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DUBROVNIK, CROATIA TIPS & ITINERARY

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

In the last several years, Croatia has started popping up on people's radar. It might have something to do with the Game of Thrones boom, or simply with the fact that it is a beautiful country to visit. Either way, it's worth adding to your bucket list.

I made the trip to Croatia in 2017 after one of my closest friends (who happens to be from Croatia) invited me to visit her. I went on this trip blind as to what to expect, and the types of activities we would do. But, I was curious about Croatia and knew no matter what, we would have a blast.


At the time, taking more than a week off from work was not possible, but I knew I wanted to go, so I figured YOLO, I would rather go for a short amount of time than not at all.


Knowing I only had one week to spend, I wanted to soak up as much of everyday life in Croatia as possible. At the same time though, I didn't want to be so overloaded on activities that I wouldn't be able to enjoy my days. I wanted to go to typical tourist destinations, but more than anything, I wanted to see what life for locals was like.


HERE IS OUR VERY CHILL 5-DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE 

Landing in Croatia, there was about a 9hour + time difference. Depending on what time your flight lands, this could mean that you are either landing there ready to go to bed, or still have a full day ahead of you. If you have an afternoon or evening, try to get out for lunch or dinner and get acquainted with the area you will be staying by.


We stayed in Cavtat, which is South of Dubrovnik. It is a small and beautiful village, that is much cheaper to visit than neighboring Dubrovnik.

Sunset at the marina in Cavtat.

After I unloaded luggage and freshened up, it was time to go to town and enjoy dinner. Since Ana is from Croatia, I felt completely safe walking around. She knew her way around the city and the language. However, if you are traveling alone or with a group unfamiliar with the area, do some prior research on where you'd like to go.


For the most part, Croatia is pretty safe. The economy depends on tourism, which means that they want you to stay and visit.


DAY 2: CAVTAT

Cavtat is such a charming and beautiful town with local markets and shops. We went down early in the morning while fruit vendors were still setting up and bought berries and other snacks for the day.


Today was all about exploring where we were and relaxing by the beach. This is an easy way to spend the day, especially if you are jet-lagged.

The marina in Cavtat.

In general, this is also just my style of vacation, so we tried to go to town almost every day. It was August, so the temperature was perfect for staying in the ocean or lying on the rocks.


DAY 3: DUBROVNIK

We drove about 30minutes north into Dubrovnik to see the Old Town and walk the Walls of Dubrovnik.

Overlooking Old Town from the Walls.

The Walls of Dubrovnik are large stone barriers that run for about 1940 meters, or just over 6,000 feet around Old Town. It was originally built to protect from foreign attacks.

Looking into the water from the Walls.
Old Town from top of the Walls.

There are several tours you can take through the walls. We chose to do the self-guided walk, which was perfect for us as we just wanted to stroll at our own pace and experience the scenery.

Our friend Hannah and I with the Croatian flag.

While walking around the walls, there are various stop points. This is where soldiers would station themselves to look for enemies.

Peeking to the water from the Walls.

It took us about two hours to journey through the entirety of the walls - at which point we headed into Old Town.


We wandered through shops, local restaurants, and beautiful stone alleys.

Ana and I in Old Town.

One of the most entertaining things, was seeing how many shops were selling Game of Thrones (GOT) merchandise. At the time, I had not gotten into the show, but our friend Hannah was a fan, and she filled us in on everything GOT and Croatia.

From the Old Town, on the other side of the wall, is a dock and marina. We sat here for a while and enjoyed a fun conversation before finishing our day.

Fun Fact: Because so many scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed in Dubrovnik's Old Town, a lot of the tourism revolves around the show, even giving you an opportunity to take a Game of Thrones walking tour through your favorite scenes.


DAY 4: LOKRUM

On the 4th day of our travels, we went to Lokrum Island, which is said to have a curse that's hundreds of years old.


In the 15th century, Lokrum Island belonged to Benedictine Monks. These monks were forced to leave the island and, on their last night, they circled the island and put a curse on anyone who would own the island for their personal use. Because of this curse, people speculate that you can't even sleep on the island. For years to come, there are stories about how everyone who owned Lokrum after this suffered a tragic death.

Today, you can visit Lokrum Island for the day and see the Benedictine Monastery and botanical garden.

Monastery gardens in Lokrum.

To get there, you need to take a taxi boat which you can do from Cavtat or Dubrovnik. However, it is less expensive from Cavtat.

Ana, Hannah and I on our taxi boat.

Tip: Because of the legend, no one lives on the island, so it's probably safer to go earlier in the day and avoid getting on a boat back too late into the evening.

Walking through the Monastery in Lokrum.

Fun Fact: If you are a big Game of Thrones fan, Lokrum is where you can go and sit on the iron throne!


DAY 5: CAVTAT BEACH DAY

There is plenty to do in Cavtat! So if you are up for walking around, swimming and eating, this is the perfect way to spend your last day in some good company.

We bought veggies and fruit, walked by the shore, and stayed at the beach for a few hours.


ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT TIME

Croatia is one of the places I need to go back to. There is just so much to see that I didn't get to! If I were to go back, even just to Dubrovnik, here are some things I would add to my itinerary:

  • Drive to Montenegro. We almost did this, but it was about a 3hour drive to get there. It seemed too stressful to go for such a short amount of time. Part of the reason why it takes three hours is that there are so many tourists in the summer crossing the border. The options are to either go during the off-season or plan ahead, knowing that it will be a long car or bus ride.

  • Sea Kayaking. While walking around the Walls of Dubrovnik, we saw many people doing sea activities, and it seemed like such a relaxing way to spend a day!

  • Plitvice Lakes National Park. Farther north of Dubrovnik are clear blue glass lakes and waterfalls. This is something you can take a tour or bus to and spend a day at. I will definitely be adding this to my next visit. It is also closer to Zagreb than Dubrovnik, so maybe next time I can plan a multi-city stay.

ECO-TIPS

Now, this wouldn't also be a sustainability blog if I didn't remind you of some eco-tips for your travel!

  1. Reduce your carbon footprint by taking as direct a flight as possible.

  2. Don't forget to travel light and only bring a carry-on. This should be easy if you are coming in the summer. All you'll need are light clothes and swimsuits!

  3. Bring your reusable water bottle, and if you have one, a portable water bottle filter.

  4. Pack some Stasher bags and a cloth shopping bag for your daily snacks and local shopping. This is a great and easy way to avoid single-use plastic bags.

  5. Opt for local tour guides and companies and help the local economy!


I hope you enjoyed these tips and itineraries, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


GV

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