I recently had the privilege of visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia so I thought I’d put together a list of things to do if you ever get the chance to check out this amazing city!
- Visit Old Town – This is a given, so it’s an easy place to start. Dubrovnik’s Old Town is absolutely stunning, both during the day and at night. With countless restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops there’s plenty to keep you busy and mesmerized. Check out the market for local food and handmade souvenirs. There are churches, fountains, and monuments to explore that are simply architectural masterpieces. You’ll almost feel like you’ve gone back in time.
- Walk the City Walls – The spectacular stone walls surrounding the Old Town can’t be missed. Take the time to walk them. You’ll see some of the most breathtaking views. It takes about an hour to walk all the way around, longer if you stop to take pictures and appreciate the scenery along the way. Keep in mind it can get really hot, so make sure you are prepared with plenty of water. There’s also restaurants and cafés along the walls if you need to stop for sustenance.
- Dine out – I enjoyed some of the most amazing and delicious dishes in Dubrovnik. The seafood especially is so fresh and yummy! If you are an adventurous eater like me, try some things you’ve never had before. I highly recommend Octopus Salad, my favourite local dish. Cevapcici, a sausage blend of ground pork, beef, and lamb, and Black Risotto, which gets its dark colour from squid ink, were also absolutely delicious. For dessert, head to Dolce Vita in Old Town for arguably the best ice cream in the city. There are countless restaurants throughout the Dubrovnik area serving up some truly spectacular meals.
- Relax on the beach – Since Dubrovnik is located on the coast, there are numerous beaches to enjoy. I spent most of my beach time in the Lapad area, which has some of the most beautiful local beaches. I’d recommend having proper footwear as the beaches are pretty rocky. Water shoes would be ideal to prevent sore feet. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Get out on the water – From jet skis, kayaking, diving, and other water sports to numerous boat tours, there are many options to get out onto the beautiful blue Adriatic Sea. If you can, rent a private boat to take you on a tour of the Elaphite Islands. There’s a large number of public boat tours, but be advised they aren’t exactly as advertised. There is a serious lack of communication and misinformation. Since there are so many different ways to book these tours, there are a lot of inconsistencies. For instance, your pamphlet may say the boat departs the first island at one time when, in fact, it will leave 15 minutes earlier, leaving you stranded and having to find your own way back. (Don’t ask me how I know this.) Just something to keep in mind as the islands are definitely worth seeing.
- Ride the Cable Car – Wanna see the beautiful red roofs of the city from above? Located just outside the walls of Old Town is a Cable Car which will bring you up the Srd Hill. You’ll see panoramic views of Old Town, the harbour, the Adriatic Sea, and the surrounding islands. Once at the top, there’s dining, gift shops, and Museum Dubrovnik in Homeland War. Fort Imperial housed many Dubrovnik defenders and was a key part of the war. It has been turned into a museum exhibit and displays the fascinating history of a painful time for Dubrovnik.
- Take a tour – There are an abundance of tours available in order to explore the Dubrovnik area. From walking tours, boat tours, to Game of Thrones tours for fans of the TV show. There’s also a Buggy Safari tour at the top of the Cable Car.
- Walk the Lapad Peninsula – Lapad is one of the most popular areas outside the Old Town. The peninsula boasts a copious amount of restaurants, bars, and shops, and as mentioned, some of the best local beaches. I would also suggest staying in Lapad. You can easily get to the Old Town with a short bus ride and it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy tourist centre. I stayed at the Begovic Boarding House and would stay again in a heartbeat, despite the 152 stairs I climbed multiple times a day to get back to it.
- Visit the Irish pubs – Get a little homesick while you’re away? No problem. There are plenty of Irish pubs in Dubrovnik to give you a little sense of home. There’s The Gaffe, Irish Pub Karaka, and Katie O’connor’s all in Old Town and even a wee pub called Celtic Bar Belfast located in Lapad.
- Learn the history – Dubrovnik has some of the most picturesque and spectacular views I’ve ever seen. The city is absolutely stunning. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t all that long ago it was subjected to a vicious and aggressive attack following the collapse of Yugoslavia. The war started in 1991 and ended officially in 1995. Take the time to learn about it. I guarantee you will appreciate the city more once you hear how resilient and strong the people are. They banded together and made it through a horrific situation. The sense of community in Dubrovnik is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. The war was a painful and sad time for the city and its people, but it is an important part of their very recent history. And to see how the city overcame it all to come out the other side is quite incredible. Dubrovnik truly is the Pearl of the Adriatic and somewhere you must see to believe.
Author: Leanne Murray
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