So impressive is the historical setting of Dubrovnik that it has even played host to filming of the mythical Games of Thrones series, and the entire city has been honored onto UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
If you find yourself sitting at the Sunset Lounge of Hotel Dubrovnik Palace – overlooking the Elafiti Isles while sipping fig fused brandy and swaying to the swanky rhythm of a Grand Piano – you may want to take a moment to consider the grandeur of modern decadence in Dubrovnik. You need only wind back the clock to the nineties and the city was being bombed in an attempted seize by Serbian-Montenegrin forces amidst a horrific war – the rapid recovery is almost unfathomable.
To the surprise of many, Dubrovnik is not the capital city of Croatia, but it sure seems the capital of culture, tourism and multifaceted appeal. If you haven’t yet paid this city a visit, then there’s no time quite like the present.
How to get there
During the summer months, flying to Dubrovnik is relatively simple. International flights run frequently from most major airports across Europe and will cost you about the same price as a solid Friday night in London on the booze.
These flights are seasonal, however, so things could get trickier if (for some strange reason) you are planning your trip during the winter months.
If your journey to Dubrovnik begins in one of Croatia’s other major hubs, the bus system is inexpensive, easy and, like the flights, runs frequently during the popular summer season.
The epic nightlife
For the coolest clubbing experience in Dubrovnik, it’s hard to look past Old Town’s Culture Club Revelin, home to MTV parties, half naked women swimming in giant martini glasses and a plethora of world renowned DJs on tour. Visiting Revelin is like being showered in a confetti storm of theatrical marvels and strobe light madness. Tall, romantic stone archways and ancient architecture juxtapose holographic displays and deep house music. It’s a sure-fire way to a fantastic night.
If you’re after a more intimate setting with the chance to dance in the spotlight of the moon and perhaps catch some live bands, the rooftop of Lazareti is where you need to be.
If you really want to expand your wings, other haunts worth investigating include East-West Beach Club, Latino Club Fuego, Troubadour Hard Jazz Café and Park Orsula. That should be enough to keep your evening hours busy.
The chance to rejuvenate
If you’re hot off the festival trail, fresh from a night ticking every club we mentioned above, or have just spent 10 days at sea indulging in one too many ice cold Ožujskos, a little spa indulgence might be just what the doctor ordered. After all, this is a holiday!
Dubrovnik has a perfect selection of traditional Eastern European spa treatments along with the less adventurous pamperings you probably know and love from back home.
The Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Dubrovnik Sun Gardens is a sure winner if you’re willing to drop a few quid. Their menu features the slightly daunting yet ultra cleansing hammam (similar to a Turkish bath), a thalassotherapy spa bath with 252 invigorating power jets, and an aromatherapy steam room.
Meanwhile, over at Rixos Libertas, an oasis of “relaxation and soothing self-discovery” awaits. Cleopatra bathrooms, sea view massage tables and indoor + outdoor swimming pools can be enjoyed with your simple mani pedi or a full facial. If you’re really feeling the pinch from your holiday highs, you may even want to jump aboard the Balneo Therapy train, a mineral rich water massage used to treat disease (or in this instance, your hangover).
If that round up doesn’t beckon your tired, rave-ruined bones, nothing will.
The delicious dining scene
If your dream holiday involves a whole lot of eating, drinking and a bit more eating, Dubrovnik will not disappoint. Croatian cuisine has a reputation for involving little more than hearty meat dishes, fish and bread. But being the cultural hub that it is, Dubrovnik stretches beyond the usual fare, with modern culinary delights making the most of the country’s fertile lands and easy access to all walks of salty sea critters.
Our favouite Dubrovnik eating experiences include smoked tofu spaghetti and raw nut Gnocchi at Nishta, salmon carpaccio and tempura oysters at Bota Sare Oyster and Sushi Bar, and cutlets of veal drizzled with almond and pancetta pesto at Restaurant Zuzori.
The best way to take in the magnificence of Dubrovnik and its outer islands in one glorious swoop is on the Cable Car. Built 45 years ago atop the Srd Hill, the Cable Car offers those without fear of heights the chance to smoothly descent onto Dubrovnik whilst looking out over as much as 60 kilometers of island dotted sea.
If you’re keen to get the body on display and soak up some Mediterranean UV’s, violet beach umbrellas, blooming bougainvillea bushes and a straw hut cabana bar make Victoria’s Beaches the ultimate cove to waste a day in the sun. If you prefer your sunbed sessions to be sans salt and sand, many of the nearby hotels allow public access to their cliff side pools. Just remember to turn up early, as this is a very popular pastime.
Events and nearby ventures
Since you’re only a few hours drive away, you might as well venture upstream to the coastal town of Split. And why do we love Split? Two words: Yacht Week.
This seven day salute to sailing, sun, saltwater and sultry evenings guides the wild and free through Croatia’s most loved islands including Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Brac, Solta and Scedro. To put some context around the festivities, you’ll find the sentence: “The DJ stops when the last person leaves the dance floor” emblazoned on the Yacht Week website. That sounds like a challenge – one that we enthusiastically accept. Get involved in a week of yachting in Croatia during the months of June – September.
Du El Fest
Mark this one in your 2015 diary. Short for Dubrovnik Electronic (yay – portmanteaus!), Du El Festival takes over the city of Dubrovnik for four frenzied days of heart starting fun. This year’s highlights included DJ Benny Benassi, Syke’n Sugarstarr and Fedde Le Grand who sparked night one of the event with his global hit, “Put Your Hands Up For Detroit”.
And yes, we love this city.
This article was originally written for Together Travel.