By far one of the most beautiful, well-preserved historical cities in Europe, Dubrovnik is located on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. The Old City is also a UNESCO world heritage site and has recently been the backdrop of the popular series, Game of Thrones. All the hype has brought waves of visitors to the city.
I’ve always been intrigued by Dubrovnik, but I wanted to avoid all the tourist traps and tour guides. Luckily, I visited Croatia this summer and discovered some hidden paths for you to have a unique jetsetter experience, all in one day.
When to Go
During the high season of July and August, Dubrovnik is filled with masses of people from all over the world, making it harder to absorb its beauty and charm. If you want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is from May to June or September to October. The remainder of the year, many establishments, restaurants and hotels are closed. In fact, most locals live off what they earn during high season for the entire year.
Walk Dubrovnik’s City Walls
The best way to discover Dubrovnik and see its most breathtaking views is by walking the city walls. Plan for about one or two hours, depending on how many stops and photos you usually take. It’s worth taking your time to breathe it all in as it’s such a unique experience. The best time to go is in the morning. The light is beautiful and you’ll avoid the heat and the crowds, especially during high season. You’ll have a clear view of the neighboring island of Lokrum, Buza bar and many other great places you’ll experience on this itinerary.
The Island of Lokrum
Once you’ve had enough of the bustling crowds in the old city, get yourself a gellatto and walk towards the Dubrovnik Old City Port for a short 10 minute boat ride to the island of Lokrum. There are several island day trips offered in Dubrovnik. But you don’t need to lose a whole day on an organized tour with crying children and overcrowded boats. Instead, get to know this hidden gem at your own pace.
The island of Lokrum is a special reserve of forest vegetation under the protection of Croatian Academy of Art and Science and UNESCO. Start at the botanical gardens and explore the diverse wildlife and unique horticulture. Then, wander over to the old Benedictine monastery, where you are bound to get lost back in historical times.
For lunch, enjoy a lovely Croatian fish dish at the monastery restaurant and dine like royalty, at less than royal prices.
If you are up for a good hike, head up to Fort Royale. Its highest peak is where you can indulge in some of the most breathtaking views of Dubrovnik, Cavtat and surrounding areas.
Or you can spend your entire afternoon bathing on the island’s rocky beaches and try some Dubrovnik cliff jumping. The best beaches on the island of Lokrum are past the monastery on the island’s southernmost tip. Here, you’ll also find a nudist beach and several secluded coves that will make you feel like you are the only one on the island.
You can spend a couple of hours, the afternoon or a whole day here. But if you’ve had enough relaxation and feel ready to head back to Dubrovnik’s Old City for some fun, there are boats every half hour during high season, and every hour, in the spring and fall.
Buza Sunsets and Dubrovnik Cliff Jumping
From the Old City Port, take a short walk back towards Dubrovnik’s old southern wall to discover more jetsetter fun and stunning sunsets at Buza Bar. Hidden on the outside of Dubrovnik’s southern wall, part of the fun is finding the two Buza Bars, as they aren’t on most maps. Some clues will lure you to the small holes-in-the-wall, literally, revealing the pristine Adriatic Sea views that will make you melt and jump with joy. Just follow the signs that say “Cold drinks with the most beautiful view” and you’ll find one of them.
Wining and Dining
Just outside the entrance of the old city near the Pile gate, you’ll find Sesame Restaurant, the best dining experience in Dubrovnik. The restaurant’s enchanting ambience is set in a 200-year-old family house, embraced by green vine leaves, orange trees and beautiful gardens.
The service is impeccable and their dishes are a unique mix of local and Mediterranean cuisine. Goat cheese soufflé with prosciutto and risotto with sea truffles are just a few dishes that will impress your taste buds. Sesame also has an extensive wine list, including some of the finer selections of Croatian wines.