A trip to the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik specifically, has been a feature on my must-travel list for quite a few years now. For one reason or another, I hadn’t gotten around to visiting these shores. Other adventures came first. So a few months ago when my boyfriend and I finally booked our flights and accommodation, it’s safe to say that I was more than a little excited to finally see what this historic ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ was all about.
So I thought I would just share some of my experiences and recommendations with you.
Now, I must warn you in advance, if you intend on travelling to Dubrovnik at this time of year dreaming of chasing Mediterranean heat, you will be slightly disappointed. Although April is mild, the phrase ‘April Showers’ is accurate. If you are looking for a sunbathing and sea swimming holiday, maybe travel a little later in May-September.
Having said that, generally the weather was kind to us. Being British, we are used to getting on with things despite the odd shower and on this holiday, that included a day of exploring beaches in the rain!
Dubrovnik is visually one of the most beautiful and unique places I have ever seen. The Old Town is smaller than you would imagine, comprising of steep stairs and cobbled streets sheltered by magnificent stone buildings. Many of you will recognise it from Game of Thrones (guided walking tours of attractions from the programme are available). It really is hard to believe that less than 20 years ago, this part of the city was coming under attack and sustained significant damage. More can be found out about the war that occurred here at a hidden gem of a museum at the top of Mount Srdj (links will be included below). This can be accessed by cable car which allows for some stunning views of not just the Old Town, but Dubrovnik as a whole. It is also possible to walk up Mount Srdj, which isn’t as traumatic as it sounds. As a person of average fitness, it took us about an hour from bottom to top in moderate heat. Do wear sensible shoes for this as the path is steep and rocky.
Also found at the summit of Mount Srdj is a Buggy Safari experience, which I cannot recommend enough. The ‘safari’ itself comprises of an off-road driving section, a stop at an abandoned Fort and a stop at a viewpoint overlooking the newer side of Dubrovnik. The tour lasts about an hour depending on the size of your group and the guides speak excellent English. It is informative and also the most fun I have ever had for £25. The buggy’s are easy to drive and go fast enough for an adrenaline rush whilst still feeling safe!
Walking the City Walls is an absolute must and I’m sure if you have read any travel guides previous to this, you will have plenty of information on the history and wonder that this attraction provides. At this time of year, the walls weren’t too busy, and we chose to start the walk later in the day, but I imagine in peak season it can get very busy very quickly.
A particular highlight of our trip was a ferry trip to the Island of Lokrum. Lokrum is the closest island to Dubrovnik and is permanently uninhabited (apart from the peacocks and wild rabbits!). The ferry takes about 15 minutes and runs every hour so no major planning is needed for this attraction. On the island itself, there are multiple attractions including rocky ‘beaches’ and a Fort, but largely we found that the attractions listed on the map were a little underwhelming as no context or information is provided. The absolute must-see of this island is the attraction marked ‘Dead Sea’. This is a sort of cove like attraction, with stony beaches and very salty water, but most importantly it is beautiful. On a hot day, it is easy to sit here for hours.
We also took a boat tour to the Elaphiti Islands of Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep. These are a set of three inhabited islands not too far from Dubrovnik. This is a popular trip that was highly recommended to us. We spent a little longer on the boat than I had expected, but apart from beaches and browsing shops, there isn’t much to do on the islands so this was okay. The day was worth the money as you got to explore the islands as you wanted. We chose to stick to the main roads and beaches as this was easier, but most of the islands had churches and markets to explore too.
I must also highly recommend a visit to Bar Buza. Hidden high up at the back of the Old Town walls, the bar is built into the side of the walls themselves. The view is spectacular and the refreshments are reasonably priced with a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. All the staff are very friendly and attentive, speaking good English. The bar does get very busy towards the evening as it is a stunning place to view sunset, so if this is your intention I would recommend getting there early.
I hope this post inspires you to visit Dubrovnik! It really is magical and has a lot for everyone to enjoy.
- The Museum of Croatian War and Independance (located at the top of Mount Srdj)
- Cable Car
- Buggy Safari Experience
- Walking the City Walls
- The Island of Lokrum
- Elaphite Islands Boat Tour
- Bar Buza