Friday, February 25, 2011

Dubrovnik Location Descriptions, Part 3

Župa Dubrovacka (Kupari, Mlini, Plat, Soline, Srebreno) This region, located midway between Dubrovnik and Cavtat, is a still-relatively-undiscovered gem, often overlooked by first-time visitors to Dubrovnik. It is perfect for guests who seek a peaceful vacation and who have an appreciation for unspoiled beauty. Beaches in this area are among the cleanest and most spectacular on the Dubrovnik Riviera. Mlini offers a charming waterfront promenade lined with café bars and a lovely shaded park, while Plat boasts one of the most picturesque pebble beaches in the area. All of Zupa Dubrovacka (Zupa, for short) is within easy reach of Old Town Dubrovnik by local bus or ferry (from May to September), which makes stops in Plat and Mlini on its way from Cavtat to Dubrovnik.

Positives: more privacy & fewer crowds than Dubrovnik; lots of natural beauty & sea views; close proximity to several small swimming beaches; most accommodations have parking spaces; easy & frequent bus or ferry service to Old Town & Cavtat.

Drawbacks: though there are several local restaurants & cafes, they may not be enough to keep visitors entertained for an extended stay without trips to the Old Town or Cavtat; beaches are very popular with locals on weekends in the summer.

Cavtat This small, historic town, located just 30-minutes’ from Dubrovnik by car, bus, or ferry boat, is an excellent alternative to staying in the Old Town during the busy summer months. It has an attractive waterfront promenade with lots of excellent restaurants, shops, and café bars. Cavtat is also home to a few large tourist resorts and a couple of lovely beaches. Luxury yachts dock here throughout the summer and visitors may catch ferries and tours to local islands right from the harbor. The Dubrovnik Airport is just 10-minutes’ by bus or taxi, making Cavtat a convenient location for those flying in and out of the area.

Positives: more privacy & fewer crowds than in Dubrovnik; beautiful waterfront promenade with many restaurants and café bars; nice beaches.

Drawbacks: beaches may be crowded in the summer due to the large tourist resorts; many accommodations are located outside the town center, thereby requiring a long walk (or short bus ride) home after a night out or a trip to the Old Town by ferry; proximity to the airport means low flying planes occasionally disrupt the otherwise tranquil setting.

(View the entire list now)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dubrovnik Location Descriptions, Part 2

Lapad The Lapad peninsula is approximately 10 minutes’ driving distance from Old Town Dubrovnik and is home to a greater concentration of local businesses and residences than the Old Town. However, its vacation appeal should not be overlooked. It has many swimming beaches, hotels, restaurants, café bars, and a lovely pedestrian-only promenade which should not be missed. Local bus service around Dubrovnik (including to & from Old Town) makes Lapad suitable for guests traveling without a car. Taxis are also plentiful.

Positives: does not get as crowded as the Old Town in the summer; prices on everything from food to accommodation are generally lower than in the Old Town; greater selection of “local” restaurants; relatively flat terrain makes walking less strenuous.

Drawbacks: heavy traffic in the summer months can lengthen the trip to the Old Town to a half hour or more; lacks the charm and beautiful architecture of the Old Town

Lozica/Mokosica/Zaton/Stikovica These small towns are located on the other side of the bridge to the North-East of Dubrovnik. Zaton is a small fishing village that almost completely closes down during the winter months, except for its small population of year-round residents. During the summer, however, it provides guests with a true taste of the Mediterranean with lots of small coves for swimming and 2 of Dubrovnik’s best local seafood restaurants. Stikovica shares the same bay as Zaton and is just a couple of kilometers closer to Dubrovnik. It is a small residential village on a hillside with a nice beach and one restaurant. Lozica has only one restaurant and no shops, but it does offer spectacular sea views and a great location just 10-minutes’ driving distance from Dubrovnik. Likewise, nearby Mokosica is located in Rijeka Dubrovacka, a small inlet 7 km from Dubrovnik known as home to the ACI Marina, where luxury yachts stop off while sailing the coast. There are numerous swimming spots along the inlet as well as larger beaches located just a couple of miles away. There are a few markets in and around Mokosica and a seaside restaurant and bar at the Marina.

