THE CITY THAT LEFT US SPEECHLESS

We have no idea how people can say that Dubrovnik is underwhelming. A city so rich in history, culture and beauty, it is a must see if you decide to visit Croatia.

We visited Dubrovnik in October and whilst it was a little cold, it didn’t deter people from swimming in the crystal clear azure of the Adriatic Ocean. We stayed outside of the main city, just a short bus trip away and it was also within walking distance so we didn’t need to try find parking.

Our first impression of the city was one of wonder and awe. Lora, being of Croatian heritage, was taken back to her childhood seeing images on the television, seeing the war and hearing about the bloodshed.

But it was completely polarising, it didn’t even look like a war had torn through Dubrovnik, however, upon digging a little deeper and you could see some remnants of the war.

 

THE DALMATION FOOD

Every corner you turn around in Dubrovnik is quintessentially European; the wine, seafood, antipasto and the coffee or in Croatian “Crna Kava”. The aromas got us as a little excited as we love and indulge in local cuisine .As we walked through the main square the restaurants smelt absolutely delicious. Mental notes taken, Skampi na Buzzaru was definitely on the menu for dinner.

But before we even thought of food we needed to work up an appetite.

We decided to walk the city walls and gain a bird’s eye view of the city walls. WOW – this is a must do!! It is cheap cultural experience and we guarantee that you will be amazed and walked away with some amazing photographs. It is a gentle walk, so don’t be frightened if you think you need to be fit. The walk costs 100 kuna and the walls close at 7.00pm.

We continued to explore the city after the city walls walk with the aim of finding Buza Bar. Nestled in the city walls right on the edge of the water is a quirky bar experience. You will find many people here enjoying a cold refreshment (or two), enjoying the view that Dubrovnik and the Adriatic. I can only imagine how amazing this would be in the peak of summer. Crystal, blue, sparkling water and crisp glass of moscato. Sounds like a match made in heaven!

For dinner that evening, we traced our footsteps back to a hidden little gem of a restaurant where we saw Skampi na Buzzaru. This is a typical Croatian seafood dish where the skampi are cooked in a tomato sauce with lots of garlic, white wine and parsley. Pierre ordered the grilled meat selection which again, is a typical Croatian meal. Both meals were to die for! So damn delicious! The waiter was extremely friendly and so happy that young tourists had come to visit in the off season. He also liked to laugh at my Australian-Croatian accent. He even shouted us to some traditional Croatian liquor, a Pelinkovac for Pierre and a Kruskovac for me. This is pretty funny considering neither of us really drink. But to be respectful, I drank them both as Pierre is a wimp – HA!

After dinner we continued to stroll around the city, taking pictures of the amazing architecture. It looks even more picturesque at night. The glistening stone floors and the clear night sky, coupled with laughter and music coming from the restaurants and bars is a great way to end the night.

The following day we headed off the catch the cable cars up to Mt Srd. We were both looking forward to the amazing view that would await us at the top of the mountain. A round trip only costs around 100 kuna and is definitely worth the trip.

THE VIEW POINTS, HISTORY

However, the history behind the mountain is what is we wanted to see and learn about. The fort was built in the early 1800’s and was heavily involved in the Croatian War of Independence. We visited the museum and learnt about the history of the war surrounding Dubrovnik. This was of particular interest to Pierre as he has a keen interest in warfare. The museum has plenty to see, old photographs, video footage, mortar shells, expelled bullets and the remains of fortress itself.

Coming back to the old city, it is amazing to see the work that has been done to restore Dubrovnik to its former glory. They are a resilient bunch of people that have healed the superficial scars of the city walls but the scars within, I’m sure will remain for quite some time.

If we visited in summer, there would have been plenty of swimming at many of the beaches on offer in Dubrovnik. A spot of kayaking would be a cool way to see the city walls from a different perspective, plus it’s a great way to work up an appetite!

We will be back one day, in summer we both agree.

After our short stay in Dubrovnik we headed back up north along the Adriatic towards Split to visit some of my relatives and see some of the islands. The drive in itself is amazing; heading through Makarska is just beautiful!

With so much to offer, why wouldn’t you want to visit Croatia.

WHERE TO STAY

With a variety of options of accommodation throughout Croatia, it isn’t hard to find somewhere right in the center of town or just on the outskirts. We opted to stay just outside of The Old Town which made it easier knowing we could leave our rental car at the hotel and grab a bus and get into the City without any hassle of trying to find a park or worry about the car.

We aren’t a fan of large hotels and much prefer the smaller boutique and bed & breakfast style accommodation available as this not only saves you a few dollars but you often stay with a family who are not only proud of their heritage but offer a great insight to their history, culture and more so…. food with the usual amazing Croatian hospitality.

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