Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spectacular Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is an ~1300 year old city on the southern end of Croatia - and probably the most popular tourist destination of that small country. The city is famous for it's old town and for it's massive harbour that lures in thousands of sailors and cruise ships passengers on a daily basis. With a population far smaller than Split (40.000 vs. 180.000) it seems like a much bigger city, spreading out and up the coast line.

We had a place to stay on the hills above Gruz harbour - the location was a bit hard to find without a GPS (though I don't know if it had helped) as the city is built more like a maze. The views over the harbour and Lapad was stunning, if you stay there make sure you book a room with a sea view.

Above the Gruz harbour: Day..
..and night, equally beautiful!

The real sight though is the old city centre. Surrounded by a bulky stone wall, the old town is full of beautiful old buildings. Many people still live there but what you'll mostly find are shops, restaurants and pubs in the most interesting setting. There's plenty of things to do and see for the whole day (or several)! A tour around the city walls is a must, make sure you have enough time & energy for it, it's a couple hour journey (surely takes less if you can stop yourself from taking pictures every 2 minutes).

The most pictures I took in one day on this trip (or maybe Plitvice was the winner...)

On a clear day the views from the top the Mt Srđ are well worth the fun ride up with the cable car. We did both our sightseeing "excursions" in the city during the late afternoon - early evening hours - it was hot but the warm sun lit the city and the sea so beautifully.

Old town on the left, the green Lapad hills on the right

If you're a foodie you'll love Dubrovnik! For breakfast try some local sweet pastries or burek (meat pie with a chewy crust - heavenly) and fresh fruits. During the day we tried to eat something light or shared a pizza, delicious all over the coast! Typically we got some appetizers for the afternoon (local cheeses, salami and ham) from the grocery store and enjoyed them on our terrace with some Croatian wine or beer. In the evenings we tried some of our favourite cuisines in the old town. The meals are a bit pricier than elsewhere on the coast and the restaurants are packed (make reservations during the high season!) but we enjoyed every moment of our dinners.

Wander up and down the alleys and find your favourite pubs and restaurants!

A side-trip from Dubrovnik: Cavtat

There are lots and lots of tours organised in and around Dubrovnik - you name it, they have it. Sunset kayaking trips, mountain cycling and wine tasting, river rafting, cruises to islands near and far.... In the end we didn't go for any of the tours here (though actually they sounded really fun!) but in stead drove south to Cavtat, a small village on the coast. It's impossible not to like all these stunning towns that line the coast of Croatia!

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