Apartment La Petite (Lodging)
Address and Website: Braće Andrijića 1, Dubrovnik, Croatia, www.booking.com/hotel/hr/la-petite.html
Location: The apartment was ideally situated right inside of the old city, a 5 minute walk from the Ploce gate. Anything in the old town was within easy walking distance. It was right in the center of things, while a the same time tucked away. The apartment was located 2 floors up (not bad) in a quiet building near the cathedral. In Dubrovnik, a lot of places can be noisy, so the quietness of the apartment’s location was a big plus. It was near tons of restaurants and there was an outdoor market right next door in the mornings.
Overall: Overall, I have no complaints. For the price, it was wonderful. There was a little kitchen with all of the items you would want. The air-conditioning worked well, there was cable tv (not that most people on vacation spend too much time watching tv, but we found a few English channels to flip through at night), and there was ample space. It seemed as if some of the apartments in the building were being remodeled, but noise never bothered us. For the amount of stairs an apartment or B&B stay in Dubrovnik can entail (it can be a ton), this wasn’t bad at all. It was less than a flight worth of steps off of the main square by the Cathedral and then up two floors once inside.
Hotel Staff: The woman working with the owner was very helpful. She met us at the gate to the city (you can’t drive inside), assisted with our luggage, and ensured that we didn’t have any questions before she left us at the apartment. She was always reachable, and followed up with us to make sure that everything was ok.
Room: The apartment was very comfortable. We had a small couch and chair to relax on and a little dining table. The bathroom wasn’t huge, but it was definitely better than many I’ve encountered in Europe. The bedroom was a good size and easily fit our luggage. Even the hallway between the bedroom and the living area was wide and open. It might be a tad bit tight for 4 people unless 2 of them were children, but the space was more than ample for 2 adults (and a lot bigger than a hotel room for 4 would be). Having a kitchen was a huge plus. It was nice that we could get wine and beer and water from the little convenience store nearby and keep it in the refrigerator or bring snacks or desserts back to eat later. We didn’t have to worry about plates or silverware or cooking utensils. Overall, I really thought the price was extremely reasonable for how nice it was (flat screen TV, hardwood floors, modern-feeling kitchen) and I would definitely stay here again if in Dubrovnik, especially over spending a fortune for a cramped hotel room way outside of town.
Address and Website: Prijeko bb 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia; www.nishtarestaurant.com
Location: Nishta is located in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, on the corner of Palmoticeva and Prijeko. Here are directions as per their website: Enter Stradun (the main street) through the Pile gate (west entrance), walk straight for approximately one minute and turn left on the 3rd street on your left side (Palmotićeva). If entering the Old Town through the Ploče gate (east entrance), walk straight down Stradun for approximately three minutes and turn right onto the 12th street on your right side (Palmotićeva). Once on Palmotićeva, walk up the street and continue up the first 12 steps. You will then be on Prijeko street (first street parallel to Stradun). Turn right and the entrance is a precise 4 meters and 78 centimeters to your right.
Overall: Overall, I loved this place. The food was absolutely delicious and was a welcome change from pizza and pasta (which while delicious can eventually get tiring). Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, you’ll enjoy the food. My husband—who loves his meat—commented that if all vegetarian food tasted this good, he would consider a lifestyle change. If you are a vegetarian—or a vegan—it is the perfect place for you (almost anything on the menu that isn’t already can be modified to be vegan). Over the course of 2 nights, we tried a lot of appetizers and an entree or two. We had the lentil cakes with sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes, pakoras (fried vegetables with yogurt sauce), toquinu (caramelized tofu and pineapple skewers), nachos con queso, falafel, and Indiastic (a large Indian entree). All were absolutely delicious. The fresh brewed iced tea was also excellent.
