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krisek Dubrovnik - A travel report by Krys
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Dubrovnik,  Croatia - flag Croatia -  Dubrovacko-Neretvanska Zupanija
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krisek's travel reports

What else can be said about Dubrovnik?

  7 votes
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Dubrovnik is such a lovely city, and yet it is so hard to enjoy it due to imposible crowds. The magnitude of the masses is difficult to describe. This is such a shame. Commercialism there reached its zenith!


Dubrovnik from the air (a landing airplane)
Dubrovnik from the air (a landing airplane)
Eleven years ago, when I first ventured to Dubrovnik, it was charming and sufferable. Few groups wandered about the old town, but it was manageable. The Croatians were preocupied with their performane in the Football's World Cup, as their team was doing really well. They took their TV sets outside and with great passion supported the boys. The atmosphere was electrifying. And it was not unfeasable to take a photo of entirely empty main street running from the bell tower to the fountain!

Not on this visit! According to my estimates, there might have been 6,000 to 8,000 people at a time trotting on that street alone! Only spontaneous rapid downpours of rain cleared the throughfare for few minutes.

Fortunately, no signs of the Balkan War were visible anymore, and it was jolly good to see that the city had recovered completely. With pint of lager costing £4.20 (38kn) surely this must have been easy! My oh my, a pint of lager cost more than pizza! And that was four times more than in Montenegro. Ouch!!

Favourite spots:
City walls
City walls
My favourite feature of Dubrovnik would definitely be the massive city walls. One can circle the entire old city by walking on the walls (entry ticket €50kn) and the views over the city and beyond were breathtaking. There were only two entry points (I think) and one toilet open enroute, and three bars selling drinks, one has to come prepared. This information was not available upon the entry onto the walls, and once on them, if one needs an emergency, be it dehydration or nature related, well - the only way was to jump! Depending on the pace one chooses to take, the complete circle could take from 1h to 2hrs. And when it rains, the majority of the circuit had nowhere to hide. With so many people walking on the walls, it looked like tiny, minute, absolutely microscopic version of the Great Wall of China, I overheard someone saying that.

What's really great:
View from city walls
View from city walls
The fact that the ruined part of the old town was disappearing and only a couple visible buildings' skeletons that one would pass, was a great sign. In 1998, it was not necessarily heartbreaking, however many more buildings lied in ruins, and the wounds of the war seemed unhealed and sore. Still the map showing the destruction of the city resulting from the aggression of by the Yugoslav, Serb & Montenegrin armies between 1991-1992, remained at the entrance to the old town on this day in 2009, when I visited. Gladly, this is mainly a historical document, and a memento. The city could not have been busier these days. All's good and well. Live goes on. And it goes on very quickly!

Sights:
City walls
City walls
Obviously, Dubrovnik's old town is the sight. There has been so much already written about the city and its places to visit, that it is impossible for me to be original here. As for the sights, let me simply report a few good vantage points to take a good shot of the old town.

First. The EastWest Beach Club. Just beyond and just before on the rocks, one can take a relatively good picture of the harbour and the ramparts that protect it. Night or day, but the night photos are better from these spots.

Second. Much better than the first one. On the road from the airport, there was a viewpoint showing the entire old town almost from a bird's view from the southestern angle looking up north. The harbour being in the bottom of the photo. Classic shot - best in the morning.

Third. From the airplane coming into Dubrovnik, just making sure to secure an A seat in the front of the aircraft before the engines, gives a maginificent shot opportunity. Nothing can beat that!

Accommodations:
View from the road to the airport
View from the road to the airport
I did not stay in Dubrovnik overnigt this time round. And on my first visit, I spent the night in either a park or on a beach. The were number of reasons for it. I spotted few hotels inside Dubrovnik's old city walls, and most of the places to stay in the old town were 'sobe' (private rooms), which the local residents rented to visitors. Depending on the room, some of them could be rather good value, and most could not be beaten for location, however adding a few extra tens of kunas, and one could get a nice room at a hotel with all the amenities. So, it depends what one fancies, really. Staying in private rooms means more contact with the locals, if at times it might feel a little invading, should the rooms share the same entrance and bathroom.

