Dubrovnik is a city rapidly rising in the tourism scene. Over the past five years or so, it has experienced a boom in visitors, as people are finally catching on to the beauty of Croatia. Another prime reason is due to the hit TV show, “Game of Thrones” on HBO, which films quite a few scenes here. It is located right on the coast (like almost all of the large Croatian cities), and is a prime stopping point for Mediterranean cruise ships.
Dubrovnik is well known for its red tiled roofs of the buildings located within the old city and the imposing walls that surround the area, reaching up to 80 feet in height! A word of caution-Dubrovnik is not cheap! I stayed in a dorm room hostel about a 20-30 minute walk outside of the Old City, and still paid over $20/night.
There are many cool activities and things to do in Dubrovnik, however, and I chose to splurge in order to enjoy all that this fine city had to offer.
Game of Thrones Tour
For those who do not know me personally, I am a huge Game of Thrones fan, having read all of George R. R. Martin’s lengthy books as well as seen all 6 seasons of the popular TV show on HBO. Dubrovnik is the filming location for King’s Landing, and many scenes are filmed here. As such, there are a variety of tour options available to take you to the specific locations where the scenes were filmed.
After researching the different options, I chose to go with Dubrovnik Walking Tours, which offered a 2 hour tour for 180 kuna (about $27 USD). A bonus part of this tour is that the guides have been extras in the actual show! My tour guide was “Peasant #27” and was able to tell us interesting tidbits about the scenes she was in, including the famous “Walk of Shame” by Cersei Lannister through King’s Landing. At each filming stop, she also had a set of stills from the TV show, so we could compare it to the actual site.
At the end of the tour we were able to take our pictures on a replica of the Iron Throne. The actual one used in filming is on the island of Lokrum, just offshore of Dubrovnik.
I definitely recommend this tour for any fans of the show. If you’ve never seen it or aren’t a fan, I would give it a pass.
City Walls Walk
A must do thing while visiting Dubrovnik, no visit is complete without getting a close up view of the dazzling red tiled roofs of the Old City. Costing 120 kuna (around $16 USD), they provide a nice aerial view of the streets below. The walkways provide a myriad of photo opportunities, and it only takes 1-2 hours to complete the loop, depending on how long you linger.
The summit of Srd Hill provides an aerial view of the Old City, Adriatic Sea, and the surrounding area. There are two options to get there. The first is by cable car, which takes you directly from the Old City to the top. This roundtrip short ride costs a whopping 120 kuna. The other option? Hiking up the mountain using your own two feet! I’ve always been the one to opt for physical activity, especially if I would be saving a lot of money!
The path is a bit difficult to find at first, as it winds itself back and forth up the hill. An interesting thing about the path is that the 14 Stations of the Cross are scattered as you climb, adding an element of pilgrimage to the climb. From the base to the top of the hill took me about an hour and a half, moving at a moderate pace.
Restaurant Panorama has a monopoly on the food scene on Mount Srd, and its tables offer the best views. Since I had hiked to the top instead of taking the cable car, I decided to splurge for lunch here, in order to maximize my time at the top. Due to the lunch rush, my order ended up getting lost in the shuffle, and the manager was generous enough to comp my order!
Meeting up with A Friend
Over the course of the past 9 months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a ton of interesting people, both travelers and locals. Of course, nothing compares to seeing a friend or acquaintance from back home. So far, I’ve been able to do so on three separate occasions, when Alex, Alex, Matt, and Laura met me in Thailand for two weeks in January, catching up with my friend Luca in a beer garden in Munich, and making a return trip to Amsterdam to hang out with my friend Carly for the day!
My friend Kiki happened to be vacationing in Croatia with her family and we were able to align our schedules to meet in Dubrovnik. I had a great time getting to meet her parents and siblings as well as enjoying a delicious Croatian dinner. Later we were able to hang out and watch some of the Euro Cup games. I always enjoy these meetups and wish they could occur more often!
I was looking to do a more active activity in order to take advantage of the nice weather. Kayak trips are popular in Dubrovnik, due to the warm weathers and nearby islands. After doing some research, I decided to book a full day tour with Adriatic Kayak Tours, which had received great reviews on Trip Advisor. Unfortunately, the day I was booked to go ended up being gloomy and rainy. Luckily, since I had time to spare, I pushed it to the following day and went on a spontaneous day trip to the nearby country of Montenegro! (more on that in a later post).
Our group for the day consisted of 8 people total, including our guide. There was a brother and sister duo from Lansing, Michigan, not too far from where I grew up, as well as a family of 4 from California. This day turned out to be a beautiful one, sunny and not too hot. After getting briefed on kayak safety, we set off in the water. We kayaked for a couple hours, occasionally stopping to take breaks, until we reached Kolocep Island.
Here we had the opportunity to swim into a blue cave, with only a couple meters space between the water and the roof of the cave. Once inside, the water glowed an impressive electric blue, due to the angle of the sun. It was really cool! We also had the opportunity to do some snorkeling and sunbathing on the rocks.
Around early afternoon, we paddled around the island to the dock area, and enjoyed a delicious local Croatian lunch of fresh seafood and cured meats. We then went around a short hike of Kolocep, admiring the beauty of the small island, before getting back in our kayaks and paddling back to the mainland. All in all, we paddled for about 15 kilometers, albeit at a moderate pace. Tandem kayaks are also available for those who are leery of the distance. The family of four opted for this as their two boys were aged 10 and 12, and had no trouble keeping up with the group.
All in all, it was a great and enjoyable day and I will definitely try to kayak more in the future!
This bar is a little hidden located on the outside of the city walls on the side of the Adriatic Sea. An opening in the wall leads out to a chilled out bar located on some cliffs overlooking the sea. Not only is this a good place to relax, but it is a popular place to cliff jump into the sea! Make sure you are a strong swimmer though, as the current can get strong at times.