Back from Dubrovnik

Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Back from Dubrovnik

I usually don't do a post-trip report, but everyone was so helpful in our Croatia planning that I wanted to take the time.
My husband and I are in our 30s..and are very experienced travelers...and have just returned from a week in Dubrovnik.
It was HEAVEN- we did all the guidebook stuff (the Rick Steves Croatia book was the best)...so here's some info we thought would be the most helpful. Sorry it's so long, but our trip was so great!

-We had Delta free miles, so we flew ATL to Dublin for free. Then flew Aer Lingus direct to Dubrovnik. Have flown Aer Lingus before and will again. Must note- the flights on Aer Lingus LEFT EARLY b/c everyone was checked in and ready! When does that happen?!

-We stayed at Villa Adriatica. Found online from fodorites. LOVED IT. location, location, location! The balcony looks out on the old town. Just a few small gripes: it was a bit loud the first night as the Rugby World Cup was ongoing and there were street parties. Also- each room is supplied by own water heater, so the shower took 45 min to heat up. These are SMALL things because, again, the view was incredible. The sobe was, literally, STEPS from the Ploce Gate. There are several rooms- we paid 90 euro a night. We did have to wire the first night in advance, but had zero probs with this.

- A note on money. Every place took Kunas and Euros...but we opted to use Kunas for the better ATM exchange rate. And there are ATMs widely avail.

- We walked the walls TWICE. Try to go when the least number of cruise ships aren't in port. It was a mad house otherwise. Take a huge memory stick for your camera- you'll need it.

- A note about shopping- ladies- good deals on pretty coral jewelry in all styles. EAsy to pack! Great gifts. Also, we found really pretty oil paintings. The best stuff is off the Stradun, so be sure to wander around. Most shops were open on Sunday AND until 2200, which was great for after-dinner strolling.

- Now a word on food. It wasn't great. It will be a while before I look at pizza again. There's a lot of pizza and pasta and some unimaginative seafood dishes. There's really a tourist menu that seems to be the staple at every place. Our best meals were not in Dubrovnik, but in Cavtat and Korcula.
But-- gelato lovers, rejoice! It's on every corner and it is GOOD

- Cat lovers- rejoice, too. Cats were everywhere!

- The Buza Bars are a must. Go EARLY for a good spot at sunset. The drink menu is limited and expensive, but the experience and the atmosphere is unbelievable.

- We enjoyed the "War Walk" in Dubrovnik. There's a sign outside Pile Gate with times. It was very interesting and led by a guide who was 16 at the time of the siege and remarkably unbiased in his tour. He was very open to questions and it really showed us how the racial and culture issues still simmering today.

- Lokrum is a good day or half day trip. Boats leave every 30 min from the old port. The "beaches" are rocky with ladders into the Adriatic. You will not believe how clear, clean, and BLUE the water is!! There's a nude beach for those who dare. Take water with you-- there's a restaurant on the island, but bottled water was pricey.
There's a lake that was PACKED full of people, so we opted to chill out on some of the flat rocks by the water.

- Cavtat is also a nice half day. DO NOT BELIEVE the boat operators at the old port when they say the trip take 40 min. It is a solid hour. But it is pretty and relazing. There's not much in Cavtat but a horseshoe shaped harbor lined with shops and restaurants and more beaches. Those beaches were very nice. The restaurants were very good!

- We took a day trip to Korcula with Atlas tours. It was a HIGHLIGHT. The tour is great for people who really don't want a "tour". They basically pick you up, take you to the island, give you a brief walk around, and then you get 4 hours of free time. The island is gorgeous. Again- rocky beaches...but beautiful. Great tight little alleys, shops, restaurants by the water. It was beautiful. Highly recommend.

- We also took a tour from Atlas "Montenegro Blue". The tour guide was a bit dull, but the tour also had a lot of free time. Visited several spots on the Bay of Kotor- Island of the Rocks, Kotor, Budva, and photo stops. The scenery was gorgeous and there was free time in Kotor and Budva that was plenty.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 11:54 AM
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Glad you had a great time! We loved Dubrovnik and, as a cat lover, loved all of the resident cats as well! I seemed to find a furry kitty friend all the time!

We loved Buza at sunset as well! That was one of my favorite vacation moments ever. Because we were in Dubrovnik in November Buza Bar was literally empty except for DH, I and the bartender (and a few cats perfectly content because nobody was kicking them out of their chairs).

Ahhh...Dubrovnik certainly is Heaven in my book!

Tracy
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 02:43 PM
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I had to laugh about your comment on too much pizza in Dubrovnik. We just got back from a wonderful 10-day tour of Croatia starting in Zagreb, ending in Dubrovnik where we stayed on an extra 2 days. You cannot believe how thrilled we were to have pizza after 10 days of nothing but meat! Interior Croatia is heavy on veal, lamb, pork and chicken, not so much on vegetables, fruits or seafood.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 04:20 PM
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What kind of sunglasses do the natives of Dubrovnik wear? Did you notice any shoes? Any Louboutin pumps walking around those walls? Croatia sounds interesting, but I am afraid it is a fashion hinterland.

