Fabric of my Life.

Discover the Dubrovnik Riviera.

I’ve long had the Dalmation Coast of Croatia on my bucket list for a summer holiday spent island-hopping across the Adriatic on a catamaran. Less on my radar – until now – was a trip to explore the Croatian mainland; namely, the Dubrovnik Riviera.
At the southern tip of Croatia’s long coastline, Dubrovnik has long been known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, and offers a wonderful combination of culture, heritage and natural beauty – which makes it a fantastic destination for a Mediterranean city break in my book.  So, when Jet2 got in touch recently to invite me on a trip to explore all the wonderful things the region has to offer, I immediately jumped at the chance!
Jet2 operate regular flights to Dubrovnik from across the UK, including Manchester (my local airport), which is where we departed for this trip. I’d never flown with Jet2 before, so it was wonderful to discover that the airline offers 22kg of baggage included with your fare i.e. no having to whittle down your wardrobe to fit in your hand luggage to secure the best fare. In fact, my first experience flying with Jet2 went smoothly from start-to-finish, and I was particularly impressed with the range of food offered onboard and just how clean the plane was (definitely something I’m keeping a close eye on when travelling now!)
Typically a visit to Dubrovnik in September or October avoids the busiest summer months for cruise ships but still takes advantage of the late summer weather. We were not quite so fortunate the first couple of days of our visit, with gloomy grey skies and a smattering of rain showers but, to be honest, it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the city at all. In fact, I’m quite happy with the moodiness of the photographs I took – there’s nothing like a good overhanging of fog to add atmosphere to a shot! But its worth bearing in mind that the adverse weather we experienced was pretty atypical, and Autumnal temperatures tend to be around 18-24°, with an abundance of blue skies and sunshine.
nb. If you don’t want to read the entire 6,200-word post (!) you can quickly navigate through to the recommendations you’re most interested in using the links below:

Dubrovnik – Old Town

Dubrovnik is instantly recognisable to fantasy fans nowadays as one of the shooting locations for Game of Thrones. But don’t let that put you off, if, like me, you’ve not seen the show (I couldn’t get past the first half of season one – don’t come at me!). The city – and the whole surrounding area in fact – definitely has a whole lot more going for it than King’s Landing.
As one of the world’s finest and best-preserved medieval cities, Dubrovnik’s old town centre is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, surrounded by stone walls that were built between the 11th and 17th centuries. The whole area within is a designated pedestrian-only zone, with a winding maze of steep cobbled lanes filled with shops and restaurants spilling out onto the narrow streets, and a Baroque church, Renaissance fountain, monastery or palace to be found around every corner. It feels, in many ways, like a living museum, suspended in time. Which, of course, is what makes it so popular as a shooting location for both film and television. 
Let’s explore, shall we?

