After the short stay at a apartment in Manchester we set off for the 3 hour flight with Jet2. We had finally arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia– and we lost two hours via the pesky time difference. We were pretty tired (it was midnight, after all!), so all the boyfriend and I managed to do when we got to our serviced apartments was put our backpacks down, flump onto the bed and well… fall asleep. I’m happy to tell you that despite the heat, we got a great night’s sleep and fully recharged, we were up and out by 9am the next day. First stop, breakfast. We managed to find ourselves a couple of delicious – and rather addictive – bez kofeina (decaf) coffees and delicious pastries from one of the city’s many, many pekarna (bakeries). We didn’t know this before we went, but it’s worth noting that Croatian cafés don’t serve food (not even peanuts or olives!), so you’ll only be able to get a drink in the form of coffee and alcohol.
The Best Way To See The Adriatic Coast
Luckily for us, the café we chose were absolutely fine with us accompanying their coffee with a pastry from the bakery next door.
We spent the afternoon taking in some of the city’s sights, including the Church of St. Blaise, the Cathedral and Franciscan Monastery (and yes, in hindsight it did indeed turn into a bit of a religious pilgrimage!). My particular favourite of the day, the Franciscan Monastery’s courtyard and Roman-Gothic-style buildings actually revered as masterpieces of Dubrovnik architecture. The first evening after a beautifully fresh seafood dinner down at the harbour, we were walking through the city when we came across the main square – a hive of activity with busy outdoor cafés and lots of happy customers. The next day was much of the same: pootling around the city’s sandy-coloured streets à pied, seeing the sights, eating, drinking, and taking it very easy indeed.
That evening, we hit upon another absolute gem – this time called Café Buza (or ‘hole in the wall’) – down an alleyway along the city’s main western wall. While the front door is pretty nondescript, it’s possibly the coolest bar you’ll ever have the pleasure of setting foot in.
Built into the cliff face and Dubrovnik’s city wall, you can step out onto the railing-free cliff-side terrace, and even dive into the waters below if you’re taken with the urge for a midnight swim. This was a perfect spot to take in the sunset (another Karlovacko in hand) and spend the evening making new friends with Croatians, French, British and Irish alike. Could tonight have possibly topped the night before? I do believe it could. The next day, we got up late enough to miss the cruellest temperatures and took a trip out to Lokrum Island. The ferry only takes about 15 minutes from the Old Harbour and the return trip costs just 50 Kuna (£6). Here, we were able to walk off our suds-induced haze through the botanical gardens and around the monastery ruins.
Before long, we were aching for a swim, and were lucky enough to discover yet another hidden treasure – this time, an incredible concealed bay lapped by crystal-clear seawater. (I couldn’t tell you for certain how to get there again!) We decided that we weren’t ready to leave the island that evening, so decided to stock up on picnic provisions and beach games from the beachfront shops ready to while away the evening and camp out right there on our secret beach – it was beautiful. The rest of the week continued much like this, gradually taking in the sights, island hopping as we felt like it (and paying willing fishermen to take us out to and pick us up from less-visited islands), eating freshly caught fish and drinking Croatian beer. I would highly recommend a trip out here to anyone who wants to relax and travel at their own pace in one of the most beautifully-maintained environments they’ve ever visited.