Sunday, November 15, 2009
Golf Course Coming to Dubrovnik
After years of discussion and rumor, the plan to build a golf course atop Dubrovnik’s Srdj hill is finally moving forward. Details of the project, which is worth 6.5 Billion Kunas (890 Million Euros), were presented to the Dubrovnik city and county governments by Australian professional golfer Greg Norman (Greg Norman to Design Dubrovnik Golf Course – Croatian Times). Norman is a well-known designer of premier golf courses around the world and is also one of the investors in the Dubrovnik golf course project. There are also rumors of another golf course project in the nearby Konavle region, but the Srdj hill project seems to be moving ahead at a quicker pace. The opening of a golf course in Dubrovnik should help to attract many new visitors to the city and should create many new jobs in the tourism industry.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Long-term apartment rentals in Dubrovnik
One of the most common inquiries we get is for long-term apartment rentals in Dubrovnik. Each year there are lots of new people coming to Dubrovnik with the intention of working, studying, or just living a slower life. Most of these people need an apartment to rent for 6 months to a year so they can settle in and concentrate on attending classes or making a living. Many of these people do not stay longer than 6 months or a year, but some stay on and become permanent fixtures in Dubrovnik.
Finding a long-term apartment rental in Dubrovnik is not an easy task. Most apartment owners rent to tourists during the summer months and some rent to students during the winter months. In order to consider renting an apartment to one tenant for the entire year, an owner would have to earn at least what he or she could expect to earn from short-term rentals during the summer months. This means monthly rental rates are quite high, often equal to rents in major Western European cities. Unfortunately, these rents can go even higher once the landlord learns that the potential tenant is a foreigner.
Good advice for finding a long-term rental is to look around and get as many quotes as possible before choosing an apartment. Prices vary greatly depending on size, location, and apartment owner. Monthly rents will be considerably less expensive in Lapad than in or around the Old Town and will be even cheaper outside of Dubrovnik (in Zaton, Cavtat, or Zupa Dubrovacka). Most apartment owners will want you to pay your own utilities, especially if staying through the winter months. In general, you can expect to pay between 550 EUR per month plus utilities for a small apartment outside of Dubrovnik up to 2000 EUR per month for a large apartment in or around the Old Town.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Bake Sale in Dubrovnik
The International Bake Sale will take place on Saturday, 31 October 2009 at Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. It is sponsored and run by The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle, an organization of foreigners living (either full-time or part-time) in Dubrovnik. The bake sale will be open from 10 am until 2 pm and will sell baked goods made and donated by members of the Foreign Circle. 100% of the proceeds of the sale will go to the International Children’s Library Project, a charity established to purchase books and materials for local children. If you’re in town on Saturday and need to satisfy your sweet tooth, please stop by the bake sale and help raise money for a good cause.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Dubrovnik Travel Info on Twitter
Dubrovnik Apartment Source will now be tweeting daily under the name TravelDubrovnik. Tweets will include general information on Dubrovnik, current happenings around town, and special offers on the Dubrovnik Apartment Source website. Twitter is a great way to get bits of useful information without spending a lot of time searching or reading articles. We encourage you to follow our tweets by visiting our page at www.Twitter.com/TravelDubrovnik and logging into your Twitter account or signing up for a new one.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Freedom of Expression Threatened in Croatia
A recent news story has made many Croatians question where their government stands on freedom of expression (Croatian Times, 8 October 2009). Vukovar resident Damir Fintic has been sentenced to 20 days in prison for comments someone else wrote on his blog in 2005. The comments were critical of the former Vukovar Mayor Vladimir Stengl and his wife. Fintic will be the first Croatian, and likely the first European, to be sent to prison for comments made on a blog. The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) strongly opposes the prison sentence and is concerned that it will hurt Croatia’s reputation as a country that respects freedom of expression. The sentence is particularly worrisome as Croatia moves forward with its European Union accession talks. At a minimum, all EU nations must respect basic freedoms such as freedom of the press and freedom of expression. While the court’s decision is not necessarily indicative of Croatia’s stance on freedom of expression as a country, it is significant enough to keep this blogger from being too critical of the local government.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The Three Winds
Life in Dubrovnik is very much affected by the three winds that blow through the city: Bura, Jugo, and Maestral. Each of these winds has its own unique characteristics and its own influence on local life:
1.) Bura: This is an unpredictable wind that blows from the mainland towards the sea. It often blows in strong gushes and brings clear, cold air from continental Europe. Dubrovnik locals generally like the Bura as it cleans the air and improves visibility. It can, however, be dangerous for small craft on the sea with powerful wind gusts and a low mist that makes breathing difficult. A strong Bura often results in the closing of the Dubrovnik airport as the winds are too unpredictable to risk taking off and landing.
2.) Jugo: This is a moderate wind that blows from the sea towards the coast. It is generally accompanied by rain and a pressure that affects the health of anyone susceptible to it. Common symptoms include heart palpitations, dizziness, and fatigue. It is said that in the days of the Dubrovnik Republic the government would refrain from making important decisions during the Jugo as the wind often made people irrational. Since the wind blows off of Africa’s Sahara desert, it often brings with it a dry, reddish dust that settles on anything left out in the rain.
3.) Maestral: This is a calm summer wind that blows from the sea towards the coast. It generally brings beautiful and stable weather, with only a light breeze to provide respite from the afternoon heat. The Maestral is a pleasant wind and is great for sunbathing, swimming, boating, and other water sports.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Day Trip to the Island of Korcula
Korcula is one of the most beautiful islands on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. It has lots to offer holiday makers including a historic walled town, great beaches, and locally produced food and wine. In fact, Posip is one of the most recognized wines in Croatia and the best is produced in the small town of Cara on the island of Korcula. While visitors can easily spend 4 or 5 days on the island, those with less time can see it on a daytrip from Dubrovnik.
For those without a car, the best way to visit Korcula from Dubrovnik is by catamaran ferry, operating only during July and August. On Mondays and Saturdays the ferry leaves Dubrovnik at 9:15 and arrives in Korcula at 11:50. The return ferry leaves Korcula at 16:00 and arrives in Dubrovnik at 18:35. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the ferry leaves Dubrovnik at 8:00 and arrives in Korcula at 10:45. The return ferry leaves Korcula at 16:00 and arrives in Dubrovnik at 18:35. This ferry schedule can be viewed on the Korcula Info website.
Those with a car can visit Korcula any day of the week by driving to the town of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula and taking a short car ferry to Korcula. The ferry runs continuously throughout the day during the whole year. It is also possible to make this daytrip with a private car and driver. Private tours with an English-speaking driver are priced as follows:
1-3 people: 210 EUR
4-8 people: 230 EUR
9-18 people: 460 EUR
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Radisson Resort & Spa, Orasac (Dubrovnik)
Just 20 minutes north along the coast from the Old Town is Dubrovnik’s newest luxury hotel & spa: Radisson Blu. It sits directly on the shore looking out to the Elafiti Islands and the Adriatic Sea beyond. The hotel offers 201 guest rooms and 207 fully-furnished apartments, from which guests can choose a 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom layout. 24 of the guest rooms are suites that offer amenities such as free broadband Internet connection, premium movies, private balcony with sea views, and an in-room Nespresso coffee machine. All rooms and apartments are tastefully decorated in a contemporary style with neutral tones and occasional splashes of color.
The property boasts over a dozen restaurants and bars as well as shops where guests can buy food to prepare in their apartments. The restaurants mostly have a strong Mediterranean influence, but some offer a variety of world cuisine with dishes from Morocco, Thailand, and India. At night, there are several bars to choose from and a club/lounge with DJs and a dance floor. During the day, guests can enjoy one of the hotel’s many pools, a large pebble beach with direct access to the sea, a marina offering water sports, a beautiful new spa, and an indoor & outdoor sport center. In addition, there is an 1100 square meter convention center that can accommodate up to 900 guests.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Croatia: A Study In What Not To Do During A Recession
During the past year, much of the world has been suffering through the worst recession since the Great Depression 70 years ago. In response, governments around the globe have been injecting money into their economies through bank bailouts, lower interest rates, and tax incentive programs. Meanwhile, in Croatia, the government has been steadily raising interest rates, raising taxes, and adding more controls on small business owners, making it difficult to turn a profit.
In August 2009, the Croatian government adopted a new “Crisis Tax” on pensions and income, making Croatian income tax the highest in the world (Croatian Times Article, 25.08.09). They have also recently increased VAT from an already high 22% to 23%, making daily life more expensive for its citizens.
In addition, the Croatian government has been denying more and more visas for foreign business owners and wealthy retirees, often sending letters advising them that they have only a few days to abandon their homes and businesses and leave the country. These are the very people that employ local Croatian employees and pump money into the local economy through their businesses and by spending money at local restaurants, shops, and bars. All business owners, local and foreign, have recently been feeling the squeeze from the government, often receiving large fines or being shut down for days over minor offenses such as an unaccounted-for egg or cup of olive oil in their inventory, or failing to produce a license for a copy of Windows 98 on their business computer.
The Croatian government, like all governments around the world, is feeling the effects of the economic downturn. The answer, however, is not to raise taxes and increase penalties for business owners, effectively making Croatian citizens foot the bill for the government’s bad economic policy decisions. The answer is to open up the market to attract more foreign investment by lowering income tax rates and cutting back on regulation. The government must loosen its stranglehold on local businesses by allowing them to operate under easier accounting requirements and without the constant fear of being fined or shut down for minor offenses. By allowing local and foreign businesses to prosper in Croatia, the government will be creating jobs as well as increasing tax revenues and increasing the country’s standard of living. Unfortunately, the Croatian government is currently not paying attention to how to the rest of the world is dealing with the economic crisis and is continuing to move in the wrong direction.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Day Trip to Montenegro
Just 40 minutes south of Dubrovnik is the border to one of Europe’s newest countries: Montenegro. Since its independence from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro has become one of the most visited nations in the Balkans. Owing to its close proximity, it’s a popular day-trip from Dubrovnik. The drive from Dubrovnik to the historic city of Kotor takes approximately 2 hours, passing through the magnificent bay of Kotor. Those who make an early start can also continue on to the walled city of Budva and the beautiful town of Sveti Stefan, before turning back to start the journey home.
Rental cars can generally be taken into Montenegro, but this should be cleared with your rental company before attempting to cross the border. If the car has not crossed the border recently, customs agents will charge you a 10 EUR Eco-Tax and put a sticker on the car that is valid for 1 year. The main border crossing on the coastal road is heavily trafficked and wait times can be as long as 2 hours during the busy summer season. There is a smaller border crossing with minimal or no wait times on the road from Molunat to Montenegro; if you can find it, it’s worth leaving the main road to avoid the traffic. Just follow the signs for Molunat and the Prevlaka National Park, and then take a left when you reach the sea.
