October 23, 2017

Exploring Dubrovnik, Croatia

When we decided to go to Croatia, I knew I wanted to start our trip in Dubrovnik. I wanted to be on the water and see Mediterranean Croatia. If you missed my last post on Croatia, you'll see that it wasn't quite what I expected but that doesn't mean I didn't love our time there.

We originally planned for two nights in Dubrovnik but our plans got derailed when we missed our connecting flight from Munich. I have another post on this planned for another day but Airbnb doesn't have the most flexible policies so we had no option to change our travel plans, which was really disappointing.

Our flight landed at 4 pm and we had booked a 6 pm food tour so we were definitely in a time crunch! We deplaned, got our bags, and took a taxi to where we were staying. We checked in, freshened up, and ran to Old Town to catch our tour! I went on my first food tour in Paris on our honeymoon and since then, food tours are my absolute favorite way to explore a city!

We booked the Old Town Food Tour with Dubrovnik Food Tours, which was a great experience! Our guide, Hamo, was born and raised in Dubrovnik but spent some time living in the U.S. We started with wine, cheese, and prosciutto at a fantastic little wine bar right in the Old Town.

We sat down for a full Croatian meal at a restaurant, Lucin Kantun, owned by a young couple, and not a single thing on the menu disappointed! We learned about the history of Dubrovnik, namely, how much it has changed since the war (for better and for worse) and I tried so many different foods that I had never had before, like octopus and cuttlefish to name a few!

We ended our evening with a stop at another wine bar, Matusko, and dessert at Pupica Patisserie, which is the only bakery left in Dubrovnik that makes authentic Croatian desserts, none of which disappointed!

Along the way, we explored all different parts of the city and got some great recommendations for restaurants and shops to check out while we were there.

When we woke up the next morning, I was excited to really get to dive into the city. I love starting a trip off with a food tour, usually within the first day or two, but I also like having some time on my own to explore beforehand!

This was the view we woke up to from our Airbnb.

We started our only full day in Dubrovnik back in Old Town to walk the walls! Dubrovnik is an old fort city and walking the walls is an absolute must! I recommend going early, we were one of the first people there and by the time we finished, it really started to get crowded! From the walls, not only do you get incredible views of the sea, but you can see all of Old Town while channeling your inner medieval sentry!

When we finished walking the walls, we took a ferry to Lokrum Island, which everyone had told us was worth seeing. The ferry ride was short but was definitely beautiful but once we got to the Island, I didn't really understand why it was so highly recommended.

There were a few restaurants, all of which were wildly overpriced, and the places where you could get to the water weren't exactly easy to access, especially the beach. We spent maybe an hour on the island before heading back to Old Town for lunch.

This was one of the beaches on Lokrum
I mentioned this in my last post, but I was really surprised that the food in Croatia was so different than in Bosnia! So when we found a Bosnian restaurant (ironically called Taj Mahal), we opted to go there so I could get my fix of one of my favorite cuisines!

After lunch, we wandered the city for a bit, exploring all of the (literal) ups and downs of the alleyways and side streets before heading to the War Photo Limited.

War Photo Unlimited is a photo gallery that chronicles the war in the Balkans in the 90s, which I really wanted to see and highly recommend. When I was in graduate school, I went to Bosnia and Serbia on a trip to understand the aftermath of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. I was disappointed that I missed Croatia on that trip but I thought this museum would give a powerful insight into the Croatian side of the story, which it did. It was heartbreaking but also really informative and very well done. I highly recommend this Exhibit if you're visiting Dubrovnik. I think it's important to learn about a place you're visiting, especially given how recent the conflict in Croatia was and that some of the very buildings we were eating in or visiting, had been burned down during the war. 

It was super hot when we left the museum, so we made a pitstop at Dolce Vita for a repeat of the gelato we had had the night before on our tour. I'm telling you guys - this gelato is the best I've ever had! We took our gelato and headed to the beach.

Banje Beach was just a short stroll from our place but when we got there, it was mobbed and the beach was way too hot and stony to walk on without water shoes! The Pilot and I tried to go into the water which was ice cold. As hot as it was, it didn't even feel good how cold it was! He stayed in for a bit while I sat on a rock for a few minutes and read. When his lips turned blue, we headed back to our place to change for dinner.

For dinner, we went to a place that was highly recommended by some friends who had just left Croatia called Lady PiPi. If you make it to Dubrovnik, I'll leave it to you to find out why it's called that! The restaurant is tiny and only has about a dozen tables so we waited outside for quite a bit before being seated but it was well worth it - for both the views and the mussels!

When we left dinner, it was getting dark out but we headed to Mala Buza for a nightcap. This bar is amazing! It's literally built into the side of the wall and is a series of cliffs looking out onto the water. We listened to the waves crashing, watched the boats going by, and enjoyed a round of drinks before calling it a night!

Sadly, it was our last night in Dubrovnik. I'm disappointed that we were there for such a short time and didn't get the chance to leave the Old Town. While I wish we had been given the extra day we planned for, I still think we made the most of our time there!  

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