If you’ve seen even one episode of Game of Thrones, you know Dubrovnik, Croatia. It’s the real-life city by the sea used to create the show’s King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. Not everything you see the show is real, but they really do film in Dubrovnik and there’s more than one spot you’ll recognize from the show in the city.
For a country that none of us had been to, Croatia had certainly been a topic of discussion for years before we went. We remembered it mostly from their bloody civil war in the 1990s, but the images you see when you Google “Croatian coast” are simply stunning. It has all the visual power of the Italian coast, but from the other side of the Mediterranean, as it lies along the Dalmatian Coast across from Italy. Lesser known, fewer people. Our goal for Dubrovnik was not only to see the locations from Game of Thrones, but also to find the best view in town.
From our ship, you can see the entire old historic city center, surrounded by a wall that you can climb up and walk across the entire circumference. Our ship was on the small side so we could pull in almost to the city docks, getting the rest of the way on the ship’s tender. Dubrovnik has thus far escaped a lot of the tourist attention of the French Riviera or most of Italy, but it’s showing up on a lot of “must see” travel lists, so the day when the crowds descend en masse isn’t far away.
Now that views had been seen and a bird’s eye view of the city established, we moved into some nerding out. For reference:
While looking for a specific bar overlooking the harbor that you had to sneak through the city walls to get to, we found this message. It’s the graffiti that makes a city feel like a real, lived-in place that is mostly for the residents and not the travelers. Especially graffiti that makes it clear that this particular tiny corner is a popular drunken urinal and the neighbors are OVER IT.
In addition to the views, we were also obviously on the look-out for seafood. On the waterfront, we dined on massive bowls of peel-and-eat shrimp, octopus salad, lots of cheese, fish pate, olives and bread. And also beer. The local Ožujsko lager was refreshing, highly recommend.
A few exploratory meanderings later, we almost literally stumbled upon the entrance to the bar we were looking for. It’s not signed (aside from a wooden arrow that reads “COLD DRINKS” that’s only legible when you’re standing right under it), and unless you know the gap in the rocks to look for, you’ll pass it right by. But once you squeeze through the wall, it’s laid out in front of you, bartenders bringing bottles (no taps, no mixed drinks and no food served here) to a select group of industrious thirsty travelers. And when you look out over the water, this is what you see. This IS the life.
One view bucket list item down, more to go. One thing we like about Europe is probably something people with kids hate: there are very few rules or restrictions when it comes to climbing around on the rocks by the water and pretending you’re a local roaming cat. They let you go everywhere you might want to go, so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s safe. This is what you get when you do that roaming successfully.
Until next time, Dubrovnik.
The Bespoke Travelers are Annemarie & Justin Miller. Words by Annemarie. Images by Justin.
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