When initially booking our trip to Croatia, Dubrovnik was not part of the itinerary mainly due to my apprehension that now it was part of the land of Game of Thrones the city may have lost some of the beauty and charm that I had enjoyed on my first visit 5 years before. That view changed as soon as we turned the winding road from the airport.
Within the first glimpse of the city’s lines of terracotta roofs cascading down to the sea I was drawn in and knew that we could not simply drive past such an ancient beauty. Regrouping in Makarksa we all had the same view and, despite being impressed by our luxurious villa, we decided to cut our trip a night short and explore what was inside those incredible city walls.
The coastal drive down was once again easy going, we passed mountains, colourful markets and stunning sea views; arriving to Dubrovnik was a stark contrast in comparison. Finding parking was about as difficult as tracking down Benjen Stark and, eventually, the car ended up in a more expensive abode than us, at £50 per night.
Putting the drama and expense aside we headed through the drawbridge in search of our apartment. Once through the gates the wall fortified city centre opens up into a shiny wide marble-paved street which the sun reflects off, highlighting the incredible stone work.
From the main street, narrow alleys filled with little shops, restaurants, bars and seemingly never ending stairs was where we found our apartment for the evening.
We booked our accommodation very last minute, and there were not many photographs, so we had no idea what to expect; thankfully it was so much better than we had all anticipated and its traditional decor was an interesting contrast to our hillside villa.
Dumping our stuff, we were all starving so regrouped and planned our day at the closest restaurant (which happened to be owned by our landlord for the evening). Croatia is not known for its vegetarian food but my simple salad was fresh and the beer was cold, so I felt satisfied.
Staying for only one night before getting our flight back to reality meant that we were rushed and I had the ultimate dilemma of choosing between a Games of Thrones walking tour or a sunset Kayak around the city walls. Contemplating over our meal we decided to split up so we could do our preferred activity, and after changing my mind at least 50 times I eventually opted for the Kayaking.
There are lots of different tour operators who are located outside the main entrance to the city, instead of being accosted by one of the reps I popped into the much calmer, modern, Tourist Information to peruse leaflets before venturing out and talking to the chosen provider, Adventure Dubrovnik.
Taking on cold, choppy seas might not be everyone ideal way to take a tour, but nautical pursuits are a large part of Croatia’s past and present so it seemed an appropriate way to get active and learn about the city’s history.
Though a wonderful way to watch nightfall, I left the tour wet, cold and exhausted, however, having only one night meant that I had to pull myself together and make a mad dash to get ready for our final supper.
Speedy shower and outfit change, we met up with the rest of our group from whom I was desperate to get a second hand account of The Game of Thrones walking tour.
Taking our seats at the roof terrace of Restaurant Dubrovnik, we enthusiastically exchanged factoids from our afternoons and reflected on our holiday.
A little tipsy from local wine, and in high spirits, we were all in the mood to join in with one of the many parties that were taking place within the walls, however, with an early rise we finished the night with a much tamer walk around the moonlit harbour with an ice cream instead.
Dubrovnik has definitely changed since my last visit; there are a lot more tourists and a party vibe that was absent before, however, no amount of fantasy fans, selfie sticks and price rises could detract from this stunning walled city perched on the glistening Adriatic.