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Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thinking of going to Croatia? or have you already booked your flights? 

Check out this blog for all things Dubrovnik!

I have included information about activities, restaurant recommendations and pricing! 

So if you are going or want to go, I would 100% recommend giving this a read. 

Although my blog is usually about health and well-being, I have been asked by quite a few people about my time in Croatia, so I thought, why not write a blog about it? Besides, well-being includes a healthy mind and that’s what happens on holiday, time to de-stress and have fun!

Before I start, let me give you a little background about why I, ME, Rosie B has the right to write this blog. Last summer I spent 3 months working just outside Dubrovnik in a town called orasac (pronounced oroshak) in a dazzling 5* resort (Sun Gardens) as a sports instructor for 11-18 year olds who were there on holiday. So, as you can imagine, I really got to know and familiarise myself with the the Old Town, restaurants and hidden gems! However this blog is not about my time working in Croatia but the 7 nights my boyfriend and I spent at the beginning of September and the end of my time working at the resort.

After being apart for a total of 87 days I met Sam (my boyfriend) at the airport, it was one of those ‘movie moments’ where I squealed as I leaped on him. We had decided to hire a car, so first things first, we went to collect it. The airport is about 30-40-minute drive to Dubrovnik town centre and we were staying just 20 minutes outside of old town. There are local buses and they do have Uber so driving was not necessary, but it did make things a lot easier as we weren’t restricted to the bus timetable or lack of Uber availability.

Driving from the airport which is located in what the Croatians call ‘the country side’ is very simple, you stick to the main road, this road takes you everywhere! I mean it, its so easily navigated, we didn't need a satnav. It’s about 35 degrees Celsius surrounded by dried terrain due to lack of rain, trees and endless roads. About 20 minutes later, or more, depending on how comfortable you are driving on the opposite side of the road, you will come to less desolate parts of Croatia such as Cavtat (pronounced savtat) a popular family holiday town. Finally, you will begin to see the sea! And boy is it a beautiful sight, the first few times I drove I honestly felt the air leave my stomach, I was so scared to drive off the edge! Not only is the view a distraction but it’s a very steep way down, picture this, to your right you have mountain and trees and to your left 100 stories down to sea level, but its not for long before your reach residential areas.

Now, obviously, if you decide to stay in the center of Dubrovnik it'll more expensive. But if you want to save some pennies I would recommend looking at airb+bs outside the area. We stayed in Zaton (pronounced how spelt) this for me, was the most beautiful part of Croatia that I had come across whilst working in croatia, I immediately fell in love with it. Zaton is 20-minute drive from the old town but is surrounded by forests and trees, the sea is clear as crystal and bright blue. The rural town of zaton is populated with family run restaurants and a small supermarket.

Reviews and Recommendations:  

Adrenaline park

****

Joan and Helena, the owners of the park became very good friends of mine and Sam and I were very lucky to get the park to ourselves when we visited. Although the park isn’t much to look at, it’s a lot of fun, especially if you love outdoor activities and a bit of competition. Envisage hi-ropes, archery, zorb ball, target paintballing and more! I wouldn’t recommend going here in the middle of august because activities such as the hi-ropes take about 1 hour to complete and you're basically stuck in the scorching heat. 

  • Car required

  • 40 minutes from old town

  • Book in advance

  • Lunch may be provided

  • Entrance fee 200 kuna (£20)


Picnic with a view and Stand Up Paddle boarding

*****

This hidden gem is one of my favourite places in Croatia, its tucked away deep in a forest and the only other way to get to it is by water. I came across it when stand up paddle boarding with Adriatic Kayak tour (another of my favourite activities to do). The water is still most of the time so stand up paddle boarding is easy to pick up for beginners. If you do decide to go, ask the instructor to take you to the ‘rope swing’ and you should come to a cove with a rope swing and some stairs. Follow the stairs up for a beautiful view. It’s very romantic with just the two of you up there and make sure to get some pictures for the gram! If you are adventurous and like cliff jumping there is also the opportunity for that, but make sure you have a guide with you to show you where to jump from.

  • Can go by bus

  • Need to bring lunch

  • 20 minutes from old town

  • Located in Zaton

  • Hidden gem


Visiting Old Town

If you are travelling in the months of July and August prepare yourself for bustling streets, to wait in long queues and for temperatures of 30 degrees or more. Although it is a beautiful town with a lot of history and sightseeing, Dubrovnik has become a huge tourist destination for that exact reason. Saturdays and Sundays are the most hectic times of the week, during the hours of 11am-4pm you will most likely struggle to get through the gates of the walls. Make sure you visit on weekdays either early in the morning or evening for a more enjoyable experience.

