It's true what they say, the clean, carless, city of Dubrovnik is definitely worth a visit - especially if you're a Game of Thrones fan! A trip to Dubrovnik Old Town has been on my travel list for a few years, and last week I had the pleasure of attending my soon to be brother & sister in law's wedding, a stone's throw away from the city walls.
On day one I fell in love. Walking through Pile gate into Dubrovnik Old Town at night was truly magical. The streets were empty aside from a few people listening to live Jazz outside of a bar off of the main street (Stradun). It was easy to see why it has become so popular with both tourists and producers - along with being the well known King's Landing in GoT, Dubrovnik is being used in the new Star Wars film and the new Robin Hood!
Unlike other European cities I've visited, Dubrovnik lived up to it's hype. Although it also had it's flaws. If you're considering a trip, here are a few (honest) do's and don't of Dubrovnik Old Town:
DO - Walk the city walls. At 1.2 miles and 1,080 stairs, the city wall surrounds Old Town and gives amazing views over the roof tops and out to the sea. It costs 150 Kuna (just under x20) but is definitely worth it. There are even places to stop for a drink or a bite to eat at the top.
DO - Avoid wandering around Old Town between 11am and 3pm. This is prime cruise ship tourist time. The streets are full of people and the magic is lost for a few hours. Dubrovnik is in it's element early in the morning for the daily market and at night when the lights are beaming off of the limestone floor. Try escaping to Banje beach or hop on a boat tour.
DON'T - Expect a budget holiday. Dubrovnik Old Town is expensive! If you eat out 2/3 times a day you can easily spend x100. If you really want to visit but don't have money to blow, I'd suggest using Booking.com or AirBnB and staying just outside of Old Town in Lapad. The no.6 bus is a 10 minute ride from Lapad to Pile Gate.
DO - Get on a ferry to Lokrum. It leaves from the Port near Pile gate and runs on the hour - grab an ice cream while you wait. Warning though, if it's windy they don't run - so try and go as early in your holiday as possible to avoid disappointment.
DO - Go on the Game of Thrones walking tour. If you're a fan of course, if not - what's wrong with you?! It's amazing to see the setting of King's Landing, including the Red Keep and the famous Shame Steps. I'd highly recommend www.dubrovnik-tourist-guides.com for a tour that includes some of the History of Dubrovnik as well as that of King's Landing.
DON'T - Expect service with a smile. Whilst the waiters, waitresses and cashiers were friendly enough, the majority don't seem to have much enthusiasm for customer service.
DO - Download Uber if you're staying outside of the city walls. If you're not a fan of busy buses (although they are the cheapest option) then Uber are half price of the taxi's in Dubrovnik.
DO - Research restaurants before you go out. The majority of moderately priced ones tend to stick to the same menu of meat and chips, pasta or pizza. Go for somewhere more expensive and you'll see lobster, mussels and steak on the menu.