Winter is coming.. but it’s still bikini weather in Dubrovnik, Croatia and why you need to visit before it becomes impossible… Europe Part III

I’ve decided I’m going to start a petition because I’m in denial that summer is going to be over any time soon.  I’m fairly positive that I’m solar powered by the sun, so this is detrimental to my health.  Let’s save summer… who’s with me?!

Fresh off the next summer vacation spot of Dubrovnik, Croatia!  If I’m honest, I never really seriously thought about making a stop in the Eastern European country until a couple years ago.  No, I’m not a Game of Thrones aka GoT fan, so this wasn’t the push to go, but since I knew very little about it, I wanted to try a country that very few people I know of has ever visited.  Going outside the normal comfort zone of getting recommendations from friends and diving into the unknown emerald waters.

 

{outfit details}

Top courtesy of: the.beginning.of

 

We decided on Dubrovnik because it seemed to be more of a beach town and less populated when compared to the northern city of Split, which is also in Croatia and another main tourist destination.  So quickly, Croatia is separated into two sections where Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken a tiny section of the country long ago due to some crazy debt situation.. this was the compromise, ocean front property… So the country split in half.

 

Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

 

{getting to old town from the airport}

Have cash in hand when purchasing your bus ticket (we got slight stink eye from the airport ticket lady for attempting to pay with a credit card).. don’t worry, there are about 2,042,009 ATMs in the airport and they don’t accept the euro; Croatia has their own money called the Kuna.  It cost about $15 USD to take the bus to the main bus station called Gruz about 45 minutes away (the cost is the same if you are staying directly in Old Town).

{walls of dubrovnik}

We stayed just outside of Old Town which is where the infamous red/orange rooftops are located within the Walls of Dubrovnik.  This was the extent of what I knew before landing in Balkan territory of places that were a must to see.  That quickly changed when I looked up some images via instagram for inspiration… No yelp here, so the IG came in handy to stalk some pretty sights.  The first day we took a ten minute bus into town ($2), and it drops you off right where, according to Game of Thrones fans call the fictitious, King’s Landing.  THIS got me excited when I finally got to see what the fuss was about with the “walls”.  Straight out of a medieval movie, but not cheesy like the restaurant.  Legit an entire town built with a wall around it because in the old school days, they had to protect themselves during hostile times.  An entire livable city within walls with a height of 82 ft and spans 6,360 ft in its entirety.

 

 

 

 

 

We wandered around just getting our bearings and enjoying the views.  It feels like roaming a huge castle and each alley was spectacular.  People LIVE within the walls!!  It’s a fully functioning city with shops, restaurants, churches, etc.  We got lost (not really lost) trying to scour every pretty corner and stumbling upon so many cats.. which by the way, were SOOOO cute and I’m not even a cat person.  People would grab a quick bite to eat and create little picnics on all the various walkways and steps within the little city which was so much cooler because of the huge stones that block the sun and somehow kept everything very airy.  Luckily, I didn’t miss leg day because we made up for it by walking up maybe 40K flights of stairs.  Slight exaggeration.

 

 

 

 

{outfit details}

Top by: H&M

Shorts: Forever 21 (similar here)

 

{food situation}

I had zero clue what Croatian food was.  I looked it up and found that their inspiration comes mainly from the mediterranean, so pizza and pasta places were the norm.  We found this super cute (read: pink) restaurant called Pizzeria Mea Culpa for our first brunch and I was sold after I saw the aesthetics.  I mean I read the menu and saw some items I could eat, plus they served coffee and I was in need of a fix.

 

 

 

The light within the walls felt like golden hour at all hours of the day.  The reflection of the stones made everything look like a reflector was shining, so all the photos were just spot on!  I kept trying to chase the rooftop views but couldn’t seem to catch a break.  When you walk through the various alleys, you can see glimpses of the rooftops but never the full view.  We finally figured out where stairs were to take us to the top of the walls and realized we had to pay about $25 USD to walk the walls.  The prices were steep, but it was an absolute must and I highly recommend because it was the major highlight to see the  city up high.  Some of my best city snaps were from the walls.

