An Insiders View on Dubrovnik,Croatia

By Katija Calis

Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (or Placa) is lined with shops and restaurants. For many visitors Dubrovnik is King’s Landing, capital of Westeros (From HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones).

One little-known fact/trivia that everyone should know when travelling to Dubrovnik?

Visit Dubrovnik in winter time; Dubrovnik is mostly known as a summer destination, but Winter has a lot to offer!

 What is a must buy when in Dubrovnik?

You must buy the caramelized almonds & candied orange peel.

One takeaway after a visit to this region?

Filigree silver, gold or coral jewellery

What is your advice to first-time travellers?

Don’t miss the City Walls

Things  to pack when travelling to Croatia?

Sunglasses & hat are essentials to carry when travelling to Croatia.

One activity anyone travelling to this region should not miss?

You must go kayaking around city walls

The most romantic place to take a special someone to?

Visit the Porporela (pier Dubrovnik’s Old Harbour)

Where should anyone, travelling to this region, definitely get their picture taken?

One must take pictures from the top of Minceta fortress (City walls) / Banje Beach / Upper Cable Car station

The best place to have local food?

Konoba Tabak  is a good place to try out authentic local food.

Your favourite local dish and drink that you would recommend our readers?

Try out Lamb prepared under the iron bell; fresh oysters, “sporki makaruli” (a dish made of meat and pasta)

The best pub and best places to catch up for a drink?

La Bodega, Belfast Irish pub, Levanat Bar are some of the local pubs and places you must visit.

One place only the locals would know?

Open air cinema Jadran

Is there any particular month you would not recommend travel to this region and what would that reason be?

July / August as the temperatures are too high and it’s overcrowded

A local festival you feel more travellers should come and see.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival (10th July – 25th August); Winter Festival (December – January), St Blasius Festivity (3rd February)

Which is the best place to get a panoramic photo?

On the top of Mount Srdj, upper Cable Car station, overlooking the Old Town of Dubrovnik

The best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise?

Buza bar, seaside of the city walls

The things guidebooks will not tell anyone about Dubrovnik

There are plenty of small villages nearby that you should visit: do the road trip in the northern part of Dubrovnik (Orasac, Gromaca, Majkovi) and sample the real Dubrovnik’s life since it’s not all about the city walls.

How would you describe Dubrovnik in one sentence?

In one sentence, Dubrovnik is breath taking!

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Hidden Treasures Croatia

By Meenakshi Shankar

Reasons why we think you should head out to Croatia for a vacation.

It’s on our destination watch – simply because the country is spilling over with gorgeous Adriatic beaches, boasts over a thousand islands, and throws in some ancient Roman ruins just for kicks. Top it with unique natural sights that hold the promise to taking your breath away…and voila – it’s a must pack and head out to destination.

An old world charm:  Founded in the 6th century BC by the Greeks, the little towns are loaded with history. But we always believe that it is the people who make the place – and in Croatia – the warm smiles greet you all the way through.

It’s the place where you can spend the morning lounging next to the crystal clear waters, lunch at one of the many  outdoor restaurants lining the promenade, and go back to watching the ridiculously huge yachts go by…soak in the local flavor as we Wanderers like to call it.

A Long Splendid Coast

Yes…the long splendid Adriatic coast is one of the reasons to explore this gorgeous land.  You could head out on a cruise along the Southern Dalmatian islands with its innumerable bays, inlets and coves which make it seem surreal.  Or simply head out to the islands – where the windy bays and channels  lure the wind surfers, quiet coves and rocks serenade the divers, or simply laze around the beach with a book….the beaches cater to just about everybody.

If you can’t find the beach of your dreams here, it probably doesn’t exist.

Behold the beauty

Explore the lush green meadows, forested mountains, lakes and rivers – the unadulterated beauty of the land beckons you. The gorgeous Plitvice Lakes – UNESCO’s List of World Natural Heritage is a must see – sixteen lakes, each at a different level, are joined in a series of cascading waterfalls. Surrounded by dense wood, it’s a rare and one of a kind beauty that captivates you.

To experience the magic of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik’s Old Town maintains a precarious equilibrium between Then and Now, Here and Elsewhere. And whilst you explore the layers – capture the gorgeous sights which await you – the twisting staircase above Gundulic Square, an explicit homage to the Spanish Steps; the 16th-century Baroque cathedrals abutting Renaissance palaces and medieval fortresses; and the Gradska Kavana, a café straight out of fin de siècle Vienna.

Head out on a cruise

The Adriatic cruise is a definite must do for the virgin as well as a seasoned traveler. Sailing along the  Dalmatian islands, the peace and beauty of its secluded coves and crystal clear sea – you wander through the quaint villages and drink in the local flavor – cuisine, wines and the way of life.

Listening to the Sea Organ (Zadar)

Waves move water through this organ’s undersea pipes, creating music. Add a set of white stone steps descending into the crystal water above the organ and a sky full of stars, and you have a matchless venue to enjoy the moonlight. Let the water lap at your feet, and luxuriate in the organ’s haunting sounds.
Haven for history buffs:  Diocletian’s Palace, in Split – the retirement home of a Roman Emperor is the reason the whole city exists. Today, the crumbling walls woven into the fabric of the city might seem less commanding, but coupled with the sequence of underground chambers they’re considered the greatest Roman ruins in Western Europe. Escape the street-level crowds to wander the foundations of the royal quarters before admiring the Peristyle, an open-air square flanked with colonnades and guarded by a granite sphinx.

You have walled cities instead of a wall of condos, local markets instead of souvenir shops, fresh locally caught fish instead of fast food.

Try the famous “dalmatinska pašticada” [Dalmatian stew], a meat dish that takes two days to prepare.

In Zagreb, –  steak a la Zagreb — veal stuffed with cheese and ham.

In Coastal Dalmatian dishes are Mediterranean-inspired, and rich in seafood and risotto.

In Istria, the wild truffles are deliciously divine.

Explore the caves: As a true Karst region, Croatia is full of caves. The most famous and most magical are the Modra Špilja [Blue cave] on Biševo and the Zmajeva Špilja [Dragons cave] on the island of Brač. It’s a whole new world which awaits the Wanderer.