Road Trip Part 3, Croatia

20:02 Melissa G 0 Comments

Driving from city to city it was time to lay back at the beach, listen to the waves and soak up some sun.

Croatia is a country in the east of Europe, bordering Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. But more importantly it has a long coastline on the Adriatic sea with hundreds, if not thousands, of islands.

It has become more and more popular with tourists due to its gorgeous old cities and sunny beaches. In full honesty, I became interested in visiting Croatia due to Game of Thrones (the hugely popular TV show), and I definitely do not regret being introduced to this beautiful country.

We started off in Sibenik, the oldest native Croatian town on the shore. After a long drive from Italy we parked ourselves in our resort and spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds and tanning.

We stayed in Hotel Ivan which is situated in a huge resort, it has multiple pools, beaches, playgrounds and activities for children. 

On the next day we left early in the morning to roam through the historic centre of Sibenik.

If you're a Game of Thrones fan you'd know that Sibenik is the filming location for most of the Braavos scenes, you can find the Iron Bank and the location of many of Arya's fighting scenes.

The main sight is the St James Cathedral, a world UNESCO heritage site and Croatia's most important architectural monument of the Renaissance.

The centre itself doesn't need more than an hour or two to explore, the old city is not very large, however you can visit the fortresses protecting the city, which we did not have time to do.

Afterwards we headed to our main destination: Dubrovnik.

Before telling you about the city I have to inform you about the drive.
The drive takes you along the mountains, through fields but especially through the coastline. The view is so beautiful that even pictures don't make it justice.

Green mountains surround the sea where you can spot fishermen laying down nets into the waters.

I had no idea that Croatia had so many small islands on its coastline, it truly makes for a beautiful sight.

We stopped twice to take pictures and to just admire the landscape, I highly recommend road tripping through Croatia, the view is worth it.

After a long drive we arrived to Dubrovnik and spent the rest of the day in our fantastic boutique hotel; Hotel More, enjoying the sea and the very hot sun.

I have to say that I was positively surprised by how clean and clear the water was, I really did not expect this near such a large city. I was generally amazed at how clean and well kept all of Croatia was, definitely a major plus in my book.

Of course I had to get an Aperol Spritz to accompany me by the water.

A quick nap and a shower later it was dinner time. We had reserved a table in our hotel's very own restaurant for a meal that surpassed all others, plus with a fantastic view.

We had loads of fresh sea food all cooked delicately, making for a fresh mediterranean meal. If you find yourself there order the fish carpaccio, you won't regret it.

Distracted by the sunset, and moonrise, I forgot to take more pictures of the food, oh well...

Full of energy and ready to attack the day my brother and I found ourselves waiting for a Game of Thrones themed walking tour.

Dubrovnik is the most popular touristic destination in Croatia due to its well preserved old town. The old town is surrounded by thick stone walls and located on a peninsula, therefore the entire city is surrounded by water on most sides, and a mountain by the other.

Dubrovnik also happens to be the location of King's Landing, the seat of Westeros, in Game of Thrones. You can find the actual buildings representing the House of the Undying, the Red Keep, and of course the infamous stairs of Cersei's walk of shame.

Therefore a themed tour was in the works. I highly recommend this for any Game of Thrones fan, expect loads of walking so wear comfy shoes and bring some water.
Even if you're not a fan you can find loads of interesting tours from the same company that explain the rich history of the city, more info here.

The tour consisted of going through the main filming locations while connecting together the history of the city of Dubrovnik to the fictional city of King's Landing.

The tour includes a visit to the Red Keep, or the Lovrijenac Fortress, where cool facts about the show and how it was filmed are explained.

I recommend visiting the fortress even if you don't care about the show, it's a great piece of history and you'll have a breathtaking view over the old town.

In the above picture we were on top of the fortress, comparing the real city of Dubrovnik to the one in the show, it's interesting to see what was changed and added in to fit the medieval fictional world.

Using his trusted book our talented tour guide was comparing scenes of the show to those of real life.

In the following picture you can see the famous walk of shame staircase and street, or for the non Game of Thrones fans, the baroque staircase leading to the St Ignatius Church.

I could share a hundred pictures, but they could not even start to show how interesting and beautiful the old town of Dubrovnik is. You can walk around for hours getting lost in the tiny streets and never getting bored. Even after the tour I returned to the old town to keep walking around aimlessly by myself.

The history of the city is also fascinating, from the Romans to Venetian rule, passing through the Ottomans, Napoleon and even Austrian rule. It definitely has a rich culture and history.

I'm always finding random cats in cities, I'm not complaining though. 

You can climb to walk along the walls protecting the city, it's not the easiest of walks but you'll have beautiful views.

My favourite part however was going to the small port, right outside the city walls.

I took a break from all the walking to watch the moon rise from behind a distant mountain.

A great end to a great day in a city that I would love to visit again.

Leaving Dubrovnik was sad as I had completely fallen in love with it, but it was time for our next destination: Split.

Split is also known for its old city, but the reason I chose it as our destination was due to the many islands surrounding it. You can spend an entire day trip hopping from one island to another, or simply visiting only one of them. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side since the winds were too strong, therefore we spent our time there by the beach tanning and swimming.

The old town feels small and crowded after seeing Dubrovnik, it definitely has a charm of its own. You feel as if many centuries have been merged into a small space, with a large focus on Roman architecture.

Our trip through Croatia ended in Split as we were ready to head back to Italy. It was a fantastic discovery and recommend all of you to head out there, it's cheap, exciting, beautiful, and has something for everyone. All history buffs will love the plethora of old towns and well preserved sights, nature lovers will enjoy the natural reserves, islands and beaches while us Game of Thrones fans have loads of filming locations to visit.

This may have been my first visit to Croatia but will definitely not be my last.