Explore: Dubrovnik Old Town

Our coach dropped us just outside Pile Gate, an imposing stone gate dating back to 1537 that is now the main entrance to Dubrovnik Old Town, where we met our guide, Marina, who would show us around the city. She stressed to us that for many centuries Dubrovnik was a independent Republic, a proud cultural centre and an important Mediterranean trading power. And while it is no longer politically independent, Dubrovnik remains a centre of culture and tourism in Croatia. In fact, over half a million people visit the city annually – and it’s easy to see why!
Around the corner from our meeting point we caught sight of the imposing Fort Lovrijenac, often referred to as ‘Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar’; a fortress just outside the western wall sitting 37 metres above sea level and looking out towards Venice (Dubrovnik’s historic rival). Named after St Lawrence, a much-revered saint at the time of the Dubrovnik Republic, a great deal of the interior was sadly lost in the earthquake of 1667, which also destroyed over three quarters of all public buildings in the city, along with the loss of around 3-5,000 citizens.
Above the entrance of the fort is a notable inscription: Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro.  Freedom is not sold for all the gold in the world. A sentiment I think foreshadows many of the interesting things I learnt about the city during our tour, including the fact that Dubrovnik was the first state to abolish slavery, having passed a resolution to forbid the transport of slaves in early 1416.
Making our way through Pile Gate into the Old Town we found ourselves on the main street of Stradun, known locally as Placa, next to an enormous drinking fountain that serves up fresh spring water to locals and travelers alike, via sixteen beautifully carved spouts.
Our first stop was the Franciscan Monastery and Museum, which is home to one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies – founded in 1317 and still functional today. Inside, the cloister dating from the mid-14th century is considered to be one of the finest structures in Dalmatia, offering an oasis of leafy tranquility in the heart of Dubrovnik. The cloister’s colonnade is composed of pairs of elegant, eight-sided columns, each with a different capital portraying, amongst others, human heads, animals and floral motifs, created by local sculptor, Mihoje Brajkov, whose tombstone can be found in the south part of the cloister.
Back out on the main street, we zigzagged our way up and down side alleys to discover little snippets of significant history contained within the walls. For example, did you know that the orphanage founded at the Convent of St. Claire in 1432 was one of the first in the world? Now marked by a bricked-up wall and window on Zlatariceva Street, the orphanage was built with an ingenious entrance space in front of the building, which allowed mothers to leave their baby in secret, and avoid the ‘shame’ of having borne a child out-of-wedlock. By turning a wheel, the plate would turn and swing the baby inside, ringing a bell to alert the nuns to the new arrival. Horrifying to consider now, but potentially a lifeline at the time for both mother and child.
Another piece of notable history is literally etched into the wall. Carved in Latin into the stone facade of the Church of St. Roch, Dubrovnik’s oldest piece of graffiti was allegedly scrawled by a priest, frustrated about a ball being kicked ferociously against the church door by local kids. Pax. Vobis memento mori/qvi. Lvdetis pilla 1597, it reads. Peace be with you, remember that you, playing with the ball, will die.

Visit: The Old Port of Dubrovnik

If you spend enough time winding up and down the narrow streets, you’ll find yourself coming out at the Old Port of Dubrovnik. Located in the Eastern part of the city, the port is framed by the Rector’s Palace, Revelin Fortress and the old tower of St. Luke, which is one of the oldest parts of the city. Even on a gloomy day, the Old Port is a hive of activity – descended upon by locals and tourists alike – and it’s been that way ever since the 16th century, when Dubrovnik’s navy consisted of 40,000 sailors and more than 180 large ships, making it one of the most powerful in the Mediterranean.
Fishing boats and sailing yachts still abound, and there are numerous bars and restaurants lining the harbour promenade, adding to the hustle and bustle of the area and making you want to sit back for a while with a drink in hand, just taking in the scene. In an alternate life, where I’m great at watercolour painting, this is where I’d stop for an afternoon to sketch and paint, attempting to capture just a small fraction of the magic of this place.

Visit: City Walls

As wonderful as it is to be immersed in the hustle of the city, the best way to appreciate Dubrovnik is atop its walls, which are the longest and most complete in Europe. While climbing the ancient steps offers spectacular views across terracotta-tiled rooftops and the sparkling blue Adriatic beyond, what I found even more enjoyable was the voyeuristic peek into the everyday life of the city. Laundry hanging across a yard. Children kicking a ball in a back alley. Couples walking hand-in-hand up a steep line of steps. Oh, and the sudden surprise of spotting a basketball court nestled within centurys-old walls!
Built entirely of stone, the 2km defensive walls circumnavigate the town in an immense system of forts, bastions and walkways, intended to protect the city from both war and epidemics. The walls have been the target of several sieges during their storied history, including as recently as 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence. In fact, when they started rebuilding the rooftops, they purposefully used a different tone of red as a reminder of just much had been destroyed in the war. The patchworked effect is definitely incredibly striking, and humbling, to see.

