Our Dubrovnik Trip – What we did this time!

Our Dubrovnik trip

Our Dubrovnik trip. We returned to Dubrovnik in September after 4 years for our wedding anniversary. Bringing along our daughter and sharing our wedding destination with her.

Our Dubrovnik trip

When we first visited, although we spent a week here wedding planning meant that we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to before moving on to explore the rest of Croatia and Europe.

This time for our Dubrovnik trip we had a long list of things we wanted to do. But also factor in some chill time!

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New places we explored on our Dubrovnik trip

Dubrovnik Cable car

Our Dubrovnik Trip
The view from the top of the cable car

One of the things I really wanted to do was take the cable car to the viewing point high above Dubrovnik. It was closed for a few days due to the wind and adverse weather but we finally got to reach the top. Going early was a good idea as there wasn’t must of a queue, which was extremely long when we got back down.  The spectacular view was the best you can get here in my opinion. Amazing to see the whole structure of the old town surround by the walls from above.

Lokrum Island

Our Dubrovnik trip
The view of Dubrovnik from the top of Lokrum Island

The first time we took a boat trip in Dubrovnik was eventful, to say the least. The weather was so bad and the sea so choppy that we had to turn back early. Yes, this was on our wedding day too! During our Dubrovnik trip this time, we were determined to make it to Lokrum Island. The weather was changeable on the day we chose to take the trip. However, the boat ride was smooth and after a  rain shower when we arrived, the skies cleared. This gave us just enough time to hike to the top of the Island and look out onto Dubrovnik and the sea. We found little coves, beaches and explored the ruined Fort at the top of the island. And of course, we saw the native peacocks here too.

Dubrovnik Churches

Saint Blaise church
The inside of Saint Blaise Church

This was more interesting for me than the husband but I enjoyed looking around Churches we missed before. St Blaise church was opposite our apartment and I finally got to explore this beautiful church. The nuns here adored our Daughter and she became the centre of attention.  I dived in and out of a few churches to take a few photos including the large Cathedral which is usually very busy.

Spending time on the Beaches

Our Dubrovnik trip
Copacabana beach

We had a little explore of Banje beach, next to the old town with lovely views across to Lokrum Island. There were a lot of steps up and down to the small beach but it wasn’t too bad. Then for a proper beach day, we jumped on the number 22 bus to Lopud and hung out at Copacabana beach. Hired some beach chairs and chased our little girl around the pebbly beach. It was nice to get some beach time and relax for a little while.

A day trip to Montenegro

Our Dubrovnik trip -
Looking out to the Islands in Perast, Montenegro

Another place I’ve wanted to visit and a new Country too! It was a long day with a baby but our one year old was great and entertained herself and others on the coach. First, we visited Perast and the man-made island of Our Lady on the Rocks.

The great places we revisited

Sponza Palace

Sponza Palace - returning to Dubrovnik

Of course, we had to return to Sponza Palace and introduce our baby girl to this lovely old building.

Old town city walls

Our dubrovnik trip
Walking the city walls

No trip would be complete without wandering along the old walls and looking out over the sea and fort.

The Fort

Our Dubrovnik trip
Looking out onto the Fort Dubrovnik

Although it’s a bit of a climb we had to walk around this old fort once more. Our girl loved running around the ruins and playing peekaboo around the pillars too.

Buza Bar and Art Cafe

Our Dubrovnik trip
Beers and a water at Buza

Yes, even with a toddler in tow we managed to return to these two great bars which we spent a lot of time in with friends four years ago.

All in all, we had a lovely time as a family returning to Dubrovnik. I wonder when we will return next. Soon I hope!


Dubrovnik Top 10 things to do

Dubrovnik top 10

Dubrovnik Top 10 things to do

 1) Walk the old city walls

Take a walk along the city walls and enjoy the views across the old town and the Mediterranean sea. Go at sunset to enjoy incredible views..

Dubrovnik
Old town City walls at Sunset Dubrovnik

2) Try the Seafood especially the black seafood risotto

The seafood in Dubrovnik is delicious. With many restaurants at and around the harbour you are spoiled for choice. To splash out try Nautika Restaurant.

