And to wrap up our Croatian tour… next stop:
Dubrovnik, was at the top of my #bucketlist places, right up there with Greece, for this trip. I had been dying to see Dubrovnik with my own two eyes ever since I found out I was Croatian.
We took the bus from Split to Dubrovnik, which turned out to be a very long ride (about 5-6 hours incl. stops & traffic). When you drive from one to the other, you actually cross into Bosnia for a short period of time. Boarder patrol checks your passports, so make sure to have those handy.
But anyway, onto Dubrovnik!
Where to Stay:
To be honest, staying where the “action” is in Dubrovnik probably isn’t the best option. Dubrovnik is unique, in that the old town (unlike Split & Zadar) is all still 100% within the confines of the original stone walls. Hence the name: The Walled (wall’d?) City.
Inside the walls, you will find hundreds of stores, restaurants, bars… basically anything you could ever need. However, it is always very crowded and I would imagine that the accommodations there are pretty pricey, given the central location.
You should be able to find moderately priced lodging outside of the old town, but make sure you stay within walking distance. Uber exists in Croatia, but I always enjoy my trip better when the things I want to see are reachable by foot.
We stayed about a 20min walk from the Old Town. We probably could’ve gotten something closer had we not waited until the last minute to book, but this place suited our needs fine. And the view from the balcony was awesome!
Where to eat:
Ok, I’m going to be really honest here. We didn’t do much dining out in Dubrovnik. Our purse strings were a little tight at this leg of our trip. Not to mention, food within the city walls of Dubrovnik was expensive. I’m sure there are cheaper options off the beaten path, however most tourists are getting flat out robbed for what they’re paying for food. I think we got some gyros at a grab-n-go type place and they were $11/each!
So, similar to Split, we opted to cook most of our meals at home.
My friend Nicole did highly recommend this wine bar within the city walls that I wish we had time to visit. So if you go to Dubrovnik, have a glass of wine for me! 🙂 D’Vino Wine Bar
What to do:
There are SO many awesome things to do while in Dubrovnik, including just walking around and enjoying the atmosphere. But I would say that the three things below are “must do” activities for anyone planning a visit.
1. Walk the city walls
Its kind of annoying that you have to pay to do this, yes. But get over that and cough up the $20. It’s well worth it.
Keep in mind that you will need to climb a lot of stairs initially to get to the top, and the entire walk takes minimum an hour. Therefore, not recommended for people with mobility issues. Also, the ticket only gets you one-time access. So don’t exit the path if you’re not finished! There are bathrooms and places to eat if you need a pit-stop.
Other than that, take your time. The views are breathtaking and if you go early enough in the day, the crowds won’t be so bad.
2. Take the gondola to the top of the hill behind the city
You do have the option to walk up/down for free, but coming from someone who walked down the path, buy the gondola round trip ticket. The path is not maintained well (probably because they want you to buy the ticket), and it is pretty rocky/uneven.
However, don’t let that deter you from going! From the top on a clear day, not only do you get an incredible view of the old town, but you can also see hundreds of miles in every direction. It’s pretty awesome.
Recommendation: Pack a lunch to enjoy at the top. There is a restaurant (which I’m sure is overpriced), but you can’t beat eating a homemade turkey sammy while you enjoy the amazing view. 😉
3. Take an island boat tour
Okay, so I know in my Split post I mentioned that it was post-season for boat cruises in Croatia. Yes, that was still true. But we were really itching to get out on the water after staring at it for the last week. So, the last day we were in Dubrovnik, we sprung for the $40/each, three island, boat cruise. The weather wasn’t great; I think it rained on and off almost all day. But we met a really nice, young Canadian couple who we ended up hanging with the whole afternoon. We got to spend some time on the beach, explore some towns we otherwise wouldn’t have seen, and we played a lot of card games (with a lot of white wine). It was a great afternoon, despite the non-cooperation from the Sun.
Tip: Go easy on the wine on all-you-can-drink boat tours. Traveling with an epic hangover the next day was not ideal.