What a whilwind year 2016 was, it feels like ages since we were in beautiful sunny Croatia! We had the most amazing 5 days enjoying all that the city of Dubrovnik has to offer.
Here’s my Quick Guide to Dubrovnik; where to stay, what to do & where to eat!
TIME OF YEAR: July
LENGTH OF STAY: 5 Nights
ACCOMMODATION: The Rixos, Dubrovnik
The Rixos is just a short walk from the Old Town (about 15 mins, up a short steep hill but then a comfortable walk the rest of the way and with beautiful views). It was an amazing place to stay and I highly recommend it. If you’re after a complete resort style experience then this is the place to go, with panoramic water views, private indoor and outdoor pools, an enormous deck, and outdoor restaurant area that backs onto the sea (with rock jumping, and access to a netted sea swimming area). The location is tucked into a bay so it’s completely private aside from a set of stairs that link up to a neighboring resort which has a private beach (and by beach I’m talking about European rock beach, not the sandy Aussie style), but this situation really offers the best of both worlds as you can make use of the outdoor wonderland of both resorts.
Between the resort, and neighboring beach, there’s everything from rock jumping, to sunbathing, to cave swimming (yep, there’s a little cave you can swim into from the beach of the adjoining resort!), and that’s without even leaving the grounds. Aside from the water activities, the rooms are wonderfully air-conditioned, clean and comfortable. Our bed was amazing, however we’d also just arrived after 5 nights in Norway where the sun didn’t set so collapsing into darkness was pretty special as it was.
Our booking also included breakfast, and I can say hand on heart that I’ve never, ever in my life seen a buffet breakfast quite like it. Enormous, indulgent, and seemingly endless we certainly made the most of our first meal of the day. There’s also a wonderful wine bar, and a bit of shopping in the lobby. We ate in the Old Town basically every night, but did eat once at the outdoor poolside restaurant and found it to be delicious. Overall an absolutely perfect stay at The Rixos.
ACTIVITIES & RECOMMENDATIONS:
I LOVED Dobrovnik, I really did. We had originally planned to do a Sail Croatia cruise but our timing didnt pan out and I’m glad in the end, as 5 nights in Dubrovnik was the perfect amount of time to relax, unwind, and also enjoy everything that this amazing place has to offer. And we did it all, so here’s my recommendations on what to do!
#1 Visit the Old Town
This seems like a given but you must visit the old town. It’s an incredible step back in time and such an experience to arrive at the gates, and wile away the hours wandering the tiny alley ways. Also make sure you pay the entry fee and Walk the Wall.
#2 Walk the Walls of the Old Town
The entry point to walk the wall is right inside the main gate to the Old Town (just to the left of the fountain), and it’s 100% worth it. It doesn’t take as long as they say, perhaps if you crawl it, but it took us about 30 mins. It was HOT, so do the wall morning or evening (although they do close the wall late afternoon so don’t leave it too late), and there is a small cafe up there if you feel like really taking your time. The view is incredible and from here you’ll also be able to spot the two hidden cliff bars which will give you perspective on where to head from ground level in order to find them! We found both, but there’s really no directions so you have to hunt them down.
#3 Find the Old Town Cliff Bars
Entry to the Cliff Bars is free, but literally a hole in the wall so you need to hunt them down. My memory is that when you enter the main gate to the old town, head straight all the way to the end then go right into a big open area, then head toward some stairs on the left, head up those stairs and you’ll find a little cafe and some more stairs to the left, follow this route around to the right and somewhere along that wall is the entry to the first bar! lol, it’s a total maze but totally worth it if you can find it for sunset. You’ll eventually stumble across the second bar if you keep heading upward along that path from the first entry point. Neither serve food so just look forward to a cold drink in an amzing part of the world, literally sitting on the outside cliffs edge of the old town walls.
#4 Eat Squid, especially from Moby Dicks
The seafood in Croation was the best we’ve had anywhere, and the Stuffed Popeye Squid Platter at Moby Dicks was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Maybe it was the whole experience of our first night in Dubrovnik, but it was definitely amazing. We had a lot of squid while in Croatia but it’s often served a whole squid hood, this meal on the other hand is a share platter of baby squid served three ways; fried, grilled and stuffed, and it was to die for. It’ll be well worth your while tracking down the location of this restaurant, which is up a flight of stairs about halfway along the first stretch (on the left) when you first enter the old town. Excuse the terrible photo, you know the food is good when I forget to take “the shot” before devouring 2/3rds of the dish.
