Dubrovnik – once lovingly called the pearl of the Adriatic – now has developed a bad rep on the mass tourism scale. Thousands of tourists crammed onto one, souvenir shop infested, street wasn’t exactly what I was looking for when I put my Balkan travel itinerary together, but it happened anyway. I found myself fleeing the city a lot, escaping the intense tourist madness that is Dubrovnik in summer.
So yes, I made a huge mistake visiting Dubrovnik during the high season as it is the number one tourist attraction in Croatia. And yes, that probably contributed to the first impression of the city, which by itself is indeed mind-blowingly beautiful. In fact it was the mix of architecture, history and the Mediterranean feeling that brought me there. I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t have a great time in Dubrovnik and that had everything to do with my own bad timing. Should you visit Dubrovnik? Hell yes! Should you do it in summer? Preferably not. Still I think that if you are willing to overlook the less enjoyable aspects of your visit to Dubrovnik, chances are you might learn to embrace it.
However, when the craziness within the walls of the old town get too much for you, there’s nothing like recharging your batteries and enjoying that relaxed vacation you had in mind. I escaped more than once and so I came up with a range of things you can do plus places to stay at when you’re just sick of it all. Some require a little more effort and time than others, but all are there to achieve that one final goal:
Escape the tourist madness that is Dubrovnik
1.Have lunch at Lady Pipi
A cute restaurant within the walls of the city. To work up your appetite you have to climb the steep stairs first, but I promise it’s worth your sweat as Pipi serves you homemade dishes to die for. A must try is the grilled octopus.: The roof terrace has a surprisingly beautiful view over the city and the sea, and the crickets above your head make the sounds from the city disappear. Best thing: you don’t even have to leave the historic city center!
Tip: Because the place is small there might be a line sometimes, so it’s best to get there early or very late
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2.Flee to the nearby islands
Although the islands around Dubrovnik welcome many tourists a year, tourism here is much more spread out than on the crowded streets of Dubrovnik. Chances are you won’t even notice the other people while enjoying a walk on one of these pieces of paradise.
When you can’t afford to spend all day away from the city, Lokrum island is your choice. This small island is located close to the Dubrovnik shore and therefore only a short taxi boat ride away. Visit the monastery and botanical garden, watch the colored peacocks walking around or dive into the blue Adriatic from the rocky shore. And once you’re done with the activities there are some lovely cocktail bars to visit too! Lokrum is nice enough to spend the majority of your day on, but because it is so close, a few hours would suffice to charge that battery.
Another great island to escape to is Mljet. With two small villages and lots of nature around, Mljet is a great island to wander around on and relax on your own. Getting there and back takes some patience sometimes, but it gets you into the mood of slowing down.
Tip: rent a bike and ride through the National Park.
3.Don’t stay in the city center
I made the mistake of sleeping right in the historic center of Dubrovnik and although that surely has some benefits, I personally felt a little bit trapped inside the craziness during the day- and nighttime. Lucky for us Dubrovnik has amazing surroundings and plenty hotel terraces to enjoy them from.
Lapad is the ideal place to come to your senses after a day of sightseeing in Dubrovnik and hosts many great hotels, that vary from budget(ish) to very luxurious. The peninsula is connected to Dubrovnik by buses, so there’s no worrying about getting in and out of the city.
A great budget pick is the Cosmai Residence, a 3 star hotel with only four rooms. The residence is located right next to the sea and the beautiful boulevard. When you like to have your own little paradise, you need to spend a little bit more than average, but isn’t Villa Dubrovnik worth it? You’ll be forgetting about the stressful town in no-time. My favorite is definitely Boutique Hotel Kazbek, a 5 star hotel that’s actually worth your money. From inside the walls of the hotel, the outside world seems so far away!
What are your experiences with Dubrovnik?
If you have any recommendations leave them below in the comment section! 🙂
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