It is no wonder that Dubrovnik is named the Pearl of the Adriatic, the glistening sea and mighty city walls make it a Mediterranean gem and one worthy of a king. It did, after all, serve as the backdrop for HBO’s Game of Thrones.
♦ Villa Orsula
With the main attractions centred around Stradun Street, you would want to stay somewhere close to it yet still avoid the crowds. Villa Orsula is located just 10 minutes away from Ploče Gate, the eastern gate to Dubrovnik’s Old Town. You will be delighted by the 1930s Art Deco look and with only 13 exclusive rooms and suites, this makes the villa’s service really personalized. Orange trees are scattered throughout the hotel grounds so that you can stay in the shade or you can opt to lie on a sunbed and gaze out towards the island of Lokrum.
♦ Hotel Excelsior
The Hotel Excelsior is a housed in a historical site utilising a villa from the 1910s. Former guests of this establishment are nothing short of legendary and include Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Roger Moore and Francis Ford Coppola, and their photographs adorn the Abakus Bar. That fact aside, the hotel offers the best of both worlds; an unobstructed view both to the Dubrovnik City Walls and direct, private access to Adriatic Sea. Its clean and minimalistic interior combined with five-star service will make your stay in Dubrovnik like no other.
Croatian delicacies are not to be missed and LAJK certainly tops the list. LAJK is a family-owned restaurant and the name is derived from the initial letters of the family members – Luka, Alan, Jasmina and Karlo. With limited seats, you are guaranteed a stellar service along with delicious food with the sea bass and mussels not to be missed.
What could be better than excellent food paired with an exceptional view of the Adriatic. Nautika is situated near Pile Gate, one of the few entrances to Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Here, they emphasize the use of local Dalmatian ingredients for their cuisine with seafood being their main focus. Nautika also takes advantage of each season’s freshest ingredients when creating their menu. With such a formidable reputation, don’t forget to make a reservation beforehand!
Sometimes you need to put a little twist on your holiday and if you need to do so, Takenoko, the first Japanese restaurant in Croatia, is the place to go. Take a bite from the Japanese fusion cuisine paired with the freshest local seafood and choose a pairing from the extensive wine list. If you do happen to visit Takenoko, make sure to try the spring rolls and black cod – you’ll be glad you did.
♦ Tavern Arka
Moving beyond the city walls, try the traditional Croatian food at Tavern Arka. Here, they produce their dishes from scratch and even source many ingredients from their own garden, or if not, their relative’s! It does feel like you are dining at your friend’s house as the staff are so friendly and attentive. Make the most of it and have a seat on the terrace with its amazing view of the sea.
♦ Concept Store
It is so easy to get trapped in the tourist shops along Stradun Street that sell the same old key rings and tote bags, but take a stroll just outside the gate to Life According to Kawa, a concept store with a relaxed atmosphere where everything is made by Croatian artisans from craft beer to clothes to skincare products, you name it. It is clear that they want to showcase Croatia, the culture and the people for the way they really are.
♦ Open Air Market
Gunduliceva Poljana Market is the only open-air market inside the Dubrovnik City Walls and the good news is it opens every day. Iif you are not a morning person you will have to make more effort since it only opens from early morning to afternoon. Here, you will find seasonal vegetables and fruits alongside a few lovely trinkets
♦ Dubrovnik Cable Car
Just a few minutes in the cable car will find you sitting atop Mount Srd, with its incredible view overlooking Dubrovnik. To beat the heat and get just enough breeze, it is best to visit at sunset - the perfect time before you head back down for dinner in town.
♦ Lokrum Island
Dubrovnik in the summer is generally filled to the brim with day trippers making their way to the Old Town so pack yourself some lunch, hop on a ferry, and soon you will find yourself in the sanctuary of nearby Lokrum Island. Located only 10 minutes out of Dubrovnik, this secluded, quaint island with its ruined monastery is home to numerous rabbits hopping around the olive trees that are dotted all over the island. When you are done roaming, take a relaxing dip in the sea and lounge under the sun before catching the hourly boat back to Dubrovnik.
♦ Sea Kayaking
While it sounds intimidating, taking a tour of Dubrovnik by kayak is not as hard as it sounds. Explore the islands by paddling through the crystal clear seawater as your guide tells you interesting information on the history of Dubrovnik. It really is marvelous to see the city from this angle, far away from the hustle. You will also be able to explore a hidden cave where you can swim lazily or jump from a cliff, it’s your choice. If you prefer, there is a sunset kayaking trip so that you can enjoy the experience as the sun dips into the waters.
♦ Walking the City Walls
It is not a visit to Dubrovnik without climbing up the infamous Walls of Dubrovnik, one of the most well-built fortifications of the Middle Ages. Over 1,940 meters in length, it may take a while to get around but the view from the top of the walls is really worth the walk. There are shops and small cafes to quench your thirst and provide temporary shade along the way and wwhenever you are done then worry not, as there are many exit doors around the walls.
Photos by Michelle King, Adriatic Luxury Hotels, LAJK, Nautika, Takenoko, Tavern Anka, Life According to Kawa, Jennifer Boyer