Postcard from Dubrovnik…

Travelsphere writer Janette Atkin spent a balmy week soaking up the sun and the sights in Croatia this summer, with Dubrovnik at the top of her must-visit list.



Dear all

If you say you’ve been to Croatia, the first question on everyone’s lips is ‘did you go to Dubrovnik’? I’ve been to Croatia twice in recent years – it’s my husband’s favourite early-summer jaunt – and last time, as we were staying in the north, on the Opatija Riviera, the answer was no. Don’t bite my head off, we did pop over to Venice then, so you can hardly say we didn’t spend our time well!

This time however, we chose to holiday down south, in what is known as the Dubrovnik Riviera, which means you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from this fabled city, and the price of a beer can be notched up a few kuna! In the end, we didn’t hop, or skip, or jump to Dubrovnik, we got the water taxi, which was much more pleasurable. I just love being on the water, and it meant that the sightseeing began right away. A particularly memorable sight was the eerie abandoned hotels all but destroyed during the early 90s when Yugoslavia was torn apart by war, and Croatia gained its independence.

We had decided that the heat of the day was not the best time to explore this walled city, opting instead to visit late-afternoon and into the night. Actually it was still hot then and our later arrival meant that we didn’t have time to walk the walls due to opening hours not quite matching the time it takes. Never mind, there was plenty to admire beneath those massive stone ramparts.

Every time you read about Dubrovnik there’s mention of its polished marble streets, which have always sounded pretty slippery to me! Well, that description is spot on – and even though you know you’re hot, and dry, you’re convinced it’s raining as you look at pavements so shiny that they appear soaking wet. It’s quite some optical illusion.

In fact the whole of the Old Town is somewhat surreal, with buildings looking like something out of an episode of Game of Thrones. Actually, they are just that, as many scenes for the amazingly popular, dragon-filled US TV series were filmed here. Fans can even take a GoT-themed tour of the city. We’re not, we didn’t. The tours are publicised by locals dressed as characters from the fantasy drama, who togged out in Ikea rugs just like the actors, must have been terribly hot!

So, no walk on the walls for us this visit, but a slow meander back in time around mirror-like streets, over stone bridges and up and down steep cobbled alleyways. From an almost bewildering choice of cosy bars and lively restaurants, we were able to take in the views further over an al fresco craft beer, glass of prosecco and dinner. And none of that cost an arm and a leg despite this most enviable setting.  

Janette