We booked airbnb apartments in the Gruz part of town, a nice central location halfway between the old harbor and the new. It is quite a hike up the many staircases from the waterfront, so be prepared and pack a duffle instead of a rolling suitcase. First, in a small but excellently equipped studio apartment. Next, at a slightly large place with a terrace a few blocks closer to old town. Both were just a block away from several markets and bakeries - I've never seen a city with such density of grocery stores! To get to Dubrovnik, we took the Libertas bus from Molunat. Our friend Nicole arrived by airplane and took the affordable Atlas shuttle to town from the airport.
- Explore the old city, both inside the narrow streets and plazas and up on the fortress walls.
- Walk the coastal trail around Babin Kuk and stop to swim in the crystal blue waters.
- Take a boat to Lokrum Island where you'll feel like royalty strolling around with peacocks.
- Hike to the top of the hills behind Dubrovnik for an incredible 360 degree view of the Dalmatian coast.
- Head south of the old city to explore Sveti Jakov Beach.
The restaurants are serviceable but not special in Dubrovnik. You'll mostly find touristy spots with pizza and fried calamari. It's fun to sit in sidewalk cafes drinking a macchiato, brandy or draft beer anywhere in town. Gelato is a steal at $1-2 for a cone. The Pemo, Konzume and Tommy grocery stores are well stocked for cooking at home in a mix of Italian, Eastern European and Mediterranean styles. Lots of cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, smoked meats, hard cheeses, gnocchi, yogurt, sauerkraut and sausages. The little bakeries everywhere sell good fruit strudels, spinach stuffed pastries and foccacia pizza. Candied lemon and orange rind is a local delicacy.
It's a very casual town. Sneakers are nice to have for long hiking days. Flat black boots or comfy sandals for city exploration. I wore a mix of my black "city clothes" some days and jeans + t-shirts for exploring. It does get really hot when the sun is on you and cold at night, so layers are key. The weather in May was moody, swinging between rain in the high 50's and blazing sunny high 70's days. Bring a bikini and a light towel with you everywhere. You never know when you'll run across a nice swimming spot. Wear LOTS of sunscreen.
Bring home candied citrus peel, lavender oil, olive oil, Croatian wines, soaps, paprika, red painted wood eggs for Easter and pretty watercolor sketches of the city.