Croatia Europe

Croatia Pt. 2: Dubrovnik

Fun fact, I watched Game of Thrones for the first time in 2022. Partially in preparation for this trip, if we’re being honest, and partially because I was finally ready to commit to learning all the character names. It was cool sitting at a café and drinking coffee and working my way through one of the books! Especially because the Game of Thrones tours were happening literally around me as I did so. I did accidentally spoil one plot point for myself while I was doing research for this trip, but that’s on me because the books and show have been out for ages. (Me: “what do you mean the _____ stairs?” *watches more show* “Ohhhhhhh….”)

I had about a week in Dubrovnik, which was amazing. It was important to me to stay in Old Town, and while that meant slipping through throngs of tourists when I wanted to get groceries or go back to the apartment where I was staying, I could also feel the history all around me. I loved wandering through the twisty passageways and climbing the staircases to try to find new areas to explore.

The first item on the list of every single “what to do in Dubrovnik” list is always the city walls. They are absolutely spectacular. After buying your ticket, you take a flight of stairs up and then walk along the edge of the entire old city. The views of the town and of the Adriatic Sea are unparalleled. I went just after breakfast, but there are also some nice (if touristy) cafés up there for the people who want to enjoy a coffee or an ice cream while looking out over everything. I would definitely recommend going here if you’re in Dubrovnik, and ideally early before it gets too hot!

One of the mornings I was there, I also went hiking up to the top of Mount Srd! It was kind of a haul to get to the trailhead, I honestly think I went up more stairs on the way to the trail than I did once I got to the mountain, but it was my first foray into Dubrovnik outside of the Old Town and it was nice to get a taste of the rest of the city. The trail cuts through some forest and then, once you’re out of the trees, it becomes a series of switchbacks. There’s not a lot of shade so definitely go early and bring sunscreen! The bird’s eye view of the city was worth it, though, and there were a few museums and cafés at the top to make a day of it.

Croatia hugs almost all of the coast in this region, so there are some fun excursions you can do to various islands nearby. I ended up signing up for a trip to the Elafiti Islands, so for $50 they shuttled me around to all three islands and gave me lunch and unlimited glasses of wine. All the time on the islands was free time, although they did provide suggestions of what to do. The amount of time on each island was perfect, with enough time to explore and relax but we still got to see quite a lot. My only big error on this one was not bringing very much cash, so I felt like I was rationing throughout the day because most places did not take card and also didn’t have ATMs.

The other island day trip I did was to Lokrum Island. This one shows up as one of the Game of Thrones filming locations, which was fun – they have a whole exhibit with an iron throne you can sit on if you want to, but you also don’t need any GoT background to enjoy it. It’s a very easy 15-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik, and they leave every half hour or so. There’s an old monastery that was fun to explore, as well as a botanical garden, and there are a lot of nice areas to swim just off the coast. As I look back through my pictures, quite a large number of them are images of the baby peacocks, which were wandering around freely. They were adorable! It was definitely a good inclusion on the itinerary.

All in all, Dubrovnik was wonderful. So beautiful, and it was really nice to be able to see multiple facets of Croatia throughout this trip. It’s worth spending some time to be able to really explore the country! I have a few places I would love to go back to, and others that I didn’t get the chance to see while I was here. Looking forward to my next visit to this region.

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