Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trip to Croatia

After much indecisiveness on where to go for our vacation, we settled on Croatia.  I had heard it was a beautiful country, and it was a place neither Shane nor I had been before.  We had no idea what to expect, so as soon as we booked our tickets, we started researching everything we could find in order to decide where to stay and what to do.  We bought Rick Steve's Slovenia and Croatia.  After reading through it, we decided to stay in Dubrovnik,  the "Pearl of the Adriatic", for the entire 6 days to get a good sense of the city.  The book was great to learn about the history, where to stay, restaurants, etc. but it didn't really have much in the way of activities.   Since we were staying 6 days, we wanted to have at least 2 full days of planned excursions.  More on the excursions later, but our itinerary looked like this:

Day 1 - Walk / Get lost in the Old Town
Day 2 - Beach
Day 3 - Excursion 1
Day 4 - Island Hopping
Day 5 - Excursion 2
Day 6 - Prepare to leave :(

There are approximately 1,200 islands off the coast of Croatia
Deciding where to stay in Dubrovnik was a challenge.  For one, it's a great deal more expensive than I thought it would be.  In addition, there are only a few hotels in the Old Town, the most well-known of which is Pucic Palace, but rates there were at around $500 per night.  So we decided to mix it up - stay a few nights in the Old Town, and a few nights in a resort by the beach.  If you want to stay in the Old Town and not pay exorbitant rates (unless you go ultra-lux), you need to find a sobe (essentially an apartment).  Many of the locals realized how profitable it is to lease out their apartments to foreigners during high season, so they moved out of the Old Town.  We were told that about 35,000 locals used to live in the Old Town, and since Old Town Dubrovnik became a tourist attraction, now only about 1,500 live there, and the rest just lease out their apartments. 

We called all the numbers in Rick Steve's book to find a place to stay.  Many were already booked, and others had minimum stays of longer than the 3 days we needed.  We ended up finding Dubrovnik Apartment Source   They were great!  They have tons of gorgeous places to choose from, all vetted by the DAS team.  We even booked our taxi from the airport to the Old Town through the website.  Deciding on the resort was also difficult.  We deferred to TripAdvisor for that decision.  Among the top rated was Hotel Bellvue (  Rates started at about $330/ night.  Personally, I didn't think it was worth it.  Even our "upgraded" room was quite bare.  There are no elevators to take you to your floor, so we had to lug around our huuuge suitcases down several flights of stairs.  Yes, I did say "down" stairs.  The reason is the hotel was built on the side of a cliff.  You walk in from the street level to the lobby, and all rooms are downstairs from there, wrapping around the side of the cliff. 

The Old Town of Dubronik is a picturesque, pedestrian area with beautiful, narrow streets surrounded by a wall 2 kilometers around. The bulk of the existing walls and fortifications was constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries but they were continually extended and strengthened up to and including the 17th century. The wall was built to protect this vulnerable city on the sea. 

A view of the Old City

1 comment:

  1. that is so it very this Old town is a fishing area??