Getting that Game of Thrones feeling in Dubrovnik, Croatia

In late August we took a bus from Split to Dubrovnik where we stayed for a couple of nights. On the way to Dubrovnik we briefly passed into Bosnia and had to go through customs. This is because the southern tip of Croatia is actually cut off from the rest of the country so all land travel passes through Bosnia. It was about 30 minutes in Bosnia including a rest stop and then we were back in Croatia for the last hour of the journey.

Dubrovnik has become very popular in recent years. Not only have cruise ships visited regularly in recent years, but the extensive use of the city as a Game of Thrones filming location has made it a popular destination. Although summer was almost over the weather was hot and humid the crowds were out in full force as we went to visit the walled old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Approaching the old town from above

The city of Dubrovnik was originally named Ragusa and dates back 1300 years. During medieval times it because a prosperous trading nation and an independent free state. At times throughout its history Dubrovnik has been controlled or occupied by a number of nations including Venice, Serbia, France and Austria. The city joined the rest of Croatia in becoming independent from Yugoslavia in 1991, but the city underwent shelling by Serbian forces shortly thereafter when war broke out.

Crowds going into Pile Gate
Heading down the stairs into the town just inside the gate. It was a bottleneck as people came from both directions. In Game of Thrones Season 2, this was the location where Joffrey was pelted by manure and the riot started. YouTube clip here

I had planned for us to visit the town when there was a minimum of ships docked in the local port (a website like this one can be very helpful: cruise ship schedule 2020) but even with only one medium-size ship in the port the crowds were still heavy. Fortunately it was possible to get away from the main streets and take the much less travelled side streets in the old town.

Taking the side streets is the best way to lose the crowds
Along the outer walls of the town
Up along the outer walls looking out to the sea. This little fellow was being well taken care of
The littlest member of the King’s Watch watching for the Baratheon fleet
Church of St. Stephen
A sign outside a place in the old town
Looking back towards the town from the old port
Swimming next to the old port
The old port in the distance

I didn’t know swimming was permitted there or I would have brought swim clothes. Although I missed the chance to go swimming next to the old town, I did go swimming in another part of town the next day. We avoided the busy Lapad Beach (Uvala Lapad) in Dubrovnik and instead I swam in the nearby Lapad Coves.

Even though it was the end of August the water was a bit cold but not too bad and I quickly got used to it. I was glad I had the chance to do some swimming in Croatia before we moved on to Italy.

I got in the water from the rocks. Lapad Beach is in the distance.
Wave at the camera!
Last swim to the edge of the bay before heading back
Last look from the Lapad Cove boardwalk

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