A more relaxing way to see Montenegro is by private tour. Private tours with an English-speaking driver are priced as follows:
1-3 people: 210 EUR
4-8 people: 230 EUR
9-18 people: 460 EUR
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival
The ninth annual Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival is underway in Dubrovnik. The festival began on Monday, 31 August with a performance at the Revelin Fortress Terrace and continues until Saturday, 12 September. Concerts will once again be held in the beautiful 17th century Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. The festival attracts musicians from all around the world, as well as classical music enthusiasts who return to Dubrovnik every year to enjoy the event.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the festival website.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Day Trip to Medjugorje
Just 2 hours north of Dubrovnik lies one of Europe’s most important religious sites: the town of Medjugorje. Over 1 million people per year make the pilgrimage to see the hillside where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to 6 children in 1981. Catholics from all over the world return to the small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina every year, some for months at a time. Many visitors to Dubrovnik choose to visit Medjugorje in a day trip, some as a spiritual journey and some out of curiosity.
The best way to visit Medjugorje is by private tour. Private tours with an English-speaking driver are priced as follows:
1-3 people: 210 EUR
4-8 people: 230 EUR
9-18 people: 460 EUR
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Sunday, August 23, 2009
Travel from Dubrovnik to Zagreb
Many travelers to Croatia arrive in Zagreb and then travel to Dubrovnik or begin their trip in Dubrovnik and travel to Zagreb for their departure. There are three ways to make the journey between these two cities: Bus, airplane, and car rental. The following is a brief overview of the travel options:
1.) Bus: There are daily buses that operate between Dubrovnik and Zagreb in both directions. In Dubrovnik, buses arrive and leave from the main bus station in Gruz 9 times per day. They do the same from Zagreb’s main bus station in the city center. The trip takes approximately 8 hours. A schedule may be viewed at Libertas Dubrovnik.
2.) Airplane: There are daily flights between Zagreb and Dubrovnik on Croatia Airlines. The flight takes approximately 55 minutes and if booked in advance, often costs about the same as the bus. This is the most popular form of transportation between the two cities. Schedules and fares may be viewed on the Croatia Airlines Website.
3.) Rental Car: If you have the time, driving can be the most enjoyable way to travel between Dubrovnik and Zagreb. Leaving Dubrovnik, the first couple hours of the journey takes travelers along the beautiful coastal road, offering stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. Drivers with a day or two to spare may want to continue on the coastal road all the way to Split, making stops in Trsteno, Ston, Gradac, and Makarska along the way. Drivers looking to reach Zagreb in one day should enter the highway shortly after the city of Ploce. The newly completed highway is one of the best in Europe and the trip between Dubrovnik and Zagreb now only takes 7 to 8 hours. There are many local car rental agencies in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, but if you plan to rent a car in one city and return it in the other, it is recommended that you contact a large international rental company that has offices in both locations.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Le Petit Festival du Theatre
It’s almost that time again: international musicians, performers, and artists will soon descend on the small Adriatic city of Dubrovnik for Le Petit Festival du Theatre. The festival kicks off on 27 August at the Marin Drzic theatre in Dubrovnik’s Old Town with an exhibition of the young Croatian artist, Nora Mojas and an evening of tango and jazz with the Argentinean musician Silvana Deluigi. The festival lasts for one week, and includes concerts, art exhibits, theatre, dance, and film, all of which are presented in beautiful venues such as the Marin Drzic theatre, GradsKavana cafe, and Veliki Zali beach in Brsecine. The highlight of the week is sure to be Le Bal Masque, a walking exhibition of masks designed by various European artists, and worn by members of the festival, in a parade through the streets of the Old Town. The exhibition ends at East West Beach Club for an after party with a midnight concert by the young Croatian jazz singer Ines Trickovic.
A program of events and ticket information may be viewed on the festival website.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009,
Day Trip to Mostar
One of the best day trips that can be made from Dubrovnik is to the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The small city straddles the Neretva River with its famous bridge, Stari Most, linking the two sides of the city. On one side lies the ethnically Croat Catholic neighborhood and the other side houses the cobbled Ottoman Quarter, home to the city’s Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). This Ottoman Quarter is home to 16th century mosques, Turkish style houses, artist studios, and cafes.
Mostar is located about 2 hours from Dubrovnik by car. Many of the larger tour companies in Dubrovnik offer bus trips to Mostar, but it is best visited on a private tour. Prices for private day tours are as follows:
1-3 people: 210 EUR
4-8 peo, ple: 230 EUR
9-18 people: 460 EUR
According to local law, if visitors to Mostar would like a guided walking tour, it must be provided by a local Mostar resident. A local guide may be hired for an additional 50 EUR.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Travel from Italy to Croatia
Many travelers from North America use Italy as their gateway to Europe and then continue on to Croatia. There are 3 ways to get to Croatia from Italy: Airplane, Ferry, and Bus. The following is a brief overview of each mode of transportation:
Airplane: Croatia Airlines flies direct from Rome to Zagreb daily, to Split 5 days per week, and to Dubrovnik twice per week. This schedule is in effect until 24 October and service is reduced in the winter months, with most flights going through Zagreb. Schedules and online booking are available at the Croatia Airlines website.
Ferry: There are 3 ports in Italy from which to depart to Croatia by ferry: Bari, Ancona, and Venice. Jadrolinija operates crossings from Bari to Dubrovnik and from Ancona to Split and Zadar. These routes are overnight and sleeping cabins or deck tickets may be booked in advance at www.jadrolinija.hr. Venezia Lines operates crossings from Venice to Pula and Rovinj. These routes take approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours and tickets may be purchased online at the Venezia Lines website.
Bus: Traveling by bus is slow, but is often the most economical choice and sometimes the only choice. There is a daily bus from Venice to Pula operated by Eurolines from April to October; schedules and fares may be found at www.eurolines.it. There is also a daily bus from Trieste to Rijeka, Split, and Dubrovnik operated by SAF. The trip takes about 2 hours to Rijeka, 10.5 hours to Split, and 15 hours to Dubrovnik. Schedules may be viewed on the SAF website.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Rental Cars in Dubrovnik
Many visitors to Dubrovnik choose to rent a car to make daytrips or to travel up the coast to Split and beyond. For a group of 3 or 4 people, renting a car is the most economical way to travel and it offers the flexibility to explore the country at your own pace. However, those who wish to rent a car while in Dubrovnik should be aware that the city is infamous for its parking problems and should either secure parking at their accommodation (if possible) or be prepared to pay for parking in the local garage (Dubrovnik Parking Information). Drivers should also be aware that roads are often narrow and local drivers can be aggressive and erratic. Defensive driving is a must.
One popular overnight or daytrip that can be made by rental car is to Montenegro. The historic towns of Kotor and Budva are located just over 2 hours away from Dubrovnik on the beautiful coastal road. When making this trip, it is important to be sure that your rental car comes with the proper documents and insurance to cross the border. Most local car companies automatically include this in the rental price, but many international companies such as Avis and Hertz charge extra for Montenegro insurance, which must be purchased at the time of rental. You may also have to pay a 10 Euro environmental tax at the Montenegro border if the rental car you are driving has not recently entered the country and obtained the necessary vignette.
Car rental rates in Croatia are generally high by international standards and vary greatly depending on the rental company and, class of car. Rentals generally begin at about 40 Euro per day for a small economy car, including taxes and insurance. A reliable local car rental company in Dubrovnik is Euro Car Rental. They will drop-off the car to you anywhere in Dubrovnik and pick it up again at the end of your stay. For rates and booking information, please contact us by email at contact@DubrovnikApartmentSource.com.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Dubrovnik Local Bus Routes
The local Libertas bus system is a reliable and cost-effective way to get around the small city of Dubrovnik. Most trips cost only 10 Kuna and exact change is required. Popular city routes include the #1A, 1B, & 1C which run from Old Town’s Pile Gate to Mokosica with a stop at the main bus station in Gruz, the #4 which runs from the Pile Gate to the Hotel Palace in Lapad, and the #6 which runs from the Pile Gate to Lapad Babin Kuk. There are also buses that travel routes outside of the city of Dubrovnik, such as the #10 to Mlini, Plat, & Cavtat, #11 to Molunat, #12 to Slano, #15 to Ston, and the #21 to Orebic, where travelers may then catch a ferry to Korcula. Most routes operate 7 days per week from early in the morning until about midnight, but service may vary depending on the day of the week. Detailed schedule information may be found on the following websites:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The small village of Cavtat is located on the Adriatic Sea, just 18 kilometers south of Dubrovnik. Its proximity to the historic walled city makes it a great base for exploring Dubrovnik and its surroundings. It also provides a nice escape from the often-crowded Old Town of Dubrovnik during the summer months.
Cavtat's main attraction is its beautiful harbor and waterfront area. Unlike in Dubrovnik, visiting yachts can moor directly to the waterfront promenade and visit the many restaurants and café bars just across the street. Likewise, diners relaxing at the restaurants and cafes can watch the yachts entering and exiting the harbor. Cavtat also offers some of the area's best beaches and small, secluded coves for swimming.
Dubrovnik can easily be reached in 30 minutes by bus or ferry boat. The bus (#10) runs approximately every hour (see schedule here) and is priced at 10 Kuna per person. The ferry runs slightly less frequently and costs about 100 Kuna per person. The trip may also be done by car and there is a parking lot just outside of Cavtat's historic center that charges 5 Kuna per hour.
There are several large hotels in Cavat and numerous private apartments for rent. Hotels include the 4-star Hotel Croatia, 4-star Iberostar Albatros, and 3-star Iberostar Epidaurus. For apartment rentals, contact Dubrovnik Apartment Source by email at email@example.com.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Best Beaches Outside of Dubrovnik
Visitors to Dubrovnik with a car have the opportunity to escape the crowds of Lapad and Old Town and explore some of the better beaches in the area. There are several great beaches in the stretch along the coast between Slano in the north and Molunat in the south, all of which are within a 45-minute drive of Dubrovnik. The following is a brief overview of a few of the most-beautiful and less-visited beaches in the Dubrovnik Riviera:
Veliki Zali (30 minutes north of Dubrovnik, near Slano): This is one of the most-spectacular beaches in the area and often the least crowded. Its position in a small bay protected by the Elafiti Islands makes its waters calm and clear. The beach has small stones, which are comfortably rounded, making entering and exiting the sea fairly easy. Veliki Zali is fully serviced with chair/umbr, ella rentals, a cafe bar, and a pizzeria.
