I can be a bit full-on when traveling, trying to fit as much as I can into a day; wanting to appreciate every square centimetre of a new destination. Although I am highly partial to this pace – preferring to rest in between destinations on trains, planes or automobiles (which I’ve become disturbing good at doing*) – it’s often nice to be brought down to a slower pace whether by a companion or the destination. The company of my brother who was feeling a little under the weather coupled with the seaside atmosphere of Dubrovnik did just this, leaving me feeling like I was floating without outlines. If this sounds ideal to you here’s my recommended list of five must-do things in the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
Side note: I once fell asleep on the tarmac at Dublin Airport and woke up on the tarmac at Amsterdam Airport!
1. Walk the Old Town Walls
Either by means of the endless stairs making you walk up only to walk back down or the picturesque views of the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea offered from above, this walk is sure to take your breath away. Although the walk itself takes as little as 2 hours of your day, as there are multiple entrance paths up to the walls you can actually tour the town via that old walls; walking down to the town at each gate to explore that quarter of the charming town or perhaps check out one of the many ‘hole in the wall’ cliff-side beach bars along the wall.
2. Take a Sunset Kayak to Lokrum Island
Ready, steady, paddle! As much as I loved walking the old town walls, this was definitely the highlight of my trip to Dubrovnik. Although day-time kayaks are offered, I couldn’t recommend enough waiting for the sunset option as the sight of the sunset alongside the Old Town walls from the sea is the best reward after kayaking 7+ km of the Adriatic Sea. Oh and in amidst paddling along the impressive city walls you get the chance to snorkel at a private cave beach.
3. Visit the Lovrijenac Fortress
If you take advantage of the kayaking trip, this is the starting point. I’d also recommend a morning visit when the kayaks are all docked and people are scarce to truly appreciate the beauty of this spot (and to pretend you’re Sansa Stark of course). Built upon a 37-metre high rock overlooking Dubrovnik’s Old Town and the Adriatic sea, a visit to the Lovrijenac Fortress is worthwhile for the views over the Old Town/Kings Landing in itself. Additionally, if you have already purchased your Old Town Wall permit you can enter for free.
4. Take a Cable Car up to the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence
We almost skipped this one due to the 15euro price tag for the cable car alone, but luckily after researching the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence that sits atop the hill, we decided to take the chance. The Museum costs a mere 20 kunas (~4AUD) extra to enter (even less so for students) and caters for the novice to the intermediate history buff educating you on arguably the most important event in Dubrovnik’s history. Additionally, although you may think the view from the cable car station is epic, just wait till you climb up to the roof of the museum…
5. Go for a sunset swim at one of the many cliff beaches
Basically any time you’re not sleeping or sightseeing you should be doing this – the ultimate in relaxation and adrenaline. The most esteemed is Buza bar. The easiest way to find Buza Bar coming from the main street of Strandun is to climb the stairs leading up from Gunduliceva (this is the square with the outdoor food market behind the Cathedral). From there pass through the large courtyard and then follow the street along to the right, keeping the city walls next to your left hand. Look for the sign promising cold drinks and you will sooner or later encounter a hole in the wall and be lured in by the sounds of summer. Also, be on the lookout for the stunning Karaka ship as it leaves the Old Town harbour. This ship featured in Game of Thrones runs a number of tours each day (inc. a Game of Thrones tour) which you can read more about here.
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