Croatia has been on been on our radar for a long time. Then with our obsession with Game of Thrones (minus the final season) we knew we had to visit King’s Landing AKA Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik sits right on the Adriatic Sea and the old town is one of the oldest, most well preserved, medieval walled cities in the world. With the contrast of the beautiful orange rooftops and the blue waters glistening behind it, this town should be on everyone’s radar.
Day 1: We arrived into Dubrovnik via Istanbul around 7:40am. The airport is fairly small and we were on the road to our hotel within 20mins of landing. We arrived to our hotel around 8:30am. We were staying at Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik, which is part of the Adriatic Luxury Hotel chain in Croatia. The hotel had just reopened after a full renovation and it was stunning! Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik is perched up on a beautiful cliff side overlooking the Adriatic sea in a private cove. With its stunning views, a private beach area, and just a quick 15min walk into Old Town, we knew it would be the perfect hotel for us.
After settling into our beautiful ocean view corner suite, we headed down to the beach. As mentioned, the Hotel Bellevue sits in a stunning cove with a beautiful beach. The right side of the beach is open to the public and accessible via stairs that run down the hill on the northern side. The left and southern part of the beach is private for guests and offers 2 rows of beach chairs with umbrellas. Nevera is the beach seafood restaurant located in the middle of the beach and separates the public and private side. It sits half inside of a cave and half out on the beach. From the restaurant, servers wait on the private beach so you can order food and beverages while relaxing and working on your tan.
After a few hours of relaxing at the beach, the clouds started to roll in so we headed back up to the hotel. We decided to eat lunch at Vapor, the hotel’s Michelin guided restaurant. We had a selection of the best Dalmatian fish and seafood Dubrovnik has to offer. One of the best truffle gnocchi dishes we have ever had, paired with some delicious local white wine.
Even with the rain that had rolled in, the view was still stunning! After lunch we decided to hang out in the Spice Lounge to have a few more drinks, while we waited for the rain to let up.
As we came to find out, the sun would shine in the mornings and evenings but every afternoon showers would roll in around 2pm and last till about 5pm. The locals said this was very unusual for May. Anyways after our afternoon drinks, we headed to the Old Town for a city tour at 5pm. It was a lovely tour and we learned a lot about the cities’ history and saw some of the Game of Thrones filming locations.
After our tour, we headed up to Mount Srd, which has a great viewpoint overlooking the old town. It’s a great spot to catch the sunset. Normally there is a cable car running up the hill just outside of the old town wall, however, while we were there it was shut down due to some disagreement between the government and cable car company. So we opted for a cab instead, which was quite nice. Not only was it about the same price as the cable car would have been for 2 ppl (just about $60 USD) our driver allowed us to stop at a few spots along the way, offering different views of the city and sunset.
After a beautiful sunset, our driver took us back down into the Old Town where we enjoyed a lovely meal at Posat. This is an amazing seafood restaurant where we had the catch of the day. Highly recommended but just be aware it is not cheap. Our meal there was just about $400 USD (that did include drinks but no dessert).
Day 2: The next day we decided to wake up at sunrise and head down into the Old Town. We wanted to explore the city while everyone was still sleeping (as it had been packed the night before during out tour). We ended up arriving just before 6:30am and to our surprise we were not the only ones with the same idea! There was actually another couple with a tripod taking pictures, other tourist walking around taking pictures, people arriving and heading out from their hotels with luggage and lots of van delivering food to the restaurants for the day. We were still able to explore Stradun St, Luza Square, Cersei’s “Shame” stairs from Game of Thrones and Ploce Gate with little people around. However, we did have to be patient to get our shots as people and vans were crossing by.
After exploring the Old Town in the early morning, we headed over to the entrance of the Walls of Dubrovnik. They open up at 8am so that is when we got there since we wanted to be the first to walk the wall. We heard by 10am it gets very crowded with the first groups of tours from the cruise ships arriving. We are so glad we got there early because sure enough around 10am they began to get packed with tours. If you want to get some quality photos, we highly recommend you beat the crowds. Walking the walls takes about 2hrs total. And there are a few cafes along the sea side walls if you need to stop and have a break. Note that you can only walk one way around the walls as some parts become very narrow. We highly recommend walking all the walls as you get very different views from the different angles.
After walking the walls, we headed over to a nice beach area right outside of the Old Town. We wanted to get a different view and perspective of the city. This view point/beach is located just outside the Ploce Gate and accessible through a restaurant called Komarda . You must walk down into this open air restaurant, head to the left side of the restaurant where you will find a staircase heading down to the beach. The Komarda beach would be a beautiful spot during sunset as well. Also even though we did not eat at the Komarda restaurant we have heard great things about it and highly recommended trying it out.
After a lovely morning of exploring the Old Town, we headed back to towards Hotel Bellevue making one stop along the way at Fort Lovrijenac. With your ticket to the walls you also get a free pass into the Fort so we decided to check it out real quick. Unfortunately, we only made it to the entrance before it started to rain. So we took one photo (pictured below) which is located right outside the entrance to Fort Lovrijenac to the left of the stairs.
Once we returned to the hotel for the afternoon, we decided to try their wine tasting. This seemed like a great activity to do since it was raining. The wine tasting consisted of all local Croatian wines and we split 4 whites and 4 reds paired along with some, cheese, olives, octopus, and 2 meats. It was the perfect afternoon activity to enjoy at the hotel.
The wine tasting took a couple of hours and afterwards we headed over to Vapor for an amazing 8 course dinner. Not all food items are pictured below and Corina had a few substitutions since she does not eat meat. We also had wine pairing with dinner. The coursed meal took about 3hrs and after eating and drinking to our hearts content we headed back to the room for a goodnights sleep.
Day 3: Our third and final day in Dubrovnik also happened to be our 2nd wedding anniversary!! It was a beautiful morning so we decided to eat outside on the deck of Vapor. They offer a buffet style breakfast from 6:30-10am every morning.
With our bellies full, we headed back to our hotel room to relax for the rest of the morning. We decided to enjoy our balcony with some Champagne and the beautiful view to celebrate our anniversary.
To our delight the weather seemed to be holding up. So around mid afternoon we decided to venture back into the Old Town for one last afternoon of exploring. This time our first stop was Fort Lovrijenac first since we had missed out on it the day before.
Note: Your ticket for the Fort is still good even the day after you visit the wall.
We then made our way into the Old Town to explore all the little streets and alley ways. We recommend checking out the streets near the sea wall as they tend to be less crowed.
As the afternoon came to an end, we headed back to Hotel Bellevue for an early evening as we were heading out the next morning at 6:30am. We were lounging in our room watching the last episode of Game of Thrones when we noticed the sunset was going to be a beautiful one. We ran down to the beach to enjoy it and boy it sure did not disappoint.
All in all, our time in Dubrovnik was short but sweet. The town is beautiful, our hotel was amazing, the food was delicious and the locals are very friendly. We wish we had more time to explore more of Croatia and most definitely will be back!