Brsecine (25 minutes north of Dubrovnik): This secluded cove sits far below the main road heading north from Dubrovnik. The cove is occupied by just a couple of private residences, but the beach is public. There are no facilities at this beach, but there is crystal clear water, small rounded stones, and beautiful views to the Elafiti Islands.
Mlini (10 minutes south of Dubrovnik): This small resort town offers numerous small beaches and coves for swimming, many of which remain un-crowded despite the presence of holiday-makers in the summer months. The beaches themselves do not offer facilities, but there are many private apartments, restaurants, shops, and café bars nearby, as well as a park and playground for small children.
Plat (15 minute south of Dubrovnik): The Hotel Plat sits atop a rocky outcropping flanked by two beautiful pebble beaches. Both beaches are public, but the only available parking is private. In the off-season it is not a problem to park at the Hotel Plat, but during July and August be prepared to pay for this privilege. One of the two beaches offers chair/umbrella rentals and has a small restaurant/café bar.
Cavtat (25 minutes south of Dubrovnik): This small fishing village has several beaches and small coves for swimming. The larger beaches are located in front of the hotels and offer a variety of services including chair/umbrella rentals, boat trips, jet ski rentals, and food & drinks. Some of the best spots for swimming, however, are not beaches at all. The Cavtat peninsula is surrounded by rocks jutting out into the sea, many of which are perfect for sunbathing and diving into the Adriatic.
Molunat (45 minutes south of Dubrovnik): This sleepy village sits in the far south of Croatia, just above the border of Montenegro. It does not have any real beaches to speak of, but offers some of the most-secluded swimming spots on the coast. Locals have made access to the sea easier by building staircases and attaching ladders to the rocks, but have otherwise left the natural beauty intact. The swimming spots themselves offer no services, but the town has numerous private apartments, a café bar, and a couple of small restaurants.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Last night marked the kick-off of the 60th annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival. The opening ceremony, which took place in the Old Town, included a live presentation on the Stradun followed by a fireworks display. The festival continues until the 25th of August, and offers a full schedule of cultural events, including plays from Shakespeare & Drzic, jazz & classical music, traditional folk music & dance, ballet, and various readings & workshops. The festival displays the best of what Croatia has to offer, attracting actors and musicians from all over the country. The old city of Dubrovnik provides a fantastic backdrop to this historical and cultural event.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Wine Tasting on the Peljesac Peninsula
Just an hour and a half from Dubrovnik lies one of the best wine-producing regions in Croatia: the Peljesac Peninsula. Its rugged interior and rocky coastline combine to create a dramatic backdrop to the cultivation of centuries-old vines. The region is best known for its red wines, with Plavac being the most common varietal. Wines made from this grape take on many different characteristics depending on the exact location on the peninsula where it is grown. The region has a series of microclimates, each of which produces wines with their own unique flavors, intensities, and alcohol contents. Types of reds include Plavac, Plavac Mali, Potomje, Postup, and Dingac, the region’s most-celebrated wine. Most producers also make white wines using the Posip grape, which is grown on the nearby Island of Korcula.
The number of wine producers offering tastings has grown in recent years, but the region still has a long way to go to rival wine regions in European and North American countries. Many producers require that visitors call in advance to, make an appointment and tastings are sometimes only allowed if tasters promise to buy several bottles of wine. For a more comfortable experience, typical of what one might find in wine regions worldwide, Madirazza and Matusko offer free tastings in beautiful, rustic surroundings.
The best way to visit the Peljesac Peninsula is with someone who personally knows many of the producers, and can call them in advance to plan a tasting. For visitors to Croatia, this generally means booking a private tour by car or van. Prices for a day tour are as follows:
1-3 people: 180 EUR
4-8 people: 200 EUR
9-18 people: 400 EUR
These tours can generally be combined with a stop in Mali Ston on the return to Dubrovnik for some of the best seafood & freshly shucked oysters in Croatia.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Drinking, , Water in Croatia
One question we often get from visitors to Croatia is “Is the tap water safe to drink?”. The answer is mostly yes. It is certainly safe in Southern Dalmatia and especially in Dubrovnik, which has a great natural water source nearby. Water is generally safe to drink throughout Croatia, but it is always best to check with the locals in case it is temporarily considered undrinkable. For instance, during or after a heavy rain in Dubrovnik the water often becomes murky, and locals recommend drinking bottled water until it clears up.
At most restaurants diners will be offered still or sparkling water. These are bottled waters, and diners will be charged for each bottle they drink. The most popular Croatian bottled water is Jana, which has become a fashionable water to drink in and outside of the country, with even some New York City shops carrying it. It is advisable to check the price of bottled water before ordering at restaurants, as it can sometimes be 30 to 40 Kuna (4 to 5 Euros) per bottle. If you prefer to drink tap water (which is free of charge), you can usually order it by the glass or pitcher. The waiter may bring you a bottle of water anyway, but be persistent, and send it back if necessary or you will be charged.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Inventive Croatian Cuisine in Dubrovnik
Until last night, I didn’t think it was possible to find creative Dalmatian cooking in Dubrovnik; I was proven wrong by Sesame, an unassuming and charming restaurant just outside of Old Town’s Pile Gate. I have not seen another restaurant in Dubrovnik take such care about where it sources its ingredients, how fresh they are, and how they are used to construct truly inventive local dishes.
Upon arrival at Sesame we were promptly seated on the leafy terrace by our friendly and knowledgeable waiter Dejan. Dinner started with an aperitif: a local spirit flavored with sage for the men and one flavored with walnuts for the women. To begin we ordered fresh oysters from Ston (known to be the best in Croatia) and a salad made with fresh figs, prosciutto, and rucola, all served with fresh-baked sesame rolls and a selection of incredible olive oils sourced from Istria. This was followed by our main courses, which included a delicate filet of sole with fresh prawn, a beautifully presented sea bass, and veal with prosciutto in a sage sauce.
The most creative and wonderfully surprising dish of the night was the chocolate mousse dessert: a rich, thick chocolate m, ousse topped with Croatian olive oil and black volcanic salt from Hawaii. This dish really spotlights the creativity and genius of the chef/co-owner Marina Zilbert. Sesame is fairly expensive for Dubrovnik (starters from 60 to 80 Kuna and mains from 75 to 190 Kuna), but it is well worth the price for such a unique dining experience.
Sesame is located at Dante Alighieri; reservations may be made by calling +385 20 412 910 or +385 91 500 8647.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Parking Near Dubrovnik's Old Town
One of the many features that make Dubrovnik’s Old Town so attractive is its pedestrian-only streets. However, this ban on vehicular traffic makes arriving by car and finding parking very difficult. After a slew of recent changes in parking laws, the local government has finally returned to the original rules that have served us well for the past few years.
With the return to the old rules, visitors can now park for as long as they like using the “pay & display” system or for free on some parts of Petra Kresimira IV and Frana Supila. These are the two main streets in the Ploce neighborhood, just outside of the Old Town. In addition, visitors may park in two “pay & display” parking lots located just behind the Old Town, near the Buza Gate. Under this “pay & display” system, drivers may either buy a ticket from a machine and display it in their car windows or send an SMS (from a local Croatian mobile phone) with their registration number (license plate number) to 8202. They may then send additional SMS messages to add more time, one hour per message. Parking under this “pay & display” system costs 5 Kuna per hour*. For those who cannot find a sp, ot on the street or who plan to park for an extended period of time, the city has recently completed construction of a new underground parking garage located just 10–15-minutes’ walking distance to the Old Town. Here is a map that shows the location of the new garage:
View Larger Map
There is a free shuttle bus to the Old Town that leaves on every hour and half hour. It will also take passengers back to the garage on its return trip. The following is a price list for parking:
1st 3 hours: 6 Kuna per hour*
After 1st 3 hours: 3 Kuna per hour*
24 hour ticket**: 60 Kuna*
*These were the parking rates as of 24 June 2009. Rates may increase to 10 Kuna per hour during July & August.
**Please note that drivers must notify the parking attendant that they wish to buy a 24-h, our pass immediately after parking. If they do not, they will be charged the normal hourly rate, which will equal 81 Kuna for 24 hours. Once a 24-hour pass is purchased, drivers may enter and exit the garage as many times as they like within a 24-hour period.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Dubrovnik Film Festival
Next week will mark the kick-off of the 5th annual Libertas Film Festival in Dubrovnik. The festival, which will take place from 26 to 30 June, screens narratives, documentaries, and short films from around the world. This year there will be a special focus on films from Hungary with three films submitted by Hungarian directors. The festival will be moving outdoors this time, with venues that include Jadran open-air cinema in the Old Town, Banje beach, and Lapad beach. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to see some great independent films in beautiful, historic surroundings.A schedule of films and information on where to buy tickets can be found on the Libertas Film Festival website.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
One of the best and most unique dining experiences in Croatia can be found high above Dubrovnik in the hills of Konavle. A pair of restaurants, Konoba Konavle in Vojski Do and Konavoski Komin in Velji Do, serve traditional lamb and veal "under the iron bell". This centuries-old cooking method involves slow cooking meat and potatoes on a platter covered by an iron dome or "bell" by burying it in smoldering embers. The meat and potatoes cook for 3 to 4 hours producing tender meat that falls off the bone and slightly caramelized potatoes that absorb the flavor of the meat. The meal is accompanied by wonderful fresh-baked bread and salad.
All products at both restaurants are locally produced, including the prsut, cheese, and olives that are served as a starter, the excellent house wine, and the rakija (herb grappa or walnut brandy) that may be enjoyed as an aperitif or digestif. The restaurants are located far from anything else, in an alien-like landscape, but the superb quality of food, reasonable prices, and beautiful rustic décor attract guests from miles around. When visiting Konavoski Komin, make sure to leave extra time to stop and enjoy the spectacular views of the coastline on the way to dinner. Booking at both restaurants is essential as meat "under the iron bell" must be ordered one day in advance.
Reservations and pre-orders may be made by calling the following numbers:
Konoba Konavle +385 98 674 363
Konavoski Komin +385 20 479 607
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Dubrovnik Parking Restrictions Reversed
Dubrovnik's new parking restrictions, which were implemented in March 2006 (New Parking Rules in Dubrovnik), have now been reversed, once again allowing visitors to park at "pay & display" spots or free spots within walking distance of the Old Town. The restrictions limited parking in most of the Ploce & Pile neighborhoods to local residents with parking permits. With the return to the old rules, visitors can now park for as long as they like using the "pay & display" system or for free on some parts of Petra Kresimira IV and Frana Supila.
