Croatia (Part 01): A Return To Dubrovnik
This summer brought us to Croatia for the fourth time in as many years, noteworthy this time for three reasons: (1) we were returning to a favorite spot (Dubrovnik, the focus of this post), (2) our visit happened to coincide with Croatia’s run to the World Cup final, and (3), most important of all, we were travelling with Britt’s parents and sister!
We’ve already wrote extensively about our love for Dubrovnik, so we’ll try not to repeat ourselves here. This time we stayed in a large, comfortable, modern 3-bedroom apartment right in the thick of the old city on Ulica od Puča. Dubrovnik’s popularity has soared over the last few years, thanks in large part to cruise ships (Dubrovnik is the second busiest cruise ship port on the Mediterranean) and Game of Thrones. Its increase in popularity was obvious from the moment we set foot in the old city (to be fair, it doesn’t help that our first visit in 2016 came in early June vs. mid-July this time) and though we still have many good things to say about the city, we don’t recommend visiting in high season. It’s just too damn busy. Aim for May, June, September, or October if you can.
Not to be deterred by the crowds, we started our visit with a stroll through the snaking cobblestone lanes of the old city ending up at the Old Port and the little Porporela. We even got some swimming in off the jetty!
Also like last time, we took the cable car up to Mt. Srđ. But this time we grabbed a high-altitude dinner on the mountain (see more about this below) and hiked back down to the old city (the path is mapped out on Google Maps at 42.648243, 18.109805) (note that you have to walk on the highway for a few minutes at the bottom).
And again like last time we visited the beach at Sveti Jakov, except rather than walking we grabbed a cab from Ploče Gate (and arranged for the cabbie to pick us up in the afternoon). But this time we also spent some time at Banje Beach, which is much closer to the old city. Banje is certainly more crowded, but it’s nice for a quick dip.
And for one more dose of déjà vu, we once again visited the island Lokrum, taking advantage of the frequent and inexpensive ferry from Dubrovnik’s Old Port. After strolling the botanical gardens, ascending Fort Royal, and dipping in the Dead Sea, we found some great cliff jumping spots at Lokrum Rocks. Even Britt’s Dad joined in!
One evening Britt and Rico spent some time at War Photo Limited, a museum right in the old city that we didn’t visit last time. The museum’s mission is “to educate the public in the field of war photography, to expose the myth of war and the intoxication of war, to let people see war as it is, raw, venal, frightening, by focusing on how war inflicts injustices on innocents and combatants alike.” We had the exhibitions (Why Am I a Marine?, Axe Me Biggie, The End of Yugoslavia, and the Limited Edition Print Room) to ourselves. Not only were the exhibitions themselves interesting, but the museum provided a helpful booklet with just the right amount of information to complement the photos. It was all very well done and we highly recommend it.
For food, we indulged both in some old classics and new favorites. Lunch was had at Pizzeria Oliva (takeaway slices eaten in the main square), Lacroma on Lokrum (falafel, risotto), the little beach restaurant at Sveti Jakov (ćevapčići, truffle pasta), and LAJK (hamburger, LAJK salad, pasta with tomato sauce) (who also hosted us for dinner another day). Dinner was had at Dubravka 1836 (ravioli with truffle, pasta with wild garlic) (check out the views on the terrace), all-time-chart-topper Lady Pi Pi (meat platter, red bean burger) (this place is just fantastic, but get there for dinner no later than 5pm as they don’t take reservations and the terrace fills up quickly), and Panorama on Mt. Srđ (chicken, caprese salad, apple cake, chocolate walnut cake). We made a habit of satisfying our gelato cravings at Peppino's (trying Kinder, Oreo, coffee, toffee hazelnut, cookies, and stracciatella over the course of our stay).
As enjoyable as it was to share our love of Dubrovnik with family, we were all ready to escape the crowds and catch some island vibes in a spot that was new to all of us. Stay tuned for stories from our visit to the Croatian island of Korčula!