srd Hill
Last but not least was our trip up Srd Hill to watch the sunset. This was my favourite activity in Dubrovnik and was totally worth the hard climb. You can get to the top 3 ways; drive, cable car or walk. There is a zig zag rocky path the goes up the front of the hill. It had lots of loose rock and was quite steep a time. I really suggest wearing trail shoes. For an unknown reason I had my light gym trainers on, they have no grip at all! It took us quite a bit of time to get to the top, mainly because we were stopping to take photos a every turn.
Once at the top you can walk along the ridge and take a seat to watch the sun go down. There were quite a few people up there. Many had bottles of wine or picnics. We took a tiny bottle of rakija we got in Mostar. We were lucky to have good weather for our final evening and were even lucky to see one of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen.
We then had to clamber down the hill in the dark which was a little hairy. I was very glad to have Daniel to hold on to as I tripped and slipped my way down! Damn shoes!
Our time in Dubrovnik ends our trip in Croatia and we are now moving on to Montenegro. Again, we’ve found another city to love and would recommend a trip here to anyone. Dubrovnik has it all. History, culture, hiking, beautiful sea and resort areas for those who want it.
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Chloe and Daniel