Dubrovnik's City Walls are the longest and most complete in Europe. They also make a fascinating way to see the city.
While making the circuit of the city, you can peer down on the narrow streets below, peek into secret courtyards and catch a glimpse of day-to-day life in the city.
Walking along the coastal wall, you are also afforded a stunning view of the city and the rugged Croatian coast.
The walk takes about 2 hours and there is little shade, so take some water and sunscreen.
The Pearl of the Adriatic & More Gems on the Dalmatian Coast
This August, my next adventure will take me to Croatia! Starting with setting sail on The Yacht Week for some island-hopping fun, and followed by more travels in the Croatian cities of Split and Dubrovnik, with stops in neighboring Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The medieval stone wall surrounding the charming seaside city of Dubrovnik is well worth the walk, but head north a bit to sleepy Ston for a more intense wall walk that is not for the faint of heart...
Breathtaking views come with a price tag, in this case, heights, and while this ancient wall is completely safe & sturdy, complete with a guard rail on both sides, if you have any fear of heights you might consider sitting this one out and meeting your crew at the end of the walk, in Mali Ston, where you can get a head start on fresh oysters & crisp Croatian white wine- two things that the region is knows for.
I am actually afraid of heights, but found this walk to be not only physically exhilarating (the walk up is quite steep and really gets the blood pumping) but also beautiful and a lot of fun! It doesn't take long- 1.5 hours and provides beautiful views of the area. Plus, the towns...
Zlatni Rat beach, our Croatian friend told us, is one of the most photographed beaches in Croatia. It took no more time than our arrival there to convince me.
"Zlatni Rat" means "the Golden Cape," and the beach is made up of shining white pebbles that warm quickly in the sun and give the beach its name. There are plenty of roped-off areas for swimming, and speedboats charging tourists for tube rides fly in and around the beach, which reaches out into the clear blue water like a curving tentacle — I guess "promontory" is the real word for it — from the island.
The beach is just a 20-minute walk away from Bol, one of the more happening towns on Brac island, where there are plenty of restaurants and shops to while away an afternoon if sunning isn't your thing.
But if you do want to stay on the beach, it's absolutely lovely, with mountains and water all around you. There is a wooded area...
Literally translated to Saint Philip and Jacob, this charming town of about 5,000 inhabitants offers homey hospitality, rocky beaches and sun rays that literally give you a bronzed tan. Not olive, not brown, bronze. The food is delicious at every corner, the night life is small but I went there to relax and swim in the ocean. Less touristy than the other beaches Croatia offers. Most hotels offer a complimentary breakfast with their cured meats, prosciutto, home cooked breads and cheeses. And one additional gem, Croatia is known for their impeccable dry red wines. Some of the hotel owners sell/make it on their own. All you have to do is ask.
I snagged this shot up on a hill overlooking the Split harbor and Diocletian's Palace. I loved the tiled roofs, the beautiful blue water, and the perfectly, ancient buildings.
Partnering with our good friends at TrekTrek, this 8-day trip to Croatia highlights the dramatically beautiful Dalmatian Coast where stark, white, karst mountains plunge down to a clear blue Adriatic sea. The coastline, indented by picturesque harbors, laced with sanded beaches, and cloaked with intriguing offshore islands, is as rich in history and nature beauty as any corner of Europe.
Our hikes will take us to the deep canyons and rushing waterfalls of Krka National Park, through the olive groves, vineyards, and old, oak forest of Korcula Island, along the inland lakes of Mljet Island’s National Park, and up the steep escarpments of Mt Ilijat with its expansive views. Our evenings will be spent dining to the sound of surf and rustling palms.
We will visit the exquisite island town of Trogir with its wonderful Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, stroll the narrow, marbled streets...
The “queen” of Croatia’s spectacular Dalmatian islands, Hvar is abundant with blooming fields of lavender, ancient olive groves, and a coastline known for deep blue water and stoic, fortified buildings of centuries ago. Stroll the famous main square and dine at Konoba Menego – a small wine bar with local seafood dishes and freshly baked bread or take a sunset kayaking tour around the surrounding islands.
Visit Hvar on a variety of 7-night itineraries onboard The Moana at 50% savings.
If you are able to tour the Pakleni Islands near Hvar in Croatia ask to be taken to Bisevo to see the blue grotto. Once you are there you will be taken in a small embarkation as the entrance to the cave is only 1.5 meters high. Once you enter your jaw will drop with the impressive blue color you will see.
If Dubrovnik is the Pearl of the Adriatic then Hvar Town is Mini Pearl. It has everything to offer that Dubrovnik has but on a far smaller scale.
Hvar Town is a picturesque little town located, nestled in a small bay, on the southwestern coast of Hvar Island. The heart of the town is the Pjaca (Piazza). At one end is the town's cathedral, at the other end is the bay and all around are shops, art galleries and plenty of restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating to soak in the wonderful weather. There’s even a small park, near the Pjaca that has bench seating that you can plop yourself down on and catch views of the bay and the sea beyond.
