If you have a bucket list of destinations then we both know that Dubrovnik, Croatia is most likely towards the top of that list. In the recent years, Dubrovnik has become more and more popular each day. It is one of the top shooting locations for the ever so popular show, Game of Thrones, as well as a very popular Cruise Port. Dubrovnik sits at the bottom of the Dalmatian coast as the gem of the Adriatic Sea and is one of the most prominent vacation destinations in Europe for good reason. This is a list of the 5 reasons you have to go to Dubrovnik now.
1. The Views
Okay, this one is obvious. Dubrovnik is known for its amazing picturesque Old Town. The Old Town sits within massive stone walls built in the 16th century that create a fortress which sits in the Adriatic Sea. The view of the fortress can be seen from the roads driving into Dubrovnik, out in the sea, or on top of a hill that is easily accessible by cable car for a charge of around $20. If you’re the more active type, you can even hike up the hill to where the cable car stops. I recommend the hike more because you will have the views more to yourself and they will not be impeded by a bunch of people taking ridiculous selfies. The most distinctive and photographed views that you see of Dubrovnik are from the roads to the East of the city or the hill that the cable car travels to.
The views do not end when just gazing upon the city itself. The streets within the actual Old Town are some of the best views of all that you will see. Dubrovnik is covered with unique limestone paved streets and there are no cars allowed. Talk about a perfect walking town! The main street is called Stradun, (or Placa), and it is absolutely gorgeous. When you enter through the Western wall for the first time, the first thing you see is Placa leading towards the cathedrals and clock towers. The limestone streets give the street a different color each part of the day depending on where the sun is in the sky. During sunrise, the streets offer a light color whereas the end of the day the streets give off a shining glow that reflects onto the buildings. Night time also has its perks of course as the buildings are dimly lit and make you feel like you are in a medieval castle. It is nearly impossible to walk down Placa without taking a picture every single time. I think that Placa is prettiest at sunset because of the colors that reflect off of the street and the old buildings. Although, visiting the street at sunrise is an awesome experience as you will not have to fight a crowd like you would through out the rest of the day and into the night.
Placa is of course not the only beautiful street of Dubrovnik, eat of the side alleys show off a different perspective. Each side alley is gorgeous in its own. Some of them have clothes or flowers hanging from the walls. Others are higher up and give you the chance to look down into the rest of the town. Many of the streets are covered with small restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating for the perfect ambience and dinner. Explore every street!!!
The many streets and alley ways of Dubrovnik even give you the opportunity to look out onto the beautiful Adriatic Sea, which delivers me to my next main reason to visit Dubrovnik.
2. The Water
The water surrounding Dubrovnik is stunning. There are many different shades of blue and it is so clear that you can see right to the bottom no matter how deep it is. Not only is it gorgeous, it is very refreshing. It is not the perfect temperature as it is a tad bit cold, but it is sure to cool you off after walking through out the Old Town on a hot day. Don’t get your hopes up for beaches in Dubrovnik though. Most areas that are okay for swimming are rocky and you will have to do some climbing or cliff jumping to get in. Many areas of water are closed off to swimming because they are full of Sea Urchins, and believe me, you do not want to step on an urchin. But there is hope! There is a nearby beach just a 5 minute walk from the East entrance. Although, it is very busy and may not be worth your time. The best area for swimming is walking around the walls near the old port and jumping into the water from the rocks. Not as many people go to this area and it gives you the opportunity for more swimming room. Walk around the old port, eat at a restaurant by the water, go for a swim, just make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to spend some time near the waters of the Adriatic Sea.
3. The Food
The food is as expected in any popular European town, delicious. The top food in Croatia is anything fish or meat and Dubrovnik does not disappoint. The top fish dishes you can find will range from grilled squid and sea bass to a seafood risotto or fish soup. My favorite is always Octopus anywhere I visit in the Mediterranean and the octopus in Dubrovnik was top notch. You can find fresh fish in any restaurant through out the city.