Places to eat:

Dubrovnik is definitely one for the foodies!
Being by the sea, the local menus are dominated with fresh fish and seafood, as well as an abundance of meats and cheeses. Due to Croatia’s geographical location, the port of Dubrovnik has always been a meeting point of civilizations, with a variety of historical influences – Italian, Austrian, Turkish, Hungarian, and many others – combining to create a very diverse cuisine.
As a result, there is no such thing as one Croatian national dish, although I highly recommend looking out for black cuttlefish risotto, ravioli sa šparogama (a traditional pasta dish originating from Istria) and anything served with Croatian dumplings or gnocchi. All should be washed down with a glass or two of one of the wine world’s best kept secret’s: Croatian wine (more on that later!)
  • Kopun, located on Boskovic Square, a few minutes walk from the main street Stradun, is where we stopped for lunch during our trip around the Old Town. Kopun take great pride serving up old Croatian recipes which have been handed down across centuries, including black risotto, fish soup and capon gnocchi with truffle (which I opted for, and was absolutely delicious!). Also worth sampling: a traditional Croatian aperitivo of Rakija (fruit brandy), Pelinkovac (a herbal liqueur produced with a distillation of herbal macerates) or Teranino (a more modern red wine liqueur)  Kopun, Poljana Ruđera Boškovića 7, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Dubravka 1836, located by the west entrance to the Old City centre, is where we went for dinner later that evening. The offering is rich Mediterrean fare, produced from locally sourced ingredients, with an array of seafood, meat and fish specialities. They also have a wonderful selection of pizzas; I opted for the Mortadella, which paired the Italian sausage with ricotta and pistachio sauce (a new favourite combo of mine) – it was utterly delicious!  Dubravka 1836, Brsalje no. 1, 20 000 Dubrovnik
  • Panorama, which is where we had planned to enjoy dinner, but had to cancel due to the poor weather. A sister restaurant to Dubravka 1836, Panorama – as the name suggests – is an open-air restaurant located on top of the hill of Srđ, offering enchanting views of the Old City, the Lapad Bay and the Elaphite Islands. If the menu is as tasty as Dubravka 1836, I’m sure it would make a wonderful setting for a delightfully romantic date. → Panorama restaurant & bar, Upper cable car station, 20000 Dubrovni
  • Peppinos, which makes the bold claim to be the best gelato in Dubrovnik! I can’t personally confirm this – being far too stuffed from lunch to indulge – but several others in my party did, and assure me the gelato was delicious indeed. Peppino’s gelato is much more dense and creamy than traditional ice cream and comes in a wide array of delectable-sounding flavours, including carob & fig, mango vanilla, strudel, and apricot crostata. They also have a wide range of (vegan) sorbets available. Peppinos Artisanal Gelato, Ulica Od Puča 9 & Ulica Svetog Dominika bb, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Buza Bar, a must-visit near the south side of the Old Town, seeingly clinging to the cliffs directly above the Adriatic, and offering a spectacular view across the sparkling ocean to Lokrum. The entrance is literally a hole in the City Wall, and on a warm sunny day – particular at sunset when pink and orange hues paint the sky – you’ll find the bar thronged with people perched directly on the rocks; a table impossible to scrounge. Sadly though, the weather put paid to our experience, as the bar was closed the day we visited. →Buza Bar, Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Gundulićeva poljana, a busy local food market that fills the enclosed square behind the Church of St Blaise 6 days a week. Here you will find stalls offering organic honeys, jams, herbs, spices and oils, as well as fresh fruit and vegetable produce. You must take a moment to try some of Dubrovnik’s best loved sweet treats, including candied orange peel (arancini), dried figs and sugared almonds (bruštulane mjendule), which are typically served with an aperetivo. →Gundulićeva poljana, 20000, Dubrovnik

Other places to visit :


