There is only one thing to do in London in summer. Leave. For as long as your holiday allowance will allow.
I went to Dubrovnik for five nights, expecting somewhere ‘edgy’, perhaps with a lot of electronic music and post-war grievance expressed through graffiti. What I found was a gentle city, which likes to linger in its sea-faring, medieval past.
I don’t think Dubrovnik gets enough attention for being a summer European city-break destination. It offers more than the usual contenders – Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome, blah, blah. All great cultural cities, sure. But in high summer, pounding concrete all I can think is “where the hell is the beach?!!”
Dubrovnik has it all – a city vibe, heritage, sea all around to cool off and islands to explore – and only 2.5 hours flight time from the UK.
Where to Stay
We stayed in the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel – booking this hotel was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made all year. We got a good deal and it has a swim-up bar with incredible views of the Adriatic. Sold.
But its the little things that made the hotel stand-out – the peace and quiet, a fantastic omelette station at breakfast, friendly staff and CHOCOLATES ON YOUR PILLOW (a sad lost art in hotels these days). Its set slightly out of town, but a bus stops regularly right outside the hotel shuttling you into town (and I’m generally against public transport on holiday, I do love a cab).
On days when it was overcast (which did happen on a couple of mornings), there was a great gym, indoor immersion swimming pool and spa (we indulged in very vigorous all body body-scrub and massages which were reasonable at around £55).
What to do
There were times when I didn’t want to leave the Dubrovnik Palace – but of course, I really had to.
The old town is spectacular to walk around – embarrassingly we couldn’t find the entrance to the city walls, which I’m told is a must-see.
But my favourite thing was to travel to the surrounding islands – an all day boat trip to the Elafiti Islands was inexpensive and offered stop-offs at three picturesque islands. These have some of the best paddling experiences out there in life, Croatian beer as cheap as chips and our laid back sailing crew forced grappa on us at 11am.
But it was the island of Lokrum I loved the most – lying ten minutes from the Old Port by ferry lies a secluded nature reserve with a secret salt lake (I’m calling it a lagoon), beautiful peacocks roaming everywhere and incredible hot, rocky scenery. I’ve never been anywhere like it.
Where to Eat
Dubrovnik’s food didn’t do it massively for me – because its famous for its seafood (which I detest) – but if you love seafood, this is the place for YOU. We ate in the old town most nights I had some great steaks at some really lovely restaurants, including Nautica, Gill’s Bistro and 360.
So sod the standard city break. Go to Dubrovnik. Go in summer and see what I mean.