City escapes: Dubrovnik, Croatia ~ Part one

Earlier this month me and Lucinda finally jetted away from the disappointing British summer into eight days of Croatian sunshine, swapping our city shoes for traveller flipflops to explore what Dubrovnik has to offer. I’m just starting to come to terms with the post-holiday blues so I thought I’d share why I think if you’re looking to escape the city for a long weekend or more, Dubrovnik would be a great option!

Now you’ll quickly realise it’s a pretty stunning city which means we found some great places and I took sooo many pictures that I struggled to put it all into one readable post. So I’ve decided to spread the Croatian love across three, which I’ll share over the next week or so and together will hopefully provide a handy little travel guide for anyone thinking of heading to east of the continent.

The Old Town is really this city’s gem and the obvious place to start exploring. As Dubrovnik is often referred to as “the pearl of the Adriatic” it has a reputation to uphold but I think this Old Town can handle it.

High walls, warm stone and clay red roofs. As soon as you step into the town you can see and feel its long history, and sense that it won’t be going anywhere soon (it’s survived a good few wars in its time!).

Turn round a corner and it’s pretty easy to get lost in the winding alleys, even in daylight.

But it really lights up at night.

The town fills up with a mixture of evening revellers and late night tourists, absorbing the sights…

Roaming around the alleyways for places to eat, resting, relaxing and soaking up the evening hum of the city…

You’ll find pizza and pasta on most turns but if this isn’t your thing and you want more Croatian cuisine options, on our last night, we took a left down the quieter looking streets of Old Town and discovered a hidden row of Croatian restaurants full with tempting offers. They were more expensive than the Italian options but we did feel a pang of regret that we hadn’t found it earlier.  Moby Dick can be found on this street and it was the only local recommendation we got, sadly we didn’t get time to visit it but it looked worth risking!  If you’re wondering about the costs, Italian meals came in at about £10 for a main and drink, Croatian meals went from £10 upwards.

We decided during our stay that taking in the Old Town from the ground wasn’t quite enough and so we climbed the walls. For 70 Kunas (about £8) you can reach the dizzy heights of the city walls and get some of the best views of Dubrovnik.

But it’s not for the faint-hearted and a full trip lasts about two hours, depending on whether you rest or power on through. If this seems a bit too much like hard work for a holiday, you can escape the walls at certain points throughout. We couldn’t resist seeing the whole thing.

Like the Old Town it started to get pretty busy as the walk went on. We started at about 9am and by 11am it seemed like it was filling up, definitely recommend watching out for cruise coach loads! There are mixed reviews on the city walls out there but I really enjoyed seeing it all from a different angle, gazing out onto the endless ocean.

If oceans and views of Dubrovnik from up high are also your thing then you should definitely check out the Cable Car. We ventured up towards the sky near the end of our trip and for 87 Kunas (about £10) we got to see this view…

It was really interesting to see how the walls protected the city and a different side of Dubrovnik, proving it’s not just the Old Town that’s pretty stunning.

We got a ticket which in total came to 117 Kunas (about £14) and this included entry into a war exhibition in the Napoleonic Fort that looks over the city. Whilst I struggled to take in all the information, the exhibition definitely gave a sense of the town’s history held within the Fort’s stone walls.

If you’re just looking for a weekend break then the Old Town would be great and I think you could really see it at any time of year. We didn’t spend much time inside the museums as we were keen to soak up the sun but I definitely think they’d fill up a weekend nicely.

Some handy information:

  • The weather in September is pretty good, it was generally mid twenties for the whole week but there is a higher chance of rain and we were unfortunate to get two days of it.
  • The flight to Dubrovnik is just about 2 hours 30 minutes from Gatwick. Plenty of budget airlines fly there, we chose EasyJet and it was a good as EasyJet can be.
  • You can get a shuttle bus from the airport to Old Town for 35 Kuna (about £4), taxis were five times as much.

Want to know more?? Here’s what’s coming up in the next two parts –

  • Part two – Getting out of Old Town – turning a great City Break destination into a great week’s holiday (sleeping, sunbathing and more exploring)
  • Part three – Cocktail hour – the Dubrovnik special edition – where to drink the must-have holiday cocktail

If you’ve been to Dubrovnik and wandered around Old Town it would be great to hear your views so pop a comment in below!