Archive for the ‘Dubrovnik’ Category
Great place, little Dubrovnik, but I was soon ready to leave the clumps of bedraggled tourists, harried locals and ceaseless traffic for calmer shores. Fortunately I didn’t have to go far. The so-called “Dubrovnik Riviera” extends south from Dubrovnik, 20km to Cavtat. Along the way are the lovely shoreside villages of Soline, Srebreno, Mlini and Plat. Here, the atmosphere is very different. You won’t find the Renaissance sculpture or amazing walls of Dubrovnik, but you will find a calm, peaceful atmosphere, sheltered beaches and lower prices than you’ll find in the “pearl of the Adriatic”. These shoreside spots are all on Dubrovnik’s local bus network which means that it’s a breeze to stay out there and visit Dubrovnik for the sights or restaurants. Alas, there are few dining or drinking places in these little villages but if you stay in a hotel or apartment, that won’t be a problem.
See more on the Dubrovnik Riviera.
Sampling Dubrovnik’s restaurants was an eye-opening experience, particularly when I saw the prices. Yikes! So many upscale visitors are staying in Dubrovnik that restaurant prices seem to know no limits, particularly in the Old Town. Lapad restaurants seem a little more reasonable. It’s hard to find good deals even at lunchtime when you would think restaurant owners might offer a prix-fixe to lure people off the beach. But no. Also disappointing was the ubiquitous “cover charge” now reaching as much as 12KN ($2.20). Even with the high prices (relative to other Croatian destinations), restaurants had no trouble filling up–and this was October! Reservations are strongly recommended.
There’s not often a new entry on the restaurant scene and this one made a splash when it opened last year. A number of reviewers praised the imaginative Mediterranean cuisine and they were right, up to a point. I ordered the restaurant’s signature dish–fettucine with wild boar, venison, porcini mushrooms and white truffle oil. “That’s all?” inquired owner/waiter Goran Starcic. At 140KN (€19) I thought that would be plenty. All that meat! And pasta! Alas, the portion was really appetizer-sized and I’m not a huge eater. There were exactly two pieces of meat, each about 2cm. Truthfully, the flavour was delicious. This was far from an ordinary plate of pasta. But still. An extra cup would have made me happy. The glass of wine was also stingy and the bread was the same cheap stuff you find everywhere. Bottom line: not good value for money.
This is probably Dubrovnik’s most celebrated seafood restaurant, even if some of it is self-celebration. Proto ads and signs start long before you reach Dubrovnik. As elsewhere, fish and seafood are expensive so I chose a vegetarian stuffed-eggplant for my lunch. It was–OK. Nothing special but competently prepared. The small eggplant halves were stuffed with chopped zucchini, tomatoes, other vegetables, topped with cheese and baked. Not bad but also a little pricey at 76KN (€11) plus a cover charge of 12KN. Bottom line: go for broke and get a special meal here or don’t bother at all.
This miniscule place on a side street in the Old Town advertises itself as Dubrovnik’s only Bosnian restaurant. It was absolutely jammed and I was glad I had reserved. The menu leans heavily toward meat (especially veal) but there’s also a good selection of salads plus grilled vegetables for vegetarians. I had the skewer “Leon” (70KN) which was turkey chunks grilled with vegetables and served with a baked potato. My table companion had an enormous spinach pie that he had trouble finishing. We loved the convivial atmosphere, large portions and imaginative dishes. Bottom line: good value for money in this casual restaurant.
See more about Dubrovnik restaurants.
Way back when, there was only the Hotel Neptun, a perfectly acceptable three-star hotel on Dubrovnik’s Babin Kuk peninsula. With its calm surroundings and rooms with sea views it had always been a favourite. Then, with the dawning of the new millennium it seemed ready for an upgrade. And so it was done. Now there’s the four-star Hotel Neptun and the five-star Hotel Ariston, Importanne Suites and Villa Elita, all part of the Importanne Resort.
A recent stay in the Importanne Suites revealed accommodation ready to take a top spot on the global luxury hotel scene. These spacious suites are lodged in their own building, discreetly bordered by stone walkways and Mediterranean greenery. As the resort reception area is in Hotel Neptun, walking into the Importanne suites is like entering a private home with plush rugs and comfortable sofas. It was thoughtful to place a row of umbrellas downstairs just in case the weather turned.
The suites are composed of two rooms: a bedroom and a living room with a small kitchenette area should you want to prepare champagne and canapes. The decor was soothing but cheerfully modern. Each room had its own bathroom which would be convenient both for couples and for those entertaining business guests. I liked that there was free internet access; so many hotels charge for it. Plus there was a flat-screen TV and telephone in each room–again perfect for those combining business and pleasure.
Perhaps the best part was the immense balcony facing south. The view over the Adriatic was unforgettable, particularly with the sun setting on the right.
The breakfast buffet (shared with the Importanne Resort) was copious and delicious with freshly-baked pastries, meat, eggs, cheese and lots of fresh fruit. Afterwards, there’s lolling by the swimming pool, plunging into the Adriatic, taking a peaceful seaside stroll to Lapad or hopping on a bus for a quick ride to the Old Town. It was the full resort experience and I loved it.
See more about the Importanne Resort.
You thought that October is off-season in Dubrovnik? I thought so too. We were both wrong. Dubrovnik was unbelievably busy mostly, but not exclusively, with cruise ship passengers. My first day there was the day that the Carnival Dream, the largest Carnival ship ever constructed, dropped 3646 passengers onto Dubrovnik’s streets. It sounds like a lot of people to cram into the narrow streets of the Old Town but Dubrovnik has seen worse like the day when 10,000 passengers caused such gridlock that the police had to be called to keep the foot traffic moving.
Even aside from the cruise passengers, Dubrovnik hotels were doing a nice business and many of Dubrovnik’s restaurants were full. Fortunately for Dubrovnik’s visitors, the weather was gorgeously warm and sunny. The crystal clear Adriatic was also still warm enough to make swimming a delight.
See more about Croatia weather in October.