One of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia – Dubrovnik is known for its well-preserved 16th Century buildings, Old Town, terracotta roofs and limestone paved streets. I spent 3 days there back in August with the girls as the first stop on our Croatian coast adventure, since my first trip was over a decade ago and all I could recall was what we ate for lunch (typical 🙄).
Here’s a few ways we filled up our time – from visiting tourist spots, to beaches and boat excursions. I still have heart eyes when I think about it. 😍
Our first day we used for lazing around – considering we’d started our journey at 7am with my incredible uncle who drove us 3 hours from Mostar in Bosnia to Dubrovnik.
After unpacking, we grabbed a few drinks and a light lunch before heading down to the beach. We were staying in a cozy little Airbnb to the west of Old Town (only a 15 minute bus ride or 40 minute walk), so we spent a few hours at Bellevue Beach, located underneath the 5 star hotel of the same name. It’s a little pebbly cove surrounded by cliffs which create natural (and much needed) shade in the afternoon – note: bring shoes or burn your feet on the pebbles. If you’re lucky, there may be cute boys playing water polo to help you pass the time while you kick back on the sun beds or watch from the beach bar. 😉
At the end of the night, we headed into Old Town for dinner at a fusion and cocktail bar called Poco Loco to kick off the trip properly 🍹🍹
EXPLORE THE OLD TOWN
Everyone knows by now that the Dubrovnik Old Town Walls are a must. Considering it’s such a highly visited spot, it’s easy to forget that people live there. Not just for novelty – the Old Town wasn’t built purely for looks/tourists/TV shows – people actually live in those terracotta houses you see inside the Old Town walls. So, while their curtains will be closed during peak hour to allow for some privacy, you’ll still see children kicking around a football in courtyards and washing hanging out to dry above you while you have lunch.
If you’re going to walk along the well-known walls, I recommend heading out early in the morning before the sun is at its highest. The walk can take anywhere from an hour or longer depending on crowds and how fast you want to go. Needless to say, make sure you pack water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat. The walk itself isn’t too hard, but does have a lot of stairs. You can also stop for a bite at a few little cafes and gelato stands once you get to the top and there’s plenty of photo ops along the way.
Once you’re back on the ground, if you’re trying to avoid the overpriced tourist shops, there’s churches to explore and always some sort of art exhibition or museum pop up.
THE CABLE CAR AND RESTAURANT
At the end of the walk, we bought tickets to go up the cable car for panoramic views of Old Town. By this point we were starving, and the only restaurant at the top (Restaurant Panorama) was booked out with over an hour wait. We couldn’t wait (me hungry = hangry), so ended up heading back down to eat pizza at Pizzeria Tabasco instead. If you are planning on eating at Panorama, I suggest calling ahead to avoid disappointment! Afterwards, we ended the night with a few drinks (again) along the water at Cave Bar. 💃
In the Old Town, you’ll see a lot of people getting sold on excursions and day trips, and we were no exception! We opted for a 4 hour sunset boat trip with Dubrovnik Boat Excursions, and if you followed me on IG stories at the time you’d know I was crushing on one of the Balkan boys who worked on the boat 😂
On the boat we had drinks supplied, were with about 15 other people and spent the trip sunbaking on Lopud, having lunch on Kolocep, and cruising along the coast during sunset. We were supposed to visit a blue lagoon to swim in as well but the waves were too dangerous – next time!
Another island that we didn’t have time to visit during our trip is Mljet – which is the most forested island in the Adriatic Sea. I visited 10 years ago and have heard the untouched nature, vineyards and private lagoons calling my name since 😍
LAST FEW TIPS BEFORE VISITING DUBROVNIK
- Opt to stay in Airbnb’s rather than hotels. I will always vouch for Airbnb wherever I go, because you get to experience life as if you lived there. Get insider recommendations from your host, as well as put some money in the pockets of locals.
- The currency in Croatia is the Croatian Kuna. Coming from Australia at least, travelling in Croatia is extremely cheap. I bought a quick breakfast for me and the girls, consisting of a loaf of homemade bread, a large jar of Ajvar (capsicum relish that alone retails for $8 at Balkan delis in Australia), 500gm bag of ground Bosnian coffee, and 1 lt of water for 25 kuna. This all equalling to like $5 AUD. My mind is still blown.
- We went in August which was still tourist season, but I didn’t find it too bad. I suggest starting your days early in the morning before all of the tourist boats dock for the day, and before the sun is at its hottest.