Destinations Magazine

Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Shannawilson @shanna_wilson

Up until around five to seven years ago, Croatia was not such a...

Up until around five to seven years ago, Croatia was not such a tourist destination. Rick Steves, travel magazines, and probably social media have brought it out of its Balkan War hibernation and the cruise ship crowds flock in droves to the southern Dalmatian Coast en route to Greece or some other Mediterranean destination practically daily. The locals have a love/hate for it, but that’s another story.

To stop off in Dubrovnik on a cruise (I refuse to cruise) is to miss the splendor of the city at night, the surrounding islands only accessible by ferry, and the real feeling of a place once you’ve spent more than eight hours there. During our most recent week of travel, we got some incredible photographs, swam in the gorgeous stone blue waters of Mljet Island and the Elephiti, listened to the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra by night, and scored a very cool Bosnian hand woven rug.

We were in Dubrovnik when Croatia played in the soccer tournament and it was good to see young Croats running through the streets with soccer balls chanting for their team. We spent our last evening there with friends at a wonderful vegetarian restaurants at the top of one of the alleyways, and ended with outdoor jazz near the Pile Gate.

We drove to Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, and Mostar, Bosnia, where the bullet holes and danger signs are still a prominent part of the landscape. The Neretva River is lime and milk green and runs jagged through the center of the city underneath the Stari Grad bridge. It once stood up to Nazi tanks but was fire bombed in the 90’s and re-built in 2005. It looks and certainly feels like the original, as its slick surface feels like its been smoothed with the weight of a hundred years of feet walking from one side to the other, which separates the Muslim and Christian sides of the city. We met some amazing Brits, Australians and Americans on our day ferry to the Elephiti and learned a lot about them through their travels. Our apartment owners brought us freshly washed stone fruits one evening, and we came home to our laundry hanging cleanly in the breeze outside our window.

It was a perfectly laid-back vacation, and aside from the very mediocre restaurants, we could imagine that if we stayed longer, our Dalmatian tans would only have gotten better. My only regret is that we didn’t make it to Sarajevo. Next time.

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