Date: 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th of August 2016
Where We Stayed: Dubrovnik is very expensive to stay, no matter if it is a hotel, hostel or Airbnb. We found an Airbnb which was reasonable and stayed at ‘Old town, inside city walls, street of blacksmiths’ hosted by Sergio. The room was good and had air conditioning, which was a life saver. We had to climb a lot of steps to get to the room but it was worth it for the central location.
- The city within the walls is lovely to walk around. There are no cars and this makes exploring so mush easier and less stressful. There is one main wide street that starts from the road and goes to the sea. Off this main street there are a lot of narrow streets to get lost in. We recommend getting lost anywhere new as it is how you will stumble across amazing little shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. TOP TIP where shoes with good grip as the floor is shiny and slippery especially in the morning when the street cleaners have been around.
- Dubrovnik Cable Car was something we did at sunset and the views were amazing from the top. We stayed up here and waited for the sun set which was beautiful. A city always looks so much different when there are no roads. It makes it look smaller and far more compact. You can walk up or down the to the view point as well which looked like a nice walk although rather steep on places. It was obviously busy during sunset with lots of people trying to get the perfect picture. There is also a bar/restaurant at the top, though book ahead if you plan to eat there. Also be prepared for the price tag that comes with that perfect view!
- The walls of Dubrovnik is a must to anyone who visits. It is tough to climb with all the stairs as it is all stone it gets very hot. TOP TIP remember to take water with you! The views were amazing, you could see for miles. The sea looked so calm and inviting from the top. It is also a great opportunity to see the famous red roofs of Dubrovnik. It does take a while to walk all the way around but is totally worth it. Make sure you take it slow and take in all the scenery of coast and town.
- Mr Fresh was one of those small places we stumbled into while getting lost in the narrow streets. We ended up going here twice due to the good quality food and the price. Everything in Dubrovnik is far more expensive than the rest of Croatia. Mr Fresh was a burrito bar where you could load your own burrito. They also did the most amazing fresh juices. I was obsessed with the cucumber and mint juice.
- Moskar which we found as we walked back to our room one night. It was on one of the narrow streets where tables with candles lined the walls. We thought it looked very cute as there was no lights just the candles. We decided to stop for a meal one night and had the black squid ink risotto, a Croatian speciality, and the mixed fish broth. Both were amazing and so fresh. Of course we washed it down with some wine!
We booked this day trip through Viator and it was well worth the money. It cost around £46 and lasted approximately 12 hours. We were picked up at the port in Dubrovnik and made our way to the border, which was rather busy! The tour guide said that’s why the estimated tour length is between 10 and 13 hours because sometimes you can be held up for hours at the border. An interesting fact we learned was that once we went through one of the large tunnels the weather would change dramatically. So on the Croatia side of the tunnel it was sunny and hot, the Mediterranean climate. Once we went through it was raining and had dropped in temperature, the European climate! Our first stop was Kotor, which is an UNESCO site. The lake is very impressive as it is surrounded by mountains. We then drove onto a lookout point where you could see the whole of the bay and it was gorgeous.
We then went to the town of Kotor to explore the town within the walls. It was really easy to get lost here as within the city as there are no cars and just narrow streets that all looked the same! We came across an amazing sandwich café and decided to stop for lunch. It was really good but we cannot remember the name of the café! We didn’t have much time here on the tour and had to walk rather fast to see all of the town. We definitely didn’t have enough time to climb the stairs up to the Cathedral.
We then moved onto Budva which was a seaside town. There were far more tourists here soaking up the sun and laying on the beach. It was very hot down here and so we decided to sit in a beach side bar drinking beers and watching the world go by. We had a great time looking at what people were wearing as there were many…let’s say… daring outfits. To get back to Croatia it was easier to across the Bay of Kotor on the boat. The bus drove onto the boat and we went across the bay.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
We booked the Bosnia and Herzegovina Day Trip on Viator and was another successful trip and worth the cost (£45).
We stopped at Medjugorje which we found a very odd but interesting little place. It was as if the main street and huge Church had been dropped there as there was nothing else around. All the shops were lined with religious souvenirs from t-shirts to magnets to rosary beads. The reason this place is of such importance, to Catholics anyway, is because six children claimed that they had seen the Virgin Mary on top of a hill. Ever since it has been an important stop on the Catholic pilgrimage trail. We looked inside of the Church and down the one street lined with shops. We were not quite sure how this small town made us feel. On our way back to the bus we came across a Church Service at the back of the Church in the outdoors where there were many people on stage with microphones.
Our next stop was Mostar, which has a sad history and you can feel this while walking through the town. We watched a video about the war and history of the famous bridge. This was hard to watch in particular the images of Prince Charles reopening the bridge, which showed that this war was so recent. It is a sad place to walk around as there is a lot of poverty evident by people selling things for pence. We felt slightly ashamed paying 50p for a glass bottle of coke and only a few pounds for a meal.
The bridge that connects the Muslim and Catholic sides is amazing and beautiful to look at. Beware that it is very busy and rather difficult to get over because it is made of polished marble which is slippery and is steep. The bridge has lines of bricks sticking up to help so your feet do not slip too much. TOP TIP! Make sure you wear trainers here as to make the cobbles look realistic and authentic they polish them which makes it like an ice rink to walk on.
We had some free time to explore and decided to go and get something to eat. We ate at Labirint which had a perfect views of the bridge. We ordered a meat platter for two, which when it arrived was huge. We couldn’t get through the amount of meat, chips and bread on the plate. Everything was delicious but there was just to much of it. The bill was so cheap and the service was great.
We booked this tour in Dubrovnik which included three islands and lunch on the boat.
We stopped at Lopud and went to Sunji beach by golf kart. The golf ride was so much fun as we hurtled through the forest. Legend is said that if you swim with loved one on the beach you will never part, so of course we went for a quick dip. It was a nice beach, however we have been spoiled with the sights of the Caribbean beaches and nothing will ever compare. Sorry Europe! We sat in the beach bar with a few drinks waiting for the golf kart to come back. Lunch was on the boat with wine, we ate fish, bread and salad. food was good. We then fed the fish bread off the side of the boat. The sheer amount of fish was crazy as they all fought for the bread. We also visited Sipan and Kolocep Islands which were also beautiful. We watched people jump of the boat and had an ice cream in the bay. This tour was good as we had a lot of down time between the islands where we sunbathed on the top deck. It was nice to get away from the busy towns and cities for a day.