Positives: tranquility, seclusion, views, and a true taste of Mediterranean life.

Drawbacks: a car is highly recommended (though not required in Zaton); may be too far from Dubrovnik for some; businesses close down from October to May each year.

(View the entire list now)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dubrovnik Location Descriptions, Part 1

The next few blog entries will focus on where to stay in and around Dubrovnik. There will be detailed descriptions of each location as well as the positives and drawbacks of staying there. I hope this is useful for first time visitors to Dubrovnik or for those returning to Dubrovnik but looking for an off-the-beaten-path place to stay. (View the entire list now)

Old Town (MAP) This beautiful and traditional walled town is the historical center of Dubrovnik and the place most visitors head to first. It offers many sights including churches, a Franciscan monastery, civic palaces, and the Old Port. It also has a high concentration of restaurants, café bars, and shops. Daily ferry boats depart from the Old Port to Lokrum Island, Cavtat, and the Elaphites.

Positives: central location, no need for a car, pedestrian-only streets (great for families with children), easy walking distance to Banje Beach, several nightlife options.

Drawbacks: no cars allowed within city walls and in the summer finding parking outside city walls is difficult; streets get very crowded in the summer and noise may be a problem at night; few apartments have balconies/terraces; no sea views.

Walking Distance to Old Town By this we mean anywhere between 3 and 25 minutes walking distance. The main reasons for staying outside of Old Town are views, more space, less noise, and in some cases, parking. Accommodations in Ploce are close to Banje and Sv Jacob beaches and many of them have spectacular views…but keep in mind that views often come at a price—namely long flights of stairs or steep uphill climbs when walking back from Old Town. Pile is the area just outside Old Town’s Pile Gate, while Ilina Glavica is a residential neighborhood about 15-20 minutes away. Gorica is a residential sea-side neighborhood which is home to the new 5-star Rixos hotel. It is well positioned midway between Lapad and the Old Town, about a 20 – 25 minute walk from either.

Positives: sea views, more space for your money, parking spaces (in some cases), quieter surroundings, proximity to beaches.

Drawbacks: some apartments require strenuous uphill or upstairs climbs, the walk to Old Town may be too far for those who wish to visit the center several times per day.

Up next: Lapad, Zupa Dubrovacka, and beyond...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Most first time visitors to Dubrovnik stay in or within walking distance of the Old Town. The Old Town is the historic center of Dubrovnik and has the largest concentration of sights, restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars. It is also a good transportation hub with public buses, taxi boats, and tours departing regularly from the Pile Gate and the old port. There are many spots for swimming off of the rocks around the Old Town and Banje beach (one of the nicest, but busiest beaches in Dubrovnik) is just 10 minutes away by foot.

The downside to staying in the Old Town is that it can be noisy at times and views and outdoor space are rare. Those who want a sea view and a balcony or terrace are better to look in the neighborhoods surrounding the Old Town, Ploce & Pile. There are many private apartments to rent in these areas within a short 10 – 15 minute walk to the Old Town, but keep in mind that great sea views generally come with many steps, sometimes as many as 300 or 400.

For those looking to spend more time at the beach or for a swimming pool, it is best to look a little further from the Old Town. There are no swimming pools in the Old Town itself and only a few within walking distance of the Old Town. Swimming pools are generally found at larger 4- and 5-bedroom villas dotted along the coastline in villages such as Zaton, Stikovica, Lozica, Mikosica, Mlini, Plat, and Cavtat. There are also many beautiful beaches in these areas, but their locations outside of Dubrovnik generally require either a rental car or the public bus.

For those who can do without a pool but want to spend a lot of time at the beach, Lapad is a great choice. It is a mostly residential neighborhood just a couple of kilometers from the Old Town. Lapad has several nice child-friendly beaches and a good selection of restaurants and cafes. There is also regular public bus service to the Old Town, which is just 10 minutes away.

This is just an overview of where to stay in Dubrovnik. A more detailed location guide to Dubrovnik locations is coming soon!