Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Trip to Dubrovnik

After a whirlwind tour through London, Lisbon, and Geneva in one week, my friends and I were looking forward to a relaxing week on the Adriatic coast. We arrived in Dubrovnik on an early morning Easyjet flight from Geneva, but our sense of exhaustion was quickly overcome during our ride from the Dubrovnik Airport into town. The road carved out of the hills, common place all along the coast, provided breathtaking views of sea and old town of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik itself is a very busy small town, filled with tourists coming ashore off of the many cruise ships that dock nearby. However unlike many other European cities that serve as a tourist attraction (such as Venice) only a short walk away from city center yields an undisturbed local neighborhood where daily life goes on as usual.


We booked our accommodations at Hostel Marker (Apartments Lovrijenac) through Hostelworld.com, and stayed what in essence was an apartment just outside the city gates. At first we were disappointed by the lack of hostels in the town, as we were all looking forward to the community atmosphere that a hostel may offer. However, upon meeting our host, Marko, any sense of a lack of community was quickly overcome. Marko was the best host we have ever had, and quite possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met. Not only did he offer ample advice on what to see and where to go, one night he actually took us out and showed us the town from the local’s perspective. Marko arranged a rental car for us, transport to Montenegro, and even helped us retrieve a lost photo camera after my friend forgot it back in Dubrovnik, all in all cannot say enough good things about him.



During the day we took Marko’s advice and spent time at the Banje beach, walked along city walls, and took a ferry to the island of Lokrum.



Banje beach is located directly south of the old city. Although small, and a bit rocky it offers a cozy place to relax, take a dip, and have a drink along the water.



The city walls, are probably one of the biggest attractions of Dubrovnik. Very well preserved and very imposing, the walls take about two hours to circumnavigate and cost €7 to enter. The views of the old city and its distinctive orange roof tops present and excellent photo opportunity.



Lokrum is a nature preserve popular with hikers and nature lovers, the island is teeming with wild peacocks and offers beautiful vistas from its many cliffs. To get to Lokrum, simply board a 15 minute ferry by the south city gate.

For a small town, Dubrovnik offers a lively nightlife, although it is mostly limited to the weekends. Dubrovnik has two night clubs, East-West and En Fuego which are located on the opposite sides of town, about 1 km apart. The clubs charge a cover fee after 11, so make sure to arrive early if you don’t feel like paying cover. East-West appealed to my friends and I much more as it stands right above Banje Beach about 100 meters from the water. East-West has an open-air and an indoor section, I highly recommend staying in the outdoor section if you do not want to smell like smoke (smoking indoors is accepted here).

Food in Dubrovnik is more expensive than elsewhere in Croatia, but is still relatively cheap by American standards. Many restaurants line the main street of Dubrovnik which spans no more than a few hundred meters. It is worth noting that only a few meters away from the main street, restaurants tend to be 25%-30% less expensive. Expect to pay between €6-€7 for a main course, beer is about €2.00-€2.50 for half liter of domestic brew.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed staying in Dubrovnik and the people we have met along the way. I cannot wait to go back to Croatia, which is an inexpensive, fun, and beautiful destination that I highly recommend to everyone.

-Peter Razumovskiy, hostel volunteer

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