I've been lucky to have some really great trips in the past year or so, and in preparation for these trips I read quite a lot of blogs - I love getting tips from people and hearing their stories when we're planning where to go, what to see and what to eat (pretty big priority for me). I thought I'd write about my trips in case they are of interest or help to other people planning their trips - it's something I've been meaning to do on all my recent holidays but it's that typical thing where photography is my job but photos for my own pleasure always come last and I never seem to have the time to process all the pictures I take when I'm away.
This Easter Tim and I went on a brilliant trip - we flew to Dubrovnik and travelled by bus to Mostar, Sarajevo, and Zagreb, spending a few days in each before flying back from Trieste. I thought the easiest thing would be to do one blog for each stop on the trip.
We flew from Stansted to Dubrovnik on Easter Sunday - Jet2.com lived up to their claims and were very friendly and cheerful so early in the morning! We got the shuttle bus to the Old Town and headed straight to our hotel, the Prijeko Palace - a great location with friendly and helpful staff and a room absolutely full of art (and a 3 foot Jesus). It was a little drizzly when we arrived but quite nice weather for walking (and probably made it a little quieter). We took our handy Rick Steves' guide to Croatia and Slovenia and headed out to explore.
Rick Steves mentions the cliff-side bars in his guide - we found where Buza I should be, but there wasn't a bar there at that time, I'm not sure if it's just open in the summer or if it had closed down. It's a great location though - found by going through the entrance daubed with 'No topless, no nudist'. We spent a bit of time here watching the sea crashing against the rocks. People obeyed the rules and didn't take their clothes off.
There are a lot of cats in Dubrovnik, a LOT. Here is one to illustrate that.
We managed to find Café Buza - the other cliffside bar, which was open, found by following the 'Cold Drinks with the most beautiful view' sign. We enjoyed an Ožujsko and waited for the rain to reach us. The sign was right - it was beautiful.
We wandered all around the Old Town and the Old Port. We're Game of Thrones watchers so we did enjoy the many filming locations in Dubrovnik, like the Jesuit Stairs (they feature in season 5).
For dinner we turned to trusty Trip Advisor and opted for Lucin Kantun, which was near our hotel. The food was delicious! We shared stuffed squid and carpaccio tapas to start, I had pork with a honey mash and Tim had beef pasta. Really tasty! I did take a picture but it was on my phone and the light wasn't great so it doesn't look as appetising as it really did - I was on holiday!
Monday was much better weather! We headed to the Old Port entrance to the City Walls and followed the route round. It's 150kn which is about £19 at the moment, but it also includes entrance to Fort Lovrijenac outside the city walls, something we didn't realise at first. The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and warm but not too hot (though pretty bright for photos) - I imagine in the summer the heat gets pretty tough! Allow plenty of time for this as if you're anything like me you'll most likely be stopping to take photos every few steps. There are incredible views across the Old Town (King's Landing), the Adriatic and the Stradun.
Circuit complete, we headed out of the Old Town and grabbed a sandwich for lunch. I'd seen on the Frank About Croatia blog that there was a park nearby so we set out to find it - Gradac Park, a peaceful shady park with gorgeous views for sandwich eating and an extra GoT location too. It was whilst sitting here looking at Fort Lovrijenac (and Googling it) that we discovered it was included in the ticket for the City Walls, so we had a look round that too for more amazing views.
Because we like to get as much out of each day as possible, we then headed to the Cable Car on Mount Srd. We love a cable car/chairlift/funicular and always seek them out on holiday! It's 140kn (about £17.50) for a return trip or there's also a hiking trail if you're feeling energetic. We'd already clocked up a significant amount of steps so we went for the return. The trip itself is lovely and the views at the top are incredible - of Dubrovnik Old Town, Lokrum Island, and turning around you get a great view of the mountains. I think Tim said you can see 3 countries at one time.
There's a lovely restaurant at the top called Panorama - they have an inside area and an outside one, where we managed to secure an edge seat for a couple of coffees and beers. Although it was a hot day it gets pretty windy so the blankets they provide were appreciated!
We should really have come up slightly later and we'd have had an amazing view of the sunset, but having stretched out our drinks for as long as we realistically could, we headed back down and went for pizza at Oliva Pizzeria - tasty and very reasonable pizzas were just what we needed after all that walking! We even managed to catch a glimpse of sunset and the dance of the swifts (or swallows?) by whizzing over to Café Buza.
Another glorious day - we grabbed some pastries from the local shop and headed to the Lokrum ferry - a return ticket is 150kn (approx. £19) and includes entry to the island - from what we saw online, if you use a company other than the official ferry that goes from the Old Port, you may also have to pay entry to the island, which is a nature reserve, so be aware of that. It was a lovely short boat ride across and although the boat was really full, once you get to the island you can easily get away from the crowd (although we did keep crossing paths with the same couple over and over and doing that polite/awkward nod thing). We got off the boat and popped into the pink building (the forest ranger's house) where we picked up a free map before having our breakfast picnic on the rocks. The map was useful but for some reason Lokrum is quite disorientating. I'm generally pretty good with directions but we quite frequently weren't exactly sure where we were. Not that it particularly mattered as we were just wandering.
There are a LOT of peacocks, peahens and rabbits on Lokrum, particularly near the Benedictine Monastery of St Mary, where there is a play-park and picnic area. It's also where most of the people are. There's an interesting exhibition on the history of the island and of Game of Thrones (yup, it's another location!) and you can take a photo on an Iron Throne (for free, unlike the one in Old Town)
We headed through the olive grove, up the Path of Paradise (Rajski Put) to Fort Royal for more stunning views and a great place for today's sandwiches.
After a short rest back at our hotel (and an ice cream en-route from Sladoledarna - delicious and super-cheap, yes, we had one every day) we decided on Azur for dinner, a 'fusion' restaurant with absolutely delicious food and wonderful service. We shared a starter of chicken and chorizo tacos (a food highlight of the holiday), I had meatballs in curry coconut sauce, Tim had chicken curry with button mushrooms, we had a gorgeous bottle of wine recommended by our really helpful waitress (who also gave us some tips for Zagreb) and we even went for dessert - chocolate orange cake for me and tapioca for Tim. It was an amazing meal and real treat for us (wine by the bottle is not cheap in Croatia). We wandered around for last looks at Old Town by night.
Another beautiful day for our last morning in Dubrovnik. We had our breakfast on a bench in the Old Port and walked around to make sure we hadn't missed too much. We went out of the Ploče Gate and looked back over the Old Town and the beach - I'll never forget the gorgeous colour of that sea!
We still had time before we had to leave to catch the bus so we went back to Buza I and sat against the wall in the sun, watching the sea, wandered around the streets a bit more, stopped for a coffee and people watching on the Stradrun.
Then it was time to leave for our next destination - Mostar! The bus station is a little way out of the town, in the main port. There is a bus that goes there but as we had a couple of bags we got an Uber from outside the city walls. We'd allowed plenty of time so we didn't miss the bus, which gave us time to go to the supermarket next door and get some lunch and snacks for the bus. The bus was then half an hour late. It was a pleasant journey with plenty to look at through the window, but having to go through several borders took time.
Dubrovnik was absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend visiting. I hope you found the blog interesting and I'll be back again soon with my Notes from Mostar!
This post is not sponsored (it was just my holiday!) but I have included some affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are all companies I have used myself, recommend and think will be of use.
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