When I told people that I was planning to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia as a stopover on my way to South Korea last year the most common reaction I got was “Why?” I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the beaches or the history of the old town or the city’s connection to Game of Thrones that first intrigued me. It was an episode of House Hunters: International. I saw an episode filmed there and thought that it looked like a beautiful city but maybe a bit hard or expensive to get to. So when I had the chance to stopover pretty much anywhere in Europe, my first thought was “Dubrovnik!” Now that I’ve been I think it should be foremost on your mind when thinking about a European vacation as well. To help with your own planning I’ve highlighted my 15 top things to do in Dubrovnik.
Just can’t wait to strip naked and jump into the clean, clear sea? Then Dubrovnik beaches are going to be right up your alley. They can range from sandy, quiet stretches of coast to nightlife hotspots to naturist enclaves. The one thing they all have in common though is the clean, clear water of the Adriatic Sea.
I visited Dubrovnik in September 2012 and, though it’s the only time I’ve been so far, I think it’s the perfect time to visit King’s Landing. The weather is still warm enough for shorts and swimming in the sea but the crowds are thinner. When thinking about what to pack I kept coming back to items with a nautical or Mediterranean vibe. What would you pack?
The night air was warm in Dubrovnik as I walked down the Stradun. The streetlights made the polished marble streets shine as if they were still wet from a washing. The cruisers had all gone for the day and the old town had quieted down. A brief respite from the hustle and bustle. It would all repeat the next day but for now it was quiet. One night in Dubrovnik listening to men sing folk songs to entertain themselves helped ease the jaded feeling about the town that had crept up on me. Sometimes you can find those little nuggets of authenticity that restore your faith in a destination where and when you least expect it…and it makes all the difference.
War Photo Limited is an exhibition center of war and conflict photography in Dubrovnik’s Old Town that tries to lift any romantic veil from war and show how it really is. It’s an uncomfortable visit but it’s one that I think everyone who visits Dubrovnik should make. I challenge you to visit and leave unaffected. The more I travel, the more I realize that we’re all more alike than we are different.
Over the last 40 years, more than 3000 people have taken part in Linđo, the folklore ensemble based in Dubrovnik, Croatia. On my last night in town I attended a show at an outdoor theatre, where I got to see traditional dances and hear folk songs from various parts of the country. It was a real treat. The singers were a delight to the ear and the costumes were gorgeous to look at.
I heard these birds before I ever saw them. Sounds echos in a city of stone. I came across this scene while walking down the Stradun one day. You could pay some money and have your picture taken holding a brightly coloured bird – a busking scheme I’d seen before in a few places. I love how one of the parrots is stealing a treat while the man is distracted.
Food in Dubrovnik was disappointing. Nothing bad per se, but just rather mediocre. Maybe I was eating at the wrong restaurants. Maybe it’s all just geared towards the never ending stream of cruise ship passengers who prefer familiar foods. Restaurant Mimoza was like port in a storm of blandness. Reasonable prices and good, tasty simple food in a pleasant atmosphere. Get yourself out of Old Town and its crowds and check out Restaurant Mimoza next time you’re in Dubrovnik.
Want to experience the best hidden-in-plain-view hidden gem in Dubrovnik? You’ll need to play hide and seek with a couple of holes in the city walls. The search will be worth it though when you’re perched on the cliffs, sipping your cold beer watching ships sail by as the sun sets on the Adriatic Sea. Just watch your step.
Perched on the rocks, clinging to the southern ramparts of Dubrovnik’s city walls, Buža I is a not-so-hidden, yet hard to find gem. If you can find the entrance that pierces the city walls you’ll be greeted with unobstructed stunning views in shades of Mediterranean blue. Just limit yourself to a drink or two because there are no bathrooms and few railings.