Finally our favourite part of the road trip in Croatia.
We spent all day driving from Split to Dubrovnik along the Southern Dalmatian coast. It’s supposed to take only four hours to complete this breathtaking journey, but uninterrupted views across the Adriatic seduced us into stopping our car at innumerable viewpoints throughout the drive. Frequently featured in the top ten drives of the world, it surpassed any expectations that we had of it. Glistening turquoise waters on one side and slanting trees of the Dinaric Alps on the other made it truly special. Take a look:
One of the best drives in the world: Split to Dubrovnik
Lakes on the way on Dubrovnik- can you blame us for stopping every 10 minutes?
Shacks selling gourmet honey along the Makarska Riviera
The best part, however, came at the end. It was the vision of Dubrovnik, ringed in azure water. If there was a moment that defined this epic road trip for us, it was this.
First view of Dubrovnik
As we continued to drive towards Dubrovnik, we began to see the distinctive orange rooftops that are a defining characteristic of the town. Since Dubrovnik is a popular tourist resort, it is a lot more crowded than the rest of Croatia. We wanted to escape the madness (and the crazy hotel prices), so we chose a hotel in the neighbouring fishing village of Cavtat (pronounced Chav-tat). You could also book an AirBnB apartment if you prefer to have a kitchen / more space.
Cavtat, home for a few days
We spent four lazy days days in Dubrovnik – absorbing the Mediterranean climate, sunbathing, and gorging on Mediterranean delicacies. We tore ourselves away from Dalmatian beaches to explore southern Dalmatian towns.
Dubrovnik’s city centre is completely pedestrianized and its peripendicular streets provide a perfect excuse for lazy walks. For meals, there are countless cafés on the Placa Stradun, the central street of the city of Dubrovnik. The cuisine in Southern Croatia is heavily influenced by Italian delicacies and is a far cry from the Slavic food found in Northern Croatia. Menus were laden with pastas, grilled fish, sea-food, and pizzas.
Placa Stradun, Dubrovnik
Pizzerias by the dozen make Vid a happy bunny
Our favourite part was the two-kilometer walk around the celebrated city walls. It provides stunning views of the tiled roofs of Dubrovnik. The proximity of the brightly coloured rooftops also serves as a reminder of Croatia’s politically-fraught past. A number of houses were destroyed during bombings when Yugoslavia broke apart in 1991. Bold orange tiles cover those roofs that had to be replaced. Ironically, this disturbing reminder of Croatia’s troubled past has helped reconfigure Dubrovnik as Croatia’s crown jewel.
View from the city walls, Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik by night- the city walls look especially spectacular at night
That is what we loved about Croatia- it was poignant one moment, rewarding the next. It is such a unique oasis of rare natural beauty, and it is surprising it isn’t more popular amongst tourists . As a country, it is multi-faceted, so each day brought a new revelation for us. We can’t wait to go back to explore the islands surrounding Croatia and explore Croatia !
Bruised Passports’ Tips
- Buy freshly picked oranges or gourmet honey from the numerous shacks lining the Makarska Riviera.
- If you want to escape the madness (and the crazy hotel prices) in Dubrovnik, choose a hotel in the neighbouring fishing village of Cavtat.
- It is highly recommended to go atop Mt. Srd to take in a bird’s eye view of the orange city of Dubrovnik. You can drive, or take the cable car; in each case you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning views of the Lower Dalmatian Coast. Sip on a coffee or enjoy a meal at the café atop Mt. Srd as you take in the spectacular view. We will leave you with a picture of Dubrovnik’s old town from Mt. Srd, which will surely persuade you to put Croatia on your bucket list 🙂
Need help planning a road trip to Croatia? Have a look at some sample itineraries
If you a road trip junkie, have a look at one of the best road trip experience we have ever had: The amazing Icelandic road trip.