Recently it became a very lovely tradition among my travelling buddies to travel on our birthdays. For people who like travelling the most what could be a better present?
I was checking cheap flight tickets for my birthday weekend on Skyscanner and found well-priced tickets to Croatia. (£80 return, Saturday to Tuesday). I was dreaming of visiting Balkans, and Croatia in general, for such a long time, that I did not even think twice and just bought the tickets.
Dubrovnik is located in the southern part of Croatia and separated from the rest of Croatia by Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dubrovnik’s old town is a Unesco World Heritage and looks stunning with its white limestone houses. The town is a good example of Medieval architecture, which after an earthquake in 1667 had some additions in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
What to see in Dubrovnik?
Start with walking around and meeting the town by exploring its streets and architecture. You can sneak inside churches, monasteries and museums. Some of them are free, some of them have an entrance fee.
Take Dubrovnik’s city walls tour to see the town from above, as well as admire beautiful coast of the Adriatic sea (cost:150 kunas = £17).
You can also take a cable car to Mount Srd to see a bird’s eye view of Dubrovnik (cost: 140kunas = £16 return). They also sell one-way tickets, but I did not see any road leading up (do not mind a hike 😉 ). However, as we hiked a similar hill in Montenegro the day before we decided to skip this one and save some money, that we spent on renting beach sunbeds later :).
If weather allows, go to the city beach – Banje beach, where you can rent some expensive sunbeds, order cocktails and then pay to get to the toilet, even if you are a bar customer 🙂 LOL. But you feel cool being there, so I guess it’s okay.
If you planning to visit Dubrovnik during the summer there are plenty of other entertainments available such as trips to local islands, kayaking, etc. In early May the weather was warm, but not as hot to spend hours on the beach and in the water.
You can also escape Dubrovnik for a day and visit its neighbour country Montenegro. We thought it was a crazy cool opportunity to see another country in such a short time, so we rented a car and headed over the border. It was amazing and I will write a separate article about our time in Montenegro shortly.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik?
If you are visiting Dubrovnik only for a weekend, I would advise to stay in Dubrovnik itself and rent something simple, such as air b&b, small apartment or a city hotel. As most probably you will spend most of the time out exploring the town, it does not really matter if you have or do not have cool facilities in the hotel. Do not get tempted by swimming pools in the hotels, as you can easily use city beaches 🙂
If you are planning beach holiday in Dubrovnik, you can book a hotel on Lapad peninsula, which is 4km away from Old town and has loads of luxurious hotels with swimming pools and beach access.
Another option is to stay in the nearest holiday village or town such as Mlini or Cavtat. We stayed in Mlini, which is 10 min drive by car from Dubrovnik. Alternatively, there are buses to the city and sea taxis. Those villages would usually be a bit cheaper than Lapad peninsula, as they are a bit further from the old town. As it was my birthday we booked a hotel with access to the sea, indoor and outdoor swimming pools. It was pretty damn good for a 3 and a half star hotel. Rooms were clean, bathrooms newly refurbished, breakfast choice is very good, outdoor swimming pool with sunbeds, access to the beach, indoor pool and even a small gym, which was, to be honest, a bit outdated. Anyway, who does gym during the holiday? Well, we did, Lol 🙂 I guess the only downside of those holiday villages is that they are quite popular among the older generation, so do not expect any crazy night life over there.
What to eat in Dubrovnik?
To be honest, I was not that impressed by Croatian cuisine, some dishes were just too simple and reminded me food in our school canteen in Estonia. In Dubrovnik, we tried one of the Restaurants that was recommended by a guidebook, which means that the restaurant most probably paid for being published in that book, and it was not “Wow” at all. The restaurant was not cheap, while other places were providing lunch deals and discounts, and did not serve anything special. The restaurant was called Kopun, they specialize in some sort of medieval dishes, but really – nothing special, so I would not recommend it 🙂 .
Croatia also produces its own wine, which I quite liked. Beer is also good 🙂
Croatia is stunning, nature is breathtaking and people are very fun and friendly. Dubrovnik is called a Pearl of Adriatic, but it seemed a bit unreal to me, beautiful no doubt, but more as a preserved decoration for a movie set and not a town, where people still live and do their everyday little chores. One day I will go to explore other side of Croatia and compare if it is any different from the Dubrovnik’s land :). I heard it is stunning too!