Hvar Town is extremely pedestrian friendly so walk around and take in the views.
To get to Hvar town takes a bit planning and effort. Wherever you are starting from, you need to take the catamaran ferry to Stari Grad which is located on the northern end...
A year ago I took a short road trip through Istria, Croatia to explore the medieval hilltop towns, Venitian cities, sacred churches, and the famous wine, olive oil and truffles. It is an amazing area of Croatia just across the sea from Venice. It has an incredible mix of Italian and Austrian/Hungarian influence in terms of language, architecture, and food. And it is easy to drive. Everything is within an hour or two of another place or site. We stayed in "Sobe"s which are similar to B&B's. You just look for a sign that says "sobe", knock on the door, and check it out. They are typically separated from the main house and many have a kitchen. So much cheaper than staying in a hotel and you contribute to a local persons income.
I highly encourage anyone planning a trip to Croatia to research Istria. You will not be disappointed.
Make sure to eat the truffles, try the white wine, and...
True, the ground may be a bit uneven, the sun may be shining brightly upon you and you just may have to endure friendly boaters waiving as they sail by, BUT it's a small price to pay for the experience and breathtaking view of practicing on the rocks of Lokrum, Croatia!
The island of Lokrum is a national park right off the coat of Dubrovnik, easily accessible by public ferry. Best to arrive early (& get permission from the park) so as to beat the crowds- and the sun bathers who eventually stake claim on these same rocks...and can you blame them? With a picturesque view of the dramatic Croatian coastline and the deep blue waters of the Adriatic sea, it's sure to inspire many a Sun Salutation! Namaste!
At the end of our one-month summer vacation through Europe, we had had enough of the heat and crowds of touristy cities. We longed for open space and fresh air. After an overnight stay at a nearby pension, my family and I finally arrived early morning at this long-awaited, breathtaking wonder of nature.
The photos on the travel websites were real! The lakes are a stunning palette of emerald, turquoise and azure blue. Crystal clear waters show off the abundance of trout. The waterfalls, of varying heights, surprise you around the bend, and flow nonstop as if the turn-off valve had broken. Close your eyes and hear the gurgling. Butterflies with velvet blue wings flutter by. Ducks float quietly over the trout. Limestone provides a nice contrast in color and texture to moss and algae.
We easily explored the connection of lakes by shuttle bus, ferry and boardwalks. These walkways allowed...
The collection of Croatian jams, liqueurs, olive oils, and spirits at this sliver of a store in Zagreb is vast. Every item can be sampled, so be sure to ask for a taste of maraska (sour cherry) liqueur or the country’s famous Maraschino liqueur, made with the fruit and crushed pits of sour cherries.
There’s no denying that Dubrovnik is a gem of a city – lots of things to do and see but, if you go any time starting in May, it can also be sweltering hot. The cool blue waters of the Adriatic Sea will look ever so inviting but there are the old city walls separating you from it.
So, here’s a tidbit if you want to go for a dip in the Adriatic while you’re in Dubrovnik. Be sure to bring a towel to lay on and lots of sunscreen.
From the Stradun, find your way to Café Bar Buža (www.cafebuza.com). It’s tucked away on a quiet side street and not easy to spot so ask for directions. This tiny, assuming eatery has a stone terrace that fronts the sea. There are steps that lead down to the water or if you prefer, you can just jump off the lower rocks. There are a few areas that you can lay down your towel and catch some rays. Plenty of shady areas to sit under if you prefer.
The café serves...
Walking the walls of Old Town, Dubrovnik are a must for any traveler, but in the hot summer months, all that hot stone and seaside scenery can really make you thirsty. Head to the other side of the wall for a local beer, wine or cocktails at Buza Bar. Tucked into the cliffs between the sea and civilization, this improbable place is not only stunning, it's fun. Locals and visitors alike fill precariously placed tables ready to party, and if the drinks aren't enough to cool you down, it couldn't be easier to jump, dive or cannonball into the inviting Adriatic below.
I kept putting this off during my trip thinking it was too "touristy", but I'm glad I did. The view really is breathtaking and the museum in the Imperial Fortress just behind it is a must.
For our few days in Vis, a two-hour ferry ride from Split, we would drive our Vespa until we got to a beach—they are not hard to come by on this small island.
This beach, right about in the middle of the south coast of the island, is mostly only accessible to boats. But we, boatless, scrambled down a steep cliff because it looked so perfect, and spent a few dreamy hours.
We arrived on the ferry at Vis Town, walked into the tourist office and booked an apartment for a few days. Those days were spent going from beach to languid, four-hour meal, to beach again.
A trip to Rovinj makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s a little old town with an active fishing port located on the Adriatic Sea, and it hasn’t been overrun by tourists. The RC44 Championship Tour—which consists of regattas in five locations around the world, including Oman, Cascais, Trapini [Sicily], and Sweden—was held here the past two years. The RC44 yacht, which I designed, is open described as the Formula 1 of yacht racing. It’s quite a juxtaposition to have these high-tech boats sailing in what feel like ancient waters. —Sir Russell Coutts
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Lightfoot/Corbis. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue. Read more about Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts.
