The Fairytale Town of Old Dubrovnik
When visiting Croatia, the UNESCO site of Dubrovnik is usually the top pick, along with Split, for most people and once there they make a beeline for the old town. Ideally located on the Dalmatian coast with a massive, walkable wall encircling the red tiled roofed buildings and marble paved streets it’s easy to understand why it is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. It’s also clear why it was chosen as a location for the Game of Thrones.
There is no denying the beauty of the fairytale-esque old town, but once you’ve had your fill of walking the wall and exploring the charming little streets and harbor be sure to take time for the rest of Dubrovnik and the surrounding areas. They too have plenty to offer if given the chance, especially if you’re looking to combine your sightseeing with some physical activities, relaxation and nature.
With our constant quest to maintain balance while traveling we often venture outside of the more popular tourist areas in search of quieter corners, more local culture and a shot of nature to nourish our minds and bodies. It turns out we didn’t have to go too far to find all of this and more.
A Place to Rest, Pamper and Challenge your Body
The first step is to find a place to call home and when we read about the Dubrovnik Palace we knew we had found it.
Just a 4.5 km from old town the Dubrovnik Palace is perched cliff side on the Lapad peninsula, tucked in between the sparkling Adriatic sea and the fragrant pines of the Petka woods. From the water the hotel resembles a large ship but the main entrance from the road is rather unassuming. Don’t let that fool you though, the spectacular sweeping views that greet you in the lobby will take your breath away and give you a taste of the little piece of heaven that awaits.
Here you can find peace and serenity and an array of life balancing activities and sights just minutes from the buzz of the tourists in old town. Plus once you’re ready to retire to your room after an exhilarating day of diving or sun lounging you will be able to sip a glass of wine on your own deck overlooking the sparkling Adriatic.
On-site Activities and Pampering
There is no lack of options for pampering or challenging your body while at the Palace.
- Swim laps or cool off in one of the 4 pools
- Treat yourself to a spa treatment
- Work up a sweat at the state of the art gym
- Play tennis on one of the forest view courts
- Detox in the sauna or steam room and ease aching muscles in the jacuzzi
- Snorkel off the hotel’s own private beach
- Go diving or get your certification with the on site Blue Planet PADI diving center
**Image courtesy of Blue Planet Diving Center, Dubrovnik
Active Experiences Close to Home
There is a bus that runs constantly throughout the day between the Dubrovnik Palace and old town with a few stops on the way. Plus Lapad is walking or cycling distance so it’s easy to explore the immediate area. Here are some ideas:
- Go for a walk or jog through Petka Forest “The Amazon of Dubrovnik” and see an abundance of flora and fauna
- Hike up the Petka Hill trail for spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea and Dalmatian islands
- Cycle along the trails and quiet roads of Lapad inhaling the sea and pine scented air
- Stroll along the waterside path and stop for a refreshment at the Cave Bar More
- Cycle or walk into Lapad to explore the shops and restaurants in this quieter area of Dubrovnik
- Take the cable car from Ploce to the top of Mount Srdj for a stunning view of old town
- Hop a boat to the Island of Lokrum full nature trails, swimming holes and wildlife
- Get out on the water and have some exercise with sea kayaking
- Play or relax on the numerous beaches around Lapad
- Find a local restaurant to taste some delicious Croatian food
Day Trips and Excursions
If you have more than a couple of days in Dubrovnik there are plenty of great options to go further afield and see rural Croatia. If you don’t have a car then it’s best to take a tour. Some of the most popular tours from Dubrovnik are to Montenegro, Mostar and the Elaphiti islands plus of course the Game of Thrones tours.
We went with Dubrovnik Sightseeing on their Dubrovnik Riviera tour where we visited the seaside town of Cavtat and the beautiful countryside of Konavle Valley. In the summer this tour also includes a visit to a winery. It was a fantastic way to get a taste of real Croatia away from the busier towns and tourists.
Tip: If you want to see more of Croatia check out this Balkans road trip that included beautiful Dubrovnik in the suggested itinerary.
Dubrovnik is so much more than a good place to reenact your favorite Game of Thrones scene, although that can make for a fun afternoon. If you have the opportunity to spend more than a couple of days in Dubrovnik don’t hesitate. It really is the perfect place for a balanced holiday of healthy & fun activities, sightseeing and relaxation.
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*We would like to thank the beautiful Hotel Dubrovnik Palace for hosting us. As always our opinions are entirely our own and we would highly recommend a stay at this lovely resort.
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.