Dubrovnik, Croatia is a living fairy tale city (I know I’ve said that a few times but this one truly takes the cake) and thou shalt not miss this medieval beauty if traveling along the Balkan Peninsula and I have a feeling a few million others can attest to this. Some even call it – the Pearl of the Adriatic and righteously so. As our catamaran approached the port, the walls of Dubrovnik protruded out into the sea reminding every visitor of what once was a great naval powerhouse some 500 years ago.
The car-free Old Town carries the UNESCO World Heritage designation and is a beautiful mess and hodgepodge of....
The central promenade or Stradun remains the place to see and be seen, so make sure to bring your best attire and leave your swimwear at home. (A dress code was put in place in 2016 that bans swimwear and topless attire. We promise, we had nothing to do with this. :))
I had the fortune of vacationing in Dubrovnik as a baby (which I have no memory of) and three times after immigrating to the U.S. The most fulfilling times have been when I got to show the beauty of Dubrovnik to my American friends and my most recent favorite, when I got to take my soon to be husband. I had always wanted to have someone to enjoy the Dubrovnik sunset with, a drink in hand, on the balcony overlooking the old city and I finally got to experience it with my now husband..
Previously, I had stayed with family, but this time Jason and I got an AirBnB apartment near the Old Town in the hills above Banje beach. Our legs got a killer workout climbing all the stairs, but view was worth every step and sweat.
We arrived to Dubrovnik by a catamaran from Split, and silly little stubborn me decided that walking from the port with a backpack almost as big as me was going to be the best decision. By the time we reached Tomo's place, I had completely soaked through my thin romper I was wearing and my pink underwear and bra were full on display in front of our hosts.
We spent our days sleeping in, climbing up stairs and even more stairs to Mount Srđ to catch the sunset, eating gelato (sladoled), pastries and coffee were the staples of our diet), walking the city walls while imagining we were in King’s Landing, splashing in the Adriatic Sea with my newly acquired pink floatie, and tasting flavored Rakija (I still to this day regret not bringing a few bottles back with us). We splurged on one meal in the Old Town as we are both seafood lovers and the seafood paeya and octopus salad were hard to pass up despite a fair amount of warning about high tourist prices and surly customer service....sadly both true if you're not a local.
Our favorite thing to do after a long day at the beach was perch up on a stoop at the fountain my mom would take me to, gelato in hand and observe all the foot traffic, imaging Dubrovnik back in the old days when the cobblestone streets were swarming with busy merchants and shipbuilders.
If you’re all about the breathtaking views and perfect photo ops, then Mount Srđ is definitely a must! Because the 50 thousand stairs we had going up to our apartment weren’t enough, we decided to climb some more stairs on a switchback trail to reach the mountaintop to take in one of the most breathtaking sunsets we’ve ever come across. There are two paths with minimal shade that lead up to the top or if breaking a sweat is not your thing then a cable car or žičara is there to whisk you all the way to the top.
Our climb up was so intense that by the end of it our shirts had come off since they were dripping wet and we inhaled two whole pizzas to regain our strength and calories that were burned off in the process. I am certain we slept like babies that night.
Old Town & Stradun
Walking the Walls of King's Landing