Full disclosure: I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones in my life. I’ve heard great things but I just haven’t gotten around to watching any of it, so my appreciation of Dubrovnik had nothing to do with its association with a TV series – I fell in love with Dubrovnik simply because it is an absolutely beautiful, historical city.
I arrived in Dubrovnik over 2 hours before Allie, and instead of waiting around at the airport I decided to take the shuttle to our bus station so I could walk around a little bit. I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to walk around with all of my stuff, so I went to a nearby grocery store to get a bite to eat, found a place to sit down and enjoy my strawberries and party mix (which ended up being on the edge of a parking lot by the water), sat in the sun, and read a book for a while. The view wasn’t too shabby…
I was sunburnt before Allie even got there.
When she did arrive at the bus station our airbnb host, Ivo, came to pick us up, very kindly gave us a tour of the city with his car to point out all the places of interest, then brought us to the beautiful apartment we were staying in. The first thing Ivo showed us when we got to the apartment was the view from the balcony…
It took us about 30 seconds to fall in love with this place.
Ivo and his wife were absolutely wonderful hosts. The apartment was amazing, the two of them were extremely helpful and kind, and his wife baked apple strudel to give us along with some candied fruit and a bottle of desert wine.
Since we only had about a day and a half in Dubrovnik, we wanted to do the touristy stuff the first day when we got there so we could relax and just wander around on Saturday. We walked the short distance to the nearest beach and then to the old city, stopping to enjoy many of the stunning scenic views along the way.
The one thing Allie and I were told we really should do while in Dubrovnik is walk the old city walls, and after doing it I can see why they’re so highly recommended. The old city walls gave views of the entire city, multiple forts, and the Adriatic Sea. It was wildly breathtaking. Dubrovnik was home to a Roman colony a lonnnnng long time ago – the Old City was completed in the 13th century and hasn’t changed much since then, which is partly why I loved it so much. The historic architecture is absolutely stunning.
After getting a bite to eat in the old city, Allie and I headed back to the apartment and drank some wine while we chatted outside on the balcony. We sat out there talking and enjoying the gentle nighttime breeze for hours before deciding to head to bed. Having the opportunity to spend that kind of quality time with wonderful friends is easily my favorite part of every single trip I take.
Our second day in Dubrovnik was the one full day we had, so we wanted to make the most of it and were out of the apartment and walking back toward the Old City a little before 10am. Ivo had recommended taking a ferry to a nearby island and walking around, so that’s what we decided to do. It took us quite a while to find where the ferry actually left some and we decently far into a residential neighborhood before deciding that we had probably walked right by it. As it turns out, it leaves from the Old City port – the first docks we walked by. The island is uninhabited by humans, so no cars are allowed on it and there weren’t a lot of tourists on it either, so it was quite peaceful.
3 weird things we stumbled upon on Lokrum Island:
- Wild peacocks. Everywhere.
- The Iron Throne from Game of Thrones.
- A nudist beach. (We could have gone without walking into this one)
Within 5 minutes of walking on Lokrum we had seen 3 wild peacocks. We had read online that some peacocks did live there, but we grossly underestimated how large their presence would be. They were EVERYWHERE. And I think the weirdest part was that they acted like pigeons in NYC – they were completely un-phased by people and just walked around without a care in the world. Come to find out, they make a super obnoxious squawking noise. And when one of them does it, they all do it.
Now, when I say we stumbled upon the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones, I mean we saw that a door to a random building was open, got curious, and even though it was pretty dark in there we decided to walk in. It didn’t look very “open to the public” and there was some construction stuff around as if it was still being worked on. But, we walked in anyway and figured if we weren’t supposed to be in there someone would tell us. At first it just looked like a small museum exhibit about peacocks, and then *poof*. We turned the corner and there was the throne, chillin on a platform behind a velvet curtain.
Neither of us have seen GoT, but a bunch of our friends watch it. One friend in particular (Bill) was mildly bitter that we were going to Dubrovnik and wouldn’t appreciate anything in the context of Game of Thrones. So of course because of that, every time was saw something GoT relates we took a picture of it/with it to send to him because we knew he’d shake his head in disapproval.
Now. The nude beach. We didn’t actually walk down to it (thank God), but we were walking all around the coast of the island and found a really cool cave. We were looking out at the view and trying to get a better look inside the cave and then *boom*, there it was. An old man’s bare ass. Ivo had jokingly said that he heard there was a nudist beach somewhere on the island, and of course, even though we only explored a small part of Lokrum we happened to find it. Thankfully we didn’t see anything more than the butt, and now knew where not to wander to.
Aside from that, the cave was really cool. We saw so many natural sights of beauty on the island including all of the coast, some other caves, and a pool of ocean water in the middle of the island called the “Dead Sea.”
I’m really glad we got to see Dubrovnik before tourist season is in full boom. Nothing was overcrowded, and we were really able to enjoy every moment of being in that amazing city without being shoulder to shoulder with other people. Dubrovnik easily falls into my top 3 favorite cities so far, it would be amazing to go back for a week one day. It is really close to Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a there are a lot of different trips offered by boat from Dubrovnik to visit those places!
One thing about Dubrovnik that I found a bit strange is the number of stray cats. It was not abnormal to see a half dozen stray cats all hanging out in the shade somewhere, and there were easily hundreds scattered throughout the city. It was just odd.