What brought about the sudden lifting in parking restrictions? According to locals it was a last-minute effort by then-Mayor Dubravk, a Suica to gather support on the eve of the Mayoral election. The parking restrictions were very unpopular among most locals and it is said that Suica needed to give the people what they wanted if she had a chance of coming out on top on 31 May. The move turned out to be too little, too late as Suica, a member of Croatia's HDZ party, was defeated by Andro Vlahusic and his center-left HNS party. However ineffective for Suica, this bit of political maneuvering will certainly make the parking situation easier for visitors to Dubrovnik this summer.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Croatian Coffee Culture
Coffee drinking is one of Croatia's favorite pastimes. It's generally done with friends or family at a café, which is the local neighborhood meeting place for most Croatians, much like the pub in Ireland. Locals have perfected the art of "taking a coffee", as it is called, often making a single coffee last for hours. This is mostly because the experience is not really about drinking coffee, but more about socializing. However, there's no doubt that the relatively high price of coffee in Croatia has something to do with it too.
So, all visitors to Croatia (and especially Dubrovnik) must take the time to sit and "take a coffee" at least once during their stay. Coffee drinks served at most cafes are similar to those served in Italy or in Austria; after all, Croatia inherited its coffee drinking culture from these nations. Popular drinks include the cappuccino, bijela kava (white coffee, like a café latte), and espresso. For Americans looking for American-style filter coffee, you won't find it here; the closest thing is an americano, which is a shot of espresso diluted with hot water. Also popular with locals is Nescafe, an instant coffee drink made from a powder; it's fairly sweet and not as strong, as a real espresso drink. One other drink worth mentioning is the iced coffee; in most cases this is not just coffee on ice, but a drink with espresso and ice cream.
Now that you know what to order, the only question left is where to enjoy your coffee. Croatia, and Dubrovnik in particular, has no shortage of cafes. The cafes lining the Stradun in Dubrovnik's Old Town certainly look inviting, but there are a few things to consider first. A coffee on the Stradun can cost as much as twice that of one just a couple of streets away. In addition, during the summer months most of the other patrons will be tourists. Of course, I'm not suggesting that you shun the Stradun all together; a coffee in the sun on Dubrovnik's most famous street can be an unforgettable experience. For a genuine feel, I suggest taking a seat at Café Festival, the only café on the Pile end of the Stradun. Or for a truly old-world Viennese style coffee house, check out GradsKavana, just off of the Stradun near St. Blaise church and Rector's Palace.
Outside of the Old Town the price for coffee drops dramatically, but the choices do not. There are several nice cafes on the pedestrian-only Setaliste Kralja Zvonimira in Lapad, and Iva Vojnovica is home to several modern, trendy café bars popular with young locals. You'll know it by the line of Mercedes parked on the street and the Gucci and Prada sunglasses peering out from inside the cafes. Another great, but expensive, option is to have a coffee in one of the many beautiful hotels in Dubrovnik. I particularly recommend the Dubrovnik Palace in Lapad for the great coffee, good service, and spectacular views. The service and coffee are also tops at the Hilton Imperial Hotel and the Hotel Bellevue.
If you enjoy drinking coffee, I would suggest trying a few different cafes until you find one that suits you. It may turn out to be a small café frequented only by locals or one of the busy cafes on Stradun with tourists vying for the best tables. Either way, you will have experienced an important part of Croatian culture by taking the time "to take a coffee."
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Local Dubrovnik Buses
The local Libertas bus is a great way to get around Dubrovnik. Most buses, originate at either the main bus station in Gruz Harbor or the Pile Gate entrance to Old Town. From the Old Town, buses run frequently to Gorica, Lapad, Bosanka, Mlini, Soline, Plat, Cavtat, Gruda, and Molunat. They also go north to Mokosica, Zaton, Slano, Mali Ston, and once per day to Orebic. Most trips cost 10 Kuna and tickets may be purchased in cash on the bus or at the bus station. Exact change is required when purchasing tickets on the bus.
Schedules for Dubrovnik city bus routes can be viewed here: Dubrovnik City Buses.
Schedules for Dubrovnik suburban bus routes can be viewed here: Dubrovnik Suburban Buses.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Travel from Dubrovnik to Montenegro
Even before gaining its independence from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro was on its way to becoming a major tourist destination. Most visitors to Montenegro arrive at Tivat airport, near the bay of Kotor. However, many travelers visit Montenegro for a few days in conjunction with a stay in Croatia or even as a day-trip from Dubrovnik. The most popular destinations are Kotor, Budva, and Sveti Stefan, all of which are on the coast. The following is a brief overview of the available travel options from Dubrovnik to Montenegro:
1.) Bus: There are daily bus routes from Dubrovnik to Kotor, Budva, and Herceg Novi. Buses to all 3 destinations leave Dubrovnik's main bus station in Gruz Harbor at 10:30 hrs each morning with an additional bus at 20:30 hrs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. In addition, there is a daily bus to Herceg Novi departing at 15:30 hrs. For those visiting Montenegro's capital city, Podgorica, buses leave Dubrovnik at 5:45 hrs on Mondays and 15:00 hrs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Bus schedules can be viewed online at Libertas Dubrovnik.
2.) Taxi: For travelers , that are tight on time or want a bit more comfort, taxi transfers are a good way to get to Montenegro. A transfer from Dubrovnik to Kotor or the Tivat airport costs approximately 180 EUR for 1 - 3 people, 200 EUR for 4 - 8 people, and 400 EUR for 9 - 18 people. For more information on taxi transfers, please see the article Taxi Service in Dubrovnik.
3.) Rental Car: Most rental companies allow cars to be taken to Montenegro, but be sure to check that they have supplied you with the necessary insurance and paperwork before taking the car over the border. If the car has not crossed the border recently, customs agents will charge you a 10 EUR Eco-Tax and put a sticker on the car that is valid for 1 year. The main border crossing on the coastal road is heavily trafficked and wait times can be as long as 2 hours during the busy summer season. There is a smaller border crossing with minimal or no wait times on the road from Molunat to Montenegro; if you can find it, it's worth leaving the main road to avoid the traffic. Just follow the signs for Molunat and the Prevlaka National Park, and then take a left when you reach the sea.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Travel from Dubrovnik to Hvar
The Island of Hvar is one of the most popular summer destinations in Southern Dalmatia, and is known for its natural beauty and great nightlife. It is easiest to travel to Hvar from Split, but it can be reached from Dubrovnik directly by ferry or by a combination of bus or rental car and ferry. The following is an overview of the available travel options from Dubrovnik to Hvar:
1.) Direct ferry from Dubrovnik: During the summer season, Jardolinija operates a ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar on Thursdays & Sundays, making a stop in Korcula on the way. The journey takes approximately 6.5 hours and tickets are priced at 17,50 EUR per person and 55,00 EUR for a car (these are high-season prices; slightly lower prices apply in low season). Detailed schedule information, pricing, and on-line booking is available at the Jadrolinija website.
2.) Ferry from Drvenik: The quickest and most-direct route from Dubrovnik to Hvar is by car or bus to Drvenik and then ferry to Sucuraj. Drvenik is a small town on the Makarska Riveria, located midway between Ploce and Markarska. It can be reached by car or by taking the Dubrovnik - Split bus and exiting at Drvenik. The ferry operates 10 times per day during the summer season and takes 25 minutes to reach Sucuraj. Tickets are priced at 13 Kuna (2 EUR) per person and 95 Kuna (13 EUR) for a car (these are high-season prices; slightly lower prices apply in low season). Once in Sucuraj, which is on the eastern end of the island, visitors must drive or take a bus to Hvar town at the other end of the island. Ferry schedules can be viewed at the Jadrolinija website.
3.) Ferry from Split: The most frequently traveled route to Hvar is from Split. From Dubrovnik it is possible to drive or take a bus to Split and then catch the ferry to the island of Hvar (for information on travel to Split see the article Travel from Dubrovnik to Split). If traveling without a car, it is best to take the high-speed catamaran directly to Hvar town, which leaves Split daily at 11:30 and 15:00. The journey takes approximately one hour and costs 22 Kuna (3 EUR) per person. If traveling by car, the ferry from Split arrives in Stari Grad, which is 20- to 30-minutes' driving distance from Hvar town. This ferry operates 6 times per day and the journey takes approximately two hours. Again, detailed schedule information, pricing, and on-line booking is available at the Jadrolinija website.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Travel from Dubrovnik to Korcula
A popular stop along the Dalmatian Coast is the Island of Korcula. It lies just off of the Peljesac Peninsula, approximately 2 hours northwest of Dubrovnik by car or ferry. There are 2 routes used to reach Korcula from Dubrovnik; the following is an overview of each:
1.) Direct ferry from Dubrovnik: During the summer season, Jardolinija operates a ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays. The ferry is direct on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but makes a stop in Mljet on all other days. The journey takes 3 hours direct and 4 hours and 10 minutes with the stop in Mljet. Tickets are priced at 14,50 EUR per person and 53,00 EUR for a car (these are high-season prices; slightly lower prices apply in low season). Detailed schedule information, pricing, and on-line booking is available at the Jadrolinija website.
2.) Travel to Orebic and then ferry to Korcula: Orebic is a small town on the western end of the Peljesac Peninsula, approximately 2 hours drive from Dubrovnik. From Orebic, there is a local car and passenger ferry to Korcula that operates at least 12 times per day, 7 days per week. The ferry costs approximately 14 Kuna per person (about 2 EUR) and 64 Kuna (about 9 EUR) for a car (these are high-season prices; slightly lower prices apply in low season). Detailed schedule and pricing information can be found on the following website: Korcula Info. Travel from Dubrovnik to Orebic can be accomplished in 3 ways: rental car, public bus, or long-distance bus. If you rent a car you will have to take it with you to Korcula and then return it to the mainland after your stay on the island as there is nowhere to leave the car in Orebic. The public bus is a good, reasonably-priced option, but it only leaves Dubrovnik's main bus station once per day at 14:15 hrs, except on Sundays and holidays when it leaves only at 18:00 hrs (schedule can be viewed at Libertas Dubrovnik). Once in Orebic, you will have to buy tickets for the passenger ferry to Korcula. There is also a direct long-distance bus from Dubrovnik to Korcula that leaves Dubrovnik's main bus station once per day at 15:00 hrs as well as at 18:00 hrs on Sundays (schedule can be viewed at Libertas Dubrovnik). This option takes passengers directly to Korcula and the ferry ticket is included in the price of the bus ticket.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Travel from Dubrovnik to Split
With the summer season fast approaching, many tourists will be traveling up and down the Dalmatian Coast, visiting numerous small towns and islands along the way. One of the most popular routes is Dubrovnik to Split or vice-versa. There are 4 modes of transportation between these two cities; the following is an overview of the time and cost involved in each:
1.) Ferry: This is the most pleasant way to travel, but also the slowest. The ferry route goes from Dubrovnik - Korcula - Hvar - Split and then the reverse in the other direction. The journey takes approximately 8.5 hours and costs 17,50 EUR per person and 55,00 EUR for a car (these are high-season prices; slightly lower prices apply in low season). The ferry operates twice weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays from Dubrovnik to Split and on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Split to Dubr, ovnik. Detailed schedule information, pricing, and on-line booking is available at the Jadrolinija website.
