The Mediterranean is magical for not only its beauty, but also for the variety of cultures that call its shores home. It is without a doubt one of my favourite regions to visit on this planet for the beauty of the summoning blue waters and the history that each nation set along the coast has attached. Italy left me enchanted, Greece had me at Yassas , but it was Croatia that made my heart race and is strongly beckoning me back.
The moment our ship pulled into the cove, a short distance from the shores of the gorgeous port town of Dubrovnik, Andreas Bocelli came over the loud speaker and all passengers simply gazed in awe at the truly breathtaking scenery that in all my years traveling has never been matched. Surrounded by rolling hills that directly meet the Adriatic, and lined with windblown palms and old stone walls that beckon onlookers in for further discovery, my stomach leaped with excitement to step foot off the vessel and to see more.
The port town has become a tourist-filled destination over the years, yet this is for good reason, as the beauty, matched with the cultural influences, architecture, hospitality and history, make it a must-see destination on your itinerary.
The old town within the walls of Dubrovnik includes an array of monuments and structures that remain symbols of the power struggle that the town had been plagued with right up until the early 90’s. Few of the buildings built during the Renaissance period survived the earthquake of 1667, but those which did, are worth a visit. These include the Sponza Palace, dating from the 16th century, that now houses the National Archives, The Rector’s Palace, which is a Gothic Renaissance structure, and is now a museum, and the St. Saviour Church, which is also a remnant of the Renaissance period. Stop by the ancient monastery and the forts which sit atop the hill of the old town, and you’ll have achieved gaining enough historical knowledge for your first visit.
Dining is made not only delectable but also delightful while in Dubrovnik. Many wonderful options for a scrumptious meal are offered directly in old town, of which include the 5 star locale, Restaurant Dubrovnik, that serves only the best quality Mediterranean meals that are complemented by service from warm and attentive staff. The notable fine-dining restaurant does come at a cost, yet is worth every dime.
For an experience that includes a seaside view and the most delicious seafood found in the region, visit Nautika Restaurant. Your meal will be accompanied by panoramic views from the gorgeously decorated terrace, including a sight of the two frotresses, Lovrijenac and Bokar.
Restaurant 360 offers up an experience that the name makes self-explanatory- a 360 degree view of the ancient town and all that surrounds it, from atop a wonderful patio. Service is warm and prices are reasonable. This is a wine-lovers paradise thanks to the tastings the restaurant has on offer. A remarkable view, delicious cuisine and fine wine, what more could a lover of all things chic ask for?
Accommodations within this historical spot are difficult to come by, yet merely a walk away from the old town walls, travelers can find luxurious villas and retreats to enjoy more seaside views while unwinding after a day of discovery and luxury dining. Villa Dubrovnik, Villa Orsula and Villa Allure of Dubrovnik are the top picks from La Vie Chic for your most comfortable, chic and quality stay. Each is a short kilometer from the old town walls and offer luxurious accommodation either directly on, or overlooking the sea.
As an avid traveler, it is always difficult for me to part with a destination I have enjoyed great experiences in. However, while leaving the port of Dubrovnik, the captain was sure to play Andreas Bocelli once more, only this time it was his masterful piece, “Time to Say Goodbye,” and tears actually welled in my eyes at the sheer beauty and bittersweet moment during which we sailed away. I vowed to return and suggest an initial or return visit to each and all of you to this incredible destination.
By Jessica Ashley Dafoe
(Photography by Jessica Ashley Dafoe unless specified)