Thursday, April 25, 2013

Around the World: Dubrovnik, Croatia

It's been a little more than a while since I last wrote about Croatia, so I decided to get back to it.  Next stop, Dubrovnik...

City: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Transportation: Croatia Airlines (to Dubrovnik), Taxi, Jadrolinija Ferry (to Hvar)
Accommodations: Hotel Excelsior
Time of Year: September

For us, visiting the city of Dubrovnik went hand in hand with visiting Croatia; it seemed as though any time we heard people mention Croatia, they would say something about Dubrovnik.  Once we got to Dubrovnik, we could see why it was so highly recommended, and why it's been loved by tourists for literally hundreds of years.  In no particular order, here is what we loved best about the city.

01. Our hotel - We decided to splurge a bit on the Hotel Excelsior, and were really happy with our decision.   The hotel itself is about a 10 minute walk from the city walls, which we knew before hand.  This proved to be great, because in exchange for a much-needed daily walk, we had a lot more room to enjoy ourselves.  The hotel had fantastic amenities, such as an extensive daily outdoor brunch overlooking the Old Town, a private swimming area (both a large indoor pool and outdoor section of the beach), and several in-room treats throughout the day.  It seemed as though whenever we left our hotel room, no matter the length of time, there would be something new left for us by the hotel staff - a serving tray with a pitcher of hot water and an assortment of teas, Croatian candy, L'Occitane toiletries, or turn-down service.  We had an amazing view of the city, and even caught a couple fireworks shows over the Old Town, which we enjoyed from our room.

{can you spot me in this picture?}


02. Beach time - We alternated our beach time in Dubrovnik between the outdoor swimming area at our hotel, and the public beach down the road.  Both were great options, and given that both had full bars and some food service, we were all set.  The beach in Dubrovnik is not a sandy beach (although it looks like it below), and the water was a little cooler than we expected.  However, due to the lack of sand and sea life (i.e., kelp), the water was crystal clear.  We were happy to spend large parts of our day at the water, either swimming or relaxing in the comforts of chaise lounges / cabanas with Kindles and drinks in hand.

{Dubrovnik's main public beach}


03. Walking the city walls - If you've read anything on Dubrovnik, you have probably read that this is THE thing to do.  Not ones to miss out, we set out one morning to walk the wall, which borders the entire perimeter of the city.  While very traditional, this activity was tied for my favorite (see #04), as we got sweeping views of the city and surrounding neighborhoods from all angles...and a lot of great pictures.



04. Sea kayaking - this was tied for my favorite activity.  There are a few companies within the city that sell this "tour," all with similar pricing, and you don't need to book far in advance.  The tour itself included a guide, and the size of the group was about five couples, including the two of us.  We departed from the public beach, kayaked out to the city, and then kayaked around the large island that you can see in a couple pictures.  The tour included a couple stops for us to explore nooks in the coastline, and even to swim and have a snack.  I hope to forever remember being mesmerized by the bright blue sea lapping at the sides of our kayak as we steered through the waters.



05. The Old Town -




The beautiful Old Town!  Enclosed by the city walls and accessible by drawbridges, this was a pedestrian-only area filled with charm.  The main street, called the Stradun (see the middle picture above), was lined with restaurants and gelato shops.  We walked to the Old Town at least once a day, and our big decisions were always which gelato shop to pick that day, and where to go for dinner.  We'd then set about exploring the smaller streets and alleyways, stop in at the occasional historic site, and just take in the architecture.  I am still amazed by how evenly sized each of the stones in the city were; the buildings were so consistent that it was hard to believe that they were so old.

If you are thinking about visiting Croatia or Dubrovnik - do it.  Aside from the above, there are a good number of day trips that you can take, even to different neighboring countries.  Also, if you have any questions that aren't answered here, please leave a comment; we did all of the trip planning ourselves, and can offer our advice.

See you at the last stop - Hvar!

2 comments:

  1. I am sooo excited to see your write up on Croatia!! I've been wanting to go there and even considered it for my honeymoon. We ended up not going, but it's still on my list.

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    Replies
    1. That's awesome! This was actually our honeymoon trip, and we loved it. I have one more location left to blog about :)

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