Another destination from my bucket list, Dubrovnik was to be my next solo trip. A medieval walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and right at the coast with the crystal clear Adriatic Sea – what’s not to love? I was obsessed with it before I even arrived. This was my second time in Croatia (I visited Petrčane and Zadar in 2010 for a music festival) and I had been desperate to see more of the country ever since then. Game of Thrones fans – did you know King’s Landing is actually in Dubrovnik?
I rented an apartment (Apartments Dubrovnik Seven) about a ten minute walk from the Pile gate, wanting to be as close to the Old Town as possible, without being right inside it. I chose an apartment with an amazing view of the Adriatic and the Old Town (cos I’m all about that view).
I arrived after pulling an all nighter due to an extremely early flight and headed straight to walk the walls, as the forecast for later in the week was rain. Walking the walls costs 100Kn (about £9.60) and you can take as long as you want – there are several cafés along the way to sit and enjoy the view.
Stradun is known as one of the most beautiful streets in Europe and it’s easy to see why. The limestone pavement looks almost polished and at night it seems to glitter under the street lights. This was early October and you can see how busy it still is – at the height of summer I can imagine it being spoiled somewhat by throngs of people pushing to get past. For the best gelato, head to Gossip and eat a cone by the fountain (you won’t get any further before it melts everywhere!).
Later in the week it was stormy and the streets were slippery, but not even some bad weather could detract from the charm of the Old Town.
For the best view in Dubrovnik you have to head up Mount Srd. I chose the easy route and took the cable car (108Kn/£10.16 for a roundtrip) but you can hike it if you’re brave. Going up at late afternoon to watch the sunset is the best time, because you cannot beat a Croatian sunset. There’s a restaurant/bar at the top and I had a lovely meal here with some travellers I met and we drank prosecco while watching the sun go down (sidenote: it was freezing – but they provide blankets!).
There are many islands near Dubrovnik reachable by boat, Lokrum Island (below) being one of the closest. Unfortunately the weather turned bad and I didn’t get a chance to do any island hopping, which just gives me yet another reason to return one day.
Dubrovnik, like most ports, is known for its amazingly fresh seafood however I didn’t get to sample any (another reason to return? Like I need any more). I did however eat great pizza at Mex Cantina Bona Fide, traditional lasagne at Mea Culpa (Croatian food has strong Italian influences) and some Bosnian cuisine at the oddly named but highly recommended Taj Mahal.
There are many day trips and excursions you can do when using Dubrovnik as a base – and not just to the surrounding islands. Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina are easily accessible by car or bus and I visited both, which meant I covered three countries in three days! Read about my day in Montenegro here and a day in Bosnia and Herzegovina here. I booked both of my day trips through Viator.
Dubrovnik is an ideal solo destination as there really is something for everyone, it is easy to get around and feels safe. Croatia is a country I feel drawn to and I believe I will keep going back to – I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface and there is so much I still want to see. Plitvice Lakes National Park will be top of my list when I return!
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