I’ve visited Croatia a number of times over the years. My first visit was back in the summer of 2003, when the country’s stunning coastline was fairly ill-served by flights from the UK (not a huge problem – I flew to Zagreb and enjoyed a wander before jumping on a bus to Rovinj, on the Istrian peninsula).
Even then, one of the main places I’d wanted to see was Dubrovnik.
The iconic city’s old town sounded beautiful, but the additional expense of visiting (beauty often comes with a price tag!) and a lack of decent camping options nearby meant I never got round to it. So it wasn’t until my sixth visit to Croatia earlier this summer that I finally got round to seeing what’s arguably its finest sight.
We stayed in the old town itself, which is well worth doing. It feels so luxurious to step out the door and straight into the picturesque streets, and it means it’s easier to experience the place before and after it’s filled to bursting with cruise passengers and coach tours.
One thing I hadn’t been prepared for was quite how hilly it is within the city walls; it’s arranged like a bowl, with the streets getting higher and higher (and higher) the closer you get to the perimeter. Something to bear in mind if you’re staying near the edge and turn up with a heavy backpack!
Much of our time in Dubrovnik was spent aimlessly exploring and unwinding, and that seems the best way to do it to me. It’s a glorious place to simply wander and absorb, with a leisurely walk around the perimeter wall being a huge highlight. Those famous orange roofs positively glow in the sunshine, throwing colour back into the sultry summer air.
We had four nights to spend in Dubrovnik, which was enough time to really soak the place up and unwind at the start of our holiday. Places like this don’t reward rushing; having the odd extra hour to spend just watching the world go by made it so much more pleasurable.
It also meant we had time to explore the area around the city. It’s well worth taking a day trip to Lokrum, a picturesque island a short boat ride from the old town’s pretty port. We also took the cable car up to the hill overlooking the town, walking down the rough path back to the bottom.
It might have taken a while to see Dubrovnik, then, but it proved worth the wait.