I’d never been to Croatia when I decided to book a week’s holiday in sunny Dubrovnik. The aim was to have a relaxing holiday where we could see things but also not overdo it, so Dubrovnik seemed like the perfect mix.
We had looked at hotels but they were out of our price range so we searched on Airbnb for an apartment with a balcony. There were lots of choices but we whittled it down to the Lodging House hosted by Sanja and her husband.
The apartment has a little kitchen area with electric hob, microwave and fridge so we could cook dinner if we wanted to. The bathroom is modern and has a nice power shower, and the aircon is in the bedroom area. Towels are provided and replaced frequently, and we didn’t have to bother buying toilet roll, washing up liquid, salt, pepper etc. The balcony is where we spent most of our time. With reclining chairs, it was so easy to nap in the sun and take in the view where you could see the cable cars from a distance.
Sanja and her family were lovely and were only a quick message away if we needed them but they also let us have our privacy too. Sanja recommended a few restaurants and Cave Bar More which we enjoyed so much we went back again (more on that later).
The apartment is in a great location and I’m glad we chose an apartment outside of Dubrovnik’s old city walls as it meant we explored more of the area and we might not have discovered the wonderful Banje beach that was a two-minute walk away. From the old town, it’s about a fifteen to twenty-minute walk but you do have a lovely view on the walk down. It’s also only about a 25-minute walk from Lapad which has lots of shops, restaurants and fancy hotels.
We didn’t explore the Old Town straight away as we didn’t want to rush everything and exhaust ourselves, we were trying to remember to relax! We always walked into the Old Town from the tourist centre side. This was the side where there used to be an old drawbridge and on certain days where people would dress up as guards at the entrance. There’s a one way system at this part because it can be busy. When I first went into the Old Town I gasped in awe, I don’t think any pictures can convey just how stunning the buildings are and how much it feels like you’ve stepped into the 1800s. It felt peculiar to have phones and cameras as you walked around. The main street, Strada, has gift shops and ice cream shops dotted around and it’s where there’s a large water fountain where people filled up their bottles.
It was so warm when we went that the pavement was quite slippy, it was lovely to walk around without having to worry about cars – no cars allowed in Old Town!
We didn’t do many touristy things in the Old Town, we were quite happy wandering around. There’s an aquarium, an old pharmacy (which we did visit – you can buy fancy soaps there), a couple of museums and a market. We visited the market where people were selling fabric pouches filled with lavender and wooden toy frogs that would ribbit if you touched their back. The Port was lovely to sit at in the Old Town, we ate lunch quite a few times staring out towards the blue sea and the island of Lokrum.
The City Walls are an absolute must do in Dubrovnik. We went early morning to beat the rush and it took us just over an hour. Along the walk, you can look down and watch people who are oblivious that you are above them. I took a lot of pictures on this walk and stared at a lot of orange rooftops. Those gorgeous orange rooftops. I nearly had to be prized away from them.
Dubrovnik is definitely one of the most prettiest places I’ve been. In love with these rooftops. Pic taken from the city walls which are well worth the kunas. #dubrovnik #citywallsdubrovnik #citywalls #uphigh #orange #rooftops #oldtown #croatia #croazia #travelgram #cityscape #lovedubrovnik #lovecroatia #croatiafulloflife
A definite highlight for me was visiting the island of Lokrum. The island is only a fifteen-minute boat ride from the Old Port and the tickets were 30 kunas each for a return. We bought our tickets from a little stand right next to the boat – there are lots of people selling tickets for a ‘panoramic view of Lokrum and other islands’ so not to get confused with the official Lokrum island ticket seller. The boat ride was smooth and scenic, I couldn’t help feeling like we were in a film. Especially as we rocked up to Lokrum, it looked like the set of an Indiana Jones film. The sea was sky blue, there were lots of green plants and a lovely peach building (Forest Ranger’s House) which houses the small visitor centre. We spent nearly a full day in Lokrum, we bought food to take with us but there were a couple of cafes in some shady spots if we had forgotten food. Toilets are free on Lokrum and as nobody is allowed to stay overnight, there is a curfew of 8pm when the last boat takes everyone home.
It was quite hard to navigate Lokrum at first because a lot of the signs seemed to lead us in circles but eventually, we found Fort Royal which sits at the highest point in Lokrum. The walk along the Path of Paradise wasn’t the easiest because we had been on our feet all day and our pale skin was absorbing all the heat. When we got to the top, we guzzled down water before we could appreciate the view.
At lunchtime on the island, we found one of the many picnic benches and ate our food whilst watching bunny rabbits and peacocks (along with their babies) wander around. The rabbits were teeny and the peacocks roamed about as if they owned the place.
The island was bought by Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg in the 18th century who planted over one hundred species of plant from all over the world.
Despite the amount of people who visit the island, it never felt overcrowded or awfully touristy. There were lots of little areas that we had all to ourselves. I loved stepping on the rocks near the boat drop off point and being so close to the water – a view I’m certainly going to miss.
From our apartment, we could make out the orange cable cars as they carried people from early in the morning till late at night. I’m not going to lie, the thought of going in the cable car made my legs feel like jelly but we decided that we couldn’t miss out on the view from the top of the hill. It is possible to walk up the hill but in 32-degree heat, we decided to pass on that idea. The queue for the cable car reminded me of the queues in Alton Towers where you get that feeling of no return, you’ve committed to getting on the cable car so there’s no turning back!
We didn’t get to see much of a view from inside the cable car as there were so many of us but that also meant we didn’t really see just how high up we were. At one point as we got closer to the top, I could feel the cable car swinging but thankfully it didn’t last long and we reached the top.
From the top of the hill, there’s a couple of viewing platforms (expect to see lots of tourists taking selfies). There’s also what looks like an amphitheatre, a war museum and a dune buggy type safari.
From our apartment we’ve been watching the cable cars go up and down, and today decided to bite the bullet and do it. I had parts of The Kingsman 2 playing in my head as we boarded the orange box that would take us 405 metres above sea level but thankfully it wasn’t as scary as it looked. #dubrovnik #croatia #uphigh #cablecar #visitdubrovnik #visitcroatia #lokrumisland #lokrum #croatiafulloflife #mountsrd
The Lapad area isn’t talked about much but we enjoyed visiting there for the shops and restaurants. It felt more of a student spot/somewhere the locals do their shopping. It was about a twenty-five-minute walk from our apartment but there were lots of bakeries along the way. I, of course, had to give each one a try, it was only fair. Lapad is still very scenic, the beach there was pretty busy but as we walked past the beach we found some steps that led down to a private area where we sunbathed and swam in the sea.
We enjoyed the Cave Bar so much that we kept coming back. It was good to cool down in the cave bar and the choice of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) was great. We could also have our drinks in the bar area that sits right next to the sea and they served some bar snack type food during the day. The drinks were reasonable compared to other bars and it was pretty cool to be in a cave just relaxing so I would have paid a lot more just for that experience.
Dubrovnik was the perfect mix of city and relaxation for us, we spent 6 nights there and didn’t cram everything in. Compared to other cities, there’s not a lot of attractions but it is probably the prettiest place I’ve been so far.
I don’t think pictures can express just how beautiful Dubrovnik and Croatia is!
Sidenote – Dubrovnik also has a lot of cats, and I mean A LOT. You can spot a lot of them sunbathing in the little alleyways in the Old Town. Cute.