Returning to Dubrovnik I fall in love every time. No matter how many times I’ve admired the glittering lights across the Adriatic Sea, or sat on my hotel balcony at night gazing in awe at the illuminated Old Town – it’s a scene that I just cannot pry my eyes away from.
Despite the inevitable crowds, it’s still possible to find times and places to soak up the city’s charm in near solitude. It might mean getting up early, working up a sweat, or trusting a local when he suggests you take a backroad. Here are a few tips for a dreamy Dubrovnik experience:
Walk the walls first thing
Almost everyone ends up walking the medieval city walls at some stage during their visit, and rightly so. Encircling the city, the walls are a great testament to times gone by and provide spectacular birds-eye vistas over the Adriatic Sea, towards Lokrum Island and across the Old Town itself. Like many other sights around town, they also feature prominently in Game of Thrones. Conquer the walls early (right when they open in the morning, around 8am in Summer) and you’ll have the breathtaking views almost to yourself.
Catch the early boat
Lokrum Island, about 15 minutes across the bay, is a fabulous place to while away a few hours. There are walking trails, a Benedictine monastery, a freshwater lake to dip your feet in, and peacocks! Water taxis leave the Old Town port for Lokrum throughout the day, but catching the first (and least popular) vessel at around 9am means that you have a shot at one glorious hour of peace and quiet before the next disembarkation.
Hike up Srd mountain for a sunset picnic
Srd mountain is the local hill that rises up right behind Dubrovnik, from which the town was shelled during the war. It offers up great views across the city itself, the surrounding islands, and even into Montenegro. Of course, the cable car is the easiest way to get up there, but if you’re up for it, there’s a well-defined hiking trail that has you zigzag up the mountain in about an hour or so. Once you make it to the top, our friends at Piknik Dubrovnik reward you with an alfresco dinner with a view, which makes the effort all the more worthwhile, I promise.
Peljesac like a local
Whether you’re into wine or oysters or both, the Peljesac peninsula about 1.5 hours North of Dubrovnik is a worthwhile stop on your Dalmatian itinerary, particularly if you entrust your day’s agenda to a local resident who knows the backroads and a guy who knows a guy.
Claudia is a pig, who knows a guy, who knows a guy – in an astonishing number of countries, but especially Croatia where she returns for vacation as often as for research. Email her here to get started talking about a trip.