Travelled in: May 2017
After my road trip around Croatia last year, there was one city I felt like I had really missed out on – Dubrovnik! Croatia is definitely one of my favourite European countries to holiday in, everywhere you go is picture postcard pretty and Dubrovnik is no exception… Although beautiful, Dubrovnik is probably one of the most touristy places I have ever been! The amount of tourists does put a slight dampener on the Dubrovnik experience as at times it doesn’t feel very authentic, eating and drinking is quite expensive and the narrow streets can get so crowded at times you have to fight your way through! Saying that though Dubrovnik is an amazing city break full of fun things to do, especially if you are a Game Of Thrones fan! I did have an amazing time here, but I would say 3/4 days in this city was more than enough…
Arriving in Dubrovnik:
I found my flights to Dubrovnik via sky scanner. Sometimes sky scanner will combine airlines to get you the cheapest price. On this particular occasion the cheapest flights were a combination of Norwegian Airways and Monarch. Return flights Wednesday – Tuesday over the May bank holiday weekend cost around £140.
To get to Dubrovnik city center from the airport there is a shuttle bus run by the company Atlas. The bus costs 70kn for a return journey in to the center and it takes about 25 minutes. The bus will drop you off at Pile Gate, but on the return journey will pick you up at the Cable Cars.
Travelling in Dubrovnik:
As the old town of Dubrovnik is pedestrianized we explored the city mostly by foot.
One major thing to note is that there are ALOT of steps in Dubrovnik! Depending on where you enter the walled city from will determine how many steps you need to walk up or down to get in or out. If you enter the city at Pile Gate it is quite flat and there are only about 20 steps to climb down. If you enter the city from the other side of the city near the cable cars you will have to walk down about 150 steps to get in to the center.
To get anywhere else such as the district of Lapad or Port Gruz I used UBER, which in Dubrovnik was super cheap! We paid no more than €4 for a 10 minute journey, which in a regular taxi would have cost 3x this.
Staying in Dubrovnik:
I used my trusty fave airbnb for accommodation! Our lovely host Vesna had 2 one bedroom apartments listed, located about 200m away from the cable cars. Both apartments are small, but perfectly formed with an outside terrace and in a perfect location.
I say perfect location as I personally think it was a good decision to stay outside of the city walls… The old town could get a bit overwhelming with its hoards of tourists and constant buzz. The only downside to this was that to get to any of the accommodation outside of the walls you had to climb up those hundreds of steps I mentioned earlier… To get to Vesnas’ apartment we had to climb exactly 242 steps – absolute killer, but great for the glutes!
Eating in Dubrovnik:
We found there to be a lot of overpriced tourist trap restaurants within the walls of the old town. As dinner is my favourite meal of the day and we didn’t want to risk making bad choices we took the advise of blogs and trip advisor to source out a good feed and found the following places…
Restaurant Marriano, Lapad – After some sunset drinks at Cave Bar More, we were looking for a good eatery in the Lapad area of Dubrovnik. We found Marriano’s via trip advisor and we had one of our best meals of the holiday here. We were served by the owner and he was more than accommodating… our food was slightly late out of the kitchen so he gave us free dessert. The food was incredible, as was the wine and the locally sourced olive oil they served with homemade bread. Definitely recommend this place!
Peppers Eatery, Port Gruz – This restaurant is all over the foodie blogs, so we had to give it ago. Peppers offers a vast menu of quirky tapas plates and an extensive cocktail menu! Good food, good cocktails, the only downside was the service was all very rushed so we were in and out in about 40 minutes.
Horizont, Palace Gate – Amazing find just outside the walls of the old town. Great seafood dishes and really reasonably priced considering the location.
Locanda, Lokrum – There are not a lot of eateries on the island of Lokrum, so if you go over for the day you either bring a picnic across with you, or go to this place as the food was great! Watch our for the rabbits and peacocks running around in the background whilst you are having lunch!