  • Life According to Kawa is a modern and airy boutique helping put Croatian design on the map with its stylish curation of local designers, artisans and artists. Inside the converted garage, located  in the neighbourhood north of Lazareti, you’ll find an array of small-batch homeware, ceramics, craft beer, award-winning wine, hand-roasted coffee, jewellery and more. Life According to KAWA, Hvarska ul. 2, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Cogito Coffee, which I’ve been reliably informed serve the best cup of java in the city (although I sadly didn’t get the chance to visit on my trip). Based in Zagreb, Cogito have two outposts in Dubrovnik – in the Old Town and at Ploce Gate – and work with coffee producers across the globe, including ASPROCDEGUA Farmers’ Cooperative which comprises 90 women producers from various towns across Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Cogito Old Town, Stajeva ul. 5, 20000, Dubrovnik →Cogito Ploce Gate, Put od Bosanke 2, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, was originally conceived and built (1935-1939) as the showcase residential mansion of Dubrovnik ship owner Božo Banac. In 1948 it was converted into a museum and artspace, and now features around 3,000 works of modern art from Croatian artists including Vlaho Bukovac, Emanuel Vidović, and Mirko Rački.    MOMAD, Ul. Frana Supila 23, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Love Stories Musuem, located at Pile Gate just outside the City Walls, brings together unique personal love stories and items of great sentimental value donated from all around the world, which are guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings! Love Stories Musuem, Ul. od Tabakarije 2, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Red History Museum, which explores Croatia’s modern history and life under the communist regime of Yugoslavia. The museum’s aim is to encourage dialogue, further exploration and learning about the history of socialism to help bridge the division of the past and responsibly move forward.  Red History Muesum, Ul. Svetog Križa 3, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Take a 4-minute cable car ride to the top of the Hill of Srđ for breathtaking views of the Old City, the crystal clear Adriatic, and numerous islands that stud the ocean like emerald jewels. On a clear day, you can see up to 60 km (37 miles), but alas – it just wasn’t to be on our visit! Dubrovnik Cable Car, Ul. Kralja Petra Krešimira IV. 10A, 20000, Dubrovnik


We were staying a little further along the coast from Dubrovnik, in the very charming little town of Cavtat. Or rather, we were nestled high above it at a sprawling five star resort set into the rocky cliffside, overlooking the Adriatic on one side and the picturesque old town on the other.

Stay: Hotel Croatia, Cavtat

We were hosted at Hotel Croatia by Jet2Holidays, who have a wide selection of Dubrovnik hotels to choose from if I’ve inspired you to book a trip to the region! Part of the Adriatic Luxury Hotels Group, Hotel Croatia has a repetitive ocean-liner like facade, distinctly modernist in style, designed by architect Slobodan Miličević in 1973. Running parallel with the craggy cliff face, the rooms are dramatically stacked across 10 floors on the south-side of the cliff, cleverly hidden amongst cypresses, Aleppo pines and olive trees, to ensure as many sea-view rooms as possible.
While not to everyone’s taste, I’m a big of concrete brutalism and loved exploring the many different public spaces of the hotel, which were typically open and fluid, with floor-to-ceiling glazing, wide terraces and wonderful views down onto Cavtat’s turquoise bay.
At the centre of the complex, there is a free-form outdoor swimming pool, hemmed by pine trees, along with tennis and beach volleyball courts. Inside at the Wellness Spa, there is an indoor heated seawater pool, steam bath, Finnish sauna, massage and beauty parlour. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to experience any of these, but would love a return visit to indulge in a bit of pampering!
→Hotel Croatia, Frankopanska 10, 20210, Cavtat, Dubrovnik
From our hotel, it was a ten minute walk along the seafront to Cavtat’s historic centre. Set on a horseshoe-shaped bay, Cavtat is 13 miles south of Dubrovnik and 14 miles from the border with Montenegro, making it an ideally located base for exploring the region, particularly if you are planning on staying longer than a few days, so you have time to truly embrace the slower pace of life there.
While we managed to eat in the town a couple of times (see below) I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked exploring it on this trip – which just means I’ll have to make a return visit! I did, however, manage to sneak in a little wander on the final morning of our stay, and it was lovely to walk around the edge of the peninsula and discover several little beach bars hidden in amongst the forest, many with sunbathing platforms and wonderful vantage points out across the ocean. Beach Bar Little Star in particular looked like a lovely spot to while away an afternoon and early eve, with a book in hand, just watching the waves crash below.