Photos: Left: Falafel; Center: Indiastic Entree; Right: Toquinu
Atmosphere: The first time we ate at the restaurant, we ate inside, and it was a bit cramped but overall fine. There are only 3 or 4 table inside, but the space is very cutely decorated. The bathroom has some very interesting décor—take a look. The second time, we ate outside. Out on the street is a little nicer. You get a breeze, a little bit more room, and can watch as people stroll by enjoying the weather. You cannot just show up here for dinner and expect to get a table because of its small size; you must make a reservation. You can either call or stop by the night before to reserve your table. Book 2 nights in advance if you can, but we didn’t have trouble getting a table for two making a reservation the evening before.
Photos: Left: Nachos con Queso; Center: Pakoras; Right: Lentil Cakes
Spaghetteria Toni (Restaurant)
Address and Website: Nikole Bozidarevica 14, Dubrovnik, Croatia, www.spaghetteria-toni.com
Location: In the center of the Old Town on a quieter old lane.
Overall: Overall, the food here was good. It was typical Italian fare. I had the gnocchi with a cream sauce which you can’t really go wrong with. They were pillow soft and very filling. My husband got a salad—similar to a chef salad—and it was enormous. Neither of us were able to finish our plates. The only thing the salad was missing, though, was a good dressing. This place is known for its pasta (obvious by its name), and the dishes I saw coming out of the kitchen all looked good. If you’re in the mood for a big bowl of pasta, this is definitely your place.
Photos: Left: Gnocchi with Cream Sauce; Right: Chef Salad
Atmosphere: The restaurant had that typical feel of an Italian pasta place smelling like garlic and tomatoes and staff bustling around. There was also some outdoor seating, as well. It was more than fine for a relaxing meal.
Pizzeria Tabasco (Restaurant)
Address and Website: Hvarska 48A, Dubrovnik, Croatia; www.pizzeriatabasco.hr
Location: Located near the entrance to the cable cars up to the fort above the city, it’s an ideal stop for lunch or dinner, especially if you plan it around your ride up.
Overall: Overall, the pizza here was very good. It was recommended to us by a local as their favorite pizza establishment in Dubrovnik, and I can see why. We had lunch here and ordered a large pizza to share and it was huge! The flavor was delicious, and we ended up with leftovers to take back to our apartment for later which was a bonus, as well.
Atmosphere: We sat inside with the pizza ovens and it felt like a typical Italian restaurant—laid back and homey-feeling. There was also outdoor seating, but we opted out of that since it was a bit warm out. That option could be nice in the evening, though.
Oliva Pizzeria (Restaurant)
Address and Website: Lucarica 5, Dubrovnik, Croatia; Phone: 5 20 324 594; www.pizza-oliva.com
Location: In the center of Old Town behind St. Blaise Church.
Overall: Overall, the pizza was quite good. We could smell it before we could see it, and the smell lived up to the taste. I definitely recommend it for a quick bite on the go. They also had a sit-down restaurant which I’m sure was at a minimum decent, but judging by the pizza, probably better than decent.
Atmosphere: We just grabbed a slice to go from the outdoor counter, but the restaurant had a nice little section of shaded outdoor seating where you could enjoy a meal, as well.
D'Vino Wine Bar (Bar)
Address and Website: Palmoticeva 4a, Dubrovnik, Croatia; www.dvino.net
Location: Palmoticeva street is the 3rd street on the left from the Pile gate entrance.
Overall: This is a great place to try some Croatian wines. They have different flights to choose from; each came with accompanying descriptions of the wines and their flavors. The staff was very knowledgeable and was able to ascertain what we would or wouldn’t like. You can buy wine by the bottle or the glass or buy a bottle to take away with you. The bar also had light snacks that you could order with your wine. There was a cheese plate and a meat and cheese plate option which paired perfectly with the wine. They were all local cheeses, so you could try yet another Croatian item. We ordered a cheese plate for the two of us to share, and it was rather large for just the two of us, especially as an appetizer before going to dinner. It came with olives and slices of bread. The guy working the bar was funny and we had fun bantering back and forth with him, as well.