Pro tip: The walls go completely around the city, and you have nothing but rooftop and ocean views.  We went around 5PM so we got to catch the sunset and avoided heat stroke.  Also, a couple of bars are up there if you want to take random breaks to sip some brew (coffee or beer).  We stopped at two of them… one for coffee and another for rośe.. well I got rośe and the husband got beer.  We continued on until we reached the end.. if you want to do the full wall length, it closed at 7:30 (in August), so give yourself time to leisurely enjoy what you pay for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

{dinner at the castle.. drinks along the way}

We did get a recommendation from a Croatian friend to try Kamenice.  We happened to find it and the menu looked delish.. the entire square is filled with restaurants in the middle that opens up (it’s hard to explain where anything is because picture a castle with a lot of alleys and no official roads).. It’s not very big, so finding places isn’t actually that hard once you roam for a few hours and figure out landmarks.  There’s one main drag at the very beginning of the walls and all alleys for the most part stem from it.

 

 

 

 

{brunch.. sveti jakov beach.. purple parasols}

First things first, we stopped and grabbed an early breakfast from Gradska Kavana which is set in this beautiful location where you can have views of the walls or the water.  Breakfast included everything I could have wanted for about $10.  Ok, now off to the beach.. with full belly’s and bikinis in hand.

 

 

With my stealthy IG skills of finding anything girly in a city, lead me to some beaches in Dubrovnik.  This is when I found Sveti Jakov Beach.  Again, aesthetics got me and purple parasols with emerald waters won me over.  We found out it would have taken about 40 minutes to walk from Old Town, but only 10 minutes by boat for 10 euros ($12) roundtrip.  Worth it because now we got to ride a glass bottom boat and see views leaving the walls.  The beach was a complete dream.. and because we had to work a little harder for it, we were the only American tourists there.. everyone else spoke some other language with the occasional British english.  There’s a beach bar and restaurant if you planned on staying an extended period. This place was such a gem to find and nothing better than stumbling upon something so untapped!  Yes it was busy, but busy with European foreigners.

We rented a couple of chairs (about $8 each for unlimited time) and you could rent a parasol as well, which I didn’t want.. because tanning.  I just wanted the parasols close by for pictures purposes, ya feel me?  The best view to take everything in, is at the top of the steps that lead to the beach if you were to walk.  We took the 160+ steps up and snapped probably one of my favorite pictures of the entire trip.  My commitment to get 10 shades darker happened here.

 

 

 

                          

 

 

{outfit details}

Bikini courtesy of: Wildaster

Sunglasses: Karen Walker (sold out – similar here)

 

{hole in the wall bar with a view – Buza Bar}

Let’s talk about epic views.  Several travel websites have ranked Buza Bar within the top 5 of best bars worth traveling for.. the views are what you want here.  We popped in the “hole in the wall” bar and had some drinks.  Only bottles here because they don’t make mixed drinks.  Think bar on the side of the cliff, outside the Walls of Dubrovnik and cliff diving for those who are risk takers.  It was so good, we stopped here twice because we wanted to watch the sunset.  Good luck finding it.. hint: look for a sign that says “cold drinks” and walk through the actual hole in the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro tip: Start planning your visit to Croatia, particularly to the UNESCO labeled city of Dubrovnik sooner rather than later.  The new mayor wants to put a limit on the number of visitors per day/month/year to keep with the integrity of the city.  The stones are incredibly old and they take a beating daily with our footsteps.  Planning a future trip may take more coordination than just showing up if you want to get within the walls.  So you heard it here first, book your trip before it becomes impossible!  The Germans and Italians know this already since they were the majority of tourists there.

 

 

Again, sorry for the lengthy post.. but every detail needed to be divulged.  Take it.. hold it close to your heart and book your ticket.  Comment back here if you make it out there.. I wanna hear!!

Stalk the IG (@brigittepatton) using #BrigittexCroatia

2 thoughts on “Winter is coming.. but it’s still bikini weather in Dubrovnik, Croatia and why you need to visit before it becomes impossible… Europe Part III

  1. Hi love, Can you link where you stayed in Croatia? Did you like where you stayed? I am looking to book a trip for October next year so trying to plan ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Andrea!! We actually stayed in an Airbnb just across from the Harbor. I enjoyed the stay just outside Old Town, but I would say for your FIRST time to Dubrovnik, I would stay inside the walls in an Airbnb. We were advised to stay away from the crowds, but we spent most of our time within the walls. The bus wasn’t bad to take, although crowded sometimes. I can post the link of the exact place we stay. We loved the apartment we got because the courtyard was so nice and very clean and we did get to see the harbor away from the super touristy part. The only downside was the wifi, but this will at least give you an idea of where we stayed. But you could venture outside the walls and see this pretty easily. Hope that helps!! Here’s the link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2642671

      Thanks for reading!!

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