Croatia has been on the top of our bucket list for quite some time now.
The only problem is, it seems to be on everyone’s else’s too.
So we decided after flying into to Dubrovnik to save the rest of the country for another, less tourist-filled time, and head south down through the Balkans instead. We spent a couple days in Dubrovnik’s Old City, and loved the feeling of starring in our very own Games of Thrones episode (which is filmed here), walking through cobbled streets, up plant-lined stairways, and taking advantage of it’s post-port city locale right on the sea.
Being a walled city, it was HOT in the midst of August, and packed with throngs of tourists. Nevertheless, we managed (as we always do) to find some real “hidden” gems that definitely were highlights and we’d recommend to anyone. Some our favourite things we did were:
Walking the City Walls
Walking the 2 km pathway along the perimeter of the city is the number #1 thing to do in Dubrovnik, and with good reason. It’s here we were afforded the best views, not only of the old city’s terracotta rooftops, creating a sea of orange, but beyond to the sea itself as well. It’s also where we spotted a restaurant perched among the rooftops, that we later located and had the best dinner at. The entrance to the walls close at 7, and I’d suggest pushing it to the very end to enjoy panoramic sunset views.
Breakfast at Cafe Gradskavana
Situated the main square, the outdoor patio is the ideal spot for people-watching. And they make iced coffees just how I like it, bringing an espresso, milk, and a cup of ice all separately.
Riding the Cable Car
We loved the views the cable car ride gave us. We also stopped to eat at the Panaroma Restaurant at the top there and had a surprisingly great sandwhich!
Drinks at Cafe Buza
What we thought was a secret spot, turned out to be quite the hotspot. Follow the sign that reads “Cold Drinks with the Most Beautiful View” and order a local beer before sitting down for some much-needed respite from the crowds, watching swimmers jump off the cliffs below.
A Boat Ride Around the City
A definite highlight was taking a daytime boat ride around the city and the surrounding islands. It was a great way to escape the crowds in the midday heat, and take to the water to cool down and refresh.
Dinner at Above 5
This is the restaurant we spotted from the city walls, and we immediately made a beeline for it. With every restaurant on the streets having a tourist menu (something we avoid fervently), we were completely smitten with this particular one. As the name suggests, it is 5 floors above the street line, perfectly perched in line with the other rooftops, which was a pleasant locale given that most rooftops are usually high above and dwarfs everything below. Dinner itself was absolutely fantastic (and quite reasonable) with enough truffles to hold us over for the rest of the trip! This place must be Dubrovnik’s best kept secret, and I’d almost like to keep it that way.
Wandering the Streets
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik is a picturesque city, paved in limestone that shines as if it has just rained, and surrounded by stone buildings ranging from Renaissance, baroque to gothic styles, unified by their singular materiality, and evergreen window shutters. We wandered in and out of every possible street we could, with our favourite time to do so being first thing in the morning with less crowds out and about.