2.) Bus: This is the most economical and most convenient way to travel. Buses depart Split and Dubrovnik almost every hour with over 15 trips per day. Tickets cost between 90 and 120 Kuna (between 12 and 16 EUR) per person, each way. The journey generally takes 4.5 to 5 hours and offers spectacular sea views along the way. Detailed bus schedules can be viewed at Libertas Dubrovnik.
3.) Private car transfer: This is the most comfortable, but most expensive way to travel. The route will be the same as by bus, but will be slightly faster as it does not involve any stops along the way (unless you want to stop). Prices for private transfers vary, but are approximately 200 - 240 EUR each way for 1 - 3 people, 240 - 260 EUR for 4 - 8 people, and 500 - 550 EUR for 9 - 18 people. Transfers may be arranged at Taxi Service Dubrovnik or Queen Service Dubrovnik.
4.) Rental car: This mode of transportation offers the most flexibility as it allows you to stop frequently and explore some of the beautiful coastal villages along the way. Most car rental companies charge an additional 1-way return fee for rentals in Dubrovnik with returns in Split (or vice-versa). Major rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, and Europcar have offices in both cities, but for better rates contact Euro Car Rentals, a local Dubrovnik company.
Coming soon...information on travel to other locations such as Korcula, Hvar, and Montenegro.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Dubrovnik Bar Guide
Dubrovnik is not known for its nightlife; those looking for an all-night party scene with an international crowd and world-renowned DJs would be best to go to Hvar. That said, a good time can be had in Dubrovnik if you know where to go. The following is a list of our favorite bars. Most are frequented by bot, h locals and foreigners and are fairly laid-back places, perfect for a glass of wine in the evening or a few beers at night. They're also good bars in which to meet other travelers passing through., SPAN>
D'Vino, Palmoticeva 4a Dubrovnik's only real wine bar, D'Vino offers a cozy atmosphere and an extensive wine list representing many different regions of Croatia as well as Italy, France, Spain, Australia, and South America. A visit to D'Vino is a great opportunity to sample various Croatian vin, tages by the glass and to learn what each region has to offer.
Katie O'Connor's Irish Pub, Dropceva 4a Irish and Croatian beers on tap, free wireless Internet access, and a friendly atmosphere make this an excellent place to kick back and relax for an hour or four. This is also Dubrovnik's go-to spot for European football, rugby, and cricket.
Buza Bar, Od Kastela Follow the sign for "Cold Drinks" and duck through an opening in the city walls to find this cliffside hangout. The atmosphere is casual (plastic chairs and cans of beer) but the views are first-class, making it one of the most popular bars in Dubrovnik, especially at sunset. It is also a popular spot among locals for swimming from the rocks below.
Piano Bar at the Hotel Excelsior, Frana Supila (10 minutes' walking distance past Ploce Gate) This elegant hotel bar has a spacious outdoor terrace with the best views in Dubrovnik. It is a great place to have a drink while watching the sun set over the Old Town.
The Gaffe, Miha Pracata 4 Another good place to stop into for a pint. The inside can get a bit smoky when busy, but the outdoor garden offers a good alternative. P.S. They also serve decent pub , food.
Hemmingway's, Poljana M. Držica A great place to relax with a cocktail from their extensive (but pricey) menu. The outdoor seating in front offers great people-watching right near the Cathedral.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The Dubrovnik International Airport (DBV) is located in Cilipi, approximately 35 minutes from Dubrovnik by car or bus and only 5 to 10 minutes from Cavtat. The airport mostly serves flights from European countries, but has also seen direct flights from Asia and the Middle East. Arriving at an, d departing from the Dubrovnik airport is generally a stress-free experience, and passengers are processed quickly. Since the airport is small, we recommend arriving at the airport only 1 to 1½ hours before your departure time.
When arriving at the airport, visitors will find two transportation options to Dubrovnik. Atlas operates a bus to Old Town's Pile Gate, which departs the airport shortly after every scheduled flight arrival. The bus trip is priced at 35 Kuna or 5 Euro per person. A taxi to Dubrovnik costs 220 Kuna /30 Euro for 1 – 3 people or 300 Kuna/40 Euro for 4 – 8 people. For taxi transfer prices to additional locations please see the article "Taxi Service in Dubrovnik".
The Dubrovnik airport also offers additional services such as Duty-Free shopping, currency exchange, ATM machines, souvenir shops, coffee shops, and parking. For those driving to the airport, parking prices are as follows:
1st 15 minutes: Free
15 minutes – 1 hour: 5 Kuna,
1 – 2 hours: 10 Kuna
2 – 4 hours: 15 Kuna
4 - 12 hours: 20 Kuna
12 – 24 hours: 40 Kuna
Every hour thereafter: 2 Kuna
Lost ticket: 300 Kuna
More information about the Dubrovnik airport as well as flight arrival and departure schedules may be obtained at www.airport-dubrovnik.hr.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Old Town Parking Garage Prices
Many visitors to Dubrovnik come by car, but parking is a problem for those staying in or within walking distance of the Old Town. Cars are not permitted inside the city walls and new parking regulations all but prohibit street parking in Ploce & Pile, the neighborhoods surrounding the Old Town. Thankfully, the city has recently completed construction of a new underground parking garage located just 10–15-minutes’ walking distance to the Old , Town. Here is a map that shows the location of the new garage:
View Larger Map,
There is a free shuttle bus to the Old Town that leaves on every hour and half hour. It will also take passengers back to the garage on its return trip. The following is a price list for parking:
1st 3 hours: 6 Kuna per hour
After 1st 3 hours: 3 Kuna per hour
24 hour ticket*: 60 Kuna
*Please note that drivers must notify the parking attendant that they wish to buy a 24-hour pass immediately after parking. If they do not, they will be charged the normal hourly rate, which will equal 81 Kuna for 24 hours. Once a 24-hour pass is purchased, drivers may enter and exit the garage as many times as they like within a 24-hour period.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
A Taste of Turkey in Dubrovnik
We have anxiously awaited the opening of Orient Kebab, a new take-out restaurant in the Old Town. The wait is finally over and the Turkish Kebab shop is a welcome addition to Dubrovnik's limited fast-food selection. The owner, a native of Turkey, cooks succulent lamb on a turning spit, chicken & veal kebabs, chevapcici, and meatballs, all served on fresh-baked flatbread with your choice of sauce and toppings. The shop is open for lunch and dinner and the owner plans to have extended hours on weekends to serve late-night kebabs to those stumbling out of the bars in Old Town. This should prove popular as there are currently very few choices for late-night dining in Dubrovnik.
Orient Kebab is located on Cubranoviceva street, between the Stradun and Od Puca in the Old Town.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Golden Sun Casino, Dubrovnik
Last night we made our first trip to the Golden Sun Casino in the Hotel Rixos Libertas. The 1300-square-meter space looks as you would expect a casino to be: dim lighting, neon colors, and shiny metal slots. All the big games are there, including Black Jack, Roulette, Caribbean Poker, Three Card Poker, and Texas Hold'em. Minimum bets range from 2 to 5 Euro depending on the time of day; come early if you want to avoid the 5 Euro minimums that start at 22:00 hrs. The drinks are very reasonably priced (although not free, even while playing at a table) and the bar food is passable. One pleasant surprise was the live band lead by a great female vocalist who sang mostly American and Country favorites. The only real downside to the place is that it can get quite smoky at times and some of the other patrons are less than desirable. It is certainly a fun night-out in Dubrovnik and, with a little luck, a cheap one.
The Golden Sun Casino is located in the Hotel Rixos Libertas in Gorica. It may be reached from the Old Town in about 20 minutes by foot or just 5 minutes by taxi. Remember to bring your passport as it is required for entry.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Croatia Visa Requirements to be Lifted
The Croatian government has announced that it plans to lift the visa requirements for some visitors to Croatia this summer (Tourism boost: Croatia to ease visa requirements for some countries). Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs has suggested that the requirements be lifted for citizens of Russia, Ukraine, China, and India, countries whose citizens must now apply for visas before leaving for their holidays. The move is in response to an expectation that visitors to Croatia will drop by 3% this year compared to last year. Such a shortage of visitors could cause further damage to an already weakened economy. In addition to the lifted visa requirements, the Croatian government has also agreed to allow Russian aircraft to land in the country between 1 May and 31 October (Croatia to allow landing of old, noisy Russian aircraft). The old aircraft have been, banned from most EU member states because they are known to be noisy. It is hoped that these measures will attract enough visitors to make up for the expected loss of tourists from countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy, and Slovenia.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday Shopping Banned in Croatia
In an effort to protect family life, the Croatian government has passed a new law banning the opening of shops on Sundays. To ease the impact on tourism, the law contains an exemption for stores on the coast between 1 June and 1 September. Locals in tourist destinations such as Dubrovnik are frustrated with the new law and are already seeing its negative impact. Visitors to the Dalmatia Coast start arriving in large numbers beginning in April and they unexpectedly find that there are no open shops where they can buy bottled water or food items. Restaurant owners, who sometimes rely on local supermarkets when they run out of ingredients on a Sunday, are seeing the impact as well.
Sunday in Croatia is traditionally spent at home with the family. Families often go to church together, have a long lunch, and perhaps take an afternoon walk. Many locals think that the new law is connected with falling church attendance. The logic is that if employees spend the day working instead of with their families they will not go to church and will not make their weekly donations. It is widely believed that the church wields much power in this small nation, 88% of whose population is Catholic.
