And what a pearl it is. The final stop on our Croatian tour, which seemed appropriate because as the adage goes: save the best for last. This city truly is a dream.
Ah Dubrovnik, how we long to come back.
It was early July when we landed in Dubrovnik and already the temperatures were up around 32°C, but it felt significantly warmer (a side effect of living in Brussels I think – how quickly we have adjusted to our cooler year round temps). We had two days to explore and enjoy Dubrovnik.
Welcome to Old Town.
Built snug against the sea, once you pass through the gates and head down into the heart of the town, you will immediately feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. The buildings and paved walkways all gleam a brilliant white in the afternoon sun. Gelato shops can be found almost every few paces, which was a necessity for this group in beating the heat. Wander up and down the narrow, stepped alleyways and stumble upon tucked away restaurants and shops outside of the main tourist fare. This city begs to be explored.
After a tour through the city, do as we did and walk the city walls. At 100 Kuna (approximately €13 or $17) it is on the more expensive side as far as sights go, but trust, it does not disappoint. Once you climb up a couple of flights of stairs you are immediately welcomed with the most glorious views of the city which alone are worth the price of admission. The views below will look very familiar to our fellow Game of Thrones fans – I imagine George R. R. Martin wrote his descriptions of Kings Landing with this very city in mind. These walls, over 1,940 meters in length, are the reason this city was able to thrive and survive various sieges over the years.
Fair warning. It can get quite warm up on the walls – do as we did and stop at one of the various cafes along the way for a quick beverage to get out of the heat and recharge before tackling the rest of the wall. It can also get quite crowded as the cruise ships or tour buses will descend upon the city. Aim to do the walls either early in the day or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the heat.
To get an even more birds-eye view of the city, head up to the tippy-top of the Srd Hill. Given the heat and our tired legs we opted for the easy route and grabbed the cable car. If you’re feeling motivated and looking to stretch your legs, there is a path up the hill if you prefer to save a few bucks and walk.
The rest of our time when not spent indulging in scoop after scoop of gelato (when in Croatia?), was spent enjoying what has become our infatuation with Croatia: the clear blue gorgeous waters. Our first attempt was to try and find the hidden beach that Rick Steves recommended called St. Jakov. We clearly missed our mark, but we found some steps leading down to a rocky outcrop below that proved to have the best views of Old Town.
I’ve said it before, but one of my favorite things about Croatia and these coastal towns is that there are ladders leading down into the ocean. Here, the ocean is your water playground. Hours were spent alternating sunning on the rocks and going for dips in the ocean. We couldn’t have asked for more.
When we walked through the city the first day, we walked by Cafe Buza which is a little cliff bar hanging right on the outside of the city wall. It was recommended by some friends that had previously passed through the city years ago. A suggestion was also made – one I never intended to follow, but it got Jared pretty jazzed. Where else would you get the opportunity to jump off the wall of a city into the ocean far below. We scoped the scene the first day, watching one Australian after another take the plunge. Some took the leap without hesitation, probably assuming any moment wasted would lead to reconsideration, and some needed some friendly encouragement or ribbing from their friends waiting down in the water below. Our thought that day – damn that jump is high.
Our last day in Dubrovnik, it was decided, would be THE day. Jared and Dylan would brave the jump. Bre and I would be cheerleaders/photographers. As Bre and I settled ourselves into the best photo position, the boys navigated the hazardously path out to the jump point. Dylan leaped first, then Jared followed.
Jared did a little time-lapse video editing to created these nifty little photos – Dylan’s jump on the left. Jared’s jump on the right. Guess whose butt was more black and blue the following day. It may not look too bad, but it’s about a 20 meter (60 feet) high jump. Enough to give even the most adventurous person a moment’s pause.
Was it safe? Eh. The boys assured us that there was never any danger of hitting the rocks below; however, the walk to the jump point was pretty treacherous and should be carefully crossed. Would Jared do it again? Most decidedly no. This falls in the one and done category.
Our final night was lowkey. An impromptu happy hour down at the cliffs. Hours spent rehashing the trip and discussing the highlights of Croatia. And hopeful plans for another trip – and soon – in the future. We have some pretty awesome friends.
This place has won a piece of our hearts and while absence makes the heart grow fonder, I don’t think it’ll be long before we find ourselves in Dubrovnik or Croatia again.