My first overseas adventure as an adult was my honeymoon. I was whisked away to Dubrovnik in Croatia for a long weekend and I couldn’t have wished for better.
After a turbulent start to 2015, a wonderful wedding in May and a promotion just after by the time it got to October I was ready for a good break!
Croatia always seemed a bit scary for me, Dad went to Croatia and stopped off at Dubrovnik when he was in the Army as he served in Bosnia. Landing in the mountains on a desert terrain was pretty terrifying however walking off the plane and being greeting by the warmth and vivid colours quickly made me forget. For the most part it was warm and sunny with a few clouds however we did get rain on our last day (which didn’t spoil our fun!) and a scary thunderstorm on the way back to the airport on our return home.
We went straight into Dubrovnik old town as I couldn’t wait to have a peek at where Game of Thrones was filmed. It’s Breath-taking with it’s drawbridges and I was amazed by how the tall walls, winding streets and cobbled road shine a warm orange and were polished so well that everything looks slippy.
Just outside of the walls is a war memorial showing images of how Dubrovnik looked during the Bosnian war and it’s impressive how well restored the area looks now. Dan convinced me to walk to our hotel seeing as it was such a nice day and we only took along hand luggage. The walk was lovely, I loved seeing the palm trees, everything was so pretty yet it showed it’s war torn history with a few bullet holes in walls from years ago.
Two hours later… I’d walked up a large hill (..I swear it was a mountain!) and down the other side, we started seeing signs for Cavtat. I was beginning to think we were well and truly lost but as we turned the corner we arrived at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.
The hotel was beautiful, we arrived a little early despite walking for miles and it taking longer than expected but that didn’t matter. Our bags were taken up to our room as we had a drink in the hotel bar overlooking the Sea.
Our room was spacious and comfortable, our balcony overlooked the Adriatic sea. On an evening we could see storms out in the distance with dancing forks of lightning which was great to watch. The hotel had a few places to eat, shop and swimming pools. There was access to the beach and a diving club. As we were only there a few days we only managed to take a dip in the pool just once and it was lovely. The pool walls meet the sea, there is a swim up pool bar and we stayed there until late watching the sunset.
We didn’t feel like hiring a car so got the bus back into Old Town, which was about a ten minute drive away from the hotel. We picked up a Dubrovnik card and I’d recommend it to anyone who visits. We used it to get onto the Walls, Aquarium and the museums and gives you free bus travel.
The walls take some time to walk around, I’d go early and avoid midday as it gets very hot. If you’re a Game of Thrones Fan then this is the place for you…
There’s a sea of terracotta tiled rooftops which most people would recognise as “Kings Landing” and as you get to the top you see the Mineeta Tower or in Game of Thrones its the walls of “the House of the Undying”, where Khaleesi walks trying to find the entrance to get to her Dragons. Obviously I took the opportunity to recreate a Game of Thrones style photo or two.
One of the side streets has a small shop with an Iron Throne with a the Stark Blade which you can pose with.
Looking over the walls and out to see you can see Fort Lovrijenac (better known as the “Red Keep”). We went to a lovely restaurant which also over looks this which I would recommend called Dubravka and coincidentally our waitress looked a little like Brienne of Tarth.
Dubrovnik Old Town is filled with lots of lovely places to eat, tucked away in the side streets and on the harbour. If you like seafood then you won’t go hungry. If you’re not one for fine dining then there are a few small take-always that serve the most amazing chips I’ve ever tasted.
Food and Drink is so cheap. We went into Dubravka expecting to spend a fortune as apparently it was supposed to be expensive. We had a main meal each, dessert and a few drinks. Coca Cola was more expensive than beer to Dan’s delight and he sampled the local beer and said it was delicious. In GBP we only spent around £35 and the serve couldn’t have been better.
For Cat lovers … The place is littered with cats. If you’re eating outside you may have a furry guest at your table. On the harbour you can see them stealing fish from the boats and also fishing them out of the water with their paws.
The Aquarium sits beneath the walls and is small but really interesting. There are all types of sea-life including an octopus or two. There’s a small art gallery and a maritime museum in the walls as you walk around them and when we visited there was a Dali exhibit in the visitors centre. There’s a grand clock tower and a statue of the Poet/playwright Marin Drzic. Rubbing the statue’s golden nose is thought to bring good luck.
There a lots of little islands close to Dubrovnik Old Town. There are regular boats to each island and water taxis (Tip: Show your Dubrovnik Card for money off!)
We visited Lokrum Island. I was in awe of the clear waters and the wild peacocks and rabbits. After getting a little bit lost we stumbled upon a Naturist Beach, quickly turned around and found the botanical gardens for special forest vegetation and a nature reserve. For you Game of Thrones fans – Lokrum is the filming location for the “city of Qarth”.
On the island there’s a small lake called Mrtvo More (Dead Sea), is a unique lake linked with the sea which is supposed to have healing properties if you bathe in it. Nearby there is a deserted Benedictine monastery which is as beautiful as the old town.
There were a few things I didn’t manage to do while I was there like visit one of the beaches and I didn’t manage to venture into Cavtat or onto one of the other islands, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s by far the best place I’ve been on holiday with plenty to do. I’m looking forward to returning one day.