The first stop on our whirlwind coastal tour was of course Dubrovnik.
We didn’t even contemplate staying anywhere other than the old town and that’s because the beauty of Dubrovnik is encompassed by the walls of the old town, meaning we wanted to be in the hub of the action.
What I will say is that majority of the accommodation in Dubrovnik is a good hike up steep steps, which can be problematic if you have prams- not impossible but certainly not an easy feat.
Our particular hostel for example, was near the top of the steepest set of steps and once inside the building we were up a further three flights. I think on the first day we calculated we’d walked up nearly 70 flights of stairs.
The other thing I’ll mention is that the heat is almost unbearable in July (and also August supposedly). It was unrelentless and for that reason I’m glad I didn’t have Little London with me. If I did I probably would have stayed in the new town in a modern hotel with full air conditioning facilities and a great pool, and I would have made do with popping into the old town to see the main sights.
But luckily I was without child, so tolerating the heat was an individual task which involved a lot of water and ice-cream.
So without further ado, here are my top 5 things to do in Dubrovnik.
1. Lokrum Island
A mere 15 minute boat ride from the port in the old town, is the island of Lokrum.
It’s a beautiful nature reserve with crystal clear water you can just jump into and enjoy- a blessing in the hot heat of the summer.
^^ Playsuit | Calzedonia.
Getting the very first boat from Dubrovnik at 9am is worth it to enjoy a spot of swimming without the heaving crowds that start to arrive later on in the day.
^^ Swimwear | Banana Moon.
You’ll notice peacocks and their chicks roaming freely and the sound of millions of birds chirping away although you physically can’t seem to see where they come from. And every now and then a little black rabbit will run across your path.
If you stray from the walkways it’s quite easy to get lost in the shade of the trees, as we found. We accidentally managed to hike to the top of Lokrum and although slight panic set in due to the diminishing bottle of water we had, (our inner Bear Grylls survival techniques aren’t quite harnessed) we did get to see some amazing views.
Oh and I can’t forget to mention that Lokrum is also the home of the authentic Iron Throne from the tv show Game of Thrones.
2. Game of Thrones tour
Talking of the show Game of Thrones, a lot of it was filmed in Croatia with Dubrovnik featuring a myriad of times.
^^ The gates used for Jaime Lannister’s arrival back in Kings Landing.
With both of us fans of the show, we thought we’d book ourselves onto one of the Game of Thrones tours and really up the geek factor.
^^ Steps from Cersei’s walk of shame.
It’s actually a great way to see the old town, and perhaps be introduced to areas and buildings that you have either overseen or haven’t noticed. Having the Game of Thrones reference makes it all the more interesting.
^^ The pier where Sansa discusses her escape with Lord Baelish.
3. Cable car
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city and it can be appreciated from the moment you set eyes on it. It’s literally more picture perfect than you can imagine.
But to really see it for everything that it is, you need to see it in its entirety.
The cable car runs from the old town all the way up Mount Srdj and it’s worth it for the spectacular vistas, which also includes seeing the island of Lokrum and its proximity to the city.
Try and find an angle which doesn’t involve getting the cable car lines in the picture though. It is possible.
4. Banje beach club
Being on the coast, the old town has its own beaches.
But there are more people than beach space. So again it’s worth turning up early morning to make sure you get the best spot.
You will have to pay for sun loungers and umbrellas if you want to use them, but it’s worth it.
We went to Banje Beach which is a short stroll outside of the walls, and it was very reminiscent of our hedonistic Ibiza days but with a view that can’t be rivalled which looks back at the old town walls.
5. Food and Bars
Croatian food is a medley of Mediterranean goodness and delicious seafood.
^^ Street food eating on the steps at Barba.
The fish doesn’t get fresher than the coastal areas and Dubrovnik is a great place to get some delicious meals.
^^ Even the cats appreciate the fresh sea catches.
Add the fact that Croatia produces some excellent wine- of which I had never tried until I got there, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how delightful an evening out in Croatia is.
The bars and restaurants are buzzing and full of activity pretty much all night and people really dress up for the occasion- bar us because we more or less stayed casual for our entire Croatian stay.
One evening we discovered a little bar built into the cliffs above the sea called Cafe Buza. If you’re a daredevil you can jump off the cliffs into the water below and use the carved away steps to get back onto terra firma.
Or you can just sit down and relax with some wine while looking at the most beautiful view.