In response to the outcry along the coast, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) has asked the government for a fast-track decree enabling shops to be open on Sundays beginning on Easter (12 April) instead of 1 June. However, Easter has passed and there is no sign of a change in the law. It is unclear if the government will repeal or amend the law in the near future, but for now visitors to Croatia should be advised to stock up on bottled water and other necessities on Saturday.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Taxi Service in Dubrovnik
Most taxi services in Dubrovnik are safe and charge about the same rate for trips to and from the airport or to other local destinations. However, there are some illegal taxis that will charge less to attract customers or more to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. The following is a list of estimated rates for popular routes in and around Dubrovnik. These are merely guidelines and may vary , depending on the time of the year and type of vehicle doing the transfer:
Dubrovnik Airport to:
1 - 3 people: 30 EUR/220 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 40 EUR/300 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 80 EUR/600 Kuna
Cavtat & Plat
1 - 3 people: 15 EUR/110 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 30 EUR/220 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 60 EUR/440 Kuna
1 - 3 people: 20 EUR/150 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 30 EUR/220 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 60 EUR/440 Kuna
1 - 3 people: 180 EUR/1320 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 200 EUR/1460 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 400 EUR/3000 Kuna
1 - 3 people: 240 EUR/1750 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 260 EUR/1900 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 520 EUR/3800 Kuna
1 - 3 people: 220 EUR/1600 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 250 EUR/1830 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 500 EUR/3650 Kuna
The following taxi services are safe and reliable and, are reasonably priced:
Taxi Service Dubrovnik, + 385 98 725 769
Queen Service Dubrovnik, + 385 91 22 55 027
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Property Managers in Dubrovnik
With the large number of rental properties and foreign-owned residences in Dubrovnik, property management has become a popular trade. Services offered by most management companies include key holding, rental calendar management, meet & greet services, maintenance/cleaning, and gardening. Property managers can also be extremely helpful in navigating the murky waters of registering a property for rental. Fee schedules vary and are generally fixed for minding and maintaining a property and are percentage-based for rental management. Property management is a fairly easy business to enter, but it can be difficult to do well. The following is a short list of the most efficient & reliable property managers in Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik Property Management, Contact: Ivana, www.dubrovnik-propertymanagement.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, +385 98 564 777
Property Management Ltd., Contact: Anna & Aldin, www.Dubrovnik-Property-Management.com, email@example.com, +385 98 186 9246
Home Keep Croatia, Contact: Azra, www.HomeKeepCroatia.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, +385 99 222 8084
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Best Cakes in Dubrovnik
Krem Pita, Strudla, and Palacinke are fine, but for those looking for some variety, there is a new pastry chef in town. Her name is Gabi and her cakes are exquisite. After working in the finest 5-star hotels in Dubrovnik, Gabi has opened her own bakeshop at Od Batala 25 in Lapad, where she sells only whole cakes, which can be ordered in advance for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions. Those who just want to sample a slice can find her creations exclusively at Nishta in the Old Town. Fresh baked favorites include carrot cake, cheese cake, and apple pie among other tempting varieties. Let's hope that Gabi's cakes are soon more widely available as they certainly make getting through the long Dubrovnik winters much easier.
Gabi can be contacted at +385 91 761 9550 or through her website www.Slasticarna.com.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Real Estate Agents in Dubrovnik
The last decade's exponential growth in real estate prices in Dubrovnik has led to a similar growth in the number of real estate agents. Easy sales and little or no licensing requirements have created few barriers to entering the market. However, with the new worldwide economic reality setting in and the advent of stricter licensing standards, many real estate agents in Dubrovnik have been forced to close. Among those that have shut their Dubrovnik offices this year are Croatian Sun and Winkworth, two former prominent players in the market.
Despite economic woes and poor sales, this may be a good time to buy property in Dubrovnik. Prices have dropped and there are some bargains to be found. One agency, Savills Croatia, has just opened a new office in the luxury Hotel Bellevue and is determined to continue selling properties during these tough economic times. With their connection to the large UK agency of the same name and their excellent staff, it is no wonder that Savills Croatia is the go-to agency for buying and selling property in Dubrovnik.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
New Parking Rules in Dubrovnik
Visitors to the Old Town that come by car are in for a surprise this week: parking is no longer permitted in most former "pay & display" areas around the walled city. The new regulations prohibit parking for all but local residents along Petra Kresimira IV and Frana Supila, streets that formerly offered a mix of free and paid parking spots. The only parking options now available to visitors are in the parking lot and street just behind the Buza Gate. These spots operate on the "pay & display" system and limit drivers to just two hours.
The new regulations have not been received well in the community and many locals are angry. Some people have suggested that the new rules are an attempt to force motorists to use the new parking garage in Ilina Glavica. The new garage was completed in late 2008 and it is said that it has been mostly empty since its opening. In response to the new parking regulations, some locals have vowed not to visit the Old Town rather then be forced into the new garage, which is, 10 - 15 minutes away by foot from the walled city. The city does offer a free shuttle bus for drivers between the Old Town and the new garage.
On the other side of the issue, the new regulations should improve the parking situation for residents of the Old Town, Ploce, and Pile. Dubrovnik is infamous for its lack of parking, especially during the summer months when thousands of foreign cars descend upon the small city. Forcing many of these visito, rs to park in the new garage should allow traffic to flow more freely around the Old Town and allow locals to find parking close to their homes.
It is unclear if these changes are here to stay or if the local government will reconsider their effect on visitors to the Old Town. Many seem to think that the new rules are merely a precursor to the upcoming elections and that things will return to normal thereafter. Whatever the outcome, motorists should familiarize themselves with the new rules to avoid getting ticketed or towed away.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Shakedown at the Slovenian Border
Drivers passing through Slovenia on their way to Croatia beware! In 2008 the Slovenian government introduced a road tax of 35 Euro for all vehicles using the country's motorways. The catch is that you have to know about this tax and buy a vignette before entering Slovenia. If you cross the border without the sticker on your windshield you can be fined up to 300 Euro. Slovenian police have set up checkpoints just over the borders to stop cars with foreign registrations and to fine drivers who do not have the vignette. Fines must be paid on the spot in either cash or by credit card.The European Commission has said that the system discriminates against foreigners and has sent a formal warning notice to the Slovenian government ("Commission warns Slovenia over 'unfair' road tax"). This notice, which was sent in October 2008, was the first step in a procedure that could result in referring Slovenia to the European Court of Justice. As of March 2009 there have been no changes to the system. Drivers planning to travel to Croatia this summer: be sure to buy your Slovenian road tax vignette before crossing the border.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Dubrovnik Restaurant Guide - Part 3
Some of the best dining in Dubrovnik can be found outside of the Old Town, away from the crowds and package-holiday tourists. The following is a short list of exceptional restaurants that are worth traveling to:
Konoba Atlantico, Kardinala Stepinca (Lapad) This small, family-run Italian restaurant serves excellent homemade pastas and sauces. They also have perfectly-crispy, thin-crust pizza and good house wine.
Gallija, Vulicevica 1 (Cavtat) The best of all the waterfront restaurants in Cavtat, Gallija serves meat and seafood from the grill as well as other typical Dalmatian specialties such as pastas and risotto. The real draw here is the stunning candle-lit setting overlooking the harbor.
Konoba Konavle, (Vojski Do) Prices are low, portions are huge, and the service is impeccable at this out-of-the-way family restaurant which occupies the space of the former railway station on top of the mountain behind the airport. We recommend ordering lamb, veal, or octopus slow-roasted under the iron bell (you must call to order at least 4 hours in advance - 020 780 7914 or 098 674 363). The homemade cheeses, pršut (smoked ham), and brandies are also excellent.
Bistro Zupcica, (Soline) At first glance this appears to be just another road-side café/pizzeria, but further inspection reveals it to be one of the best restaurants in the area. They specialize in grilled meats and traditional meat "under the iron bell", which must be ordered one day in advance. The pizza is also excellent and is available to-go for those staying nearby. This restaurant is popular with locals on the weekends, so be sure to book in advance.
Coming soon...a guide to Dubrovnik's best nightlife!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Dubrovnik Restaurant Guide - Part 2
Because of the large numbers of tourists and restaurants geared toward them, choosing where to dine in the Old Town can be particularly challenging. The following is a list of some of our favorites:
Proto, Siroka Ulica 1 Upscale seafood restaurant with a beautiful 2nd floor outdoor terrace seating area. It is slightly more expensive than most other Old Town options, but the unique menu, high-quality food, and outstanding service are definitely worth it.
Nishta, Prijeko 30 A gem among the sea of tourist-trap restaurants that line this street, this is Dubrovnik's only vegetarian restaurant. The small menu has an international flair with dishes ranging from red Thai curry to tempeh burritos. Note to meat-eaters: do not be deterred by the 'vegetarian' label as this restaurant receives rave reviews from everyone!
Kamenice, Gunduliceva Poljana 8 The name means "oysters", so you can guess what their specialty is, but the fried calamari & steamed mussels are also extremely good. This inexpensive restaurant is a favorite among locals.
Taj Mahal, Nikole Gucetica 2 Homemade Bosnian food; inexpensive and very good. Try the Cevapcici (which is like a kabob sandwich), but if meat isn't your thing they also have an excellent grilled vegetable plate and greek salad. Portions are huge and prices are low.
Lanterna, Nikole Gucetica 2 Right next door to Taj Mahal, this restaurant serves excellent homemade Croatian food and is very inexpensive. For those who want to indulge (and who are not concerned about their waistlines), we strongly suggest trying the mixed grill, , a decadent entree which includes pretty much everything on the menu.
Spaghetteria Toni, N. Bozidarevica 14 A cute little, Italian restaurant that serves excellent baked pasta dishes (try the lasagna), a wide variety of traditional Italian pastas and huge salads at good prices.
Dubrovacki Kantun, Boskoviceva 5 Another cute, inexpensive, restaurant which serves traditional Dubrovnik & Mediterranean cuisine. We've tried the fresh seafood, the traditional meat dishes (Pasticada), and the cheese in oil, all of which are excellent., FONT>
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Dubrovnik Restaurant Guide - Part 1
There are so many restaurants in Dubrovnik that choosing one can be a risky undertaking. Living in Dubrovnik, we have had the opportunity to try just about every one and to come up with a list of our favorites. I plan to share this list here over the next several entries and to give some helpful advice on dining out. Dobar Tek!
First, a few rules: The overall quality of food in Dubrovnik is good and you may even have some great dining experiences, but there are also some pitfalls to avoid. In order to choose good restaurants and to avoid being overcharged, follow these simple guidelines:
1. At the risk of stating the obvious, avoid the restaurant hawkers that stand on the Stradun accosting tourists all day. Not only are they annoying, but they will also lead you to overpriced tourist-trap restaurants serving poor quality food.
2. Tap water is safe to drink, and is even quite good. But if you prefer to order bottled water, make sure you know what the price is in advance. Bottled water is one of those hidden costs that can easily run up the bill in Dubrovnik.
