Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia
fronting the Adriatic Sea. It is also known for HBO’s Game Of Thrones due to its relic Old Town and castle walls. Being one of the Mediterranean’s most popular destinations, last summer Han and I visited to go and see what all the fuss was about. Here’s what we found…
I’ll be honest, I was keen to get some training in whilst away in Dubrovnik. We managed to find a really cool hotel, which I talk about below, that had a decent gym so I got the standard hotel workouts in there. However, one of the cooler things we did involved a trip kayaking…
Before going to Croatia 🇭🇷 one of my colleagues recommended rafting. I didn’t even think about this but when I looked into it the day looked really cool. We booked via Viator and the rafting is in Montenegro 🇲🇪 so requires a full day to do it.
We couldn’t fault the service and would recommend Viator to anyone. You are picked up outside the hotel (early) and driven to the location. The guide stops off during the trip to give a little information and see the sights which is cool and you are taken back from the location by the same driver.
Once you get on site you are provided with a traditional breakfast (take something if you’re a fussy eater) and kitted out in the appropriate gear. You then have a safety demonstration and get shuttled to the waters-edge. The main building is high up from the water which gives some amazing views and the colour of the water is insane!
The rafting itself runs through the mountains and the set up is so good. The guys out there have built little stop off points along the way. They all have either little tree house bars in or beer coolers 🍺. As you go down the river you can jump in and swim as well as taking a bit of time to chill in the stop off places. I’ve got to admit, one of the coolest things I’ve done is raft down a river and stopped off at a tree house bar along the way!
The day itself is a long one. You’re up pretty early at around 5am and it is a 5 hour drive each way. The rafting itself lasts about an hour, with some time to chill either side.
It gets quite tiring in parts and although it’s not fully fledged white water rafting it is still a challenge. However, the day is so fun and definitely worth the drive. We met some pretty cool people doing this and there’s not many places in the world that you can go to and experience this.
The pictures probably don’t do the place justice. Words can’t describe the colour of the water I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d definitely recommend a trip if visiting!
Like any trip, experiencing the local food is one of the most exciting things to do. We ate in a few places but here are the highlights…
The old town is packed with good eats. The cafe and coffee ☕️ culture is definitely alive in Dubrovnik. Everywhere you go there are little bars and restaurants to stop off in and have a drink or bite to eat.
Croatia’s food is quite split by region and varies wherever you go. Dubrovnik is very good for seafood and has all kinds of variations. Fish stews, salted potatoes and seafood, fresh lobster, muscles and more. It is also known for goulash type dishes, however, these are more commonly found across the country and not specific to the area.
The honest answer for finding nice places to eat in the Old Town is to go and explore! We found a few cool restaurants wandering around and I’m sure we also missed a few too, they’re all good.
One place that is a must visit is Buza Bar. This place has been built into the castle wall and is incredible. During the day you can chill out and listen to music or dive into the ocean 🌊. There are ledges to walk/climb down too and fling yourself off into the crystal blue water below!
Furthermore, at night you can go down and have a few drinks and you feel like you’re on the end of the world. It’s a really cool little Bar and if you can find the alcove in the castle wall to get to it definitely worth a visit!
Restaurant Nautika is a slightly more expensive restraint just off the castle entrance, however it’s worth the money. The outside Terrance looks out onto the main castle and bay below. It specialise in seafood but has an array of dishes on offer. The dress is slightly more formal with shirts and trousers for the men but the food is unreal.
We visited this as a last meal out of the holiday and saved some spends to do so. If you’re looking for a treat, this is the place to go. The service was brilliant and like I said, the view was spectacular. There’s something about eating a steak on a castle wall, overlooking the port that makes you feel cool
Dubrovnik Castle/Old Town
Possibly the most famous part of Dubrovnik is the Old Town. It is famed for the castle surroundings and endless back streets inside. When walking around the inside it is pretty obvious how it could easily be chosen for scenes in a medieval TV show!
We spent days wandering around the inside and you can literally get lost in there. There’s so many different things to see from the old ruins, to live shows, bars and shops. I would advise taking sun cream, though as the white marble reflects the sun back at you making things a little bit hot ☀️!
One of the coolest aspects is that this is still a residential area. As you’re wandering through the back streets you will see people going about their day to day lives. The houses are really cool and it’s strange to think that even after hundreds of years people still use them as homes.
The castle literally drops off to nothing and it’s easy to understand why it was built where it was built. As I said, the alleys and old passages through the inside of the castle are endless! You can pay for guides around but we found it was much more fun to go and explore ourselves.
Cable Car 🚠
One really fun thing to do is take the cable car up to the top of the mountain looking down on Dubrovnik. This is relatively cheap and will give you the best view of the city. You can take the castle wall round to the bottom of the mountain and you’re up in 5 minutes.
Once up there’s a number of different things for you to do. You can simply have a wander around if you wish and just relax. Alternatively, you can go quad biking up there or off-road go karting if your eyes more adventurous.
We decided to visit the restaurant at the top. I’ll be honest, the food isn’t anything out of this world. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and better than anything I could put together. However, the real fascination with eating up there was the view you had. The city looks tiny from where you are and it is just nice to sit, relax and have lunch looking down on everything passing by 😀
Going up purely for the photo opportunity is worth the journey, but anywhere that serves food is alway a stop for us!
Dubrovnik Palace Hotel
Finally, we stayed in the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel which we saved for and had as our bit of luxury. The hotel was faultless and the beds quite possibly the most comfortable I have ever stayed in (Maybe Vegas beat them). Han and I always joke about the bed she when we go away, it’s always a build up of excitement to see how comfy they are. That may tell you how lazy we can be but these beds did not let down!
The pool area had a swim up bar which is always cool but the best part was how the hotel was built. It was like all their buildings in the area, built into the rock. The ‘beach’ area was mini terraces carved into the rock which dropped off into the ocean. You could literally walk off the edge of the mini pier into the sea on what was essentially a private beach.
In addition the views were amazing and the sun set is right opposite the rooms, all are ocean facing. This made Han’s day as it meant all the photos were taken.
We also ate in the hotel a few times and the food was excellent. They have a number of different menus and restaurants to choose from so you’re not short on choice. One is even a health Bar attached to the spa where we ate at lunch as well as poolside. The spa was great quality and whilst we didn’t pay for any services the pool, gym and facilities were quality.
The hotel overall was one of the best I’ve been to for a long time. The service was flawless and the array of different features was awesome. They even have diving and water sports.
It is based at the top of the hill so expect a taxi ride up with cases etc. However, we found the shuttle bus service to the main town and surrounding areas bang on time. It was very reliable and made getting about so easy!
Dubrovnik was one of the best holidays I’ve been on in a while. The place is beautiful and definitely worth a visit. In fact, I would go so far to say that if you’re looking for next year now, book Dubrovnik. The sight-seeing and activities available make it suitable for anyone of any age. It has to be one of the politest countries I have ever visited, the locals are brilliant.
I could write all day about Dubrovnik as there are so many more photos and experiences to share that I haven’t got the words to do!
If you really wanted to you could make it a stop off as part of a longer break in Croatia, whatever you decide it is a great place to go and explore.
I hope you enjoyed the read, let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below…