Rêveuse City Guide: Top 5 Places To Visit in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Rêveuse City Guide: Top 5 Places To Visit in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Waiting to commence our trip to Dubrovnik was probably the only trip we had planned, where we were on the edge of our seats leading up to it. We had booked our flights back in January and our flights were cancelled several times and we finally arranged another travel date with British Airways, keeping our fingers crossed we would make it. In addition, we had the uncertainty of whether our trip would even go ahead or not, we were just waiting to see if it would be placed on the UK travel red list, which did eventually happen a week or two before our due date. However, after much debate we weren't planning on letting this news put a downer on our first couples trip away and decided to take extra care and precaution whilst there. We wore masks at all times, made sure we kept our distance from others, and made all our meals at home, apart from the last night where we decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal out. 

One of Mary's favourite countries in the world is Croatia and looking back through our photo memories I can definitely see why. Dubrovnik is a city that sits in the south of Croatia, almost on the border next to Montenegro. Initially we had planned a full itinerary of things to do, but when we got there we decided to take the whole trip really easy, keeping public travel to a minimum. As such all our day trips to different islands got cancelled, but we definitely think this was best considering the circumstances, and there was definitely plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik anyways. In terms of travelling and safety we have dedicated a whole blogpost on our experience, which you can read here. 

In this travel guide we have focused on places to visit in Dubrovnik, primarily on sites we recommend. We were extremely lucky with the fact that Dubrovnik was extremely quiet, with not many tourists around, yet it still had that wonderful holiday feel. We managed to take lots of photos with barely any people in and are extremely grateful we could experience Dubrovnik at it's quietest time. We have also created a blogpost highlighting the best beaches we got to visit as it truly deserves its own post! We hope the situation around the world gets better soon and travelling will go back to normal. For now we don't have any trips abroad lined up until the situation settles and hoping to do more staycations within the UK!


5 PLACES TO EXPLORE IN DUBROVNIK

01. MOUNT SRD AT SUNSET
One of the first listed things to do in Dubrovnik is to take a cablecar to the top of Mount Srd to have a look at the view of Dubrovnik from above. There are a few ways of getting to the top of the mountain; by cablecar (approx £19.30 return), by uber (approx £5) close to old town or by hiking. On the way there, we let our other halves do the hiking up whilst we both had an extra nap and took the uber up which was a lovely drive and had a stunning view on the way, despite the fast driving and narrow roads. The hiking took approx 45 minutes on the way up and thankfully they brought up a large bottle of ice water, which came in pretty handy to say the least! When we got there it was such a serene and calming spot to perch. We waited for the sunset at 7pm and it truly was one of the best sunsets we have ever witnessed. It wasn't that crowded and the distant islands below with the aquamarine water against the tropical sunset was just so dreamy. There is a restaurant at the top, but we suggest taking some snacks with you where you can wait for the sunset and enjoy it with wine and nibbles. On the way down we decided to take the hike back whilst seeing the last of the afternoon light. However from the experience from our other half, they said the descent was definitely harder despite the afternoon sun shining on their backs on the way up. The floor is uneven with lots of jagged rocks despite there being clear zigzagging paths and took over an hour to get down (it almost seemed never-ending for us!)  By the time we were nearing the bottom there was barely any light so we had to make use of our iPhone torches to see where we were going. So if you do intend to hike, make sure to wear the correct footwear or very least comfy trainers (not going to lie but we almost twisted our feet a couple of times walking!). It was definitely an experience however, but both of us definitely enjoyed the uber ride more! 

02. OLD TOWN WALLS AND LOVRIJENAC FORT
We decided to splash out £20 to walk the City Walls and even though we were uncertain at first about whether to spend that, it was completely worth it! If you're willing to climb up over 1000 steps and get a bit of a workout going on then this is for you. Of course you'll be treated with magnificent views of Dubrovnik and the beautiful sea, plus plenty of stop of points to enjoy the sunshine and a drink in hand. Again, there were hardly any tourists here, so we were lucky to take our time walking the walls, taking plenty of pictures and were even enticed to get ourselves a drink with the most gorgeous view. We did this walk on a hot summers day so don't forget to bring lots of suncream with you as it took us 3 hours to complete! We think this walk would also be absolutely gorgeous just before the sun sets, so you don't melt under the sun. The entrance ticket also gives you access to Lovrijenac Fort but the great thing is that you can visit the fort within 3 days of purchasing the ticket which is great if you're super tired from visiting the walls! When we visited the fort there were only about 3 other families which meant lots of space to look around. We think the perfect time to visit would be sunset as you can see both the old town and the islands in the distance!

03. ARBORETUM TRSTENO
The Arboretum Trsteno was planned about a day before and we had just heard of it being used in scenes in Game of Thrones. The Arboretum Trsteno is a small villa with beautiful gardens surrounding it. There is also a terrace where you can sit in the shade and enjoy the view of the sea and Lopud island. Admission costs about 30kuna for students and 50kuna for adults. Overall, we think this is quite a fair price for the place but probably not as worth it if you aren't interested in gardens. It's not too large so you can probably see all of it within 1.5 hours. We took an Uber there, costing us around £20 which is great if you're travelling with 3/4 other people and only took us around 25 minutes to get there. 