3. Always check the bill at the end of the meal. Make sure that, the prices of the items you ordered match what is written on the menu, especially if you have ordered a bottle of wine (make sure you received the correct vintage).
4. Take care when ordering fresh fish that is priced by the kilo. This menu item is one of the best things to enjoy in Dubrovnik, but also one that is prone to abuse by opportunistic restaurateurs. When you select your fish,, ask the waiter/kitchen to weigh it and tell you the approximate weight. You will then have an idea of what it will cost. Likewise, if the special seafood dish recited by the waiter sounds too good to pass up, make sure you ask the price.
Up next: Where to dine in the Old Town without paying tourist prices for poor quality food!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Weddings in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is fast becoming a popular location for destination weddings. Its reliable weather, unique culture, and charming architecture make it the perfect backdrop for your special day. Unfortunately, the increased popularity of weddings in Dubrovnik has also brought about increased prices. That said, a wedding can still be hosted in Dubrovnik at only a fraction of the cost of a typical American or Western European wedding.
The first step in planning a wedding in Dubrovnik is to hire a wedding planner. Unless you live in Croatia and speak the language, it will not be possible to file all the necessary paperwork to make the marriage legal. There are some very specific requirements and meeting deadlines is critical. A wedding planner will also have the connections needed to plan your ceremony & reception, hire your photographer, order your flowers, and arrange transportation if necessary. There are several wedding planners in Dubrovnik; I would recommend contacting one of the following:
Dubrovnik Riviera Weddings - Nina Bos: +385 (0)20 33 21 69, email@example.com
Weddings in Dubrovnik - Steve & Sanela Enstone: +385 (0)20 417 589, firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether you plan to have a religious ceremony or a civil wedding, there are lots of great venues for nuptials in Dubrovnik. Saint Blaise church on the Stradun is a favorite among locals and Sponza Palace just across the street (pictured above) is a beautiful setting , for , civil ceremonies. Receptions can be held at most hotels in Dubrovnik; I particularly like the Palm Terrace at the Hotel Excelsior and the Dubrovnik Palace in Lapad. Finally, don't forget about your guests. It can be difficult to plan a trip to Dubrovnik and couples should make it as easy as possible for people to attend their wedding. This includes researching flight routes, providing a list of accommodations (or asking an agency such as Dubrovnik Apartment Source to work directly with your guests), and planning group activities in the days leading up to and after the wedding. If you give your guests a great holiday in addition to a great wedding day, they will thank you for it.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Croatian Culinary Treasures
Ira & Boris Rakic began giving cooking and gastronomy courses to share some of the recipes that have been passed down within the family for generations. They used their artistic talents to create a stunning setting in which to hold these courses at Villa Pape in Trogir. Ira's cooking is influenced by the many regions of Croatia, which represent the diverse background of her family itself. The classes include trips to the market to select ingredients, which are always natural, seasonal, locally-produced, and (whenever possible) organic. Cooking is done slowly and in the time-honored fashion of generations past. Even the wine and olive oil served is produced locally and is some of the best available in Croatia. A meal prepared by Ira is unlike any meal that can be , had in a Croatian restaurant. It is truly a unique culinary experience that will leave you trying to recreate it in your own kitchen.
Ira & Boris offer 1 - 5 day cooking courses from 1 April to 31 May and 15 September to 31 October. They offer just 1-day cooking courses from 1 June to 15 September. For those who prefer to eat than cook, tasting programs are available from 1 April to 31 October.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Many visitors come to Dubrovnik in search of the perfect beach holiday and with crystal clear waters and nearly perfect weather from May to October, most will have no problem finding it. However, some first-time visitors are surprised to find that Dubrovnik does not offer the kind of white, sandy beaches that are found at many other holiday destinations. Beaches in Dubrovnik and along the Dalmatian coast are generally comprised of small pebbles and rocks whose surfaces have been rounded by the tides. Often, what many locals call “beaches” are merely concrete slabs or large rocks from which swimmers can enter the sea. For those that require at least a pebble beach with a gradual slope to the sea, the following is a list of recommended local Dubrovnik beaches:
Banje Beach: The most popular beach in Dubrovnik and with good reason: the proximity an, d views to the Old Town are unparalleled. This is about as close as it comes to a sandy beach in Dubrovnik (pebbles are small) and the protection offered by Lokrum Island and the Old Town make it an ideal swimming beach for children. The East West Club offers lounge chair & umbrella rentals and serves cocktails & snacks at the restaurant/bar. The walk down to the beach requires several flights of stairs, but its location just next to the Old Town in the neighborhood of Ploce make it one of the most convenient beaches in Dubrovnik.
Lapad Beach: Another popular beach in a great location, Lapad beach sits at the end of a pedestrian-only street surrounded by restaurants, cafe bars, and ice cream shops. It gets crowded with vacationing families in the summer months, but those who value their privacy can easily find lots of secluded swimming spots just a few meters away if they walk a little further out onto the Lapad peninsula.
Sveti Jakov: Popular with locals, this beach is difficult to reach, but is well worth the several flights of steep stairs required. The pebble beach offers fantastic swimming conditions and great views of the Old Town, which is just 30 minutes away by foot. To reach Sveti Jakov, simply exit the Old Town at the Ploce Gate and walk toward the Excelsior Hotel with Banje Beach on your right. After passing the Grand Villa Argentina, bear to the right down the small side street and continue on to the end. There will be a small church (the church of Sveti Jakov) with the entrance to the beach just behind.
Lokrum Island: A small island easily visible from the Old Town and reachable by ferry from the Old Port. There are a couple of beaches on the island and lots of secluded places for swimming (including one nude beach at the far end). Lokrum makes an easy half-day trip from Dubrovnik and is a great way to escape the summer crowds of Banje beach.
Copacabana Beach: This is Dubrovnik’s most family-friendly beach and one of its most popular. It is located on the Lapad peninsula close to many hotels and shops. The beach club offers many amenities including lounge chairs & umbrella rentals; water sports such as waterpolo, water-skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, and windsurfing; sea slides for children; ice creams stands; and a beach bar. Of course, all these extras attract big crowds in the summer months.
Uvala Lapad: This stretch of beach goes from the center of Lapad to the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. It is a mix of large rocks, concrete slabs, and small sections of pebble beach. Parking is very difficult to find, but those who come by foot or public bus will be rewarded with an often nearly-empty beach and beautiful, tranquil surroundings.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Hello from Snowy Dubrovnik?
Everyone in town is very excited about the snowfall today, apparently the first of its kind in 20 years. It is said that 15 – 20 centimeters have accumulated so far and it shows no signs of stopping. This has been enough to close all schools, grind road traffic to a halt, and keep most people at home. Here are a couple of photos of what Dubrovnik looks like today:
Enjoy it while it lasts because no doubt warmer weather and the tourist season is just around the corner!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Kayak Tours in Dubrovnik
When American Tammy Resor first came to Dubrovnik she found a beautiful, unspoiled paradise, but very few ways to experience it. When she discovered that the best way to take in the beauty of Dubrovnik was from the sea, she decided to start Adriatic Kayak Tours. In business since 2005, Tammy and her team of knowledgeable guides offer a variety of programs for beginners (no experience necessary), intermediates, and experts. Tours range from half-day local tours to 1-week adventures paddling the islands of the Dalmatian coast. Suggested itineraries include a wine & cheese sunset paddle, a trip to the Lokrum Island nature reserve, and a visit to the cliffs and caves of Kolocep Island. For, those without their sea legs, biking tours of the stunning Konavle region are also offered. All tours are unique and customized and include local knowledge about history, culture, & folklore.
More information is available on their website, Adriatic Kayak Tours.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Much Ado About Nishta
In Dubrovnik's Old Town, there is much ado about Nishta ("Nothing" in Croatian language) and in this case it is well deserved. A gem among the sea of tourist-trap restaurants that line Prijeko, this is Dubrovnik's only vegetarian restaurant. Its uniqueness is evident in the brightly-colored, playful theme which is centered around the animals you will not be eating. Your hosts Gil & Ruza have traveled the world to learn international cooking techniques and to assemble the small menu, which includes dishes ranging from Red Thai Curry to Tempeh Burritos. The spring rolls starter is especially good and everything goes great with a local Dalmatian white wine. Note to meat-eaters: do not be deterred by the 'vegetarian' label as this restaurant receives rave reviews from everyone!
Nishta is located at Prijeko 30 in Old Town, Dubrovnik.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Off the Beaten Track in Dubrovnik
Most first-time visitors to Dubrovnik stay in or close to the Old Town. This is the historical center of the city and has the highest concentration of sites, restaurants, cafes, bars, & shops. However, it also has the highest concentration of tourist, s and cruise ship passengers just passing through. Those that are looking for a more tranquil, peaceful holiday m, ay want to consider one of the few small villages surrounding Dubrovnik. The following is a brief description of these villages and some of the pros and cons of staying there:
These small towns are located on the other side of the bridge to the North-East of Dubrovnik. Zaton is a small fishing village that almost completely closes down during the winter months, except for its small population of year-round residents. During the summer, however, it provides guests with a true taste of the Mediterranean with lots of small coves for swimming and 2 of Dubrovnik's best local seafood restaurants (Gverovic A/K/A "Orsan" & Ankora). Lozica has only 1 restaurant and no shops, but it does offer spectacular sea views and a great location just 10-minutes' driving distance from Dubrovnik. Likewise, nearby Mokosica is located in Rijeka Dubrovacka, a small inlet 7 km from Dubrovnik known for its marina and vast hillside scenery.
Positives: tranquility, seclusion, views, and a true taste of Mediterranean life.
Drawbacks: a car is highly recommended (though not required in Zaton); may be too far from Dubrovnik for some; businesses close down from October to May each year. , FONT>
Zupa Dubrovacka (Kupari, Mlini, Plat, Soline, Srebreno, among others)
This region, located midway between Dubrovnik and Cavtat, is a still-relatively-undiscovered gem, which is often overlooked by first-time visitors to Dubrovnik. It is perfect for guests who seek a peaceful vacation and who have an appreciation for unspoiled beauty. Beaches in this area are among the cleanest and most spectacular on the Dubrovnik Riviera. Mlini offers a charmin, g waterfront promenade lined with café bars and a lovely shaded park, while Plat boasts one of the most picturesque pebble beaches in the area. The tiny village of Soline offers a true taste of Croatian life and is home to one of the best traditional restaurants in the area (Bistro Zupcica). All of Zupa Dubrovacka (Zupa, for short) is within easy reach of Old Town Dubrovnik by loca, l bus or ferry (from May to September), which makes stops in Plat and Mlini on its way from Cavtat to Dubrovnik.