Bakeries – For a cheap feed in Dubrovnik or a light lunch we went to the bakeries for some delicious pastry treats. There are quite a few of them dotted around the city center. For a real bargain venture just outside the city walls and you will find the bakeries are so much cheaper. We found good ones near Pile Gate and up the hill on the street Zagrebacka.
3 Days in Dubrovnik: My Itinerary…
Dubrovnik Cable Cars – The best view of Dubrovnik is from above, and there’s no better place to see it than the top of Srd hill. A round trip up to the top on the cable car costs 140kn. There is a really nice restaurant at the top, although as you can imagine it is a little pricey. There is also a hiking route to the top, but this seemed like a little too much effort for my liking! Either way it is definitely worth a trip to take in these incredible views.
Dubrovnik Old Town – This walled city has an incredible buzz about it. Although the old town is one of the most touristy places I have ever been, it still has a lot of charm and an incredible atmosphere, especially in the evening! There is a lot going on in the old town, and everyday hundreds of tourists flood the streets, which can be quite overwhelming. From Pile gate you enter on to the main street – Stradun which is the perfect starting point for a tour of this historic city.
City Walls – One of the main attractions of Dubrovnik is walking the city walls which stretch for 2km around the whole of the old town. You can enter the walls in a few places around the city, the main entrance being at Pile Gate, although this is always super crowded so you might want to start your walk from one of the others… The entrance fee to walk the wall is pretty extortionate at 150k, but from the top you get the most picturesque views of all the typical Croatian terracotta roofs. Take plenty of water with you if it is hot as there is not a lot of shade and the walk can be pretty exhausting, although there are bars along the way you can stop at to have a drink.
Fort Lovrijenac – When you purchase your ticket for the city walls, you also gain entrance to St Lawrence Fortress which is also well worth a visit. You may recognize this place from a certain popular TV show where it doubles up as the red keep…
Game of Thrones – All around the city you will see reminders that Game of Thrones was filmed here, it is something the people of Dubrovnik are incredibly proud of. There are many tours you can do to visit some of the filming locations, however these will set you back around £50. As an alternative you can do a DIY tour, by checking out this kingslandingdubrovnik website and going to see the sights yourself. The jetty in the picture above was used in a scene with Sansa Stark and Shae were watching the ships dock.
Gradac Park – I believe this park is also on the list of Game of Thrones filming locations, which is why we took a little strole here. It’s nothing too special, but you get some nice sea views and there’s plenty of well needed shade on a hot summers day.
Lokrum – An amazing day trip is to hop on the ferry and take the 10 minute journey over to the island of Lokrum. The ferry costs 120kn for a return journey with entrance to the island. Lokrum is the perfect place to either completely relax on it’s many beaches, or do some walking and get in touch with nature.
Beaches – Other than the beaches of Lokrum, there are a couple of beaches on the mainland you can visit to get your tanning fix. My favourite was Sulic Beach, a small pebbled bay right underneath Fort Lovrijenac (pictured). It is really out of the way of the main tourist track so remained fairly quiet. There are also a couple of beach bars here to have a drink at.
Another beach I spotted whilst walking through Gradac Park was Dance Beach, also a bit out of the way, and I didn’t make it all the way down to the rocks, but looked like the perfect spot for a swim and sunbathe.
There is also the more popular and touristy Banja Beach.
Sunsets – I’m sure you have seen the famous Dubrovnik Cave bar all over instagram, it is a must do when in Dubrovnik. Cave Bar More is located about a 10 minute drive outside of the old town, in the more seaside area of Dubrovnik called Lapad. From the main beach area you can either walk along the seafront pathway to get here, or you can go via the road above. Try to get a bed on the seafront as it is the perfect place to lay and sip a cocktail at sunset.
Another amazing place to watch the sunset is from the rocks in the old town. If you walk around the old harbour to where the pier/lighthouse is you will see some steps winding around the rock, follow this round and you will come to a secret little rocky area which is the perfect place to chill with some drinks in the evening.
There are also the famous Buzu bars, which are also a good place to chill and have a drink whilst admiring the blue sea views.