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Europe

Dubrovnik old town – explore Croatia

June 16, 2019
Girl overlooking Dubrovnik Croatia

View from city wallsCroatia was my favorite stop during my most recent trip to Europe. I’ve been to a lot of beautiful cities, but Dubrovnik old town was hands-down the most unique due to the city walls. I’m not a Game of Thrones fan, but I couldn’t help but feel transported to medieval times walking around this historic area.

city walls dubrovnik

Walking the city walls

Fortress in dubrovnik

The fortress in Dubrovnik aka King’s Landing

Street in Dubrovnik

We stayed in a cool airbnb that had an atmospheric stone interior, however this did lend to a slightly damp feeling in the room. (If you’re not an airbnb member click here to sign up with my affiliate link and get $40 toward your first stay!) If you need a larger place to stay our amazing tour guide Barbara’s family has a four-bedroom rental.

Girl overlooking Banje beach

Overlooking Banje beach

View from the city walls Dubrovnik

View from the city walls with the island of Lokrum in the distance

Walk of shame steps Dubrovnik

The “Walk of Shame” steps is a popular photo spot

Dubrovnik city walls view

Viewpoint from the city walls

To get to Dubrovnik old town from the airport we booked a taxi transfer through our boutique hotel and were slightly confused to arrive at the main parking lot near the cable car. This is normal! It was a short walk to our accommodation and although Google maps didn’t work perfectly inside the walled city, it led us to our street no problem. For our airport return we took the bus leaving from cable car parking lot that was so much cheaper than a taxi and really easy! Also it is important to have plenty of kuna, the local currency.

St Blasius church Dubrovnik

St. Blasius church

This is a city that I 100% recommend a backpack and no rolling luggage. On our day trip to Montenegro we heard horror stories from a family who had to painfully drag their huge suitcases all the way through the city. Because of the way it is built the streets in Dubrovnik old town are largely comprised of tons of stairs. To me this is beautiful and just adds to the medieval feel, however I imagine it would be very difficult for the disabled and those needing wheelchair accessibility.

Steep steps in Dubrovnik

On our first afternoon we took the cable car up to an amazing viewpoint. This is operated through a private company and quite expensive. I recommend it because the views of the city are really amazing but it did feel very overpriced (170 kuna for a round trip). You can also hike up to Mount Srd for the same view. *I read that the cable car is currently closed so check before you go.* To get there we walked along Banje Beach (pronounced Ban-yay) which was really picturesque. There is also a nice restaurant and bar along the water where we opted for a glass of wine overlooking the harbor.

Dubrovnik croatia

The next day we woke up early to hike the city walls. If you are visiting Dubrovnik old town during peak tourist season try to get there as early as possible! In April it was fine to arrive at 10 as it wasn’t very crowded then and took us about two hours total to walk. We entered through the gate near Saint Blasius after meeting up with our awesome tour guide Barbara. I highly recommend her she was very knowledgeable and spent so much time showing us around.

City walls dubrovnik

main street Dubrovnik from the city walls

View of the main street Stradun or Place that leads to Pile Gate

The walls have jaw-dropping views and you can walk the perimeter of the entire city and see everything. It is not strenuous or very slippery, but if you have a fear of heights it may be difficult. As you walk you will see that some places are not yet rebuilt from the war in the early 90s. Some of these areas are now archeological sites. After we completed the circle Barbara also showed us a small and very peaceful monastery off the main street. Inside they operate a pharmacy selling ancient remedies!

View from city walls

Did you know Dubrovnik was part of an ancient Greek colony called Epidaurus?

On our last day in Dubrovnik we took a day trip to Montenegro. It’s pretty easy to take tours from Croatia to neighboring countries so definitely something to look in to if you would like to see more of that part of Europe.

