Dubrovnik – a city of stairs, stone walls and…gelato.

If a Stairmaster could somehow be turned into a town – that town would without a doubt be Dubrovnik.

Stairs, stairs and MORE STAIRS! I honestly believe the energy I would have burnt climbing the thousands of stairs over our three days in Dubrovnik was almost sufficient to the energy consumed in all the huge hunks of cheese I’d been chowing down.

Just another kilo of cheese to polish off…

That’s really saying something, those chunks of cheese were MAMMOTH!

If anything we were probably partaking in a slightly higher level of stair climbing due to the fact that we weren’t staying in the old city itself. Rather, we were kitted up in the spare room of rather adorable Croatian grandma, a solid 10 minutes’ walk (not far if it were flat, but trust me – far if it’s uphill) above the city centre.

The maze of houses in Dubrovnik old city

Now Dubrovnik is known as the ‘pearl of the adriatic’ and there is absolutely no doubt that the place is absolutely stunning. From our tiny balcony high above the old city I was able to peer down at the jumble of laneways and heritage listed buildings that criss-crossed their way within the high city walls.

Just beyond these walls you’re able to see the dark blue Adriatic Sea sparkling away. We were fairly lucky weather wise to encounter just one stormy morning, so this sparkling sea was a fixture of our time in Dubrovnik.

The view of the Dubrovnik old city walls from Fort Lovrijena

Now as remarkably beautiful as Dubrovnik old city is, I think it’s a struggle by any means to gather from the place a genuine picture of Croatian life. Practically all of the buildings are either guesthouses, museums, souvenir shops, restaurants, or gelato vendors.

Scrap that, almost all of them are Gelato vendors!

Entering the main gate to the old city walls…

Honestly though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more people eating gelato in my life. And I’ve been to Italy. Whilst walking along the Stratum – the main wide cobblestoned stretch that runs between the two major city gates – I swear that at least every second person had a cone the size of a small child in their hands.

We accepted fairly quickly that this visit wasn’t going to be about us delving into the intricacies of Croatian culture – and once that was done, had an incredible time.

Lunchtime underneath the entrance to the fortress

There were Cliffside picnics…

Some of the old school remedies from one of Europe’s oldest pharmacies

A visit to a Franciscan Monastery’s ancient pharmacy…

Chilling cliffside on Lokrum island

A morning spent exploring the nearby Lokrum island…

Perhaps a little glimpse of real Croatian life!

…and a fairly solid amount of time spent wandering the backstreets of the Old City with absolutely no idea where we were.

Julia, Roachy and Will enjoy a sneaky sunset beverage at Buza Bar

We also luckily managed to co-ordinate a catch up with one of Will’s long time friends from home, Julia and her boyfriend Roachy. This involved a lovely night out that began with some sunset drinks at Buza Bar, a place that we discovered after following a sign for ‘cold drinks’ through a hole in the city walls that led to this tiny bar nestled directly on the cliffs of the city itself.

Sunset from Buva Bar

The view was not too shabby, let me tell you!

Seafood platter? Yes please!

The night then continued on with a delicious seafood feast and ended the way all good nights should – with us downing ciders at the local Irish Pub. Once again, a lesson in Croatian culture!

For our final day in Dubrovnik (and Croatia at that) we decided to tackle the world renowned Dubrovnik City Walls. These massive and well preserved defensive stone walls are UNESCO World Heritage listed and you’re able to pay 70 Kuna to wander along the top of the walls at your leisure, peering down at the people and houses below.

Now we had the priviledge of completing this walk when it was stinking hot and garishly sunny – but my goodness it was worth the slight sunburn and awkward singlet tan I had for the next few days.

As we strolled along the 1,900 metres worth of walls we were able to see quite a lot from their lofty 25m height!

There was more peeking into local’s back yards…

A little ‘preventing my hat from blowing away’ action…

Can you see the longing in his eyes?

Some salivating over hidden basketball courts…

Some peering over the fisherman’s harbour…

…and a whole lot of just enjoying the view.

Overall I have to say, if you want a taste of genuine, ‘gritty’ Croatia – Dubrovnik and its picture perfect streets, sparkling sea and gelato eating middle-aged tourists might not be for you.

However if you are happy just to enjoy a place that combines a stunning and perfectly preserved old town with amazing views, lots of nearby day trips and the opportunity to while the day away on a tiny pebbled beach – perhaps it could be right up your alley!

3 Responses to “Dubrovnik – a city of stairs, stone walls and…gelato.”
  1. Looks beautiful! I may pass through Croatia this summer too!

  2. Dubrovniklady says:

    Small correction, you were drinking at Buza bar, translated means “hole in the wall”. Last year a research group counted the steps inside of the city wall. The old town has 5,396 and the city wall has a grand total of 1080. If you really want to visit genuine Croatia, the small villages are the best place to begin. Dubrovnik during winter is when the locals return home again.

    • sallyl1986 says:

      Woops! Thank you so much for letting me know, I just changed the bar to the correct name then. Glad to hear it wasn’t just my imagination with the steps as well – 5,396, ouch!

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