Finally made it to my last stop in Croatia. 3 weeks in the country culminated with this remarkable city and it was actually a pretty perfect end to this part of my trip.
Dubrovnik was big, beautiful and busy. The old town is something special with yet more cobbled steep streets, stone buildings and surrounded by the famous city walls. Walking on the walls is, like everything else here, very expensive, but not for students. Specifically, students with one of the student cards they are willing to accept. This brought the price down from 150kn to 50kn (£19 to £6) so I didn’t mind paying. I therefore had a glorious walk above Dubrovnik’s old town in the evening light and the views were truly magnificent. It’s a really nice thing to do, but I wouldn’t have paid nearly £20 to do it. The ancient walls were a definite high (quite literally) of my stay in this remarkable city and it was a good start to my short time there.
I finished off the evening in search of the perfect place to watch the sun setting over the city. I didn’t find it. I was aiming for a park that I never found and instead ended up approximately 20m below it on a winding road around the cliffs. Although I didn’t get where I intended to, I did see a beautiful sunset, made friends with many cats and saw some lovely views. Sometimes unintended is better.
The next day, after a partially restless hostel night, I took the same route into the old town as I had before my wall walk. The walk snakes along the headland, and the sea, like the rest of Croatia, was crystal clear. Taking it slow and with little on my agenda for the day, it felt like paradise. That is until you see the walls. The stunning expanse of medieval stonework ahead and yet all I could see and hear were tourist boards trying to lure me onto a Game of Thrones tour. The show is alright but I don’t need to see which wall features in season 2 episode 6. This represents one of the downs of Dubrovnik. It is way too touristy. I’m not normally one to moan about tourists – I am one – but it was too much. I wish I’d had the chance to experience this stunning place before Game of Thrones exploded. It has made everything more expensive here and transformed most of this town into a museum, not a living, working city.
When I broke through and made my way inside the city walls, I simply wandered for a while. I found that there wasn’t a huge list of things to do in Dubrovnik, but there is a lot to see. I walked up and down the main streets, observing street performers, munching on burek and gazing up at the beautiful buildings lining the cobbles. I then strayed away from the crowds down the quieter passages around the old town, finding places that were only mine for a moment or two. These were my favourite parts. In these back alleys and hidden courtyards, I found a simple Croatian old town where people lived and I loved.
After a successful morning discovering Dubrovnik’s secrets I headed back to my hostel, frankly, to get out of the heat. I ended up meeting some lovely people and we all headed to a local beach to finally get in those crystal waters. It was dreamy and much needed.
This day, which was actually my last full day in Croatia, ended perfectly. This wonderful country gave me a fantastic send off. I accidentally timed my stay in Dubrovnik with the start of their summer festival which meant I got to spend my last night there with food, friends and fireworks on the beach. It was a stunning display and I felt 100% happy.
For my last morning in Dubrovnik before I headed over the border to Montenegro I took the boat to Lokrum Island. Even though it cost more than I would’ve liked, I did think it was worth it. The island is a quiet paradise away from the bustle of the old town and has a lot of hidden gems to discover. As the last thing I did in the city, it was a huge high!
So there you have Dubrovnik. I had a really lovely time in this city with many highs to end my trip in Croatia. The few lows I experienced were mainly due to the sheer volume of tourists and expense of everything within the walls! Having said that, it’s touristy for a very good reason and I’m glad I went. In the future, July might not be the best time to visit.
That’s my last post on Croatia for a while, I’ll be moving onto Montenegro next. Even though I got back to the UK about a month and a half ago, I still want to post letters about all of the amazing places I visited, so stay tuned!
If you want to read about the rest of my Croatia trip, here are the links:
BUDAPEST, ZAGREB, PLITVICE AND PULA | Romantic Rovinj | Zadar: hiking to an abandoned fortress | The most underrated Croatian city: Šibenik | Krka or Plitvice? | A snippet of Split | Island escapes: Brač and Korčula
Thanks for reading!