We began our June 2019 adventures in Dubrovnik, Croatia as part of a 2 week holiday covering Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. These were our 5th, 6th and 7th countries together, and what we quite often describe as our favourite holiday so far.
Dubrovnik was one of the most expensive cities we’ve been to. You could do it a lot cheaper than we did, if you stay away from the Old Town!
We arrived into Dubrovnik airport around midday after an almost 3 hour flight from London. We then got the bus into the centre (which is just outside the airport), and then a taxi onto our accommodation which we booked through Booking.com. By this point, we weren’t quite so aware of how expensive things are here, as both the bus and taxi were similar to that in England (so still expensive, but not awful)! We managed to walk around Dubrovnik without getting any public transport, however if you are someone who struggles with the heat, long distances and hills, you might want to consider staying somewhere very close to the Old Town itself. Yes, this will be more expensive, and there are some lovely areas close to Dubrovnik port which save you a lot of money, however there is quite a long walk of 40 minutes between the two so best to research where you’ll likely be spending most of your time.
What to do
Sea kayaking – The 2 and a half hour kayaking tour that we did through Get Your Guide was just under £30 per person, and gave the most lovely views up into the hills around Dubrovnik. You kayak out in pairs, following your guide as she stops at a few of the hot-spots for a bit of story time. She told us loads of history about the city and Lokrum Island which is one of the places that you paddle around, before taking us into a cave and a little pebble beach for a swim – or cliff dive if you’re brave enough… we weren’t.
Visit Lokrum Island – Lokrum is an island just off Dubrvnik Old Town in the Adriatic sea with an interesting history. It’s said to bring bad luck to whoever owns it, and to this day, nobody stays overnight on the island (other than firemen, who don’t spend more than one night in a row). You can visit the island by boat or kayak where there are a few beaches, botanical gardens, peacocks and lots and lots of rabbits. There is also a nudist beach or two, if that’s what you’re into. No judgements here!
Game of Thrones tour/walk the wall – Okay, going to be honest with you here… Neither me nor Scott have ever seen an episode of GoT (hangs head in shame), so when we booked to do the regular ‘City Walls Walking Tour’, we were the only people on it as everyone else was on the GoT themed walk instead. This did work out well for us, as we essentially got a private tour without the extra cost. Winning! This was really great as our guide was so friendly and knew loads about the city; plus the view down into the old town was worth the steep treck! If you’re interested in learning about the history of places that you visit like we are, I’d recommend this tour!
If you do decide to do it, I’d suggest bringing plenty of water with you as there is a lot of walking, and no fountains up there – just a seriously overpriced drinks stall.
Beach/cliff – In our attempts to find a beach, we ended up on a man made area of rock down along the bottom of the cliff, with steps leading into the sea. This was quite a nice space for sunbathing, and when we went, there were only 3 other people there! There are lots of these little rock-faces along the coastline so if you walk along the main road and see any steps that go down towards the sea, go down and explore! When we eventually found the beach – Bellevue Beach – we were a little disappointed as it was massively overcrowded and hard to find space to put a towel down. Not only that, but it’s a pebble beach and was seriously painful to walk on, but we were only there for a couple of hours so we made do.
Old Town – The old City of Dubrovnik is UNESCO protected so the beautiful 16th century stone remains prominent throughout the walls and buildings (minus any damage from the conflict in the 90’s). There are loads of restaurants and boutique shops here – Scott said it reminds him of Venice!
Ghost Walk – We found a tour online which costed around £15 each called Dark Tales of the Old Town. This 90 minute evening walk with a guide around the old town featured many tales of a dark, ghostly and mysterious nature of the city. This was quite an interesting way to fill up an evening, as the information and the history of the city was completely different to everything else we’d heard on our trip.
Day trip to Mostar – We paid just under £50 each through Get Your Guide to be picked up in Dubrovnik and taken on a guided tour to Mostar. Take a look at the full details of our excursion to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Day trip to Montenegro – We didn’t do a day trip to Montenegro as we instead spent the next week of our holiday here, however we have seen quite a few excursions on Get Your Guide. We had the most amazing time in Kotor, and so we really recommend visiting this beautiful country – take a look at the details of our trip to Montenegro.
Cats cats cats! – One of the things that we learned whilst on a tour here, was that Dubrovnik allegedly never had a single case of the Plague reported, and this was due to the city’s vast amount of cats (catching and killing all of the rats, so the disease couldn’t spread). Still to this day, the old town is home to loads of furry felines; why not take a wander off the beaten track to find their cool and shady resting spots.
Explore the Port – The area where the Port of Dubrovnik is takes about 40 minutes to walk to from the Old Town, but is a lovely place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy streets. There are a few nice areas with hotels and accommodation along the waterfront, and some peaceful bars and restaurants here. It’s a good place to relax and soak up the tranquillity of the water.
Where to eat
Sesame Restaurant was the first place that we ate in Croatia, and was the place that we frequently stopped at for a drink on our way back to our accommodation. It lies about 10 minutes’ walk from Old Town – the food was very expensive, but was ‘fine dining’ and tasted amazing. Just outside the gates of the Old Town, Dubravka 1836 is a nice restaurant, where we sat a couple of nights and had some really good food and some drinks. They serve things like pizza, pasta, risotto, meats and fish, and the restaurant is right on the edge, overlooking the sea. Gradska Kavana is a bit pricier as it’s inside the walls of the Old Town, but it does serve some really nice meals, and when we went there happened to be a ‘Miss Dubrovnik’ show going on and our table gave us front row seats. Another place that we ate was Rhea Silvia Konoba, which was in the Old Town, in a square filled with lights and other restaurants. The restaurant wasn’t as expensive as other places that we’d been, and the food was quite nice, however we found that a lot of the restaurants in Old Town served more or less the same sort of stuff.
Around Dubrovnik port, there were a few places to eat and drink that looked more peaceful, and less expensive. Yacht Club Orsan is a bar and restaurant right on the waterfront, which looks like it would be a really romantic place for a meal (we only went for a quick drink, so didn’t try any of the food). For an amazing burger, at a reasonable price, go to Green Garden Food Bar. The ‘food bar’ is all outside, up a gravel path amongst some trees, and the food is cooked and served from a hut-type building; there’s a really nice feel here, especially if it’s a hot and sunny day!
We had a really nice time in Dubrovnik, however we both think that a week may have been too long considering the cost of living out here – if you are looking to stay in Dubrovnik, book an Airbnb or something with cooking facilities to save some money. We’d love to visit other parts of Croatia, such as Zagreb and Split at some point in future!