Nightlife:
One of the streets inside the old town
One of the streets inside the old town
In the old town a number of late bars opened since my last visit. In 1998, the old town was turning into a wonderfully atmospheric ghost town. In 2009, this did not seem to be the case any more. I spotted the Sky Bar (free wifi internet) with its clubby blue hue lamps and very funky decor, although the pale seats were a bit too low for my liking. Another lovely option was the Jazz Cafe Troubadour, which apart from never disappointing classic and modern jazz was also playing Cesaria Evora, which was utterly surprising. In a good way! Bar Micro on the same square, tended to attract a young crowd, who kept dropping in the seats enjoying the hype club and mixed lounge music.

I had to leave before the night could get into its groove or at least get going properly, and it was Monday, so I could not experience any of the venues fully. However, it was good to see that old Dubrovnik rose to the occasion, and decided not to close its doors at night.

Hangouts:
Clock Tower
Clock Tower
Razonoda Wine Bar in the heart of the old town had quality wine by glass. I tried the Dingač Radović for 78kn, right from the Dubrovnik region. It was nicely drinkable but for the price, I'd expected more, as they stated it was a very special offer. Anyway, it was a very cosy little wine bar with extremely classic armchairs and rustic bar stools, and an exceptionally attractive bar tenderess! Who skillfully grated complimentary cheese to go with your wine.

Just by the walls, or outside them actually, there was a 'Cold Drinks' bar positioned on the rocks with a view towards the small islet and the sea. It was a perfect spot for relaxing and hiding away completely. The bar advertised great views, but that was not accurate, unless one wanted to look at the small islet and the waves smashing on the rocks.

The other good place was the EastWest Beach Club at the Dubrovnik beach. They had funky decor and pint of Karlovačko was 'only' 29kn!

Restaurants:
Old city walls seen from the old city walls
Old city walls seen from the old city walls
It was a difficult choice for a restaurant in the old town. Many offered very similar menu. Some eateries, which were located in the narrow lanes (some turning into stairways) off Cavtavska street, had touts delegated to the main throughfare to invite customers, might nit have been the best, actually.

In some rather prominent locations, be it inside a palace or just outsite the walls overlooking the harbour, there were posh restaurants specialising in seafood and national cuisine designed for clientelle with very fat wallets and credit cards with no limit. Like the Arsenal restaurant, yet there were posher than that!

But there were also a few, unpretentious restaurants and cafes, which served excellent food and not charging an arm and a led for it. Marco Polo was one of them hidden in one of the side streets, ul Lučarica. Inflenced by the Italian kitchen, it cooked mainly pastas, lasagnas, and pizzas. It was very cosy and classic.

Other recommendations:
Old city's main avenue
Old city's main avenue
Buses to airport (35kn, 30') departed from main bus station, linked to the old town with buses 1a, 1b, 1c, at different times, depending on the day of the week, as scheduled to meet the flights. Taxis could take anything from 8' (that's a record) to 25' depending on traffic and the hour of the day, and charged approximately 230kn.

Coffee, beer, wine, pizza, pasta, seafood, crisps, peanuts, you name it, could be 50% - 75% more expensive in the old town than anywhere in Dubrovnik. So, if money mattered, one would better off by starving oneself once within the old city walls. The only 'affordable' grab were pizza slices that increasingly rare went for 10kn, and were of particularly nasty quality.

Published on Friday June 26th, 2009


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Mon, Jun 29 2009 - 09:36 AM rating by frenchfrog

Great Report Krys, wish I was there!

Fri, Jun 26 2009 - 04:42 PM rating by pesu

When I visited Dubrovnik the walk on the city walls was free. It's long ago... Hope the place will find a way to keep its charme in spite of the mass tourism. Detailed report with great tips and very beautiful pics!

Fri, Jun 26 2009 - 03:53 PM rating by eirekay

I love the photography tips! What a great add! The view through the old city walls is terrific!

As always, a wonderful report with lots of insight!

Fri, Jun 26 2009 - 03:39 PM rating by jacko1

Thanks for this excellent report Krys, I am now not able to visit here in Sept. as planned. you have made up for it a little. Tony.

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