Our week in Croatia has been a bit of a mix. In a lot of ways, this part of the world is exactly what we were expecting: Old Town is absolutely stunning, the streets are all this off-white almost cream tone, and within the city walls Dubrovnik is immaculate. The food is similar to Greek food, and there’s a lot of great casual restaurants to choose from because this place has become such a tourist hub in the past five years or so. We actually learned that the tourism has become kind of a big problem for the city, they’re actively trying to find ways to slow things down because the foot traffic has gotten so crazy. We witnessed this firsthand when we went to see Old Town midday right after we landed. It was hectic. Even more so than other old European cities (like Florence or Santorini) the streets in Dubrovnik are super narrow and winding and give way to these beautiful steep staircases on either side of the central road and square. This is gorgeous in the morning, but causes some mayhem once the city fills up with tour groups, study abroad kids, and locals trying to somehow still manage to go about their normal lives.
Port and I found this place a whole lot more enchanting early in the morning and late at night. Maybe in the colder months this won’t be the case, but we honestly could only last about 15 minutes in town between 9 in the morning and 7 at night.
I think culturally Dubrovnik was a bit different than we were expecting, too. We’ve both been to Greece and Italy enough times that our experiences there had kind of colored our expectations of what any country on the Mediterranean felt like culturally (presumptuous on our ends, I know, but it was more of a subconscious expectation than an outright one). We found Croatian people less similar to the Greek and Italian cultures that semi-sandwich them. People seemed to keep to themselves a bit more and seemed more serious / reserved. This isn’t a bad thing by any means – it just wasn’t something I’d ever heard from anyone else who’s visited here, so we thought we would share.
Also – again treading lightly as this is a personal opinion and not meant to insult – Porter and I both left feeling like visiting the old city of Dubrovnik should be an amazing day trip from visiting another section of Croatia (Split maybe or Hvar) rather than the spot someone builds their vacation around. It’s definitely worth seeing, but you can experience Old Town and walk the city walls and even head to a local beach within a day (or max two days), so maybe for anyone planning a trip here that’s something to consider…
This pictures are from our first morning in the city. We definitely would suggest to anyone coming here that they rent an apartment within Old Town. Early in the morning it has that magical stuck in time feeling that American cities just can’t mimic. There are clothes line strung from window to window with sheets hanging out and locals sipping coffee on their stoops and setting up their shops for the day. The light comes up over the wall and slowly each little street comes to life. Even the stairs – which kind of kicked our butts after two weeks in Italy – are hard to be frustrated with because of just how pretty they are.
We’re going to be sharing another post from our day swimming off the Croatian coast later on today so stay tuned!
Anna Lisa & Porter