I’m tired just thinking about the amount of stairs I did in Dubrovnik. By the time I figured out I could maybe walk down to Pile Gate and then take an Uber home later when I want to go home, I’d broken two pairs of sandals and lost 10lbs in water weight. (probably needed that anyways)
Definitely wanted to begin this blog post with a very important message – Dubrovnik is more than the fucking Game of Thrones series. Read that again. With the cursing and everything, I need a lot of you to get that into your brains. This is an exquisite old city and it existed way before GOT and will exist long after. Not that I have any issues with the show itself, I’ve never even watched it. But after repeatedly being asked prior to my trip if I was going to visit this beautiful city JUST for GOT and then having one of my Uber drivers tell me some tourists asked him if the ‘set’ was built just for GOT? (set meaning the structures that were there from the 15th century)
No. Please stop.
Dubrovnik is more than a shooting location for a TV show.
Place to Stay
What is Dubrovnik? Well, let’s start with that is pretty goddamn expensive. I’ve traveled to quite a few place in the world and I believe this may be one of the priciest cities in Europe.
For three nights in an AirBnB I paid $512.83 CAD. That is a high dollar amount for staying somewhere alone and on top of it, I wasn’t even in the city center! I wanted the view over Dubrovnik and I definitely got that. If you can find a good deal for somewhere in the center for a decent price though, please get that. The stairs truly were a pain in the ass.
Although the price for the AirBnB was high, it was worth the money spent. My host was incredible and the place itself was clean, big and had an incredible view. There was NO access by vehicles to the actual location so note that regardless of which route you took, you’d end up walking an extra 10 minutes to get to your unit.
There was also an underrated benefit to this home and it was that it has a washing machine. It was no less than 35 degrees for the three days I was in Dubrovnik and between the day trip to Mostar and Kravice Falls in Bosnia (it was 43 degrees there) and the two different beach days I had, this was VERY useful. Being able to wash your bathing suits, towels and just sweaty clothes at the end of the day and hang to dry on a huge terrace was a blessing.
I flew into Dubrovnik from Naples and prior to arriving made sure to arrange a private airport pick up because the bus would take too long. I used Dubrovnik Airport Taxi and the driver/service was awesome. The cost was 35 Euros for a private car to take me from the airport to my AirBnB (or as close as he could get). I believed I arrived around 1pm, dropped my things, and headed straight for the beach.
There was this beautiful beach I had seen on Instagram called ‘Banje Beach’ and I was SUPER happy to find out it was only a 13-minute walk from the AirBnB. The walk down the stairs was pretty straightforward and once I arrived, the beach was definitely as beautiful as I had imagined it would be.
Unfortunately I arrived there at a late time in the day for beach goers so there was actually no umbrellas or lounge chairs left to rent. I had to lay my towel down on the rocks and just lay on that. I also tried to be a tough girl and NOT bring down my water shoes – stupid. Bring your damn water shoes, the pebbles in Croatian beaches will mess up your whole foot bottom. Also, if you’re clumsy like I am, you may almost fall a million times in and out of the water because you’re trying to avoid pain.
The beach was totally full. I wanted to enjoy Banje Beach for a longer period of time but I absolutely hate busy beaches. I prefer my beaches to be quiet and have no groups of drunken men who play soccer in the damn water and almost kick you in the head. Oh, and the hoards of screaming children. If you wanted peace and quiet, this is NOT the beach for you.
Because I am very pale, I only stayed at the beach for about two hours. With no umbrella I feel I would have turned red pretty fast and I was not trying to do all that on my first day in Dubrovnik.
I made a reservation for Panorama Restaurant like two months ahead. At the height of tourist season, I’d suggest you do the same. My reservation was for 9pm so I began walking to catch the cable car at around 8pm. I was lucky because I heard the cable car was out of commission for a long time prior to my arrival.
The lineup to get on was really long and I’m happy a cable car came along every four minutes and could fit about 20 people on it. We moved fast. The roundtrip price for an adult was 170 KN which is about $34.00 CAD.
The ride up is beautiful, especially during sunset. You get a scenic view over all of Dubrovnik and some of the islands nearby.
Once you reach the top you arrive at a nice area for taking pictures and videos of the view, and Panorama is right here as well.
I was let in as soon as I arrived and was lucky enough to get one of the best seats outside. My view was incredible.
