Dubrovnik – Old Town
Explore: Dubrovnik Old Town
Visit: The Old Port of Dubrovnik
Visit: City Walls
Places to eat:
- 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
Stay: Hotel Croatia, Cavtat
Visit: Račić Mausoleum
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
Visit: Oyster Farm
Explore: Historic City of Ston
Visit: Wine Museum
Visit St Mary’s Islet
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:
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.