A quick search of vegan restaurants in Dubrovnik (and a popular guidebook) both led me to Nishta. However, I found the dedicated vegan/vegetarian/raw spot to be crowded and had trouble getting questions answered about the menu. So we walked back to a restaurant I’d seen on Happy Cow, Lanii. This place was amazing! The servers are so kind and happy to accommodate special diets. I ended up having vegetable spring rolls and a bowl of rice noodles with veggies and an Asian sauce. (I think the sauce may have had honey so make sure to be specific on what you can eat so they can alter it). We ended up coming back the next night and the chef whipped me up a delicious pasta dish with roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, pepper and chili flakes. I can’t say enough good things about the carrot ginger soup as a starter (they will modify to not have cream). Go there!

Pasta dish from Lanii

Asian past from Lanii

Overall Dubrovnik is high on my list of places to return to. I was able to see a lot in three days but I also would have liked to take a tour on a 16th century (replica) ship or been able to also visit Mostar (city in Bosnia and Herzegovina) for another day trip. You can also sail to the island of Lokrum, just outside of Dubrovnik. I’d also like to check out other places in Croatia like the best Split beaches.

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  • Reply
    Heather
    June 22, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing! We will be in Dubrovnik in a few months. Definitely going to try the vegan-friendly restaurant you recommended!

  • Reply
    Stuart Fahy
    June 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Croatia looks amazing! I’ve never been that far east in Europe but hopefully some time soon. Really good article, Summer.

  • Reply
    Adele Gee
    September 6, 2019 at 7:30 am

    I was in Dubrovnik years ago – long before the Game of Throne filming locations were known. There were way less tourists on the beautiful stony streets then. I got reminded of how beautiful it is from your pictures. It really is a one-of-a kind place and will transport anyone back to the medieval times. I enjoyed the nostalgic trip back .

  • Reply
    Anna
    September 6, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Hey fellow vegan! So agree that it is important to arrive at the Dubrovnik city walls as soon as possible! Love your photos! Wish we had managed to find that view point high above the city when we were there 😀

  • Reply
    Leah
    September 6, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Dubrovik is so high on my bucket list! You took beautiful photos there- I am even more convinced that I need to visit soon! The fortress is especially stunning! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration- looking up flights to go there now. 😉

  • Reply
    Annick Lenoir-Peek
    September 6, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    I think you’ve convinced me that I need to add Dubrovnik to my spring trip! I’ve never watched Game of Thrones either but this medieval town really transports you back in time. Thanks for the tip on the luggage. I probably will only have a few days too so it’s good to know what to concentrate on. Those city walls and the views are simply breathtaking!

  • Reply
    Hailey
    September 7, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    I would LOVE to visit Croatia! I’m not specifically a GoT fan, but I love all the locations. Walking the length of the wall looks so picturesque. Great tip about not having rolling luggage too.

  • Reply
    Rachelle
    September 7, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    I’m also not a Game of Thrones fan, so I always wondered if I would still be able to enjoy the city. Your pictures are absolutely stunning, and I now have no doubt that I’d enjoy it regardless. Good to know about the no-rolling-luggage tip.

  • Reply
    Yukti Agrawal
    September 8, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Wow what a beautiful place and your first photo with red roofs and blue water won me for this place. To hike up the city walls though it take 2 hours must be the most beautiful thing to do here as the views from top are stunning. I never knew that Dubrovnik was part of an ancient Greek colony called Epidaurus. Good to know that you find something vegetarian here and I am saving the name of this restuarant – Lanni for Asian vegetarian food as I am also vegetarian.

  • Reply
    Bhushavali N
    September 8, 2019 at 6:13 am

    I really need to plan a trip to Croatia. Ever since I knew GoT was shot there, I’ve been wanting to visit here. The old town looks fascinating. I can definitely see the similarities with Malta, with the walled town being there as well. Thanks for the tip about getting there early in tourist season. Indeed it can get a bit too crowded with the newfound interest, since GoT (yeah, I’m guilty as charged too). I should plan my trip in off-season. Thanks for introducing Barbara to us. We will try to use her services as well.

  • Reply
    Clarice
    September 10, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Wow! This is such a breathtaking view. I would love to take a weekend trip and visit this old town. Happy to know that there are Airbnb rentals available. Will definitely consider this during our future trips.

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