Croatia wasn’t my first choice.
It was my sister’s first trip to Europe in 6 years and I was ecstatic that she would come, as she has kids so it’s not that easy for her to travel. As always, she just left every trip detail to me. As far as she knows, her job is just to pay and get on the flight. So that leaves me with the pressure, where should we go that we’ve never been and would be an amazing place to be?
While Croatia wasn’t my first choice, it’s also in my bucket list. But at first, I was set on doing Italy and Greece but for some reason decided against it. My cousin did a boat week a while ago in Croatia and he highly recommended it. I had my visa done in 3 days and it was done 3 days before I went. I could have used the Schengen visa but I didn’t get enough duration of stay, so I had to apply for Croatian one. It was pretty nerve wracking to wait for the visa! I flew from Helsinki to Dubrovnik and met my sister at the airport. My poor sister who just had long-haul flight of two transits had to wait for 3 hours for my flight to arrive but we made it safe and sound to our B&B in the old town of Dubrovnik.
Now, living in Jakarta we are used to large crowd but we still thought that the old town was really, really packed and that everything is more expensive. It is August, after all, so many people were having their summer holiday. Croatia is definitely a great choice, especially if you are a fan of Game of Thrones and a good time at the beach! We spent 3 nights in Dubrovnik and it was a beautiful city and the food is also pretty nice as it has strong Italian influence. Our favorite food is, hands down, the mussels. We almost always ate mussels at every restaurant, to be honest. Not good for cholesterol level, definitely!
Aside from the Old Town, we did sea kayaking one sunset. For 3 hours. We’re not that unfit but the general consensus is that we suck at kayaking because we were left soooo far behind our group and got our kayak stuck between two rocks or almost crashed once..or twice. The instructor ended up hooking our kayak to his so he kayak-ed for both of us and we were thinking “Why didn’t you do this sooner!” then remembered we were so behind and the fact that we even got to catch up with the group was a blessing.
I also remembered seeing a bar by the beach and thought to stop by, have a mojito or two then continue on, which of course didn’t happen and actually just stopped paddling and just let our kayak drift sometimes. We did however, stop by a cave to take a dip in the sea, pictures, and eat some sandwich to fuel ourselves up. Our B&B host said that “Kayak is for people who can’t afford gas” Might be true but hey, worth trying if you’re into it and we got a good bicep and shoulder exercise out of it. And the sunset was beautiful.
We went to the island of Lokrum the last day. It is just 10 minutes away from Dubrovnik by ferry and we actually circled the island the day before when we did kayak. Nobody lives there at the end of the day, even people who work there. It’s a nice getaway from crazy Dubrovnik, although it was crazy hot. The crowd was more dispersed throughout the island, so it didn’t feel as busy as Dubrovnik. We swam in the sea (also tried to swim after a duck for some reason..) and the seawater provided pleasant break from the heat of summer. You can also take a walk around the island but we couldn’t deal with the heat (and I come from a tropical country, how ironic.) so we just grabbed coffee at the only cafe on the island (talk about monopoly business!) There are stairs to go down the sea or you could also jump from the rocks if you’re keen. I jumped from 2 meters high rock and I was nervous, like what if I hit a rock or something. But really it’s such a nonsense worry since it’s deeper than we thought and it was really awesome!
Into the sea!
One evening, we took a cable car up and sat on the rocks as the sun went down with the city of Dubrovnik below. It was 3 minutes ride and it offers a really really beautiful view of the city. It was relatively inexpensive, but if you’re really tight on $ and are craving for some exercise, you can walk up for 90 minutes. And another 90 minutes down. See you at the top, I’m taking the cable car.
Strolling the city walls is also a must do, although you need to pick a wise time to go during the holiday season since it gets packed. Since we stayed in the Old City, it was easy to go anytime and we went around 9am. It wasn’t as packed and therefore made it quite a pleasant walk. The ice cream we got might help with the sun!
We only spent 3 days there, and I think it was enough to get around Dubrovnik. However, we were up for a great sailing/island-hopping adventure for the next 7 days. Ahoy!