I’ve been meaning to do this blog post for a few weeks now but the usual “busy-ness” got in the way! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you will have seen that at the start of October myself and a friend of mine headed off to Croatia for a week. We booked it in January, giving ourselves something to look forward to at the end of the summer.. which is all great as it’s a lovely time of year to get away, however it also means you have to watch as everyone else jets off to the sun through the summer and you sit back patiently waiting for your trip!
When we booked we knew that we wanted to see a couple of places and with Aer Lingus flying in and out of both Dubrovnik and Split we decided on flying into Dubrovnik for 3 days, then traveling up to Split and staying there 3 days and flying home from there.
If you’re any way active on social media, it’s hard to miss the fact that Croatia has become an extremely popular spot for holidaying in recent years, so much so that there is talk of there being a limit put on how many people are allowed through the city walls of Dubrovnik in a day! So we were glad to be going slightly later in the season when the crowds were a bit smaller.
I had seen many many photos of Dubrovnik in particular through the Summer and it really didn’t disappoint, it was equally as stunning “in real life”. We arrived and threw our bags into the hotel and headed to the old town to have a ramble and a bit of lunch. The weather was fab, the views were amazing and we found a lovely lunch spot to soak it all up along with a glass of wine.
We then went for a little walk through the town, getting lost in all the side streets and steps numerous times!
That evening we planned on getting on the famous cable car and going to the top of Mount Srdj for sunset… so we were super prepared and got our tickets earlier that day. What we didn’t factor in was the queue of people with the same idea as us! So not wanting to miss sunset, we had to jump a cab to the top and then used our ticket to descend. The views at the top are STUNNING!
In one direction, you see the old town and port of Dubrovnik…
In another there’s a beautiful view of the mountains…
And to the far right the sun sets over the water…
As with any good tourist attraction, there’s a restaurant and bar up here (pictured with the umbrella’s below) so we had dinner and some drinks here before getting the last cable car back down. One thing to note about Croatia, it isn’t your typical holiday destination that offers cheap drinks and food… the prices were pretty much in line with Dublin city prices for both food and all of the drinks we had.
The next thing to tick of our “To Do” list was to walk the old city walls. So at 9am the next day we turned up thinking we were super early and things would be calm.. however a cruise ship also happened to be docked and the place was swarming already. We did it anyway and it was a lovely walk with more lovely views, however ideally if you could time it for a day there are no ships in it would make for a more comfortable stroll where everyone wasn’t tripping over each other as you walked.
While the daytime really shows off the sea views, Dubrovnik is equally as pretty at night.. sunset is lovely and the little streets of the old town are picture perfect at night.
On our last day in Dubrovnik we headed off to the beach for the day. We hopped on the bus from the town and after about a 20 minute journey we arrive beside Sunset Beach Club and settled down for the day. The beaches may be stoney and not so soft on the feet but they are extremely beautiful with crystal clear water. The only other beaches I’ve seen with water like this were in Ibiza and they really are stunning.
After a day off chilling here we took the short coastal stroll to Cafe Bar More, which is part of a nice fancy hotel. The bar is right on the water and was the perfect spot for a glass of wine while watching the sun go down….
So that was the basics of our trip to Dubrovnik… all in all a beautiful place that I wold definitely re visit in a few years!
To travel up to Split we decided on the coach, with the boat being the other more expensive and longer option. The bus took about 4 hours and took in the most amazing scenery along the coast of Croatia and briefly through Bosnia.
We we dropped off at the port in Split and hadn’t really got a clue where we were going so tried to get a cab only to be told that no cars go through the old city. Both Dubrovnik and Split are UNESCO sites so no traffic goes through them… which made for an awkward struggle to our hotel with a broken suitcase! We got there in the end and again just dumped our stuff and went to explore.
We stayed right beside the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius, which was handy as we got lost aaaallllll of the time in Split with it’s tiny streets so having this as our landmark was a life saver!
While Split and Dubrovnik feel quite different, Split is also a lovely place…
The square is particularly pretty lit up at night …. and night time in Split seems to have a bit more going on with quite a lot of backpackers and late bars around.
Wanting to get a little bit of exercise in between all the food and wine, we took ourselves up to Marjan Hill one day… we thought we’d had our fill of steps in Dubrovnik but managed to hike up the approx 300 and odd steps to the peak for some super views….
Split doesn’t necessarily have the same amount of must see things as Dubrovnik, but one of the main ones I’d read about was the Bell Tower. I’m kinda ok with heights, don’t hate them but would prefer to feel safe enough if and when I do brave them… so this was an altogether “shitting myself” experience to be honest. It’s approx 200ft tall and I was a little relieved to get back down in one piece after it!
It starts with a couple of sets of narrow stone steps where it’s a free for all with people coming up and down. At this part alone I saw three people falling on the slippy stone and a few deciding not to even bother going further. Then at least the iron stairways felt more structured and spacious but there were certainly a few times I thought a bit more of a barrier would have been beneficial as many of the “window” spaces are completely open!
It did give some pretty spectacular views though…
I needed a glass of bubbles after that I tell you!
Lastly, we had planned to visit the popular island of Hvar for a day rip… from what I heard it’s like a mini Ibiza which sounds all good to me. But our luck was out and as it had gotten a bit windy, the boats weren’t running. So we took the shorter trip to the closer island of Brač instead. We spent a couple of hours here just laying at the beach and stopping off for a bite to eat before getting the ferry back to Split. Again, another gorgeous beach but a very quiet town so not somewhere you’d stay for too long.
And that was it! We finished the trip with one last drink at the port before our journey home.
I LOVED Croatia and would most definitely go back and try to see more of the islands next time, possibly in mid September so the weather may be a bit more reliable and you wouldn’t have the risk of the boats to some places not running.
For now it’s back to reality and planning some trips for next year 🙂