Tips for visiting Dubrovnik:
1. Rather than hiring a taxi to the Old Town from downtown Dubrovnik, there are many bus stops along the main streets where you can board the local buses. Bus tickets can be bought when boarding the bus, however it works out to be cheaper if you buy your tickets from shops in advance. The local buses which run this route are the numbers 1a, 1b and 8, and the usual fare is 1.30 euro.
2. If you’re looking for a quiet restaurant within the Old Town to grab a bite to eat, you need to get off the beaten track. The restaurants that are in the open are always crowded and consequently, loud. There are many tiny staircases leading off the main streets in the Old Town, and all you have to do is keep an eye out for signs advertising the location of these independently owned businesses. I can assure you that they will be much cheaper than eating where everyone else is.
3. If you are like me, and you have a habit of collecting magnets or other various memoirs of your travels, then buying them from the shops in Old Town Dubrovnik is not the way to go. These products are marked up, and will cost a minimum of 3 or 4 euros. There are people walking around near to the gate of the walled city with souvenirs for less than half of the price of the store bought trinkets.
4. If you are visiting Dubrovnik as a stop on a cruise, then you are most likely without any of the local currency. Using the Euro in Dubrovnik may be a headache, unless you like to walk around with a small calculator. Spending the US Dollar is almost impossible, as stores seem to refuse taking the bills as payment. I utilized a foreign exchange agency to change my cash into the Croatian Kuna for a reasonable rate, and this made visiting the city a less confusing venture.
5. Many people visit the Old Town to walk along the walls in the hopes of capturing some great photos. The cost of this activity is about $12 USD. If you are more concerned about getting some bird’s eye views rather than the actual stroll along the wall, there is a free alternative. Just outside of the entrance of the Old Town is another hill. Most tourists aren’t aware of a path which takes you up this hill where you can get awesome views at the same height as if you’re climbing the wall. I discovered this totally by accident, and I’d love for others to experience the same.
Dubrovnik is a known as the Pearl of the Adriatic Sea, and it deserves the title. However, as with all major tourist destinations, high prices and large crowds are present as well. Hopefully, these tips will make your visit a bit cheaper, and allow you a few moments away from the crowds to enjoy the city with a bit of peace.
The Pillars of Hercules is a natural phenomenon in Antigua where water erosion carves out a cliff face into ‘pillars’ like those seen in Greek or Roman architecture. The site was recently nominated to become a ‘Natural Wonder of the World’, but sadly didn’t claim the title. Regardless, I figured a trip to see the pillars would be a great weekend activity.
There are two ways to get to there. For the physically adventurous, there’s a hiking path which takes visitors to the cliffside. To take this route, interested persons can inquire at the Information Office at Nelson’s Dockyard. We decided to take the easier route, and opted to hire a water taxi to take us out into the harbour for some awesome seaside views instead.
The day before, we went to Nelson’s Dockyard to inquire about the water taxi and to make our reservation. We took a leisurely stroll through the area, snapping photos of the different sights before we found the skipper of the water taxi. We made our appointment, then returned home.
The next day, we arrived about 4pm to begin our tour. Our Skipper was called Mannix, and he took us out to sea in a little speed boat. It became quite the adventure when we left the calm waters of English Harbour and came into contact with some waves of somewhat epic proportions.
We passed two ancient fortresses, known as Fort Berkeley and Fort Charlotte. They once protected the island from pirates and today they’re beautiful relics of Antigua’s history.
Before we knew it, we were approaching the Pillars of Hercules. The site was awe-inspiring, and it was truly astonishing to think that they were created by Mother Nature.
We snapped as many photos as we could before turning around to return to the harbour.
Mannix mentioned that he needed to pick up a few folks from Galleon Beach, so we got a little more sightseeing than we’d bargained for! It was fun to weave through the throngs of yachts, as we made our way to the jetty at the beach.
We moved over to make space for the newcomers then headed back for Nelson’s Dockyard.
After hopping out of the boat, we paid Mannix $4 USD for the trip, which in our opinion was a really decent price. We had such a great time, that I’m pretty sure we’ll be back with a few more friends before the year is over.
There’s a new attraction in Antigua and it’s not your typical park or an island tour. I’m talking about a modified oil tanker which is now a floating restaurant/bar/nightclub, anchored out in Jolly Harbour. (Drumroll please)…. It’s known as “D-Boat”.
Jolly Harbour is a beautiful bay in the south-western side of the island, in the village of Bolans. From the jetty at the harbour, there’s a ferry which transports visitors to and from D-Boat. To find the ferry easily, ask for the Crows Nest Restaurant, as it’s right in front of the pick-up/drop off area. The views during transit are really lovely.
D-Boat is a great spot to enjoy a bite to eat, and a glass of wine at sunset. Their menu is quite diverse and affordable by Caribbean standards, starting from around $8 USD and a glass of wine is $4. I ordered a plate of chicken wings with blue cheese dip, while my cousin Anya chose the chicken wrap with a side order of fries.
The dining area, while somewhat small, offers a great view of the sea, and the gentle rocking motion by the ocean is enough to lull anyone into a relaxed state.
On the weekends, the venue is transformed into a nightclub, complete with a Dj and a dancefloor. It’s definitely a unique place to get your groove on! During the day however, the atmosphere is laid back, and guests can have a blast using the on-site water slide and enjoy a dip in the stunningly blue Caribbean waters.
For anyone looking to add a bit of ‘different’ to their day, an afternoon or evening spent on D-Boat is a great option. We had a wonderful time and I’m pretty sure you will too!