Crushing on Croatia: Famous Places – Dubrovnik Old Town

I shouldn’t imagine that this city needs all that much of an introduction. Dubrovnik; the Pearl of the Adriatic or rather, ‘Kings Landing’ should you fancy yourself as a citizen of Westeros… whatever Dubrovnik is to you, and even if you’re never been to Croatia, you’ll be familiar with Dubrovnik’s old town; every corner of the internet is saturated with those iconic postcard perfect panoramas of the city’s old town in all its orange-roofed glory. Holiday Gems asked me about the famous places I’ve explored on my trips and straight off it was my memories of sun-soaked Dubrovnik that I started gushing about.

Dubrovnik though? We’ve heard the warnings. It’s a hot mess of cruise-ship-goers clawing over seriously hiked-up platters of sea food, right?
Honestly, I was fully expecting to be left slightly underwhelmed by this city; this girl is no fan of crowds and if truth be told, I like to get a nice handful of change from my notes… My Dubrovnik though, left me with that dizzying fuzzy feeling you get when you know you’re experiencing something pretty special, and my happy place in this corner of the globe is the memory of stuffing my toes into the sand at Banje Beach, in the shadow of the the city walls.

Why visit Dubrovnik Old Town?

Capture the old town’s best ‘instaworthy’ side from the city walls…

This UNESCO World Heritage site is fantastically preserved, and considering it’s wild popularity, has still retained it’s unique medieval charm, bar the odd Game of Thrones merch store, of course. Before I visited everyone, and I mean, everyone told me I just have to walk the city walls. I was skeptical and came so damn close to not bothering with the ticket price. Isn’t walking the city walls, expensive and just a little bit too sweaty? Perhaps. So why is it still a not-to-miss attraction in Dubrovnik?
Walking the city walls will undoubtably gift you the best, most awe inspiring perspective and the easily the most glorious view of the whole city. All those ‘grams you see on your Insta-feed are most likely taken from somewhere along the city wall.
It’s only from the city wall, looking down onto the maze of streets below that you can let the city overwhelm you with its dreamy vistas.

Get lost within in the maze of old town streets…

Dubrovnik’s old town is practically a Escher come to life. There’s only so many entrances to the city and once you’re inside you could spend the whole day taking pleasure in ignoring the Map, chucking aside the itinerary and get lost, ten streets in, deep in the maze of alley ways.
I still maintain it’s the best way to get a feel for a place; Dubrovnik is a place you can take real delight in acting the flaneur; wander around the streets, pausing for café breaks and photo opportunities at every church, square, tower and monastery.

Discover Dubrovnik’s worst kept secret: Buza Bar…

Owing to the old town’s countless side streets you’ll forever keep stumbling across tiny cafes and hidden bars. Buza Bar is one of those ‘hidden’ bars that has certainly turned into the old town’s worst kept secret. The entrance to the bar is to the top of the city, tucked into the walls. We weren’t out on a hunt for Buza Bar specifically, but when we noticed groups disappearing into the stone work, we figured this might be something to check out. After having acclimatised to the shadowy alleys of the city, I have got to admit, it is quite a moment when you emerge on the side of the cliff in the midday sun, with this endless view of the Adriatic dazzling in the light. And there it is… it totally hits you why this place has earned it’s fan club. The bar itself doesn’t even need to try; it’s vibe is adorably ramshackle, as if the owner has just dragged a few chairs down there one day and called it his own, but it being unpretentious suits it, and hey, it suits me for that matter. Pull up a pew, flag down a chilled Ozujsko, drink in that stupendous view, and give serious thought to moving to Dubrovnik one day.

Sightsee the city walls from the water…

Down at the harbour there’s the opportunity to take a guided boat or kayak tour around the old town walls. We took the easy route and paid for a boat-taxi out of the harbour for a day trip to nearby Lokrum Island with it’s botanical gardens and wild rabbit and peacock population. But before heading across to Lokrum the boat steered us around the base, and being down at the water level you could start to appreciate the magnitude of those historic city walls.

Eat the best ice cream you’ll ever find outside of Rome…

That’s a bold statement, right? Well, yeah, there it is in black and white. I don’t know what it was about this ice cream, but in Dubrovnik there wasn’t a situation that couldn’t be improved by a cone and two scoops. Too hot? Ice cream. Elevenses? Ice cream. After dinner treat? Ice cream. Sleeting it down with rain? Ice cream. Just had an ice cream? Ice cream. More ice cream? It was a dangerous cycle. When the vendors are giving you free ice creams for buying so much ice cream, you know you’ve reached ‘peak ice cream’. And now I’ve said ‘ice cream’ too much. (Sigh)
Sladoledarna Dubrovnik on one of the main streets, Stradun is the store responsible for the out pouring of love. I tell you now, discovering the cinnamon flavoured scoop was certainly where the downward spiral into obsession began.

Find your favourite sea food restaurant and practically live there…

With Dubrovnik being a port town, one thing that better be top of your agenda when you visit this famous place is to dine on the freshest of sea food. Of course, there’s no shortage of restaurants, and whilst some prices in the old town may give your wallet a light battering, we sought-out an authentic sea food restaurant, Lokanda Peskarija, on the east side of the walls, overlooking the busy harbour, specialising in no-fuss plates of fried calamari and sea food risotto. We have a winner! We wasted hours watching the boats through glasses of local Croatian wines on their sunny terrace; yeah, I think this is what they call, ‘living your best life’…

Crush hard on the views from Banje Beach…

Find me a better coastline than the Croatian coast. No? This country does sand, sea and sun like no other. Banje Beach was our closet beach to our accommodation in the Ploce district, and it’s right next to the old town. I’m sure in peak season this place can get popular, and sharpish, but for the most part, we found that it was our little pocket of calm just outside of the city, with a killer view to wow you into next week.

Take it all in at Mount Srd…

Here it is, that money shot. Mount Srd can be reached by cable car from the city, or if you’re like us and have a rental car and nerves of steel to make it up the winding tracks, you can drive to it’s peak. The rewards are great; the views, even on a slightly overcast day like we had, were outstanding. I think it’s pretty hard not to fall hard for Croatia after seeing this famous place from this perspective…

All orange and blues!

Thank you to Holiday Gems for asking me all about my favourite famous place. This blog post was published in collaboration with Holiday Gems, but as always, all opinions here and across my blog are totally honest and completely my own.


Ever been to Croatia? Enjoyed Dubrovnik’s old town as much as I did? Where’s your favourite famous place?

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Writer of This F.P. Planet travel blog. Proud dachshund mother. A Real weakness for craft beer and cheese boards...

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