As some of my readers probably already know, Andrew and I had a wonderful trip to Croatia back in May. While we all are bidding farewell to summer, I thought it would make sense to share our travel memories. So I am inviting you to virtually join our trip to Croatia, May 2023 (Part 3).
Yes, finally, I am wrapping up this Croatian trilogy. This post covers our last five days in Croatia when we visited two islands – Hvar and Korčula and finally famous Dubrovnik. And of course, you are going to see many cats!
Hvar and Stari Grad
From Split, we took a ferry to visit one of the most beautiful Croatian islands and also one of the most popular Adriatic resorts. Our goal, however, was not its beaches and coves because we only had one day dedicated to the island. (And it was raining anyway.)
Stari Grad (“Old Town”) is a town on the northern side of the island of Hvar and one of the oldest towns in Europe. The most ancient part of it falls under the UNESCO Protected World Heritage Site.
Hvar is a largest settlement of the Island of Hvar which had a long and distinguished history as center for trade and culture in the Adriatic. Both Hvar and Stari Grad are surely the places that you should consider adding to your bucket list if you are planning a trip to Croatia.
A Very Special Kitten
We could have spent a few hours longer on the island. But due to the rainy day and also my moody attitude that day (probably I was a bit getting tired of our vacation), we decided to catch the earlier ferry.
We spend a night in the village of Komarna. There’s nothing much in terms of touristic attractions in that area, but we met a Very Special Kitten here. Most likely, it was a homeless cat – a resident of the village. Despite being afraid of us, he was also curious and made a numerous attempts to approach us. I think he did normally rely on tourists who would feed him. But since it was May, there might not have been so many tourists staying here, so he was super hungry. We bought a large can of wet food that he enjoyed throughout the night. We also offered him to stay with us that night, and after some hesitation he cuddled up on a blanket and slept until early morning when he demanded to leave.
He still visited us just before our leave to finish up the can (but I am pretty sure to say us goodbye.) I hope his summer was full with delicious foods, and I certainly hope the locals would keep feeding him during the winter.
The next stop was the port of Orebić where we took the ferry to the island of Korčula. While Orebić is not the touristic attraction, it surely has gorgeous views, and we took a stroll when waiting for a ferry.
Korčula is another beautiful island in the Adriatic Sea. It has many villages and old settlements along the coast, but our main destination was the town of Korčula where we stayed for the night.
The old city is surrounded by walls, and the streets are arranged in a herringbone pattern allowing free circulation of air but protecting against strong winds. The town’s historic sites include the buildings of Romanesque-Gothic and Venetian styles. And look at this panoramic view of the town!
Here we decided to have a seafood dinner (the specialty of the Adriatic and particularly Korčula), and we enjoyed a large seafood platter and a gorgeous octopus salad.
The next morning we took a ferry back to Orebić and started our way toward Dubrovnik (just ~100 km). Another must stop was Ston – an old settlement in the Dubrovnik County. Because of its geopolitical and strategic position, Ston has had a rich history since ancient times. The main attraction her is the Walls of Ston, the massive city walls that were constructed in the 14th-15th centuries to defend the settlement.
If you are visiting Dubrovnik, please make sure to stop by this charming place. And don’t forget to bring some food for many cats that reside here – they would appreciate :)
Trsteno Arboretum and Games of Thrones
We did not plan to visit Trsteno Arboretum although this site was added to our TripAdvisor as a possible stop. As we did have some extra time before our place in Dubrovnik would be available, we had a quick stop and did not regret.
Trsteno Arboretum is a Mediterranean arboretum (arboretum is a botanical collection that is composed exclusively of trees.) It was erected in late 15th century being one of the oldest arboretums in the world.
This place was also used for filming of the third and fourth seasons of the tv series Games of Thrones (as the setting of the Red Keep palace gardens in King’s Landing)
Disclaimer: we are not the Game of Thrones fans. In fact, Andrew fully watched the series only this spring. And myself? Just some episodes in the background (when Andrew was watching it.) I may, though, consider, watching it after visiting Dubrovnik which was the major place to shoot many scenes.
Our first impression of Dubrovnik was overwhelming, in a negative way. Too crowded, too many cars, heavy traffic. Outrageously expensive parking. For example, all the previous places we parked our car (even if that was the center of a town), cost us around 8-15 euros per night (or 1-2 euros per hour). Dubrovnik, though? Forget about it! There’s no such a thing as overnight parking around the old town. The price per hour is between 20 and 25 euros. You can surely park your car overnight, if you are willing to pay 200 euros or so. We ended up driving outside of the old town (just 40 minute walk) where parked the car for two nights for a total of only 25 euros. Feel the difference!
Despite the first overwhelming impression, surely Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia and most importantly – one of the most well-preserved. The number of beautiful streets and buildings is overwhelming, too (but this time, in a great way.)
Unfortunately, most old buildings were destroyed in the earthquake of 1667 but enough remained to give you a flavour of Dubrovnik heritage. The prominent feature of Dubrovnik is its walls which run almost 2 kilometers around the city. The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popular filming location for the city of King’s Landing from Game of Thrones.
Needless to say, the old town of Dubrovnik has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
Oh did I mention SO MANY cats?
Our last night before going back to Zagreb, we celebrated by visiting a restaurant with a focus on the heritage food of Dubrovnik. We enjoyed Dalmatinska Pašticada (braised beef dish cooked in a fragrant sweet and sour sauce), Šporki makaruli (“Dirty macaroni”), and a Rožata (a traditional Dubrovnik dessert similar to crème brûlée but with a unique twist – an addition of a local liqueur made from rose petals.)
The next morning we jumped in the car and went back to Zagreb. Two weeks of travelling and so many great sites – and we were tired and wanted to get on our plane ASAP. We still had a dinner and a nice walk to see night Zagreb before heading to the airport.
And remember how our trip started – our luggage was arrived a day later after us? The same happened on the way back, and the suitcases arrived to Halifax a few days later :)
Thank you for joining me over the last three weeks, and I hope you liked our memories and photos. And please do include Croatia on your travel bucket list – it is so so worthy!
In meantime, we are starting to dream of our next adventure which may be the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg. Fingers crossed, everything will be fine!
Cheers and see you next week, finally with food! :)
Hi – I’m Ben, a blogger, recipe developer, and food photographer. I’m glad you’re here! I hope you will enjoy hundreds of delicious recipes and a pinch of havoc in the kitchen.