Positives: more privacy & fewer crowds than Dubrovnik; lots of natural beauty & sea views; close proximity to several small swimming beaches; most accommodations have parking spaces; easy & frequent bus or ferry service to Old Town & Cavtat.
Drawbacks: though there are several local restaurants & cafes, they may not be enough to keep visitors entertained for an extended stay without trips to the Old Town or Cavtat; beaches are very popular with locals , on weekends in the summer.
Saturday, February 7, 200, 9,
In Vino Veritas
A recent addition to the Dubrovnik bar scene is D'Vino,, a cozy, atmospheric wine bar located on a small side street in the Old Town. It's owner, Canadian-born Cam Wilson, created the bar to offer Dubrovnik residents and visitors an alternative to the many café bars and Irish pubs in town. The unique space has been well designed and achieves a perfect balance between rustic and chic. The wine list represents many different regions of Croatia as well as Italy, France, Spain, Australia, and South America. A visit to D'Vino is a great opportunity to sample various Croatian vintages by the glass and to learn what each region has to offer.
D'Vino Wine bar is located at Palmoticeva 4a; further information may be obtained on their website.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The diverse flavors of Croatian cuisine reflect the varied history of the country itself. National dishes and cooking techniques encompass traditions from Italy, Bos, nia, Austria, Hungary, and Turkey. Zagreb and the northwest offer hearty meat dishes that you might find in Vienna. As you travel from Zagreb to the coast you can see the food become lighter as Mediterranean influences take hold. The cuisine of the northern coastal area of Istria is borrowed from neighboring Italy with lots of pasta dishes and the famous wild white and black truffle. The cuisine of the Dalmatian coast in the south is also influenced by Italian cooking, but is mostly concerned with fresh fish, seafood, and fabulous olive oil. The following is a list of dishes that you might find on menus in Croatia:
Gulas - A Hungarian influenced stew with meat and vegetables, mostly found in Zagreb and northwest parts of the country.
Kulen - A paprika flavored sausage served cold from the Eastern Slavonia , region of Croatia.
Fresh fish - A staple on menus from Split to Dubrovnik usually prepared simply: grilled whole with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs. It can be quite expensive and is usually priced by the kg.
Dalmatian ham - Smoked ham similar to an Italian Prosciutto or an Iberian jamon, usually served sliced very thin and sometimes with melon. This is popular in Istria and in Dalmatia.
Octopus salad - Another dish that you will find on almost every menu in Dalmatia; it is generally good and sometimes great depending on the freshness of the octopus and how it is prepared. Usual ingredients include red onion, capers, olive oil, & vinegar.
Pasticada - A Dalmatian beef dish which is stuffed with lard and roasted in wine and spices; it is generally served with gnocchi...not for those watching their calorie intake.
Meat “under the iron bell” – Pork, veal, or lamb slow roasted with potatoes under an iron “bell” covered in embers for 3 or 4 hours. This is a very traditional method of cooking and is one of Croatia’s most-prized culinary traditions.
Cevapcici - A Bosnian dish of meat sausages (with no casing) or meatballs, usually served in a pita with raw onion and red pepper sauce. The spices give this a unique flavor and it is a must try for meat-eaters.
Raznjici - Shish kebab of pork, beef, lamb, or fish. This dish can be found at many restaurants, but is best at Bosnian restaurants.
Burek - A heavy pastry stuffed with meat or cheese and often eaten on-the-go from a bakery.
Seafood Bouzara - Shellfish cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, herbs, white wine, and breadcrumbs.
Blitva - A side dish served with most fish and seafood dishes in Dalmatia; it is basically swiss chard served boiled with potatoes, olive oil, and garlic.
Black Risotto - A tradition, al Italian style rice dish made with squid and cuttlefish; it's black color comes from the addition of squid ink.
Palacinka - Thin dessert pancakes (like crepes) filled with jam or chocolate and sometimes topped with ice cream. These are of Hungarian origin but are found throughout Croatia today.
Krempita - A cake or pie filled with custard and topped with cream; it is sweet and caloric but for those with a sweet tooth, it should not be missed.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Useful Numbers in Dubrovnik
Below is a list of some phone numbers that you may find useful while in Dubrovnik. It's important to at least know the emergency numbers in case of an accident.
Fire Dapartment: 93
Hospital: +385 20 431 777
Roadside Assistance: 987
Public Emergency Center: 985
International Operator: 901
International Directory Inquiries: 902
Dubrovnik Airport: +385 20 773 377
Taxi Service: +385 20 970
Central Bus Station: +385 20 357 088
Local City Bus Station: +385 423 724
Jadrolinija Ferries: +385 20 418 000
Coast Guard: +385 20 443 555
Harbor Master: +385 20 418 988
ACI Marina: +385 20 455 020
Saturday, January 31, , 2009
Real Estate Prices in Dubrovnik
Real Estate prices in Dubrovnik have grown substantially over the last several years fueled by foreign investors and tourists buying vacation and retirement homes. Prices are generally thought to have peaked in 2007 - 2008. At this peak, properties inside the Old Town sold for as much as 7.000 EUR per square meter whereas properties in outer-lying areas such as Cavtat went for 2.500 - 3.500 EUR per square meter. Since the start of the global , economic crisis property sales have cooled off considerably and it is expected that prices will retreat; how much is unknown. A recent article in the Croatia Times claims that price cuts will not be dramatic (Experts announce real-estates price correction but not price cutting in 2009), but then again the Croatian government also does not think the tourism industry will be substantially affected by the global recession (Tourism boss sees no slump for '09). A more realistic scenario would see at least a 20 - 30% price drop during the next couple of years followed by another period of growth once the economy recovers. Should Croatia succeed in its candidacy for E.U. membership we should see another considerable increase in values. However the real estate market plays out in the near-term, Dubrovnik will continue to be a major tourist destination in the future and foreigners will no doubt continue to snatch up seaside property at relatively discounted prices.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Accommodation in Dubrovnik
Visitors to Dubrovnik have many options when choosing their accommodation. There are a few beautiful 4 & 5-star hotels in town and several average 3-star hotels. In addition, there is a large selection of private accommodations, which vary greatly in quality and price. The selection of hotels in Dubrovnik is somewhat limited but is improving every year. For those with a large budget, I recommend any of the following:
- The Pucic Palace - This 5-star boutique hotel is centrally located on Gunduliceva Square in the center of Old Town. It is housed in an old stone building and offers a selection of upscale restaurants and bars.
- Hilton Imperial - Situated in a beautiful historic building, this 5-star hotel sits on a hill just outside of the Old Town. The sea-facing rooms offer great views and the hotel provides guests with many amenities including an excellent restaurant and bar.
- Hotel Excelsior - This popular fixture in Dubrovnik history has been recently updated and still offers the best views of the Old Town from its newly renovated bar. One of this 5-star hotel's best features is its concrete "beach" which allows guests to swim in the Adriatic directly from hotel property.
- Dubrovnik Palace - Lapad's finest 5-star hotel and the most-beautifully positioned hotel in Dubrovnik. The views from the restaurant, pool area, and lobby bar are spectacular as is the direct access to the Adriatic sea for swimming.
- Hotel Bellevue - This sleek, stylish 4-star hotel is perfectly located on a beautiful beach just 800 meters from the Old Town. The hotel's restaurant (Vapor) is one of Dubrovnik's most creative and offers stunning views of the sea.
For those with a more limited budget, I recommend private accommodation over a 3-star hotel. Private apartments and villas are often more comfortable and better appointed than a 3-star hotel and are generally priced lower. They also offer a unique "local" experience and extras such as a kitchen or private terrace. Our website, www.DubrovnikApartmentSource.com offers a wide range of high-quality, upscale apartments and villas in many locations including Old Town, walking distance to Old Town, Lapad, Cavtat, and other areas on the Dubrovnik Riveria.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
How long should I stay in Dubrovnik?
One of the most common questions we hear from travelers to Dubrovnik is "how long should I stay?" The answer to this question depends on how much you want to see. All of the major historical sites of Dubrovnik can be seen in one or two days if you like to keep busy and do not want to visit any of the local area beaches or take day-trips. However, if you use Dubrovnik as a base to explore Southern Dalmatia and the surrounding areas then you could easily keep busy for a week or more.
If you only have a day or two in Dubrovnik we recommend staying in or close to the Old Town so as to minimize travel time and maximize your exposure to the historic, aspects of the city. You will likely have to stay in a hotel as most private apartment and villa owners require a 3-night minimum stay, especially during the busy summer season. If your schedule allows a longer stay in Dubrovnik you will have more options. In this case, we recommend staying within walking distance of the Old Town in the neighborhoods of Ploce or Pile. Since you will have no problem meeting the 3-night minimum requirement, we recommend private apartments or villas as they offer a unique, "local" experience and much better rates than comparable hotels. Apartments in the Ploce and Pile neighborhoods often offer more space than those in the Old Town and generally have a balcony or terrace with views of the beautiful Adriatic Sea.
If you have decided to make Dubrovnik your base for exploring Southern Dalmatia you will need to stay for a minimum of 4 – 7 days. Popular full-day trips from Dubrovnik include Montenegro, Mostar (Bosnia), the Island of Korcula, the wine region of the Peljesac Peninsula, and a boat trip to the 3 Elaphite Islands. Of course, you will want to leave a couple of days to explore Dubrovnik's Old Town, local beaches, the village of Cavtat, the Konavle region, and perhaps some of the other surrounding villages such as Zaton & Mlini.
Dubrovnik is a small city and can physically be covered in a short time if necessary. However, travelers who choose to spend a bit more time and look beneath the surface will be richly rewarded with cultural experiences and unique, natural beauty.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Hello from Sunny Dubrovnik!
I decided to create this blog as a resource for travelers to Dubrovnik and other areas of Croatia. Though Croatia is becoming a popular destination for travelers there are not many good, comprehensive web sources of accurate travel information. I plan to regularly post useful travel details such as bus and ferry routes/schedules, recommendations of restaurants and local area businesses, and local cultural events and happenings.
My wife and I are Americans who have been living in Dubrovnik for 2 years. We own and operate a business named Dubrovnik Apartment Source. Our website is an easy-to-use source for booking high-quality private apartments and villas in and around Dubrovnik. We visit each property personally before listing them on our website and we offer honest, personalized reviews.
Please enjoy my postings and feel free to ask any questions about traveling or living in Dubrovnik! I will do my best to answer them quickly.