Visit: Račić Mausoleum

While the climb to reach it may be steep, the breathtaking views over the Adriatic are worth every step of the climb up to visit the Mausoleum of the Račić family.
Located in the Saint Rocco Cemetery, on the highest point of the Rat Peninsula, the mausoleum was designed by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović and built in 1922. I certainly wouldn’t recommend attempting the climb in the heat of the midday sun, but in the early morning or late afternoon you’ll likely find the cemetery to be a little slice of solitude, and the views out across the peninsula a balm for the soul.
→Račić Mausoleum, Kvaternikova ulica, 20210, Cavtat

Places to eat: 

  • Ludo More, aka ‘Crazy Sea’, is a fresh produce restaurant in the Tiha Bay, run by family and friends, with a menu that ‘changes as the tide rises’. We had the first meal of the trip here, which turned out to be, in my opinion, the best! The menu is typically dominated by seafood, prepared according to traditional recipes, but one of the standout dishes for me was the starter of baba ganoush, served with fresh burrata and homemade bread. Ludo More, Put Tihe 22, 20210, Cavtat


  • Leut, is one of the longest running restaurants in town, having been opened by the Bobić family back in 1971. Located under the pine trees on the Cavtat promenade, the restaurant has a spacious seaside terrace as well as a romantic Dalmatian-style inside area – and one of the most stunning views of the entire Cavtat bay. Known for its excellent fresh seafood, we enjoyed a fabulous sharing platter with an Asian twist, including fish carpaccio, octopus salad, tuna pate, battered king prawns and spring rolls, accompanied by a sweet chilli dip. Followed by a delicious catch of the day, and no room at all to enjoy the (delicious looking) dessert platter!  Leut, Trumbićev put 17, 20210, Cavtat


  • BokunBocun, serves up Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and has a more contemporary flair than the other cafes and restaurants I observed in the town, with its colourful alfresco seating and chalkboard menu announcing brunch, cocktails and live music alongside breakfast, lunch and dinner. While I didn’t get a chance to sample any of the dishes myself, the spot is firmly on my list for next time, and seems to have good online reviews to back up my interest.  BokunBocan, Put dr. Ante Starčevića 20, 20210, Cavtat 


  • Konavoski Dvori eco green restaurant, set in the grounds of an ancient mill next to the Ljuta River, is a 20 minute drive from Cavtat, and where we comically ate on the first night of our trip in the pouring rain (albeit under the cover of awnings). Our experience was pretty unusual for the season though, and on a warm sunny day I can see how the setting beside the swift-flowing Ljuta and its watermill would be both incredibly calming and romantic. The restaurant offers classic Croatian dishes, with meat slow cooked ‘under the bell’ in a traditional manner, alongside fresh fish and Dalmation delicacies, such as prosciutto, Slavonian pig and curd ‘gnudi’. Konavoski Dvori, Ljuta b.b, 20217, Ljuta

Mali Ston & Ston

On the third day of our trip, we headed out to the Peljesac peninsula to enjoy, amongst other things, fresh oysters and quality Croatian wine.
An hour and 20 minute drive from our base in Cavtat (and an hour from Dubrovnik Old Town), the Peljesac peninsula is the second largest in Croatia, with a rich history and pristine natural beauty. Our first port of call? Mali Ston bay.

Visit: Oyster Farm

Mali Ston bay is home to the rare European flat oyster, which are considered to be some of the best in the world – they even have a Protected Designation of Origin mark and are inscribed into EU Geographical Indications Register. So it really felt like a very privileged opportunity to take a little boat out into the bay to visit one of the oyster farms, and see the operation first hand.
I’m always excited to set foot on a boat (thanks to the long ancestral line of fishermen on my father’s side I like to think), and the ride was especially wonderful because it was the first time the sun really came out for us. I love the feeling of the wind in my hair, salt spray hitting my face and the rhythmic motion of gliding through the waves underfoot. It was a mere five minute ride out to the floating platform and, once aboard, we were able to learn more about just why the Mali Ston oyster is so highly revered – and have the chance to try some for ourselves…
The geography and topology of the bay is the key to the Mali Ston oyster’s distinction. 28km in length, extremely elongated and branched into numerous coves, the bay is kept sheltered from larger, destructive, waves. The exceptional cleanliness of the bay water, which is also naturally rich in nutrients, is also an important factor.
The resulting shallow waters have facilitated the installation of different farming structures over the years. One thing I hadn’t realised before, was just how time intensive oyster farming is. Unlike mussels, which grow with wild abandon apparently, oysters are far more discerning, or rather, picky, about the environment in which they’ll thrive. So a huge amount of time and effort is spent pulling the oyster crates up from the sea, separating the attached juvenile oysters, and returning them to the ocean once more to continue to maturity. The farming cycle of the Mali Ston oyster takes two to three years, and during this time, each oyster passes through the hands of the farmer around five times!
I can’t say I’ve ever been tempted to try an oyster before, but thought that on this occasion I’d give it a go.. but I’m afraid when the time came I just couldn’t swallow it. My fellow bloggers who tried them all said they were delicious, so you’ll have to take their word for it, but I don’t think I’m ever going to be an oyster girl. Slimy, salty, sea creatures really just don’t do it for me! (I feel the same about mussels, although I did at least try one of those on this trip. But still.. bleurgh!)