Dubrovnik top 10
Black seafood risotto Image from Abuelas beach house blog


3) Take a trip over to Lokrum Island

Take the small ferry, a 10 minute ride from the old Dubrovnik harbour. Here you will find an old monastery, wandering peacocks, and a dead sea lake where you can swim and relax.

Dubrovnik
Lokrum Island Dubrovnik

Continue reading “Dubrovnik Top 10 things to do”

Croatia road trip #5 Zagreb

Zagreb- the capital, last stop on my Croatia road trip

From Plitvice lakes we caught a bus on the road just outside entrance 2. The driver told us just to get on and we would sort out payment later… So we did, along with some other travelers. On the way, he asked where we were going and negotiated 100 kuna each as a fare to Zagreb. We then realised this was not a regular bus service and appeared to be a coach driver just killing time before his party returned from the lakes! I was nominated to collect the fares, which I dutifully collected and paid the driver. The rest of the journey was relatively uneventful. We arrived at Zagreb train station after about 2 and a half hours.

Zagreb
Art Pavillion

We stayed at the Best Western Premier hotel Astoria which was a short walk from the train station. This was one of the best hotels we stayed at in Croatia. I would definitely recommend it!  We walked from the lower town to the upper town, taking in the beautiful architecture. The Art Pavillion, The Gallery of Modern Art and the Archaeological Museum set it some well-kept lawns and gardens.

We wandered towards the Trg Josipa Jelačića which is the main meeting point in the city. The area was alive with people! We decided to explore the Upper town so headed straight on to the Dolac Market. This busy market was full of vendors with their red umbrella covered stands selling everything from flowers, foods and handmade ornaments.

Zagreb Market Square
Zagreb Market Square

After browsing the stalls we headed to Kaptol Square. This square was not the usual type of square we were expecting.  There’s a central monument and the towering ‘Cathedral of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’  facing the square. The Cathedral began its life in the 13th Century. The spires though are continually under repair. If you want to go inside make sure you are dressed respectfully and appropriately!  Continue reading “Croatia road trip #5 Zagreb”

Croatia Road Trip #4 Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes UNESCO World Heritage Site

Plitvice
The cascading lakes

From Zadar we took the bus to Plitvice National Park. The bus tickets cost 90 kuna per person and the journey took around 2 hours. The buses stop for a break at a rest stop and there is a small zoo at the back including bears and boars. We booked to stay at Hotel Plitvice, there are only three hotels within the national park area and we wanted to stay at the park and make the most of our visit. The bus stopped near to entrance two and we walked to our hotel within a few minutes, the other hotels, Bellevue and Jezero are close by and all within a few minutes walk. We arrived at about 5pm for out two nights stay, after checking in we had a short walk around the area, finding the entrance to the park before heading to the back for dinner and drinks.

Plitvice
Entrance to Plitvice National Park

We headed to the park early and got to the entrance at about 9am, paid the 110 kuna entrance fee and purchased a map to plan our route around the park. I would definitely recommend buying a map, it explains the different routes and how many hours each route takes. It also identifies the locations of the boat crossings, toilets and restaurants which again helps you plan the route. We had all day and wanted to see as much as possible so we took the longest route. We walked to the highest point of the park first. As we were quite early and arrived before the first tour buses we had great unobstructed views of the lakes and opportunity to take photos. We trekked to the top lake where there’s an opportunity for a toilet break. The view whilst walking along the wooden path and looking out across the top lake is breathtaking, The lake and forest go on forever and you let your mind wander and imagine what is within this expansive wilderness.

If you don’t want to climb to this point or you are short on time a bus can take you to the top and you can start your walk there, with the same magnificent views.

Plitvice
Catching a rainbow in the waterfall

 

The whole area is divided into upper and lower sections, linked by cascades and waterfalls. The top lake Proscansko Jezero filters down around dolomite barriers and plantlife. The lower lakes are shallower and were created by cavities being filled that have been formed by the upper lakes.

