We have no idea how people can say that Dubrovnik is underwhelming. A city so rich in history, culture and beauty, it is a must see if you decide to visit Croatia.

We visited Dubrovnik in October and whilst it was a little cold, it didn’t deter people from swimming in the crystal clear azure of the Adriatic Ocean. We stayed outside of the main city, just a short bus trip away and it was also within walking distance so we didn’t need to try find parking.

Our first impression of the city was one of wonder and awe. Lora, being of Croatian heritage, was taken back to her childhood seeing images on the television, seeing the war and hearing about the bloodshed.

But it was completely polarising, it didn’t even look like a war had torn through Dubrovnik, however, upon digging a little deeper and you could see some remnants of the war.


[divider]THE DALMATION FOOD[/divider]

Every corner you turn around in Dubrovnik is quintessentially European; the wine, seafood, antipasto and the coffee or in Croatian “Crna Kava”. The aromas got us as a little excited as we love and indulge in local cuisine .As we walked through the main square the restaurants smelt absolutely delicious. Mental notes taken, Skampi na Buzzaru was definitely on the menu for dinner.

But before we even thought of food we needed to work up an appetite.

We decided to walk the city walls and gain a bird’s eye view of the city walls. WOW – this is a must do!! It is cheap cultural experience and we guarantee that you will be amazed and walked away with some amazing photographs. It is a gentle walk, so don’t be frightened if you think you need to be fit. The walk costs 100 kuna and the walls close at 7.00pm.

We continued to explore the city after the city walls walk with the aim of finding Buza Bar. Nestled in the city walls right on the edge of the water is a quirky bar experience. You will find many people here enjoying a cold refreshment (or two), enjoying the view that Dubrovnik and the Adriatic. I can only imagine how amazing this would be in the peak of summer. Crystal, blue, sparkling water and crisp glass of moscato. Sounds like a match made in heaven!

For dinner that evening, we traced our footsteps back to a hidden little gem of a restaurant where we saw Skampi na Buzzaru. This is a typical Croatian seafood dish where the skampi are cooked in a tomato sauce with lots of garlic, white wine and parsley. Pierre ordered the grilled meat selection which again, is a typical Croatian meal. Both meals were to die for! So damn delicious! The waiter was extremely friendly and so happy that young tourists had come to visit in the off season. He also liked to laugh at my Australian-Croatian accent. He even shouted us to some traditional Croatian liquor, a Pelinkovac for Pierre and a Kruskovac for me. This is pretty funny considering neither of us really drink. But to be respectful, I drank them both as Pierre is a wimp – HA!

After dinner we continued to stroll around the city, taking pictures of the amazing architecture. It looks even more picturesque at night. The glistening stone floors and the clear night sky, coupled with laughter and music coming from the restaurants and bars is a great way to end the night.

The following day we headed off the catch the cable cars up to Mt Srd. We were both looking forward to the amazing view that would await us at the top of the mountain. A round trip only costs around 100 kuna and is definitely worth the trip.

[divider]THE VIEW POINTS, HISTORY[/divider]

However, the history behind the mountain is what is we wanted to see and learn about. The fort was built in the early 1800’s and was heavily involved in the Croatian War of Independence. We visited the museum and learnt about the history of the war surrounding Dubrovnik. This was of particular interest to Pierre as he has a keen interest in warfare. The museum has plenty to see, old photographs, video footage, mortar shells, expelled bullets and the remains of fortress itself.

Coming back to the old city, it is amazing to see the work that has been done to restore Dubrovnik to its former glory. They are a resilient bunch of people that have healed the superficial scars of the city walls but the scars within, I’m sure will remain for quite some time.

If we visited in summer, there would have been plenty of swimming at many of the beaches on offer in Dubrovnik. A spot of kayaking would be a cool way to see the city walls from a different perspective, plus it’s a great way to work up an appetite!

We will be back one day, in summer we both agree.

After our short stay in Dubrovnik we headed back up north along the Adriatic towards Split to visit some of my relatives and see some of the islands. The drive in itself is amazing; heading through Makarska is just beautiful!

With so much to offer, why wouldn’t you want to visit Croatia.

[divider]WHERE TO STAY[/divider]

With a variety of options of accommodation throughout Croatia, it isn’t hard to find somewhere right in the center of town or just on the outskirts. We opted to stay just outside of The Old Town which made it easier knowing we could leave our rental car at the hotel and grab a bus and get into the City without any hassle of trying to find a park or worry about the car.

We aren’t a fan of large hotels and much prefer the smaller boutique and bed & breakfast style accommodation available as this not only saves you a few dollars but you often stay with a family who are not only proud of their heritage but offer a great insight to their history, culture and more so…. food with the usual amazing Croatian hospitality.

[divider]TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUBROVNIK[/divider]

Explore Dubrovnik Old Town City Walls & Forts – no visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk around this beautiful historic city walls that if could speak would tell a thousand tales of beauty to horrors. From the top the view over the old town and gorgeous Adriatic Seas can only be seen to be believed, a must do for any visitor.Grab a cable car to the top – The cable car takes you from downtown Dubrovnik to almost 800m to Mount Srd and is a brief 5 minute ride only. As you can imagine, the view down is simply spectacular that not only shows the amazing old town but offers panoramic views right across the Adriatic Sea and Dubrovnik itself. There is also a cafe / bar up top that you can grab something to eat and drink to relax and take the view in.Have a drink at one of Dubrovnik cliff bars – Buza 1 and Buza 2 are 2 very small bars located on the cliffs, just at the edge of the city walls. Both cliff bars are incredibly popular so grab a rock if you can’t find chair, soak up some ssun and if the weather is good go for a swim or just watch the sunset over the Adriatic.Explore Dubrovnik museums – some are not a fan of museums, but a brief walk through to see some of the relics and history of this beautiful City and Country is definitely something we would recommend to any type of traveller.  This includes the Ethnographic Museum Rupe which is located in the back streets of the old town (marked down on local maps, easy to find), a Dominican Monastery also contains quite a bit of artwork from ancient Dubrovnik as well as very beautiful architecture and stonework for those who are fascinated by Dubrovnik’s stone landscape. Lastly there is the Gornji Ugao, originally a cannon foundry its quite large and is over 600 sqm, and preserved all the parts of the product process – quite interesting actually and the guides are very help (as they all are actually) so would be worth considering least

Eat the food, again eat the food and one last time EAT THE FOOD. Don’t be afraid to try dishes that are not known to you, Croatia boasts some of the most amazing cuisine and wines in the world. You would be absolutely crazy to not try just a small amount of the very large offering.

Stradun of Dubrovnik – Grab some ice cream and go for a walk, explore, enjoy, meet the locals and relax. Its busy throughout the day and busy at night, whether its for a coffee, ice-cream or eating at a local restaurant.