Dubrovnik has to be one of the most picturesque towns in the world. The walled Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a charming rabbit warren of cobbled passageways, shady squares and occasional glimpses of the glistening Adriatic Sea.
We stayed in an Airbnb on a quiet street a few steps from the wall of the town. The apartment’s balcony offered a view over the terracotta roofs of the town towards the hills beyond. In the early evenings we’d sit with drinks, hidden by the trailing plants, listening to the chatter of the tourists passing underneath.
Tell anyone you’re going to Dubrovnik and they say it’s good except for the people. It’s a popular stop on Mediterranean cruises, meaning if you pick the wrong time, you could be joining over 8,000 temporary residents in the city. Conveniently, you can see which times to avoid on cruise timetables beforehand, so we made sure that we would be there on the quietest days. We still occasionally found ourselves surrounded by people wearing matching hats and realised that we must have once again inadvertently joined a tour.
On one of our last evenings in Dubrovnik we walked into the centre for cocktails, and were met with hundreds of cruise passengers sitting in the main square, staring expectantly at an empty stage. We were standing at the edge, trying to work out what was happening, when out of nowhere appeared a cellist, wearing next to nothing. After throwing her hair back, she erupted into a rather bombastic repertoire, writhing around the cello as she did so. She was quite a sight, but not as much as the faces of the cruise passengers who had clearly been expecting a more traditional cello concert. Some of the elderly chaps in the front row, however, looked as though all of their Christmases had come at once, much to their wives’ annoyance.
An unexpected highlight of Dubrovnik was a tiny restaurant which was recommended in the Lonely Planet guide. Lucin Kantun serves Croatian food, tapas-style. This meant that we had a chance to try all sorts of foods from the local area, without committing to one large, and ultimately disappointing dish. We had… , washed down with a wine from the local area.
One thing that no guidebooks tell you is that the Main Street in Dubrovnik is incredibly slippery. The marble has been polished over the years by thousands of tourists’ feet, meaning it is a superb surface for practising skidding. If you’re not interested in panoramic views, superb food, local wines, or gyrating cellists, at least visit Dubrovnik for the skidding. It’s great.