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After a wonderful time we had in Poland celebrating our wedding, it was time to flock to the Croatian riviera, for 6 days in Dubrovnik. We were eager to discover the Croatian lifestyle, enjoy a few drinks at the nearby cafe overlooking the harbour and also do nothing for a couple of days. When we got there, it was immediately evident to me that we have chosen the perfect place. Based on our own experience, I have prepared a little guide to Dubrovnik. Here, it is:
How to get there
It is fairly easy to travel to Dubrovnik. During the summer, some of the major as well as the budget airlines fly directly to Dubrovnik. This includes European connections from Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin Schönefeld, Berlin Tegel, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Geneva, London Gatwick & London Stansted, Madrid, Prague, Rome and much more. For a full list click here.
Coming from the airport: get a cab (£35.00) and in 20 min you will reach the magnificent Old Town. Alternatively, there is also Dubrovnik Airport Shuttle Bus available for those on a budget. For convenience, we took a cab which dropped us at the doorstep of our hotel. They say the older you get the more the quality-orientated you become.
“Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik” George Bernard Shaw
Dubrovnik’s life is pretty much organised around its top attraction. Despite passing years, and a civil war, the Old Town, now included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, has been very well preserved.
While searching a restaurant for the dinner, the first thing I noticed was the exceptionally shiny main road! With thousands of tourists passing every day the pavement was so clean and sleek that I could almost see my reflection in it. It turns out that it is made of pure marble. I could not resist but glide a few times!
The best option to fully experience this picturesque scenery is by walking Dubrovnik’s city walls. I would recommend doing it on a cooler day. In case that is not an option equip yourself with a sun protection umbrella! Walls are 2 km long which will take you about one hour, or more, but I can assure you it will be one of the highlights of your visit to Dubrovnik.
In 1991, Dubrovnik was attacked by the Serbian and Montenegrin elements of the Yugoslav army. Hanging around the Old Town you will notice massive wall posters telling a story of the locals suffering from the bombarding. Great way to learn more about the place and its history!
THINGS TO dO
It is very rare that you will find all-inclusive option when booking any hotel in Dubrovnik. Nothing to worry about! Dubrovnik Old Town is saturated with restaurants & cafes. We absolutely loved our romantic dinners listening to live music and losing ourselves in the mesmerising views over the harbour. Be aware that although Croatia itself is not an extremely expensive country, Dubrovnik could easily match London’s prices. Dinner for two: approx. £60-80.
When searching for some activities we came across this guy from whom you can rent a jet-ski for 1/2 day or a full day. We went for the latter option and it was just what we wanted! Freedom, fun & an unforgettable experience. We managed to visit three nearby beautiful islands: Koločep, Lobud & Otok Jakljan. It is fairly easy to learn to drive a jet ski, but it takes some time getting used to. We did hit some bumps and bounced around a little, but that was the fun part of it!
Although it was not an activity we signed up for, it was very popular among tourists. I did kayaking once in Portugal and I enjoyed every single minute of it. So, if you enjoy active holidays, kayaking in Dubrovnik is a must. This time we were just, let’s say, a bit tired so we took it easy as far as activities were concerned.
Easy-kayaking tip: choose kayaking during less windy days as the sea can be quite challenging.
If you are now asking yourself what is Game of Thrones and you do not want to admit that you have no idea, do not sneak-peak with uncle Google. I had no clue what Game of Thrones was until I explored Dubrovnik. So here few facts for you. Game of Thrones is a HBO fantasy drama TV series filmed also in Dubrovnik. The cost of the average Game of Thrones episode amount to $6 millions compare to $4 millions spend on one House of Cards. The famous walk of shame episode was filmed in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, make sure you book a tour guide with all of the placed where TV series was filmed. Dubrovnik is full of Game of Thrones merchandise so mind your pocket!
We have chosen the Ariston Hotel to spoil ourselves during what was our honeymoon. And we have chosen very well! At the time of booking I was considering Hilton Hotel next to Dubrovnik Old Town but it was fully booked. It turned out the Ariston Hotel had all what we needed: gym, beach, spa, hairdresser, bar with a sea view as well as all the perks of a 5-star hotel. Moreover it was a perfect escape from the crowds contrary to Hilton Hotel location. For breakfast there were many options, starting from an English breakfast, through all sorts of ham & cheeses to the healthy corner with rice milk, gluten free biscuits, seasam, pumpkin & sunflower seeds. Coffee served at breakfasts was not exceptionally good but you could indulge yourself with a freshly grinded one at the hotel bar: On the Rocks. Overall, service was very helpful and welcoming. The only thing I was not particularly happy about was a wobbly & stained ironing board – something you should not really see in 5* hotel. Despite this little hiccup, we had a peaceful and pleasant stay.
Things to consider when booking your holidays in Dubrovnik:
1/ Distance from the hotel to the Old Town. If the hotel of your choice is located approx. 5 km away from the Old Town stay assured that you will find public transport every 15 min to get you to the center of Dubrovnik. Having said that, it is well worth considering renting a car or booking accommodation in the Old Town itself especially for those with kids.
2/ There is a very limited number of sandy beaches; during our stay we found only two [thank you Lord! do not pay attention, I am just a little freak who cannot stand sand].
3/ It is the most expensive city in Croatia.
4/ Perfect place to propose to your other half!