#5 Dine on the Rooftops & Drink Croatian Wine
It didn’t even enter our mind that there might be rooftop dining in the old town, but one evening while wandering the many alleyways a doorman trying to lure us into his restaurant told us he had a table for two waiting for us on the rooftop terrace, we laughed at how perfect the timing was and immediately said ‘we’ll take it!‘ and as we were ushered to a tiny lift inside the building which appeared to be boutique apartments, we agreed it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time because that meal was the best of our entire month abroad. The restaurant was called the “Stara Loza“, and it’s seriously a hidden beauty. We dined on so much delicious food that night including Gaspacio with tomato sorbet, sauteed squid, ox cheek, and turbot, while sipping on a beautiful Croatian wine. It was special to say the least. There are literally only two tables on the terrace and gazing out over the rooftops of the Old Town we spotted another roof top terrace and decided that we’d make it our mission to track it down and eat there too. We did, it’s called the “Stari Grad“ and it is also a boutique hotel. This one is the highest rooftop dining experience in the old town and the view is incredible. The service and meals were wonderful too. The Old Town rooftop experience is highly recommended.
#6 Day Trip to Lokrum Island
This island isn’t lived on – well, it once was but due to a curse of death that apparently burdons the island it is no longer occupied. But you can visit it, and it’s a beautifully pristine location if you want a day away from the bustle of town, to swim, rock jump, explore (just beware of the nudist beach) & just enjoy the beautiful weather.
#7 Visit The Cave Bar
This one was recommended to us by our cab driver, and so glad we visited, although we were there at night so missed much of what sounded like an amazing water view. It’s The Cave Bar, not to be mistaken with the much talked about Cliff Bars mentioned previously! This is literally a bar, inside a cave, and it’s pretty epic. There is also a restaurant upstairs which we ate at whilst being embarrassingly under-dressed after a massive sun & red wine filled day-out on a privately skippered boat. From what I remember, the meal was great also.
#8 Hire a Skippered Boat & Visit the Blue Cave
Do it. This was entirely unplanned but unforgettable. After meeting our friends at the Holiday Park they had arrived at, we joined them by the water (which by the way is a stunning place to swim at), and they told us they’d lined up a guy with boat. Excellent! The guy booking the day trips was just down by the water there, and promised us an awesome day out to the caves, and swimming. The skipper, who was a local 20-something y/o lad, picked us up from right there at the jetty and was loads of fun. The 6 of us (plus one very well travelled bub) jumped aboard, with plenty of nibblies, and the wine was provided! He took us out to the Blue Cave – which you jump off the boat & swim into, another set of caves in which you swim through to pop out the other side, and a small island where we swam to shore for cocktails at the beach bar (The skipper joined us, because he was a legend). It was such an unforgettable private day spent with mates, feeling like we had Croatia to ourselves, and making memories like no other.
#9 Kayak from the Old Town, around Lokrum Island, at Sunset
As you head toward the entrance of the old town you’re bound to be bombarded by tourism sales guys offering you tours and day trips. And they can pick an accent a mile away, we got chatting to one of the guys there who zeroed in on us and correctly picked that we were from Sydney. Well done chap, you deserve our time lol. So he did the hard yards and got the sale. Our Kayak tour left from just to the right of the Old Town walls, and we opted to go at sunset because of the heat, which was a great idea. The tour is a fair distance as you paddle around the old town walls and then along the coast to a cave for swimming (fun, but didn’t compare to the blue cave, and about a million kayak tours all arrived at the same time) and then out and around the back side of Lokrum Island (past the nudist beach haha) but overall it isn’t too strenuous (although in saying that, I was towed by my husband for some length of the tour #ladyofleisure lol) but does require some level of fitness! The best part of the afternoon is heading back in toward the old town, on sunset, with the full view of the outside walls. Our tour guide was fantastic too, making sure everyone was safe & happy while also stopping at intervals to tell us various historical facts and bits of trivia.
#10 Rock Jump off Errything
I’m not one for taking risks on holidays, but you simply must rock jump at every opportunity. Everywhere you turn is deep crystal clear water calling your name, and it’s just so much fun. Take advantage of it!
So that’s Dubrovnik! I loved every inch of it, and can’t wait to get back there one day and do the islands.
If you have any questions about my experience of Dubrovnik, chuck it in the comments below!