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15.01.2020- Travel Talk: How to spend 48 hours in Dubrovnik

Last year, I was lucky enough to visit Dubrovnik with my lovely friend Jolene- and it's honestly one of the loveliest places I've ever visited. I put together a photo diary at the time, but now I'm back with a full rundown of how to spend 48 hours in this stunning city, which is plenty of time if you're looking for a long weekend option, especially given that the flight time is only two and a half hours. There's lots to see and do in the magical Old Town, and one of the best things about the city is that everything is really walkable, so perfect for exploring as you go:

Day One

After arriving from the airport, take a short bus ride to the Ploče Gate. I'd recommend finding an Air BnB or hotel in the Old Town for ease and to really soak up the magic and history of Dubrovnik. Once you've checked in, head out and get your bearings with a Game of Thrones Tour. We booked ours through TripAdvisor, and honestly I can't recommend it enough- not only if you're a fan of the show, but also as a way to help in finding your way around the city, and getting to grips with the many, many stairs! There's plenty of opportunities to follow in the footsteps of your favourite Thrones characters, and see the locations across the city which double for King's Landing in Westeros. Robert, our guide, was brilliant and full of knowledge- and keep your sword arm flexed for the opportunity to get to pose with some of the weapons from the programme too!

After an early lunch (Dubrovnik is home to some amazing restaurants, but also has great bakeries and supermarkets where you can pick up plenty of supplies!), head to the Rector's Palace (Ul. Pred Dvorom 3, 20000, Dubrovnik) to get to grips with Dubrovnik's wonderful history. For an entrance fee of approx 120 kuna (£14), you get access to the palace and a host of other museums in Dubrovnik too. Now a cultural history museum, the palace used to serve as the seat of the Rector of Ragusa, and is just as grand as you might expect, with almost all of the original architecture immaculately preserved- you really do feel like you're stepping back in time. Just across from the Rector's Palace is the Cathedral of the Assumption (Ul. kneza Damjana Jude 1, 20000) well worth a peek if you've got time too.

To round off the day, a trip to Trsteno Arboretum (20233, Trsteno). A short bus or taxi (Uber is probably the cheapest option available), the arboretum dates back to the 15th century, as was used as the double for Highgarden in Game of Thrones. It's a beautiful 25 minute drive along the coast from the centre of Dubrovnik (head out of the Pile Gate), and is widely believed to be the oldest garden in this part of Dalmatia. Full of beautiful plants and trees, and with a spectacular view of the Adriatic sea, it's the perfect pocket of peace and tranquility to explore as your first day draws to a close.

Day Two

Worth waking up early for, a walk along the City Walls (Placa Ulica 32, Dubrovnik 20000) is a must. It's best to beat the crowds and do this either first thing in the morning or last thing at the end of the day. Tickets cost 200 kuna (£20), and there are three access points along the route- it's best to pace yourself and take it slowly, especially as there are quite a few steps and sharp inclines across the route. Winding your way around this ancient walled city, you glean a fantastic understanding of the history of Dubrovnik, and a particular appreciation of just how well fortified it is- the medieval ramparts and gates standing to defend this magestic city from historic sieges and attempted invasions.

After completing a walk along the walls, jump on a ferry from the main harbour to Lokrum Island, 600 metres away from the city. Uninhabited because of an ancient monastic curse, Lokrum is home to no humans (it's forbidden to stay there overnight!), but plenty of rabbits and peacocks, and is an absolutely idyllic place to spent a couple of hours. Take a picnic or grab some lunch at one of the restaurants on the island, and make sure to visit the Botanical Gardens and Benedictine Monastry, which doubled for Qarth in (you've guessed it...) Game of Thrones. There are some great walking routes around the island, as well as a fortress at the very top of the hill- well worth scaling for beautiful views back to the city and across to Montenegro too. If you've got time (and your swimsuit!), then a dip in the sea is a must too- although take care on the rocks and beware of the sea getting a little bit rough when the wind picks up.

Jump on the ferry back to the mainland, and then head to the Dubrovnik Cable Car  (Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000) to see the city from a totally new perspective as the sun goes down. Tickets are 170 kuna (about £20), and there's a lovely restaurant called Panorama (Upper Cable Car Station, Dubrovnik 20000) adjacent to the cable car terminal at the top of the hill- the most idyllic spot to sit and relax over some delicious food and a drink. If you've got time, walk back down the hill to the city, but if not, hop back onto the cable car before picking up your bags and heading to the airport.

Staying for longer? More things to do:

  • Sea Kayaking- although I'd definitely recommend teaching yourself the basics before you get started!
  • The Ethnographic Museum (Ul. od Rupa 3, 20000, Dubrovnik)
  • The Franciscan Monastery and Old Pharmacy Museum (Poljana Paska Miličevića 4, 20000, Dubrovnik)
  • Sveti Jakov Beach, a short drive from the Ploče Gate, and just idyllic! (Ul. Vlaha Bukovca 14, 20000)

  • Do you have any trips planned for 2020?

    (Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)


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