Explore: Historic City of Ston

Back on dry land we headed to the historic city of Ston which, because of its geopolitical and strategic position, has had a rich history since antiquity.
Surrounded by three seas, and protected by four hills, Ston is rich in both fresh and saltwater, boasting rich and fertile plains. It’s also home to the second largest defensive walls in the world, after the Great Wall of China.
At first glance, it seems utterly baffling for such a quaint, laid-back fishing town to have such an impressive and imposing fortification system surrounding it. Construction begun when the Republic of Dubrovnik purchased Ston in 1333, with 7 kilometres of defences including three fortresses, 41 towers, 7 bastions and a system of moats, all designed to protect the salt pans that provided the town with its wealth. Ston’s prized salt pans are thought to be among the oldest in the Mediterranean, and have been more or less in constant use for 4,000 years. When you consider that in ancient times, the exchange rate of salt was equal to gold, its becomes a lot clearer as to why those protective walls were built!
Nowadays only 3km of the defensive walls remain, towering high above the town, with several sections of the hillside-hugging fortifications open for tourists to walk. In fact, for those brave enough, the thoroughly-renovated stretch of wall linking Ston with Mali Ston can be walked in its entirety, affording spectacular views across the peninsula. Down at the salt pans, the basic method of production hasn’t changed much; the pans fill with seawater, which evaporates in the summer heat, leaving a residue of salt. It’s certainly a sight to behold; 58 salt pools glinting in the midday sun, stretching almost as far as the eye can see.  

Eat: Bakus

We stopped to eat lunch at the lively Konoba Bakus in the heart of the town, spilling out across a narrow pedestianised street laden with tables and chairs – and a family of street cats! Serving up traditional Croatian fare, we treated to large sharing platters of seafood salad (studded with cuttlefish, octopus and shrimp), black cuttlefish risotto, white shrimp risotto, and breaded oysters – which I found much easier to sample, and actually quite enjoyed!
We also got the chance to try one of Dubrovnik’s most famous desserts – and Ston’s other claim to fame – Stonska torta. A cake made with pasta. On the plate, it looks utterly savoury, with rows of penne tubing encased in a pastry crust.  Definitely intriguing, but it didn’t live up to the hype sadly, with a Christmassy taste, heavily spiced with cinnamon and rum, that couldn’t quite mask the fact you were, indeed, eating tubes of pasta for dessert…
Bakus, Ston 5, 20230, Ston

Visit: Wine Museum

Despite being one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, Croatian wine is still relatively unknown outside of the region. Most of what vineyards produce remains in the country, so even the most ardent of oenophiles are likely to discover something new when they visit. One of the most lovely things I noted during our trip was that every restaurant we ate at offered Croatian wine, and usually, only that. And each wine we were served was delicious; so much so that we were all snapping photos of the wine labels so we could recall our favourites when it came time to pass through duty free on the way home!
The Peljesac peninsula is famous for its vineyards, so if you’re making the trip out to Ston it would be remiss to not to make a stop at one of the numeorus local wineries en route. And if you’re really keen to learn more about Croatian wine, then a visit to the Putniković Wine Musuem is an absolute must. Housed in the Cooperative House building of the agricultural cooperative founded in 1911 by families from Putniković and the surrounding area, the Museum of Viticulture and Enology showcases the role of wine in rural and civic communities, the way in which land was once cultivated, and the many different customs that have developed as a result of viticulture in the area. Set across 3 floors, it offers a truly fascinating look at the local region and, even better, once you’ve explored the museum you can pull up a seat at the bar downstairs and sample the local produce to your heart’s content. I think the fact I went on to buy two bottles to take home speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed the tastings!
Putniković Museum of Viticulture and Enology, Putniković 14, 20248, Putniković

