I’m skipping over writing my Prague blogpost for now because…I accidentally overwrote half of my photos on my DSLR! Does anyone have suggestions for recovering them?? I’m not freaking out too much because I’m pretty sure nothing ever permanently disappears with today’s technology…but still. This reminds me that I need some permanent ways to store all my photos in one place.
I’d wanted to go to Croatia for a while since many of my European friends recommended that it’s similar to the island vibe of Italy/Greece without the crowds. Add in the fact that Game of Thrones heavily films in various areas of Croatia, I had to add Dubrovnik to our itinerary for this year’s Eurotrip since we were in Eastern Europe already! As much as we’d love to explore other parts of Croatia, especially the national forests and waterfalls, we had limited vacation time and so had to be content with just Dubrovnik. Maybe we’ll visit the rest of Croatia next summer (or add it to our honeymoon trip!)
Dubrovnik is pretty expensive, as it’s a luxury vacation beach town. The airport is around a 30 minute drive to the city; we took a $7 bus in which was air conditioned and left after each arrival flight (otherwise it’s a $35 cab). Once we got to the city we had to hire a taxi to take us to our Airbnb, even though it was technically only a 7 minute walk from where the bus stop was – but up very, very steep stairs! Since the city was so expensive, we’d hired a private room in a shared house on AirBnB, which we’ve mostly stopped doing as we value our privacy and space to unwind when we’re on vacation. I expected the worst, but really it was a room in a guest house, complete with our own private balcony. AND it was only $170 for 2 nights – a steal for the city! We were only a 5 minute walk to the Old City, a 5 minute walk to Banje Beach, and a 3 minute walk to the cable car up the mountain. Of course, the time to walk from these places to the airbnb was double or triple, because of the endless stairs we had to take everywhere. At least it was a good workout everyday 🙂 (but seriously, don’t visit if you can’t handle stairs…unless you’re planning on just staying at a resort out of town the entire time. The resorts slightly out of town are more luxurious anyway, with private beaches or pools).
Since this was near the end of our trip, we didn’t take any day trips to nearby Montengro or Bosnia, or neighboring Croatian islands although we briefly considered it. Instead, we explored the entirety of Old City Dubrovnik the first day. This included walking the walls (go in the late afternoon, otherwise the sun will be unbearably hot). It cost around $25 per person to simply walk the walls, but it was worth it! We took our time going around the city, taking photos and admiring the view – especially at locations where I knew GoT had filmed (scenes set in Qarth and King’s Landing).
At night, we took the cable car up Mount Srd (also $25). We had drinks and dessert at Panorama Restaurant on top of the mountain, which was a wonderful experience (minus the part where huge bees landed in our dessert – but that wasn’t their fault, and we got our dessert for free!)
Our second day was spent sailing to neighboring Lokrum Island. There is plenty to explore here for a day trip, including hiking to the less crowded side of the island (such a steep hill…) to the fort. We found our own little beaches to explore on this side as well, and explore the botanical gardens.
The more popular side of the island (although nothing was too crowded) included a visit to the ‘Dead Sea’ (really a lake) and an area of rocks where people were cliff jumping and sun-bathing. The waves were much more intense on the rocky side of the island, while the water was perfectly clear on the east side!
We also paid a visit to the old monastery – another Game of Thrones filming site! They have a mini-museum dedicated to the history of the island + the history of GoT, and they also have a replica throne for you to sit on and take a photo. There’s also a replica throne in Old City at a Game of Thrones gift shop, where I took my photo at during the first day, but you have to buy a souvenir there 😉
We ate some delicious food while in Dubrovnik. Most of the restaurants were open-air, and we especially loved our dinner at the Terrace by the Sea on the second night.
With your City Walls pass, don’t forget to visit neighboring Fort Lovrijenac. Many scenes from the Battle of Blackwater Bay were filmed here, as well as some iconic scenes between Baelish and Sansa!
The third day started off rainy, so we visited the aquarium and the pharmacy (there aren’t that many museums in Dubrovnik to visit). But then the weather got a lot better, so we spent the rest of the day diving off rocks at Cliff Bar, and then lounging at Banje Beach (we rented a cabana, and the beach was uncharacteristically empty since the weather wasn’t great that morning!)
Overall, Dubrovnik was one of our favorite places we’ve ever visited. Old City felt like Disneyworld in how clean and otherworldly it was (we personally love Disney, so this might be a turn-off for some people). One note is that we didn’t do an “official” game of thrones walking tour but visited all the sites ourselves instead, but I eavesdropped on some tours and they seemed like a lot of fun! Game of Thrones poses a unique status, since they used a lot of existing infrastructure for their filming rather than creating movie sets – unlike other large fantasy franchises (I only wish there was a comprehensive Lord of the Rings tour!!)