Dubrovnik – Croatia
Last September my husband and I took a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. This cruise is one of the most popular in Ireland and it was easy to see why - the itinerary was fantastic. We departed from Venice and visited Dubrovnik, Kotor, Olympia and Santorini. One of my favourite ports was Dubrovnik in Croatia. This is a city on the Adriatic Sea known for its distinctive old town surrounded by massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Dubrovnik’s old town is known as one of the world’s finest and best preserved medieval cities in the world. The pedestrianized Stradun or main street runs through the city and is lined with many shops and restaurants. There are many narrow avenues and lanes weaving their way through the city. It is worth taking the time to venture down these old streets and discover the romantic charms of the old city.
What to see and do: There is so much to see and do in this beautiful city but we only had a day in port and these are some of the things we did.
We walked along the old town walls - A great way to experience the city is to see it from the medieval walls. You can take a guided tour of the walls or just explore by yourself after buying a ticket. From this vantage point on the walls you can see buildings in various styles of architecture – baroque, gothic and renaissance
We took a cable car ride to the top of Srd Mountain and enjoyed the wonderful panoramic views of Old Town Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island. Many of the amazing photos you see of Dubrovnik are taken from the top of Srd Mountain. The restaurant beside the cable car station is a popular place to watch the sun go down. While you are up on the mountain don’t miss a visit to the Homeland War Museum documenting the course of the Homeland War from 1991-1995. It contains many documents and videos from this time.
For Game of Thrones fans – Dubrovnik is Kings Landing. Many famous scenes were filmed in this ancient city, and it is possible to take a walking tour to visit the places where these scenes took place. We didn’t have time for a tour that day but we did get to see where some of the scenes were filmed.
We had a drink at a hidden Buza Bar (hole-in-the-wall) in a unique location on the rocks outside the old city walls. The Buza bar is accessed through a hole in the old walls and you would easily walk past it without noticing the sign. It has a limited menu serving beer, wine and snacks but the main attraction is the fabulous view out to sea. Many come back later in the evening to witness the glorious sunset while sipping a cool beer. Because of the popularity of Buza 1 Bar another bar was opened called Buza 11. It has a smaller terrace located higher above the sea so from this bar it is more difficult to jump into the sea for a swim. I recommend visiting either bar when you next visit Dubrovnik.
Food and wine Croatia makes some great wines. Plavac Mali is the primary red grape grown across the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. It is known for producing full bodied wines high in alcohol and tannins and is best appreciated with food. As a wine enthusiast I took the opportunity to taste this wine at lunch in the old town. It was delicious and worth trying when you get to visit Dubrovnik. Malvasia is one of the main white wines of the area and is also high in alcohol and rich and sweet in taste. Dubrovnik has many different types of restaurants, so you will find one to suit your tastes. Typical local dishes include seafood and black risotto, and you should also try the local olives. Just be aware that you may receive the whole fish (head and tail) if you order fish. We ate at a restaurant up the steps off the Stradun. We found that the restaurants higher up were less expensive than those on the Stradun.
September is a great time of the year to visit Dubrovnik when it's less crowded and the temperature is cooler. What better way to do so than on a cruise!