Croatia has seen a huge increase in the number of British visitors this year, mainly due to the increase of new routes by low-cost airlines, its affordability in comparison to other European destinations, the summer music festivals and the country's entry into the EU on 1 July this year. There are several hotspots worth visiting, but Dubrovnik has long been a favourite amongst our UK team. After getting loads of suggestions from Travelzooers who have visited, we created a quick guide to a Dubrovnik city break.
"The beaches, pristine sea, informal eateries serving top-notch seafood, chic 5-star hotels and adventure sports facilities, and your holiday is made" (The Daily Telegraph). ‘Nuff said.
When to go
Autumn is a great time to visit Dubrovnik -- smaller crowds mean cheaper hotels, calmer beaches and quieter restaurants.
What to do
A trip to Dubrovnik wouldn't be complete without a walk around the 25-metre-high Old City Walls. Some parts date back to the 13th century, but after the Serbian bombings in the 1990s, most of the city had to be rebuilt. The government stipulated the use of the original techniques and materials, but you can still see the difference in colour between the old clay roof tiles and the newer ones. The 2-kilometre walk around the walls has great views of the sea and the Old Town.
If you’re looking for views, Deal Expert Victoria Murden recommends taking the Dubrovnik Cable Car, which takes you 450 meters to the top of Mount Srđ, from where you can look down on the Adriatic coast and the city.
Go to Europe's second-oldest synagogue, located in the historic Jewish ghetto. Inside there is a museum exhibiting artefacts from the Jewish community who fled persecution from Spain in the 15th and 16th centuries. Deal Expert Sara Kriegel says, "it’s easy to walk past without noticing, but well worth the trip up the rickety stairs."
A popular walking tour starting in Brsalje Square takes you past St Saviour Church, which was built in memory of those who died in the 1520 earthquake. Amazingly, it remained one of the few buildings that didn't collapse in the 1667 earthquake. You'll also pass Sponza Palace, Orlando’s Column and Dubrovnik Cathedral.
If you've got time head over to Lokrum Island. "Take a 5-minute taxi boat directly opposite the Old Town, have lunch in the old monastery gardens and swim off the rocky beaches. Say hi to the wild peacocks roaming the island," says Deal Expert Dominic Kos.
Where to drink
For some pre-dinner drinks, head to the Old Town, where you'll find a selection of bars to cater for everyone. Deal Expert and Croatian Dominic Kos recommends swinging by Café Buza -- "This local gem of a bar is hard to find (just a small door in the city walls). It literally sticks out from the city walls over the Adriatic for amazing sunset views across Lokrum Island." For jazz enthusiasts, Troubadour often has live music. Fresh Cocktail bar also gets a thumbs-up from us, with eclectic cocktails on the menu. It's also a popular stopover for travellers from all over the world.
Where to eat
"Perched between the fortresses of Bokar and Lovrijenac, the sea crashing below its terrace, Orhan is dramatically located," say Time Out Dubrovnik. The combination of the waterside location and the tasty cuisine makes Orhan a great place to spend an evening. The škampi na buzaru (shrimps coked in garlic, white wine and parsley) and the chateaubriand are popular dishes.
Deal Expert Sara Kriegel recommends restaurant Levanat, which stands along the Lapad peninsula. It's a bit off the beaten track -- you'll need a taxi to get there -- but it's worth it to see the amazing sunsets. Seafood-based Dalmatian dishes are the hallmark here; try the prawns in honey and sage.
Coat or T-shirt?
The weather in Croatia does not substantially vary by region, but the Dalmatian Coast tends to get the warmer weather. Temperatures in October range from 16-21 degrees Celsius, and November is the wettest month.
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