Mljet Island

On the final day of our trip we caught the fast catamaran ferry from Gruž harbour across to Mljet Island.
Often described as the ‘green pearl of the Adriatic’, Mljet is one of the largest islands in south Dalmatia, with a sprawling National Park covering almost a third of the island. Founded in 1960, the National Park is the oldest marine protected area in the Mediterranean, and provides a safe haven for numerous endemic and endangered species. The island is just 1 hr 20 minutes by boat from Dubrovnik, yet feels a world apart, covered with a dense pine forest and surrounded by crystal clear waters, an ever-present symphony of crickets in the air.
The island has a long and eventful history that goes back as far as the second millennium before Christ, when the Illyrians from the tribe of Ardiaei settled on the island. According to legend, Odysseus used the island as a safe haven on his trips sailing the Greek archipelagos, and the island was named ‘Melita’ after the Greek word for honey. The Romans owned the island from 5 BC and, later on, Mljet was ruled by Byzantine Empire until 1333 when it was was granted to Benedictines. In 1410 it became a part of Ragusa, the Dubrovnik Republic, and many of Dubrovnik’s captains built their summer homes along its rugged coastline.

Visit St Mary’s Islet

Mljet a must visit for history buffs and nature lovers alike – particularly those interested in outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking and swimming. There are two deep bays filled with seawater, known as Malo Jezero and Veliko Jezero (Small Lake and Great Lake), with a 12th-century Benedictine monastery to be found on St. Mary’s Islet, in the middle of the Great Lake. Built between 1177-1198, the monastery was home to one of the very first libraries in Dalmatia, and was active until 1809, when it was closed during the rule of Napoleon.
We jumped aboard the free sun-powered boat (included in the Island’s entry ticket price) from Mali Most (the connecting stone bridge between the lakes) and headed across to explore. A mere 1.2 acres, you can walk the islet’s coastline in a leisurely 15-20 minutes, breathing in the heady scent of pine and immersing yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the forest, and stumbling across the crumbling remains of the old church complex. In every direction, the view is spectacular; looking out across the sparkling seawater lake to an unspoilt forest of pines rising majestically in soft undulating waves across the horizon.

Eat: Melita

Under the ancient arches of the monastery, with an unparalleled waterfront location, you’ll find Restaurant Melita, which is where we stopped for lunch on our day trip to Mljet. You can’t miss it; the boat to the tiny islet docks right outside and pretty much everyone disembarking is drawn in by both the romance of the setting, and quality of the freshly caught seafood. Proclaiming to serve “hearty Dalmatian dishes, island specialities and a selection of the best Croatian wines,” I can heartily concur. We enjoyed what was possibly the best wine of our trip here; a bottle of Vinarija Dingač 2017.
Restaurant Melita, 20226, Goveđari
After lunch is was time to catch the boat over to the Small Lake, for an afternoon of water-based activities. Kayaking, swimming and snorkelling are all on the agenda (any equipment you may need is available to rent), but if you’re after something a little more relaxing, simply bathing (or floating) in the lake is highly advised. Malo Jezero’s high saline concentration is even considered to have some healing properties for rheumatism and skin eczema.

More things to do on Mljet:

  • As we were only there for a day trip we didn’t have too much of a chance to hike (although the route around Small Lake back to our gathering point included some pretty steep steps!), but I’m reliably informed that there are plenty of hiking trails to suit all abilities. If you’re departing from Polače village, you can walk over to the Large Lake via a well-signed forest path over the Montokuc hill (245 m) in around 50 minutes. From the top you’ll be afforded spectacular views across the Park. You can buy a hiking map with your entrance ticket.


