Weekender: Dubrovnik

Guest Author – Mike Sapp

I recently had the chance to visit Croatia. My original impressions were optimistic, but after having been, I can now say the country is a must for any European adventurer! Dubrovnik is a gorgeous city that has recently been popping up on the destination radar as King’s Landing on the HBO hit series Game of Thrones – the city is just as alive and vibrant as the show would have you believe (without all the violence, deception and dragons, of course). Walking down the limestone alleys between walls that have been standing since the 14th century, you feel like you’ve been transported back into a fairytale. The cuisine is a fantastic combination of Greek and Italian, but the real majesty lies in the picturesque architecture and natural surroundings. Bluer waters are hard to find, and when framed by cypress and olive trees, you really feel like a Greek God! Especially if you use this itinerary as a guide.

PJ Pants: Just a short trip outside of the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik’s city center, the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel sits alone on a tiny peninsula overlooking some of the most majestic sunsets over the Adriatic Sea’s sapphire blue waters. Its seaside pool and Sunset Lounge are perfect for relaxing after walking the Dubrovnik city walls (a personally guided sightseeing tour through Vivator that is not to be missed!) And their restaurants provide some of the freshest, tastiest seafood around!

Fat Pants: Restaurant Dubrovnik is one of hundreds of restaurants situated within the palace walls of the Old Town, but despite the cozy and ancient feeling of being surrounded by gigantic limestone structures, the Chef is able to enhance the art of Dalmatian cuisine with a sophisticated touch. I cannot rave enough about their seared scallops, plucked daily out of the Adriatic Sea, perched on top of a pesto risotto.

Ants in Your Pants: Less than a two-hour drive down the Dalmatian coast is the seaside city of Kotor, Montenegro. A picturesque town that boasts some amazingly fresh seafood and some of the most awesomely peaceful views just opposite of the remains of a war torn countryside that time forgot. Driving around the UNESCO World Heritage site, Bay of Kotor, my first stop was at a lakeside restaurant called Cafe Armonia. The view from their tables was so open and serene — it was as if time had taken a vacation as well! Just the drive around the bay is worth the trip, but there are countless little shops in the towns that populate the shoreline, and a beautiful old town Castle in the Kotor city center that has survived since the middle ages.

TIP: Due to the limited space the city has to offer and the city’s current popularity, the best travel tip they was to come during the off season. Though the weather might not be as sunny and warm, you will avoid the crowds and enjoy less expensive prices on travel, food and accommodations. During the busy season, restaurants have been known to double their prices and hotels will often be booked to maximum capacity!

After having the opportunity to visit this ancient city, I can honestly say that this entire country has skyrocketed from a place that I’ve heard of, to a place I recommend to people over major European destinations! For an Eastern European country that was previously under soviet control they have made leaps and bounds to bring their culture and country accessibility to the West, while still maintaining significant parts of their heritage. It has been a pleasure and an honor Croatia, and until next time, “Doviđenja!”