Our best holiday ever has so far, without doubt, been the five days in August we spent in Dubrovnik, Croatia. There were so many diverse activities to try there, beautiful scenery, perfect weather and lots to explore. I usually like to visit new places but Dubrovnik is one of those cities I would absolutely love to return to. We crammed so much in during our stay and we hope that this guide will help you to make the most of your time there, too. Looking back to this trip always brings such a sense of happiness, contentment and excitement. I’d love to hear about your experiences there, especially if you find any cool new spots!
P.S. please excuse the photos of Paddy in his speedos – he has no shame! 🙊
OUR TOP TIP
One thing we really wish we had done was to visit the island of Mljet. This beautiful national park is about two hours by boat from Dubrovnik and contains lakes, secluded beaches and an abundance of wild forest. We didn’t realise that the catamaran ferry set off from Dubrovnik only once per day at 8am, so we unfortunately missed it! But it looks like the ferry departs from three different Dubrovnik ports now so just be sure to check the schedule a day or so before you plan to go.
WHERE WE STAYED
We opted for a compact Air Bnb with awesome views from the terrace. Great views seem to be our main priority for accommodation recently and it sure does save money by not needing to pay for expensive rooftop restaurants in order to see further or get those ‘Instagram-worthy’ shots! We’d really recommend this small studio space to other couples or solo travellers for its location and views alone. As with most parts of Dubrovnik, you have to climb a lot of stairs to reach the front door but at least you’ll get some exercise in between all the dining and beach-ing!
PLACES TO EAT
Banje Beach Restaurant, Lounge and Club
This was the first place we ventured to after checking into our Air Bnb. It’s right on the beach front with beautiful ocean views and delicious food. Once you’ve eaten, or if you’re wanting to head straight for the booze, then their lounge and club area serves yummy cocktails with a relaxed vibe too. You can hire beds here in their private beach area too for that VIP experience!
Dubravka 1836 Restaurant & Café
We forgot to book a restaurant for dinner on our first night and happened to stumble across this beautiful courtyard overlooking the ocean, castles upon cliffs and boats bobbing in the harbour. Somehow we lucked out and got a seat right along the edge with a fantastic view – I’d definitely recommend booking ahead so you can enjoy the same!
Panorama Restaurant and Bar
Wow. The views from this restaurant, the delicious food and being waited on like royalty totally justify the pricey costs. We ate a leisurely meal here, getting to experience the city below bathed in sunlight with the horizon strewn with islands, followed by a glowing sunset and then witnessing the sky transform into a star-filled canvas and the city twinkling with lights.
Panorama is owned by the same company as Dubravka 1836. You can browse all their chains on the same website, here. Their Nautika restaurant looks unbelievably romantic!
Peline Konoba Pizzeria
This place doesn’t have great reviews but it’s super cheap, has nice pizza and it does the job! The reason I’ve included this on our list is that Paddy and I had such a good time here, sipping cheap white wine and chatting for hours. It was also just down the hill from our Air Bnb so the closest place for us to get to AND there were lots of stray cats around this area to make friends with and sneak food to!
Oh my – where do we start! Dubrovnik is crammed FULL of activities to try, from island hopping to ocean swimming, safari dirt buggy riding to historic tours and so much more. Here are our top picks:
We’ll pre-warn you now: this beach gets busy, it’s not sandy and it’s pretty small. However! It’s the closest beach to Dubrovnik city centre so perfect for a quick dip in the ocean in between exploring and lunching. Plus, once you’re floating round on the salty waves, you’ll get to enjoy a perfect view of Lokrum, Dubrovnik’s closest island. You can also hire Flyboards here and test your skills with a water jet pack!
Catch a short ferry ride to Lokrum Island and spend the day walking round, swimming in the ocean, spotting wildlife and eating lunch with jack rabbits hopping round in view. Our favourite part of Lokrum was ‘The Dead Sea’ – an ocean cove that’s salty enough for you to float on top! There’s also an outdoor gym right next to this for a quick swimwear-clad burn!
I’ll be honest – we missed the ferry to Mljet and so went here instead, but it turned out to be a lovely relaxing daytrip all the same. Koločep is quieter than Dubrovnik, with a palm tree-lined ocean front, fancy yachts in the harbour, ocean view lunch spots and sun loungers for hire. If you walk round the other side, you’ll be able to hire jet skis or try your hand at paddle boarding. We hired a jet ski and headed out away from the bay, when a storm began rolling in and the company ceased all other hires. The sexy, flowing beach hair type vision I had in my head of us zipping around across the ocean was replaced with crashing waves, streaming noses and so much salty water in our eyes that we had to keep closing them and driving blind but oh my goodness it was so funny, and definitely something to consider on a calmer day!
Dubrovnik Old Town
Wander round the Old Town, get lost in the winding alleys and absorb the historic atmosphere. Our favourite thing was to get ice creams (or sorbet in my case) after dinner and to walk around the town later on with no real aim other than to explore, talk and make the most of the balmy nights. During the day, you can walk the circumference of the old city walls, look across the ocean and see the city from all angles. For Game of Thrones fans, there’s even a special tour you can go on as lots of the series is filmed there…
Hop on the cable car to get to Srd Hill for panoramic views, enjoy a meal at Panorama Restaurant and experience the craziness of dirt buggying!
For something a little different, a rush of adrenaline and awesome views, definitely check out Buggy Safari! You can take panoramic photos at the top, bond with the wild horses and drive crazily without worrying about damaging your car! Just don’t make my mistake of wearing white – you WILL end up covered head-to-toe in brown dust and there’s really no escaping it. We wore sunglasses (highly recommended to help protect your eyes a little, although they’ll still be filled with dust by the end of it!) and when I removed them at the end you should have seen Paddy’s reaction…he literally doubled over crying with laughter at my panda bear type appearance. White-rimmed eyes and the rest of me brown with dust! But hey, it was super fun! Also just a reminder that you’ll have to pay for the cable car up to get to the start of the safari.
Feeding the local street cats
You all know what huge animal-lovers we both are, so it may not surprise you that we tried to make friends with all the local alley cats! I actually bought a bag of cat biscuits from a local store and carried them round in my handbag at all times, just in case we spotted some!!
Some of our favourite spots for photos included:
Take the cable car up to Srd Hill to enjoy breath-taking views of the Old City, bright blue Adriatic Sea and rolling hills surrounding it.
If you walk up the hill you’ll get some awesome high-up views of the ocean and island below.
It’s impossible for palm trees, yachts and blue skies to ever look bad!
Crumbling local alleyways
These always make good photo backdrops and you’re less likely to have crowds of people in the frame behind you!