We headed back down towards the P2 boat crossing which takes you across the bottom lake. We were surprised at the queues once we got there. A swarm of people were waiting for the boat, and we moved as one towards it when it docked. Once on the boat the ride was quite pleasant, we grabbed a seat enabling us to watch the fish in the clear turquoise water. We docked after about 10 minutes and stopped for our lunch at the self service cafeteria here. The food is simple, burgers, fries etc if a bit expensive for what you get. We then continued our trek around the lakes. There were steeper climbs on this side, we were lucky that it was a nice sunny day, if the paths were wet it would be difficult to get around on this side of the lower lakes. We hiked all of the way to the viewing point to see the top of the big waterfall Veliki Slap, the tallest waterfall in Croatia. All along the route were viewing points and  platforms where photos can be taken. Across the lower lakes there are log paths enabling the crossing of the lakes and to get a lovely surrounding view. Continue reading “Croatia Road Trip #4 Plitvice Lakes”

Croatia road trip #3 Zadar

Zadar Croatia – Road trip destination number 3

From Split we caught a bus from the bus station at the left of the harbour, near to the port. We bought our tickets on the day costing 115 kuna each, we then had to pay 7 kuna on top to put our bags in the hold area of the bus. The journey took about 3 hours, finishing at the bus station. We made the mistake of walking to our apartment which was within the old town of Zadar, It took about 40 minutes to walk with our backpacks and we were quite tired when we arrived at the old town gate.

Zadar
Zadar Old Town Gate

We stayed at Apartments Donat located near to the centre of the old town. From our top floor apartment we could see the small Roman Ruins. We only spent one night in Zadar and wasted no time in getting out and taking a look around the old town.

The main sights we wanted to see here were the Sun Salutation and the Sea Organ. The Sun salutation is a 22m circle of solar glass plates which collects the suns rays by day and by night displays a cool disco-like light show.

Zadar
Sun Salutation Zadar

The sea organ is a series of pipes within stone steps at the seafront. The pipes make beautiful music which changes with the tide and the weather. I loved this place, it’s so original and the music is enchanting, we visited during the day and at night-time to enjoy these amazing places. If you visit anywhere in Zadar then this is the place to go! Interestingly, the wave and solar energy collected generates enough energy to power the whole harbour’s lighting system.

Zadar
Sea Organ, Zadar

We explored the small old town, the church of St Donat, the Roman ruins, and the Cathedral of St Anastasia. All beautiful examples of historic  architecture in the Zadar old town. Not all of Zadar is so historic and there is a large mix of buildings and structures in this working town, but staying in the right place as we did meant we could make the most of the sights. Continue reading “Croatia road trip #3 Zadar”

Split in pictures

Croatia road trip #2 Split

We were lucky enough to have friends driving from Dubrovnik to Split so we caught a lift. We took the coastal road, which crosses the Bosnian border for a short while and we had to have our passports ready for the border control here. After about 3.5 hours along the coast road we arrived in central split near to the old town…Parking wasn’t too hard to find (with help from our agent) and we were shown to our apartment. We stayed in  one of the Apartment’s Gajeta, a one-bedroom apartment next to the letting agency office which was central to the old town. Perfect for our two night stay in Split

Only a short walk from our apartment was the main sight of Split the Diocletians palace. This is a living part of the town, roman ruins, narrow winding streets dotted with bars cafés and restaurants. This is why I came to Split!  We explored the basement halls, given a small map and had a wander around. There is not much to see but history seeped through the walls in the eerie atmosphere. We used our guidebook (lonely planet of course) to walk around the palace and see the main sights. The Gregorious of Nin statue, the chapel of Amir and Temple of Jupiter are all part of the walking tour through the old town.


For lunch we stopped at No Stress  the cute bright plastic chairs, hanging flowers and greenery made it a nice place to sit with a beer and a sandwich on the square and watch the world go by. Continue reading “Croatia road trip #2 Split”

Dubrovnik in pictures