travel

Croatia travel guide

Dubrovnik Old Town

We visited Croatia at the end of June, so apologies for this post being more than a bit delayed! I’ve been sat sorting through my holiday snaps and thought it was about time I posted about what we got up to in Croatia. If I’m honest, it was a pretty chilled trip in the end and there’s still a lot on my list I want to explore.

Our original plan had been to spend a week in Montenegro, followed by two days in Croatia, before flying home to the UK. Little did we know, life was going to throw us a curveball in the form of burst pipes, flooding, water shortages and power cuts! I talked more about this in my Montenegro post.

In a way, I am so glad everything happened the way it did. It meant that we spent three days in Montenegro and almost a week in Croatia; a country that I ended up falling in love with.


Things to know

Dubrovnik

I found Croatian people to be very friendly and welcoming, which was so different to the experience we had in Kotor, Montenegro. I tend to talk to a lot of people on holiday (yes, I am that annoying friend) and I always give the language a go, even if I do end up accidentally muddling in some English, Spanish and French. Got to keep things interesting! Almost everyone I came across was friendly, happy to chat and to help with pronunciations.

Croatia has Uber! Well, Dubrovnik area does. We used Uber a few times, mostly because it was easier to direct them to pick us up from the Airbnb. There are also local taxi ranks, but always use someone reputable and look at their reviews first.

In terms of car hire, I would avoid Nova. It’s not often I mention anything negative in my travel guides, but we were screwed over by a small scratch. It was about 1cm and it had been there when we arrived (note to self and others, take photos of everything before you leave the car park!) Luckily we had taken out car excess insurance, which meant we were refunded the £200 fine.

I mentioned this in my Montenegro post, but if you’re planning on crossing any borders you will need to let the hire car company know in advance as they’ll need to provide you with a green card. You will also need an International Drivers Permit, which you can get for £5 at the Post Office (if you’re in the UK).

Take some time to get your head around the currency. For example, £1 equates to 8.7 Kuna and £10 equates to around 86 Kuna (at the time of writing this post). It took us a while to get used to this; I almost had a meltdown when our first food bill came to 400 Kuna, until I realised that was only £46!


When to go

Cavtat

We visited at the end of June and bloody hell, it was hot. I am a bit on the delicate/pale side though. We preferred the heat in Croatia than in Boka Bay (Montenegro) as there was a coastal breeze and it was much more bearable.

Most days it was around 30-34 degrees Celsius and I imagine in July/August it’s even hotter. I would personally recommend visiting April – June or September – October to dodge the summer crowds and for a more manageable temperature.

If you’re thinking of staying in Dubrovnik, I would definitely say spring/autumn is your best bet. The walled city was very humid and fairly busy in June, and I can imagine it’s a city that looks gorgeous all year round.


Where to stay

Due to the last minute nature of our trip, we found an Airbnb at a discounted rate (we were literally driving over the border into Croatia when I found the villa online!) It was situated in Čilipi, a small neighbourhood outside of Cavtat. The villa was beautiful and if it’s within your budget, I would definitely recommend it if you don’t mind the occasional sound of a plane taking off – it didn’t happen often enough for it to bother us.

Cavtat is a lovely little seaside town with plenty going on in terms of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. The planes do go overhead in Cavtat, which didn’t really bother us in June but it may be more noticeable during peak season. If that doesn’t bother you, I would recommend Cavtat as a base for exploring the local area. It’s also only a 5/10 minute taxi ride from Dubrovnik airport, which is pretty handy if you’re only visiting for a couple of days.

There are lots of lovely coastal towns along the Adriatic Sea and so many places to stay, whether you’re looking for a beach holiday or a city break. Dubrovnik looks like an incredible city to stay in and I have my eye on some of the Croatian Islands for next time. My real dream would be to do a bit of a road trip through Croatia and to visit the national parks.


Where to eat/drink

Gradska Kavana Arsenal Restaurant & Bar – Dubrovnik

Gradska Kavana Arsenal is situated in the Old Town, with stunning views across the water. The outdoor terrace is sheltered, which is a total saviour in the heat. The food was amazing and possibly the best meal of our trip, with plenty of gluten-free options.

Recommendations: marinated zucchini and Croatian cheese section to start, monkfish wrapped in bacon and fish al forno for mains.

La Boheme – Cavtat

Falafel and burger at La Boheme

La Boheme was another favourite of ours. We stopped here for lunch and their entire menu looked amazing! If we had more time, I would have returned for dinner. Great views across the marina and perfect for people watching.

Recommendations: the falafel main and burger main.

Other recommendations include:

  • Gossip, Dubrovnik – takeaway mojitos, perfect for drinking and exploring if you’re short on time
  • Ivan Restaurant, Cavtat – good seafood, recommend the sea bass and sea bream.
  • Pemo supermarket – one located in Cavtat and one on the main road near Dubrovnik airport at Močići. We found gluten free options and rice milk.

What to do

Dubrovnik

It goes without saying, but Dubrovnik should be on your list of places to visit if you’re heading to Croatia. I’m desperate to go back for a long weekend as we only spent a day there. There’s plenty to explore, including:

  • The Old Town – architecture and historical buildings as well as good food and plenty of bars
  • Walking the city walls
  • Game of Thrones tour (if you’re into that kind of thing!)
  • The cable car – I really wanted to do this but unfortunately it was out of action when we visited

Along the coast

I loved being based on the coast and wish we had explored it more. There are plenty of lovely little beaches and boat trips, including the ferry from Cavtat to Dubrovnik. We almost caught the ferry but as we were outside of their typical peak season, the last ferry back was fairly early.

There are also day trips and ferries to Kotor in Montenegro. If I were to do the trip again, I would use Croatia as a base and catch the ferry for a day to explore Kotor and the surrounding area.

There’s also Lokrum Island, which looks amazing for walks and exploring. This is an easy ten minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik.

On my list of places to explore next time is:


Have you visited Croatia before? Leave your recommendations below and let me know if you decide to visit!

Katie x