Atmosphere: We sat inside at the bar on our first visit. The interior feels hip and loungey yet comfortable. It was a fun, relaxingplace with an overall good vibe. It was a good spot to ask questions, peruse the menu, and try some tasting flights. We decided on a whim to order a cheese plate after seeing how good the one they were making for another group of customers looked. On our second visit, we perched on a small love seat they had set up with a little coffee table in the corner. We sipped our glasses of wine and just relaxed. There were also several high-top tables both inside and out that filled up in the evening with people relaxing over a glass of their favorite wine. This is a great stop in Dubrovnik for any wine lover or person interested in learning more about Croatian wines.
The Gaffe Irish Pub (Bar)
Address and Website: Miha Pracata 4, Dubrovnik, Croatia; www.facebook.com/irishpubthegaffe/
Location: Located right in the city center.
Overall: We stopped here on 2 occasions while in Dubrovnik. It was a great spot to grab a beer and had a good happy hour, as well. It’s always nice to be able to grab a pint and enjoy some English conversations when in a foreign country.
Atmosphere: It was a relaxing little Irish pub with sports games on the TVs and a lively atmosphere. There was indoor seating and also a little covered courtyard area outside that you could sit in.
Sugar & Spice (Bakery)
Address and Website: Od Batale 25 Dubrovnik, 20000; http://www.slasticarna.com
Location: The location of this bakery has moved since I was last in Dubrovnik. It's not as conveniently location inside of the old walled city, but if you find yourself in between Dubrovnik's Gruz and Lapad neighborhoods, look this place up. It's delicious! (Note: They are closed on Sundays.)
Overall: My husband and I both loved this place. We stopped here every night after dinner while in Dubrovnik. Everything we tried was delicious. It’s a small sweet shop (bakery) and doesn’t have the huge display cases full of options many Americans are accustomed to, but everything they do have is homemade and absolutely delicious. Our absolute favorite dessert was the carrot cake. I have never had such good carrot cake in my life. We also tried a chocolate torte that was to die for, and some of their cookies. Basically, we didn’t have anything that we didn’t like!
Atmosphere: The bakery is little, but really how big does a bakery need to be? It was clean and cozy and everything one would expect of a little neighborhood bakery.
Dubrovnik Riviera Tours (Guide & Transportation)
Guide Info: Company name: Dubrovnik Riviera Tours, website: www.dubrovnikrivieratours.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Driver/Guide: Petar
Tour Info: We had a wonderfully daytrip to Montenegro organized by Petar. I have absolutely no complaints about him or the day he put together for us. The trip was as described on his website and in his email correspondence with me, and the car was very comfortable. It gave us a chance to relax and enjoy the day without the stress of driving (and some of the roads were quite bad). I highly recommend the company and this day trip. We got to see enough of Montenegro to satisfy us without having to move to yet another hotel. We stopped at the mouth of the bay for a photo op, then we stopped in Perast and Petar organized a private boat ride out to Our Lady of the Rock and a guide to take us through the church. After that, we had a short coffee break and then drove to Kotor to spend some time exploring the small, medieval walled city (and had some good pizza). Then we drove to Budva and he gave us time to explore there. Finally we stopped off at an overlook to see Sveti Stefan and take a few photos. We were supposed to take the ferry shortcut back but there was a huge backup on the road, so Petar took us a back way saving us a long wait. He even got the border guard to stamp our passports for us (they often don’t bother, just check them). Petar was always very attentive, helpful, and where he said he would be when we were done exploring an area. The company also does airport and cruise ship transfers. We utilized them for this service on our departing flight from Dubrovnik. Petar was not available to do our airport transfer, but one of his colleagues took us, and we had no issues with his services, either. He was friendly and prompt. In addition to the tour we took, Dubrovnik Riviera Tours also provide day trips to many places. My favorite of note is Mostar which is definitely worth visiting and probably much more enjoyable with him as your driver if you’re not planning to stay over. Also on offer are several tours of Dubrovnik and the surrounding region, wine tours, and day trips to Medugorje, Sarajevo, Krka National Park, Split (with Salona and Trogir), Hvar, and Korcula.