Must do:

We all scream for ice-cream! Croatians are very generous with the quantity of ice-cream that they balance on your cone, some places are more expensive than others but I would recommend the ice cream parlour next to Restaurant Dubrovnik- located just outside the entrance to the city walls.


Kayaking

Why not try kayaking with Dubrovnik sea kayak tour? Get to learn about the history of the old town followed by paddling to a huge cave surrounded by fish! (£25) additionally you could also hop on a boat for £150 kuna (£15) to the cursed island! Lockrum.

  • ££

  • Swim wear

  • Water shoes

  • Located in Old town

Banje Beach (pronounced ban-yay)

Banje beach is the main tourist beach, rammed and filthy DON’T GO! If you want a dip in the sea, try the hole in the wall! A small archway hidden away in the city walls will lead you to Cafe Buza (pronounced Buja) balanced on the outside of old towns walls. This was my second favourite place to go as you could sunbathe, cliff jump (not very high) and get a drink whilst watching the waves.

  • can be busy

  • Swimming in old town

  • Sunbathing

  • Drinks

  • Hidden gem


 (Hole in the wall)


 (Cafe Buza)

Tours

Who’s a game of thrones fan? If you didn’t know, a lot of scenes from many films and series are filmed in Croatia, one being, game of thrones. There are regular game of thrones tours throughout the day, but remember to bring a sun hat and comfy shoes! (keep reading to find out how you can win a FREE tour).

  • Wear comfortable shoes

  • £££

  • Touristy

  • Game of thrones


Aqua Obstacle course

Now if you know me, you know I am one of the most competitive people you’ll ever meet. Trust me. I took Sam to the inflatable obstacle course in Cavtat, this area is very rocky, the beach is very busy, and the water is a lot more murky than other places due to its popularity. Luckily for Sam and I, we went in September (all the kids were back as school) so it was quiet, and we got the floating obstacle course all to ourselves!

Although Sam beat me every time, I did give him a run for his money!

  • Car required 

  • 20 minutes from old town

  • Cavtat

  • £15-£25

  • Restaurants

  • Watersports

What we have all been waiting for!...


Local restaurants and cuisine

Savonaris 

*****

By far the best restaurant around, the food was impeccable, the atmosphere was lively, and the views were fantastic. Hidden away in the town of Orasac is Savonaris a family owned restaurant.

  • Order food in advance

  • Book in advance

  • Taxi/uber required

  • Smart/casual

  • 10 minutes from the sun gardens resort

  • 25 minutes from old town

  • Local delicacy’s

Tavern Arka

****

Another restaurant for local delicacies, If you're hungry bunnies, like big plates and huge quantities book a table here. 

  • Taxi/uber required

  • Smart casual

  • 20 minutes from old town

  • Book in advance


Konoba Ankora

****

Very similar to tavern arka, we went for dinner, it was slightly chilly but worth it due to the charming surroundings and stunning view of the sea.  

  • Sit right by the sea

  • Friendly staff

  • Lovely food

  • Smart casual

  • 20 minutes from old town

  • Book in advance

Restaurants in Old Town:

Unfortunately, the restaurants in the old town are pretty disappointing in terms of the food quality. It's quite basic and not as tasty as the restaurants outside Old Town. The most popular places for fine dining are Nautica, Zuzori, Panorama restaurant and Restaurant 360. I would always say you have to experience everything at least once. So give one venue a go as they are all quite similar. In Restaurant 360 and Panorama you are paying for the view, I would however recommend going there for drinks, The views are magical and the bar has a very romantic ambience. You may need to pay for the cable cart which is expensive but if you don’t want to pay it you can also drive up the mountain and park for free. Nautica is well located with lovely views and is located right by the sea, although the food produced is average, I would recommend this restaurant for food quality over the rest. For a cheaper options you can always go to Mex cantina bona fide located in a buzzing ally, surrounded by rushing tourists or Gradska Kavana Arsenal a very attractive restaurant, friendly staff and reasonably priced. There are plenty of choices for sandwich bars and cafes for a quick bite to eat.


Nightlife:

Unfortunately for us, R&B lovers, the music played in DA CLUBS are usually a mix of techno and house, not my cuppa tea. The most popular place to go for a boogie is culture club Revlin, a HUGE, very expensive and busy club. The other that I had the chance to try out was Sky bar, much smaller than Revlin, cheaper and the music was more European. The nightlife is lively and bustling full of young couples, travellers and island hoppers. So, you’re bound to meet some cool cats on your night out.

I would 100% recommend a couples holiday to Croatia, the sea is not to cold, there is plenty to do, the weather is lovely and its one of the most beautiful islands that I have been to.

If you are going to Dubrovnik this year and want a chance to win a FREE tour of your choice with Tour Dubrovnik !

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