Next, you have meat, and Lamb is the king of Croatian/Dalmatian cuisine. I had lamb on 4 different occasions in Croatia, and it was some of the best meat I have ever had each time. Lamb is cooked in a variety of ways. Grilled, boiled, stew and baked are the most popular. When in Dubrovnik, or anywhere else in Croatia for that matter, if you are a meat lover, try lamb. Another famous dish in Dubrovnik and Croatia in Ćevapčići. Ćevapčići is a dishmade of minced meats and is a type of skinless sausage usually served with some fried potatoes or french fries. It is more of a street food if anything. I did not have it in Dubrovnik, but had it later on down the road in another town. I can say that it is a very nice meat dish and I am sure it would be very good in Dubrovnik.
Although the meat and fish is fantastic, you cannot go without having bread, cheese, cured meats and wines during a meal. Any menu you look at, you will find some kind of prosciutto, dalmatian ham and wine plate. I can tell you the cheese is some of the best I have ever had and I have had a lot of cheese over the years. The staple cheese is often seen on the menu as, “cheese in oil” and it is absolutely fantastic. It goes down very well with some nice freshly baked bread and Croatian Olive Oil. All of these delicious treats are best paired with some Croatian house table wine. Croatia is probably best known for their rose and white wines as they are perfect and refreshing for a nice hot day.
Cured Meats and Cheese in Oil
4. The People
This one was the biggest surprises to me. The people are fantastic! I often heard rumors that people in Croatia were mean or did not speak any English and did not care to help people. Those rumors are absolutely false. As a matter of fact, I had a lot of trouble finding people in Croatia that did not speak English! I was very worried coming in because I do not understand a word of Croatian. Not only did everyone speak English, they were very fun and kind people. They were always willing to help with anything and loved to make jokes. Some of the waiters were having so much fun with us one night that they even gave us free shots and complimentary drinks at different restaurants! It was obvious that they were very welcoming to people coming into their country and that they were very proud of their country and truly wanted to show it off. On top of that, some of the people in Dubrovnik are some of the most attractive people you will ever see. It seems like they find models to work as hostesses at every restaurant. I am not going to lie, it works. It catches your attention and makes you look at the menus!
All joking aside, the people were also the one negative thing I took away from Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is a very small town and it can become very overcrowded. This is not by the locals, but by the many tourists. There are too many tour groups in Dubrovnik, and if you know me well, you know that I hate tour groups. I don’t mind the occasional tour from time to time, but too many tour groups ruin the atmosphere and beauty. There are constantly people bumping into you or just standing in the middle of things. It became hard to walk at times. The tour groups basically own the town from 10:00 in the morning until about 7:00 in the evening. The best thing you can do is enjoy Dubrovnik in the earlier morning and evening if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of loud tourists walking around the streets. Overall though, it doesn’t fully take away from Dubrovnik’s culture.
5. The Culture
Lastly, the culture of Dubrovnik is incredible. There are so many different cultural aspects that work together as a whole to create the unique and one of a kind culture that Dubrovnik has to offer. There is something very magical about walking around the inside of a 16th century fortress. The historical aspect of Dubrovnik is very interesting and makes you put things into perspective. Dubrovnik is a great place to just sit around to relax and have some food or a cocktail and take in all the sights as well as watch people walk up and down the limestone streets.
If you’re into the night life, then you came to the right place as well. People party into the morning and have no problem drinking the night away. I would recommend La Bodega for some pre drinks and then moving your way to Revelin later in the night where the party just really begins around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and does not end until sunrise. Not only is Revlin a great place to dance and fall over a few times from all of the drinks, it is literally inside of a 16th century fortress that marks the East end of the Old Town’s walls. Have you ever wondered what its like to party inside a castle? Then Revelin marks the spot and is worth it.
Dubrovnik is a masterpiece. After visiting the Old Town, I now understand why I have heard so many people rave about the place. Now I will be one of the many people that will tell you, you have to go to Dubrovnik. If you have it on your bucket list or have even thought about the idea of visiting, get your butt on a plane and get there now! And oh yeah, don’t forget to have some wine, or all of it…
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