04. GRUZ MARKET
We managed to visit Gruz market twice early in the morning, as we mainly cooked at home in our airbnb. Gruz Market is located next to the port, making it a pleasing spot to peruse around. We found there to be more locals at this market, although many of the vendors also spoke English. There is a outside stalls section for fresh fruit and vegetables and indoor for seafood as well as tiny shops for the butcher, wines and cheeses. We really wanted a seafood dinner, on the first occasion we went, early on Wednesday around 9am, there were only three fish vendors selling mainly fish and squid. We went again on Saturday around 8.30am where we heard there would be more choice and there were definitely more options such as prawns, shellfish and tuna! All in all the market is quite cheap to have a feast! We bought half a kilo of prawns, squid and mussels and a large seabass all for about £10! If you plan on buying a fish, you can also ask the fish mongers to descale and clean it for you. Please note that cash is used here but there are a few atms along the way. 

05. TRIPADVISOR ADVENTURE
I always enjoy doing some sort of water activity during the summer which always turns out to be some sort of kayak sunset tour, so we decided to do one from the Tripadvisor suggestions. This was a sunset tour, starting at 4pm until 7pm ad cost us around £30 each to do (the morning and afternoon ones were discounted to £20 but of course you can't separate me and a cheeky sunset). It also came with a sandwich, water and wine at the end of the tour. We were unsure of where the tour would take us, however they took us around the coast of Dubrovnik, explaining a bit about the history until we paddled around Lokrum island and back to the starting point. We stopped off at a little cave (Bettina Cave) where we could rest, eat our sandwiches and enjoy the clear blue water (the water was freezing as the sun was setting in the opposite direction but there were plenty of fish in the water which was amazing to see!). The fish here were much more bigger than the other ones and our tour guide mentioned they love a bite of sandwich! The small beach is made of pebbles which is hidden within the cave making it a really cool place to visit if you have the chance. The tour is great for any level of fitness, although towards the end of the day the water was extremely choppy so we had to put in that extra bit of effort to paddle back to shore! We definitely recommend it if you're into watersports and want to get a good arm workout going. 


PLACES TO EAT

01. 360 Dubrovnik
Whilst Liz and her boy decided to eat at Sesame on the last night, we decided to splash out at this Michelin Restaurant. We had been umming and ahhing for the whole week about whether we wanted to go, due to the small portions (from google images) and the hefty price tags but we made a last minute decision to come here and just enjoy the evening (without thinking about the end price of course). We managed to book a spot for 6:30pm when it opened, so definitely try to book in advance if you can as the later slots were all taken, however this was perfect for us as it meant we could watch the sunset at the same time. Our experience at this restaurant was IMPECCABLE; honestly the best restaurant I've ever been to. My concern for the small portion sizes was eliminated when we were brought free food inbetween every course (homemade bread with different types of butter, a pre starter, a delicious lemon palette cleanser before dessert and homemade chocolates to end the evening). Every bite was absolutely mouthwateringly good and the drinks were on another level. A 3 course meal with two drinks cost us around £100 each, which although sounds quite expensive, is TOTALLY worth it considering it would cost us triple the amount in London. Plus, there's that added bonus of a beautiful view of the sea, amazing service (we had three different waiters who came to explain each different course) and the free food! I definitely went back to the airbnb with an extremely happy belly. I couldn't recommend this more and I'll definitely be back in the near future... 

02. Sesame
Sesame restaurant, just a few minutes walk away from the pile gates is a cosy little restaurant that serves fine dining cuisine. Originally recommend by a chef that used to work in Dubrovnik, the restaurant was just the perfect place to end our stay in Croatia. We sat on the terrace that overlooks the street below and it was both quiet yet had a really nice ambiance about it. Its menu consists of a selection of fresh seafood and meat dishes that are cooked in a simple and light way.We ordered a variety of seafood dishes including oysters and a octopus carpaccio to start followed by mains of lobster tagliatelle and seabags steamed in a paper bag. It was all cooked very simply. yet the price is unbeatable since it is a fine cuisine. 

03. Peppino Ice Cream
Who else has to have at least one ice cream or gelato on their summer vacation because we surely do! We did a quick google search and found Peppino to have a high rating so set our sights for it. They had a large variety of flavours with some unique flavours such as snickers, a marmalade pie and yoghurt pomegranate. We just chose a basic pistacio and mixed berries which was delicious. We recommend visiting here if you in search for a cool, refreshing treat! 

04. Bar Mala Buza
Bar Mala Buza is the sister of the main Buza Bar. We had stumbled across it thinking it was Buza Bar and sat down to enjoy a drink and the view until we realised it was the sister version! They are both bars on the edge of the cliff, that looks out towards Lokrum island. We did read reviews about it being incredibly expensive and crowded but thankfully there was barely anyone there so we managed to enjoy it during the day but also during the sunset. It is a bit pricey for what it is but it was definitely worth going at least once! 


TIPS ON TRAVELLING IN DUBROVNIK
  • If you are going away in a small group, we really recommend using Uber. Although many people use the local buses, if you are travelling in a group, uber is usually more convenient and can be cheaper! Other than that, things within the old town are within walkable distance although there might be lots of stairs within some areas so take note of that!
  • If you are prone to getting mosquito bites like us, we recommend bringing a mosquito repellent spray. We always forget to bring the spray as we don't experience mosquito bites here in London but we definitely came back with itchy bites the size small cherries (not what you want after a stunning holiday)! Keep yourselves protected, especially at night where Liz had planned to spend an evening at one of the bars tucked within the walls looking at the sunset, drink in hand, but had to scrap this plan after seeing how many mosquitoes there were flying around us!
  • If you are planning on going to the beach often, we also really made use out of these following items; a microfibre beach towel, beach shoes (as the rocks can be sharp and slippery), goggles (for seeing all the beautiful fish underwater!) and of course sun lotion.
  • Bring a water bottle and you'll be able to fill it up at the water fountains around the Old Town. 

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