Dubrovnik has no shortage of stellar views, but if you are looking for one that's off the tourist path then go north of the Old City into the residential pedestrian walkways.
On Gornji Kono you'll find a paved area with park benches set up to enjoy a (likely private) sunset. See the attached map for the exact location.
A view is not the only thing you'll find here. Eploring the pedestrian walkways and seeing locals' backyards you'll get a glimpse of everyday life in Dubrovnik; notice the terraced yards, walled entrances, abundant gardens, and scooters parked at will.
Split is not known as a shopping destination, but if you have a hankering to go shopping, then head underground to the Podrum.
The Podrum is a labyrinth of vaulted underground chambers that is located under what was Diocletian’s Palace. Back in Diocletian’s day, the Podrum was used as a storehouse and a prison. Today, the chambers are open only during special events but the main passageway, which is lined with stalls selling souvenirs and artwork, is open during day time hours. I picked up a very nice lithograph, from a local artist, here.
The main promenade in Split is the Riva. From here, the Mjedna Vrata (Bronze Gate) leads into the Podrum. You can also enter from an entrance near the Peristyle. The main passageway will take you from Riva to Peristyle so you can walk above ground in direction and below ground in the other.
Buza Bar sits perched on the outside of Dubrovnik's southern wall. Visitors come for the stunning view of the Adriatic and Southern Dalmatia - especially at sunset - and the chance to jump from the cliff into the crystal clear, cool water.
To this day it is still a bit of a secret, rarely mentioned in tourist brochures. Part of the fun is finding the bar/cafe as it isn't on many maps. But there is a little help to guide you through the cobblestone streets of the Old City. Simply follow the signs that read "Cold drinks with the most beautiful view."
My mom kept urging me to go to Croatia because she had seen images of the beautiful Dalmatian coast. I resisted because Croatia was not on my travel agenda at the time. I finally caved in and I’m so glad I did because it’s a gem of a country! Most tourists flock to either Dubrovnik or Split but I wanted something a bit quieter so I chose the quaint town of Trogir as my base.
Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage site; chock full of Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period. The old part of the town is filled with narrow cobblestone streets lined with private and commercial establishments. It’s a great place for a stroll.
From Split Airport, you can take City Bus #37 for the half hour ride to Trogir. If you book a front side room at the Villa Sikaa, this is the view you get! The view is even more stunning at night when all the buildings are lit up.
Mljet (pronounced Mee-yet) National Park is located on a stunningly beautiful island in the Adriatic off Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. The ancient Greek poet Homer mentions this island in the Odyssey, and according to legend Odysseus was marooned here for 7 years. The locals smile and say, “But of course, why would he want to leave?” Indeed.
We reached Mljet by boat from the port city of Gruz, near Dubrovnik. Guided tours are available, and if you travel with a group you get to skip the LONG ticket lines in the harbor (for all destinations, not just Mljet). The boat ride is pleasant. Once you arrive on the island, you're transported by van, then another boat, to the monastery (located on an island within the island).
Have lunch at the monastery before exploring. You should have enough time to walk around Malo Jezero (Small Lake), swim, or rent a kayak. Bring water as it can get quite hot....
This is the ancient Roman Arena at Pula on the Istria Peninsula. Istria, which is currently a part of Croatia but has also been part of been a part of the Venetian Empire, the Austrian Empire, Italy, and Yugoslavia. As a result, the area is a wonderful mix of all these cultures.
For the best experience, walk the walls early in the morning or after 6pm when the crowds have dissipated. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes and the views are extraordinary!
Dubrovnik is one of the best preserved medieval, walled cities in the world. Inside the city are delightful narrow streets, churches, synagogues, and squares. However, the best way to appreciate Dubrovnik is atop its walls.
The citizens relied on its high city walls for defense by land and by sea. Walking the full 2km circuit you not only get a chance to view the city from all angles, but also the beautiful Adriatic Sea, the islands that run along the shore, and the neighboring towns.
This shot was taken looking South toward Cavtat, a lovely town 20 minutes outside of Dubrovnik that I recommend spending a day in or making your home base to explore the region.
Here's two tips.
1. Drink plenty of water, especially in the summer. It can get very hot on the walls, which are without much shade. You can fill your water bottle at the fountain near the front gate.
2. Find out when the cruise...
Tucked away in a maze of narrow lanes and alleys are hundreds of shops and restaurants, but my favorite is the D’Vino Wine Bar. Owned by an eclectic gentleman of Croatian and Australian heritage, the wine bar is the best way to learn more about delicious Croatian wines. Just let the servers know your wine preferences and they’ll select some of the best local wine for you to taste. They also feature delicious small plates and snacks, adding a roundup of Croatian food to your drinking experience.
The best part of the wine bar experience though is the ambiance. Sitting at a small table in the middle of the alley, this is prime people watching territory and the feeling of living in a great European city can’t be avoided. It’s moments like this one that make Dubrovnik so amazing.