  • There is a popular tarmaced cycling path around Large Lake, and you can rent a bicycle at several spots within the Park. Cycling is a fantastic way to explore the Lakes any time of the year, as the  path is partly shaded by tall trees, offering plenty of respite from the sun, even at the height of summer.


  • If you’re into scuba diving there is a company offering diving trips based in Pomena village. Some of the island’s diving spots include some shipwrecks from WW2, as well as an antique Roman wreck featuring amphorae and other ceramics from the time.


  • Although a day trip provides ample time to explore, if you’d like to stay overnight there is just one hotel on the island, Hotel Odisej in Pomena. There are however, numerous private rooms and apartments available to rent on the island, so if it truly captures your heart (it may well do!) one of these might be a good option for a longer stay.


How to get to Mljet: 

 From April to October there are daily fast ferries to Mljet departing from Split, Brac, Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik.

More things to do on the Dubrovnik Riviera:

  • ATV Quad Safari in Konavle, which was definitely a surprisingly fun afternoon out I discovered – even in the rain! Outdoor adventure activities are not normally my kind of thing (at all), but a two hour off-road ATV Quad tour turned out to be a wonderfully exhilarating way to explore the Konavle region, passing through the wetlands and plains of the Konavle field, the picturesque village of Čilipi, before traversing the Konavle rocks geomorphological and hydrographic reserve with the stunning Dalmation coastline, and crashing Adriatic, on one side. Just make sure you take some (closed) waterproof shoes with you – helmet, goggles and overalls are all provided on-site.  Kojan Koral, Radovčići 1, 20215, Gruda


  • Lokrum Island, where peacocks and rabbits run wild, is just a 15-minute ferry ride from the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Densely forested, Lokrum is designated as a special reserve for its holm oaks and Mediterranean plants. While we weren’t able to take the ferry across due to poor weather the day of our visit, it’s definitely on my must-visit list for my next Dubrovnik jaunt, and I look forward to exploring both the Botanical Garden and the ruins of the 11th-century Benedictine Monastery, which, legend says, was built by Richard the Lionheart in thanks for his safe passage off the island. The island is also home to the original Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne, if that’s of interest to you..  There are daily sailings from Dubrovnik’s Old Port to Lokrum, departing 2-4 times per hour, depending upon the season. 


  • Pelješac Bridge, designed by Slovenian engineer Marjan Pipenbaher. Did you know that until July 2022, whenever you travelled from Split to Dubrovnik you had to travel through a coastal section of Bosnia & Herzegovina, passing through two passport checkpoints each time? The country was literally split in two. The long-awaited 2.4km bridge spans the sea channel between Komarna on the northern mainland and the peninsula of Pelješac, and was largely funded by the European Union ahead of Croatia joining the Schengen Zone in 2023.
Have I got you searching for package holidays to Croatia now?
If so, I highly recommend looking at all the luxury holidays that Jet2Holidays have on offer; they have loads of choice for destinations, fantastic accomodation, plus an incredibly generous luggage allowance on your flight – what’s not to love?
This post is in partnership with Jet2 and the Dubrovnik Riviera Tourism Board, who hosted this press trip. As always, all experiences, thoughts and opinions are my own. All photography © Kate Baxter. 

Fabric of my Life is reader-supported.

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you purchase an item using one of these links — at no additional cost to you. If I use affiliate links in a blog post, you’ll see an asterisk (*) next to the link to denote it. Occasionally I am gifted products, with no obligation to feature, and the brand has no editorial control or input as to how they may be featured. Any gifted products featured are denoted with a double asterisk (**). If a post is declared as a Paid Partnership then the brand has required specific (factual) product information to be included and/or specified the type and quantity of images featured. Please note, I only ever feature brands and products on my blog that I genuinely love and would purchase myself, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are always my own. You can read more about my disclosure policies here. Please note: expired links are removed periodically. If a product is no longer linked, it is no longer available. 

Share this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *