Wednesday, September 7, 2016

24 Hours in Dubrovnik, Croatia

For those of you who are new here, I spent 2 weeks of April in Europe. Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro & Venice. You can find the rest of my recaps here. While I was only able to spend a day or two in each city I visited, I did everything I could to make the most of it. I could have spent another few days exploring everything I wanted to, but, for those of you who are like me, and have only a short time to spare, here's how to make it count.


Dubrovnik may have been my favorite city from my trip to Europe. It was Croatia, exactly as I had pictured it before I left the States, with old stone buildings and classic terra cotta roofs. Plenty to do, I could have easily spent 2 - 3 more days exploring the city & the surrounding areas. But, time is short, and I would rather get a taste of as many places as I can.


Dubrovnik sits along the Dalmatian Coast, along the Adriatic Sea. It's an old walled city and I spent most of my time inside the Old City. There are a few nearby islands - and I'm told day trips there are quite popular and easy to come by, but I did not take the opportunity. This is also the time to tack on a day trip to Montenegro, the Bay of Kotor and the city of Kotor is only a 2 hour drive from Dubrovnik. 

While my hotel sat outside of the old city, the bus system was impressive. For just a few kuna (local Croatian currency) I was able to ride the bus to the Old City & back to my hotel. This is definitely the way to go. You can easily spend your whole day within walking distance of the bus stop & then hop back on when you're ready crash.


You'll enter the Old City through the city gate, known as the Pile Gate, shown above. We lucked out that there was not a cruise ship in port on the day we visited. I'm told the ships that dock here often have 5,000 + passengers who all descend on the city at once, like locusts, making a tour of the city nearly impossible.


Dubrovnik's Old Town is very compact. The streets and alleyways are made of stone, and the entirety of the area within the walls is car free. While it can be easy to get turned around in a maze of stairways and back alleys, you're never really "lost" in Dubrovnik. The city is walled, and is all centered around a main square and clock tower.


After walking through the center of Old Town we headed to climb the walls. Tickets to the wall, which also include admission to Fort Lovrijenac are 120 HRK (Kuna) which is about $18 USD.


The history of Dubrovnik is incredible. The walls were built in the 13th century to protect the city, which at the time was known as the Republic of Dubrovnik. Construction of pieces of the walls began as early as the 7th century. Even more amazing is that they stand intact today, stretching over 6,000+ feet around the city. 


The walls were never breached by enemy armies and they withstood even bombings throughout the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990's.


While the wall itself survived the bombings of the early 1990's the rest of Dubrovnik was not so lucky, over 65% of the buildings inside the walls were hit by projectiles and suffered some sort of damage. Which makes the standing of the walls even more incredible.




The terrain of the wall is far from even, and there are lots of stairs, especially in the first half of the wall, if you start near the port. Once you leave the wall your ticket is done, but there is only one vendor on the wall, so make sure to bring water and a snack or two since walking the full length can take 2+ hours, even more if you stop every 4 seconds to take pictures like I did.






As we neared the end of the wall we had one last look at Fort Lovrijenac where we planned to explore next (since our tickets from the wall got us in for free), but first, we headed back into the center of Old Town for some lunch.


We lucked out and found a place called Kamenice. The wait was nonexistent, and we sat down at a table outside, on their covered patio area. My friend and I split mussels, which were from just a few minutes away. They came in a garlic wine sauce with delicious breadcrumbs. While I can't remember exact costs I think my meal, with wine, came out to ~$10-15 USD.


After lunch it was off to Fort Lovrijenac. the entrance is just outside the Pile Gate, there are quite a few stairs up to the top, but the views are well worth it.


I split with my friends after we explored Fort Lovrijenac, they headed back to the hotel, while I opted to stay in town. I spied a park & some trees up on the hill past the Fort, though for the life of me now Google Maps shows nothing of the sort. I walked through the trees, enjoyed some time on a bench and eventually found this view.


It's hard to see here, but the rocks are really a "beach" of sorts. I made my way down there next and dipped my toes into the water before heading back inside the city walls.


I spent the next hour or so wandering the back alleys and climbing the steps through the side streets of the Old Town. I was on the hunt for a place to eat dinner. One with lots of fresh seafood on the menu. I finally settled on Gusti Bistro, in an alley just off the main throughway. Their squid ink risotto caught my eye.


I ordered it without a moment's hesitation, it contained fresh mussels, squid, octopus, cuttlefish and a few other sea creatures I can't quite remember. The squid ink gave it the dark black color and a deep salty flavor. It was absolutely delicious.



BUT, as you'll see from the before and after did quite a number on my mouth! Dear Internet, you're welcome.


After dinner I hopped on a bus back towards my hotel, hopping off a few stops early to walk the rest of the way. A beautiful pedestrian only promenade with dozens of restaurants and bars paralleled the Adriatic. A perfect way to end the day.

Have you ever been to Dubrovnik?
Squid Ink Risotto - yay or nay?
How do you decide where to eat when you travel?



I’m linking up with AmandaLovePastaToolBeltv+  Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderful Wednesday

22 comments:

  1. Looks gorgeous! I hope to travel like this one day :)

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    1. Thanks lady! Do it, once your budget plan comes together you'll be able to hope on that money saving train!

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  2. OHHHHHHHHHHHH- your tongue. Squid ink. I just think of Finding Nemo :) haha
    It all looks so 'back in history'... beautiful.

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    1. It was very 'back in history' which I loved - so different from anything I've seen here in the States.

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  3. Oh, your photos are beautiful! I'd never even heard of this city before. As far as finding places to eat when we travel, I'll do some research online in advance to find places recommended by locals. But then it's a mix of those places and whatever happens to look good when we're hungry!

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    1. I'm usually all about the online research, but something about this trip, I loved wandering around finding a place that smelled & looked good. It served me well.

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  4. Dubrovnik looks like such a gorgeous place. It's definitely somewhere I would like to visit. I've seen a few people blog about Croatia and Dubrovnik in particular and each time it makes me want to go more.

    I've never been to Croatia but I have been to a few of the countries around there and it's such a wonderful area. I love Eastern Europe as a place to explore.

    ~ K

    www.lifeasunusuals.com

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    1. I absolutely loved Croatia. So many wonderful cities worth visiting, and surprisingly affordable too.

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  5. This brought back some good memories for me. I think the last time I was in Croatia was as a teenager, but I remember Dubrovnik and the coast. Such a lovely place.

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    1. So glad to hear that! It was beautiful & we lucked out with perfect weather, sunshine & a cool breeze.

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  6. You rocked this post . . . sounds like such a cool place to visit. I would never in a million years eat your squid dish, but I'm not an adventurous eater . . . and I don't care for seafood. I think it's awesome that you're willing to dive right in though!!! Ha!

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    1. Haha I didn't grow up as an adventurous eater, so my Mom still always laughs when people say that I am. Not sure what I thought squid ink would taste like, but I'm glad I tried it!

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  7. The more I read about Dubrovnik, the more I want to visit! It looks so beautiful and that's crazy that there wasn't any damage to the walls during the war! And that picture after you had the squid ink risotto is too funny!

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    1. Definitely slap Dubrovnik at the top of your bucket list. There are so many other great cities nearby too. And the history is just incredible!

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  8. squid ink risotto is amazing. i once had a abalone dish with squid ink as the sauce and it was delicious!

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    1. Yum! That sounds like a dish I would definitely order.

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  9. What an absolutely gorgeous place to explore!

    I am totally intrigued by that squid ink risotto! I feel like it would totally throw my brain off to look at but it sounds like it was delicious!

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    1. It was weird, it was black & saucy, and I realized as I saw the dish turning black after I ate that my tongue was probably doing the same thing. Not a good first date dish. Haha

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  10. It looks so stunning. I've been to Croatia but haven't made it to Dubrovnik yet. You've convinced me I must. #WanderlustWednesday

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    1. Yes, yes, yes. Where in Croatia have you visited?

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  11. I've been dying to get to Croatia for so long now! All those amazing views enhanced by orange tiled roofs are just too much! And what a great lunch deal you found! Those mussels look delish! :D

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    1. Pretty much everything I ate in Croatia was what I would consider a great deal. Even when I splurged on dinner, appetizer, entree & dessert + drink it was still cheaper than a regular old restaurant meal in the US.

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