Adventure Dalmatia (Entertainment)
Address and Website: Adventure Dalmatia offers adventure excursions throughout Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, Zadar, Šibenik, etc.)--both one-day activities and multi-day adventures. Check out their website for more details: www.adventuredalmatia.com (Official Address: Matije Gupca 26, 21 000 Split, Croatia)
Location: We did the Dubrovnik Sea Kayaking Tour--which this review is based on. The Dubrovnik sea kayak tour departs from the small bay called Pile—one min walk from Old Town. Once you reach Pile square in front of the western entrance of the Old town, look for the new monument – big video wall. Behind the video wall are stairs going down. If you follow that stair, you will reach Pilebay and the start position.
Activity Details: My husband and I both enjoyed the trip we took with this company. We did the Half-Day Kayaking Tour at 9:30am which was nice because the sun wasn’t beating down on us (still wear sun block, the water reflects the sun). They say you don’t need any experience to do the tour—which you don’t—but we aren’t in bad shape, and we were pretty tired after (and during) it. Before we started, we went through the basics, got fitted with lifejackets, and were assigned a waterproof barrel for our kayak so we stuck anything we didn’t want to get wet (or lose off the kayak) in there and then strapped it into the middle—great for towels, camera that can’t get wet, shoes, etc. We paddled out and around Lokrum which was pretty and took a break about halfway around the island. (Watch out of the nude sunbathers on the island—trust me, they’re not people you want to see without their clothing.) We then stopped at a cave beach on the mainland. There were a lot of kayaks parked there, so it was a bit crowded. However, it was fine for a break, a light snack (sandwiches provided), and a quick swim (they provided fins, masks and snorkels—but I didn’t see them disinfecting any of the snorkels, so I stuck to just using the mask). You won’t see much of interest in the water. It’s relatively clear, but there just aren’t a lot of fish swimming around. Nonetheless, after all the paddling, the water felt really good.
Photos: Left: The Bay the Tour Leaves From; Center: Heading to Lokrum Island & View Back to the City; Right: Lokrum Island
On the ride back, we had great views of the city and its walls. I had my water proof camera with me and got some great shots during our ride and swim. Our guide was really nice and we had an enjoyable conversation with him about Dubrovnik and how he came to be working with the kayak company. He really seemed to enjoy his work and the city which is always really nice to see. I would recommend doing a kayak tour around the city (as long as you understand it’s a pretty good workout). Seeing it from the water is really enjoyable. There are several companies to choose from (you’ll see people standing outside of the city gates trying to sign tourists up for their tour), and I’m sure many are good, but I really did enjoy the company we utilized. They also do various rafting, canoeing, and kayaking adventures throughout Croatia.
Photos: 2 Left: Breaking at Lokrum Island; Center: Cave Beach; Right: View of the Walled City from the Water
Cable Cars (Entertainment)
Address and Website: Frana Supila 35a, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia; www.dubrovnikcablecar.com
Location: Buža Street (northern end of town) leads you to the exit from the city walls. From there keep climbing towards the fireman station. Once at the station, cross the street on your right hand side and keep going straight. You will see cable car station on your right.
Activity Details: This is definitely an enjoyable activity that I would recommend doing in Dubrovnik if you have the time. The views are wonderful from above and definitely worth taking in. You can also visit the old fort (with enter at your own risk signs—watch your step if you do) and the little memorial to the war. You can enjoy a meal or snack up here at the restaurant, but if you plan to do that, book ahead since all of the good tables are taken by reservations. You have a wonderful vantage point from the fort and can see into the mountains and down the coastline to Montenegro on a really clear day. I loved the way you could see the outline of Dubrovnik, the harbor, and Lokrum Island. I recommend coming up a little before sunset; you will get some spectacular views!