This July my lovely friend Serena and I spent 28 hours (quite literally!) in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik. We were on our way to our Bosnian Highlands adventure and tagged Dubrovnik onto this trip as our start and end point, due to a direct flight from Dublin - yay! Here is a little recap of what we did on this blitz visit, which was packed full of awesomeness, including food, strolling, kayaking, boat trip and some culture.
12pm - landing at Dubrovnik
The approach to Dubrovnik airport when flying from Western Europe is quite spectacular as the plane does a 180 degree turn over some small islands with pine trees, so get a seat on the left hand side of the aircraft if possible. There are frequent bus services from the airport into the city centre and the journey takes about 30mins. Buy a return ticket (around 10 EUR) but make sure to pay in kuna - the ticket office does not take euros.
1pm - find your hostel
Dubrovnik has maaaany stairs, it gets very hot in the summer and the narrow cobbled streets are swamped with tourists, so be prepared for some serious sweating and a shower immediately after you’ve found your accommodation!
Our hostel Guesthouse Rustico was located very near the city centre, but didn’t have a clear sign outside, so it took us a few minutes to establish that we were in fact in the right spot (Google Maps recommended so don’t skimp on data roaming). It was a self-service check in, meaning that we entered the vestibule via a code on the door and found our room keys in an envelope inside. Rooms can be quite expensive in Dubrovnik, around 100 EUR per night for a pretty basic set up, so I would definitely recommend getting something that isn’t very fancy, as you will spend most of your time outside anyways.
2pm - lunch
There are multiple restaurants all around the old town, but they’re mostly pizzerias and some fast food places. Food is decent, but not outstanding, and definitely not cheap. You can expect to pay around 15 EUR for a plate of food and around 5 EUR for a beer. You can expect to pay around 15 EUR for a plate of food and around 5 EUR for a beer. We obeyed our Croatian friend who swears by cevapi and pašticada and were not disappointed!
4pm - wander
Take a stroll around the old town alongside the sea, you’ll get some great views and a fresh breeze. You can climb up the Lovrijenac fortress for some sweeping views of the city. It does get hot though, so if you have your bikini handy you can take a dip in the sea at the small and relaxed beach. Have a beer while swinging on a bar swing at Bar Dodo, it’s exactly as cool as it sounds! Check out the view of the beach:
5.30pm - sunset kayaking
There are several companies that run kayak tours from the same spot at Ul. od Tabakarije. Tours take approx. 3 hours, cost around 30 EUR and we booked ours directly with the tour guide on the spot. They have 3 departures daily, morning, lunch and evening - I’d recommend the evening tour as on the way back you get to experience a magical sunset that will fill you with calm and awe at the beauty of this place. Sample in this video:
9pm - dinner
Exhausted from kayaking and walking, we had a quick bite at a kebab shop (best kebab ever!) and went to sleep, so I don’t have much to say about Dubrovnik night life, ha!
9am - breakfast in the old town
Rise early in Dubrovnik to avoid the peak hours of heat. We had breakfast at the lovely Cafe Festival, consisting of croissants, muesli, coffee and orange juice which were all delicious. Granted, the cafe is right in the middle of a tourist area and is definitely not cheap, but it’s worth it for the pleasure of starting your day on this gorgeous cobbled street and watching the city come to life.
10am - city walls
The walls are an absolute must, the views are incredible and you will get the most amazing Game of Thrones-style photos.Tickets cost around 20 EUR and it takes about 90mins to walk the full length of the walls at a leisurely pace.
12pm - Lokrum
Lokrum is a small island off the coast of Dubrovnik, which contains a nature reserve along with some small restaurants and leisure facilities. You can get there in 15mins by a frequent boat service from the Old Town Port, and it feels like stepping into a completely different world. For starters, they have baby peacocks and baby bunnies - how amazing is that?! There are plenty of great spots to swim from the rocks, so bring your water shoes. You can stroll through the middle of the island and stop for lunch in one of the cafes. Again, don’t expect culinary delights but you can get a decent sandwich here. Most importantly, there is a small museum on the island where you can get your photo taken on the Iron Throne - boom!
4pm - departure
And that’s it! Dubrovnik in 28 hours has plenty of amazing things to do and see and I really do feel like we’ve done the main things. The city is crowded and expensive, so a short visit might just be the best way to enjoy it.
Everyone in Dubrovnik, including the information centre agents, is convinced that you know exactly where the cable car entrance is located. People will refer to it when giving you directions as this is where the buses leave from for the airport - they take a different route to the one you came on, due to the one-way traffic system. It’s here, except that you will need to cross an overground junction and then an underground passage - you’re welcome :) The cable car is a serious trek uphill in the heat, so a taxi might be a better option even though it’s pretty near.