From the menu I had the octopus terrine, Mediterranean style squid and finished it off with a chocolate walnut cake. Definitely get the terrine and the cake, to die for!
I should mention after dinner I also made an attempt to go into the center of Dubrovnik by Pile Gate because it looked so busy from Panorama. Much to my dismay, yes it was busy, but it was really just tour groups roaming the streets. I was trying to party and there was no party in sight. Instead I took a couple night shots of the area and took an Uber back up to my AirBnB.
Coral Beach Club
I was supposed to do a day trip to Kotor, Montenegro but that fell through so I decided to try a different beach in Dubrovnik. I found this place called Coral Beach Club.
For this beach, I chose to arrive at around 10am, because I didn’t know if it would be as busy as Banje was. When I arrived, I was the only person on the whole beach and that is my favourite thing in the whole world.
There was no charge for the chair I chose to lay on and they provided free towels as well. I assume if you spent money on food and liquor, you were not charged for the seats? I ended up ordering food, so I guess I was in the clear.
My choice of food was the snails and the charcuterie board. Let me tell you, these snails? They actually surpassed the ones I had in Paris. That is how good they were. If I felt greedy that day, I probably would have ordered like three sets of them. To die for! Make sure you have this at Coral Beach Club.
The only disappointment (please don’t attack me for this) is that children were also at the beach club with their parents. I still think beach clubs should be for humans at least 16 and over, I felt the same at the pool my friend and I visited in Dubai. You’re there, enjoying your liquor, music is playing and suddenly, ‘WUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH SHE HIT MEE!! WUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!’ Sigh. There goes all the sexy and chill in the vicinity. But I get it, families are where the money is because there’s like five of them so 5x the money spent than me, who is alone.
Sadly the skies began to turn gray around 2pm so I headed back to my AirBnB for the early afternoon to relax and work on the blog.
Wandering Around Old Town
It was inevitable that I would end up in the center again.
After leaving the beach club and relaxing for a bit, I had to take a nice and scenic walk around Old Town.
For as busy as the area is, it sure is beautiful. My goodness. There is so much history and shopping and eating to be done. This is for sure a ‘must do’ in Dubrovnik, and to be honest, it’s probably the #1 thing everyone does when visiting. I can’t imagine coming to Dubrovnik and NOT walking around to see all these beautiful, old structures.
I stupidly didn’t get the name of the restaurant I had the most amazing seafood pot from. Look at the picture, I mean, holy shit.
Mackarel. Sardines. Squid. Shrimp. Mussels. Swordfish.
Yes, the pot is supposed to be for two people but mind your damn business OK? I like what I like.
My overall impression of Dubrovnik was a strong 6/10. I left on a Thursday morning to continue my travels and apparently that was a good decision. On Thursdays I was told is ‘cruise day’ wherein four MASSIVE cruises dock at the marina and thousands on thousands of passengers descend into this small area of Old Town.
Tourists are a nuisance. We really are, I get it. I can somewhat understand why the locals in Dubrovnik can’t stand us, I got the same feeling when I was in Venice. Small space, lots of people and everything seemingly dependent on tourism. The same tourism you’re completely annoyed by. However, just like Venice – I am totally fine not returning to Dubrovnik ever again.
It isn’t that the city isn’t beautiful, nor is it boring. But it completely lacked any sense of hospitality to me. When you travel to northern Croatia the people who work in hospitality are so much more nice and hospitable. You get a genuine sense of welcoming. Dubrovnik? (+ Venice alike) It’s literally like ‘okay can you just give me money and NOT speak to me?‘ Again, I totally get tourists are a pain in the ass, but when that is how you make money maybe extending SOME politeness wouldn’t hurt? Especially because it isn’t like any of the food was particularly cheap either, compared to the rest of Croatia. I just felt rushed and not welcome frequently. Maybe that was just me, it could very well be possible. But I sure do go out to eat a lot at home and in every country I travel to, and it really felt like the same thing happened over and over in Old Town. Order. Give food. Give cheque. Absolutely no chatter, no checking if you are enjoying your food, nothing.
While at Panorama (a more high-end restaurant, so I get it) the service was incredible, I just didn’t get that at the beaches (both Banje and Coral Beach) nor at the Old Town eateries. See for yourself I guess.
I 100% suggest you go visit Dubrovnik at some point in your life, but be prepared to kind of feel like a nuisance to locals while spending your money there.