Saturday, December 3, 2011
7 Fabulous Things to Do in Dubrovnik
Saturday, December 3, 2011
One of the most memorable things I did when I was in Europe was heading to Croatia alone for 11 days. It wasn't as simple as I thought it'd be, but it remains one of the best experiences I've ever had. Of those 11 days, I spent 3 in Dubrovnik, a beautiful city with a rustic, walled old town by the sea. By all counts, Dubrovnik was a great place, but like most great places, too many people knew about it. It was too crowded and touristy. But then I started learning all its little secrets and found myself increasingly drawn to the quaint old town. By the end of my trip, I was completely charmed.
1. Walking Along the City Walls
While this might sound like a no-brainer, walking along the city walls is something you should not miss, even if 70 kn is a little bit of a rip off. The 2 km walk sports gorgeous views of the Adriatic sea and the old town itself. Photo opportunities are countless. From this height, you get a good sense of the places you would want to explore further, though you may not necessarily find them later on. It's all part of the fun. Along the way, you'll pass by booths selling beverages, but I'd highly recommend bringing your own drinks.
Hours: 8 am to 7 pm
Admission: 70 kn (adults), 30 kn (children)
2. Finding Café Buza - Cold Drinks With the Most Beautiful View
I'm not gonna lie. It took me a long time to find Café Buza. But when I finally spotted the sign and walked through the hole in the wall, I was glad I didn't give up. It's hard to describe what I felt looking out into the huge expanse of sparkling blue-green sea, standing on the flatter rocks of the cliffs in the shade, barely aware of the fellow patrons already spread out comfortably and enjoying their drinks. Serenity? Exuberance? Almost absent-mindedly, I found myself a table and enjoyed Ožujsko beer with the aspiring Korean singer-songwriter I was exploring Old Town with. I loved the raw feeling of the Café - just shade, tables and chairs perched on a cliff. The prices are more expensive than what you would find elsewhere in this region but not exorbitant. Trust me, it's an experience you shouldn't miss.
3. Cliff Jumping
As if the combination of cold drinks and gorgeous views weren't enough of a draw, Café Buza also happens to be a perfect spot for cliff jumping! Imagine jumping into the cool waters, then baking under the sun to dry up. How idyllic is that? I wish I had more guts! I'll jump right in without hesitation if I ever go back...
4. Swimming in the Adriatic Sea
Just outside the walls, a short walk away along its edges, you'll find yourself in a beautiful, quiet pier with benches laid out along its length. You could rest and people watch, or dip into the cold waters at the pier and near the rocks. It's the perfect place to enjoy a good book, too. Just be careful of stepping on sea urchins when you're in the water! Thankfully, they're fairly easy to spot.
5. Taking a Ferry to Lokrum Island
Lokrum island is only a ten minutes boat ride away. It's a tiny island, but there's a monastery with great views of Dubrovnik, a botanical garden, a nudist beach, and even a small salt-filled lake called Mrtvo More (Dead Sea) that is plenty of fun to float around in. It's a good place to go when the Old Town gets too crowded.
6. Exploring the Old Town Just Before Sunset
Just before sunset, the crowd dissipates, and the Old Town regains its charm. The smooth, empty streets almost reflect the evening glow. You start to feel a certain coolness in the air as the temperatures dip to something much more comfortable. The Old Town looks and feels completely different from what you would have seen earlier in the day. It's a little more graceful, a little more romantic. Might I add that this is also the best time to take pictures?
7. Watching the Sunset from Mountain Srđ
You could spend two hours hiking up Mountain Srđ like I did (I wasn't crazy, I was just in the company of a fun and enthusiastic Korean), or simply take the Cable Car for less than 4 minutes. Either way, you won't get a better view of Dubrovnik's sunset anywhere else. There's a fortress with a small museum depicting its history, but otherwise, there isn't much up there except great views of the Old Town. For sunset lovers only. Or serious photographers. That said, it is a surprisingly pretty sunset...
Cable Car Admission: 80 kn (Round-trip)
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