Ever heard of raw sexual magnetism? Dubrovnik’s got it. A city full of scenic views that your DSLR was made for, Dubrovnik is also rich in culture and culinary delights. With so much packed in one city, I highly recommend you add this place to your travel bucket list.
And now as promised, today we break down our recent trip to Dubrovnik for you. In this post, we address all the important topics which help you plan a perfect getaway to the dreamiest city in the world.
Getting to Dubrovnik
Basel has a direct flight to Dubrovnik. There aren’t too many direct connections available, but as they say Easy Jet to the rescue. The flight we took was Sunday early morning and was barely 2 hours. Easy Jet is a no frill airline, and I recommend them when it comes to short journeys. However, during our return their flight was delayed by 2.5 hours in the night – this was definitely not pleasant especially when you know that the trip just ended. However, the delay apparently was due to thunderstorms in a majority of the en route areas.
Book your tickets as early as possible to bag the cheap tickets. This is something that we did.
Best time to visit Croatia
July to September is the peak season in Croatia and most of the locals are pretty much catering to tourists during this point in time. While we were there, the weather was quite hot (almost 31-32 degrees C), it was perfect for the beach, imperfect for walking around – so it all really depends on your preference.
It never gets very cold in Croatia, there is no negative or snow, hence winters could be an option worth exploring. However, if fun on the beach figures on your to-do list then there’s no time like summers.
Accommodation options in Dubrovnik
I would recommend apartments inside the old town, especially if you’re travelling with your family. However if hotels are what you prefer then all the standard chains like Hilton, Marriot, Ibis etc. can be looked at. Make sure you book months in advance (especially when planning a summer holiday) since the places fill up and the rooms are bound to get over priced. We ended up paying higher rates since we booked our hotel pretty late in the game.
We stayed in Dreams stradun apartments, which were situated right in the middle of the old town – hence everything was a stone’s throw away. The tours, the city walls, beaches, bars, restaurants, cathedrals and museums were all in close proximity. The room was quite average but what was nice was the small kitchen and the sofa bed for our daughter. This helped us a lot since we travel with an extremely fussy eater.
Since we didn’t spend too much time inside the room, this setting was perfect. The room was clean, not too spacious but in the best location possible. However, the WIFI connection (which is a major lifeline for a blogger) wasn’t the best.
Our 4-day Itinerary for Dubrovnik, Croatia
This is the most important part of my post, how do you make the most of your visit especially if time is a constraint. We ended up dividing our time equally between the old town and the surrounding beaches but my recommendation (for the physically fit) is to spend one day in the old town and the remaining on the beach.
Following is a sample 4-day itinerary for Dubrovnik, however, feel free to mix and match:
Day 1: Start exploring Old Town
There is a lot to do and explore and there is no better starting point than the old town. Start from the Pile Gate and walk around the Stradun (the main street) and all the side streets that connect to it. A good idea especially if you are a Game of Thrones fan is to do the GOT walking tour or the Dubrovnik City tour. This tour usually lasts around 2 hours and is quite interesting if the guide is good.
GOT tour highlights: Fort Lovrijenac, King’s Landing, Walk of Shame and the Iron throne. The GoT shoots are kept very confidential and a lot of locals from Dubrovnik are a part of scenes, rehearsals and technicals. Make sure you go for the city walls walk, this lasts around 2-3 hours especially if you need to take pictures and stop at various points to just go “Oooh, Ahh and Wow”. If you get too tired climbing the steps or walking along the perimeter – one can always stop for drinks/coffee at various cafes and bars along the walls.
Make sure you visit the cathedrals, museums and palaces inside the old town clicking loads of pictures and eat inside the by lanes of Stradun. The restaurants on the main street are basically a rip-off – neither are they gourmet delights nor are they reasonably priced. Do check out Mea Culpa for some amazing food and great service.
Day 2: Head to the Croatian Coast
It’s time to make the most of the Adriatic Coast today. Maybe some more roaming around the old town, followed by a 50-minute cruise on the Adriatic for some beautiful views over the royal blue/emerald green waters. Visit the Banje beach which is a 10-minute walk from the Pile gate, the water is crystal clear and offers great swimming opportunities. You can rent chairs and umbrellas, and order food and beverages from the restaurant. This beach is a pebbly one so be sure to carry your water slippers and lots of sun screen.
Also, visit the Booza bar/beach for an amazing view with some people spotting and beverages. If you’re an expert swimmer/diver – make sure you jump into the water from one of the rocks with your GoPro. After the sunset, the cool breeze and the city lights create a beautiful setting – a couple of more strolls and a nice dinner by the beach is recommended before you wrap up.
Day 3: Make most of the crystal clear water
Take the 2-way boat ticket to Lokrum Island and spend a couple of hours swimming on the beach. This one again is a rocky island with beautiful views and crystal clear water. There are some shallow points for the non-swimmers and some really adventurous spots for the strong hearted. The island also has a nice restaurant, showers, changing rooms and botanical gardens. This place easily deserves half a day before heading towards the Copa Cabana beach. This place is how the perfect vacation should look like: swimming, kayaking, adventure sports, drinks, food and music! I highly recommend this place for everyone who likes to put their hair down (at least once in a while!).
With all this beach fun, I would recommend wrapping up the day a little earlier than usual and warm shower before retiring.
Day 4: Elafiti Island Tour and Day Trips
The 3 Elafiti Island tour is a must do, so are some day trips from Dubrovnik. The one to Montenegro is highly recommended, but too much time is wasted on the toll and we completely avoided it but maybe it’s worth a try during different times of the year. There are regular ferry crossings from Dubrovnik to the three main islands – Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep. However, since we had some time constraints – we hired a private speed boat with a sailor (do this if you don’t mind indulging in luxury).
Breathtaking views, drinks on the boat, chilling on sandy beaches, and dips in shades of blue, this was a highlight of our trip to Dubrovnik.
The only thing which I could not take was – the harsh sun. But since it was such a unique experience, I kind of ignored my sun allergies a little bit.
Buying tickets and finding information is not too hard as these are either available at the tourist centres or the old town harbour. You could also try out the cable car for more panoramic views of the city.
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik
The sea food is worth trying, but there are some real exotic options that we stayed away from. The food, in general, is quite good but expensive. Try Mea Culpa in the narrow streets, Buza bar for drinks, Natika for dinner or Gill’s on the Marina side.
How much does it cost to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia?
If you plan well, then a 4-day trip can cost you around 1500-1700 euros (from Basel) including air tickets and hotel reservations. We ended up spending around 2500 euros(from Basel) since we took a private speed boat along with quite a few fancy dining options with drinks. The currency accepted in Croatia is Kunas and most places even accept euros.
Here are a few cost saving tips for you:
- Book your air tickets and make hotel reservations well in advance.
- If your apartment has a kitchen, have breakfast inside. Stock up on eggs, milk, bread, spread and bananas. Pack a couple of sandwiches/snacks for the strolls, carry water (it’s clean) and energy bars. Have lunch at Tutto Bene and look at fine dining options in the evening.
- Use the bus to and fro the airport. Avoid cabs, they are super expensive.
- Use ferry tickets and bus travels(to get to the islands) rather than private boats/cruises.
- Spend more time in the water than in the old town.
- Carry beach towels and small umbrellas, avoid renting the chairs on the beach.
- Pack well, do not end up buying things since you forgot them at home.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and are raring to explore Dubrovnik on your next vacation. Stay tuned for more travelogues and our special travel guide – Things to do in and around Basel.