Rick Steves wears very unfortunate attire. He needs a stylist.

The Great and Powerful Thingorjus
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 04:39 PM
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Thin, we found Croatia, particularly Split and Dubrovnik, to be surprinsingly fashionable. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was in for somewhat of a shock. Honestly the women were wearing styles similar to what I've seen in Italy.

You should go...its wonderful!
Tracy
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 06:44 PM
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Old Sep 22nd, 2007, 10:53 PM
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bookmarking
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Old Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:05 AM
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HA! Yes, I would agree Rick Steves needs a stylist. But his book guidebook had the best tips for us.
The men didn't strike me as very fashionable in Dubrovnik, but the ladies were well dressed. They did seem to be wearing a lot of Italian and French fashions. Lots of heels on the limestone Stradun! Much of this may have had to do with tourists. Lots of wealthy tourists in Dubrovnik...the yachts docked around the city had helicopter pads. But the young women in the shops were wearing things you would find anywhere- certainly not behind the times. Personally, I would recommend comfortable shoes without a heel for walking the walls. There are quite a few steps, it is uneven in some places, and it is uphill. It is also a little more than a mile long.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Fun to know others look for cats on trips!! We miss our various cat friends and always seek them out - we have decided we need to look up "hello kitty" in all the languages so they can understand us!! We found several in Amsterdam but none in Brussels or Copenhagen this Sept.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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Sara,

Count me in as a "cat seeker" when on I'm on vacation, my sister laughs at me when she looks at my pictures. I wouldn't feel my vacation complete if I didn't see a cat.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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lyb I absolutely agree! I actively seek out cats and always stop when I see them. Dubrovnik was a cat-lovers paradise because they are everywhere and many are friendly. I felt bad one night because this cat followed me around for at least 10 minutes, until he found a trashcan that he found more fascinating than me!

Tracy
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 03:25 PM
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tastravel-
Glad you had a nice trip! We are going in March to Croatia and Montenegro (and probably Bosnia as well). I am curious about the day trip to Korcula. We are thinking of doing 2 nights there, but if everything is going to be closed (as I have heard is the case that time of year) we may opt for a day trip. I'm not sure this trip will be available in March, but how long is the bus ride to Korcula? Do you remember the price?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 07:31 PM
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Sessa-
First of all- I would definitely recommend an overnight stay in Korcula! My husband and I only had a week of vacay, so we really had to budget our time. So if you get the chance, do it! But for the day trip, Atlas was about 65 dollars (atlas-croatia.com). The bus ride was about 2 hours- maybe a bit less...you can also chose the ferry option- it was wasn't available on the day we wanted to go. The bus ride was pleasant and down the coast past beautiful islands. It was a minibus- only about 10 people. I think the tour is offered all year. We loved Korcula!!!
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Sessa, before you commit to an overight stay in Korcula make sure you can find a place to stay. We had planned on staying a night in Korcula this past November when we were in Croatia but had to change our plans because we couldn't find a place that was open that time of year. We had that problem with several islands; it seems as though many of the islands in Croatia all but shut down during the off-season winter months. But I hope you have better luck than we did because Korcula sounds like a fabulous place to visit!

Tracy
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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tastravel & Tracy-
Thanks for the advice. We actually already have a place reserved in Korcula for 3 nights (Villa DePolo), but the owner suggested that we might prefer 2 nights since very little will be open (which we are okay with). So, I am tempted to stay 2 nights and add a night to Bosnia which would make 2 nights there, in addition to 3 each in Dubrovnik and Kotor.

tastravel - When we started researching this trip, the 1st thing I bought was Rick Steve's guide since it helped us tremendously with our Italy trip. I am glad to hear that you found it useful!
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Old Sep 29th, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Sessa-
Since you are going in March- Tracy (by the way I'm a Tracy, too!) is correct. You may find a lot of things closed. So 3 nights in Kotor may be too many. It's a smaller town than Dubrovnik, so if you do plan for 3 nights, be sure to plan some day trips. Also, plan on some HIKING as the fortress is high, high above the town My husband and I enjoyed Budva. It was less touristy than Kotor.
And yes, the Rick Steves guide just had the best details for us. We also purchased the DK Eyewitness and Frommers, but we thought both really just skimmed the surface on Dubrovnik and neither covered the islands well.
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Old Sep 29th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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We didn't like Budva nearly as much as Kotor. But again, this could have been because of the time of year we went. Kotor was more lively but not crowded or overtouristy in November. Budva was virtually empty. Actually it was so empty that we had to stop at a supermarket to pick up food to eat for lunch because none of the restaurants or cafes in town were open. So for us our memory of Budva was that it was empty and charmless and lacked character, but I'm sure it takes on a completely different atmosphere during the peak months. I would return to Kotor in a heartbeak and definitely plan on doing so sometime in the future!

Tracy
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 04:15 AM
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tastravel - thank you for a great trip report. Coratia is near the top of my short list (hopefully next year) and I found your report extremely helpful.
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