Here we are! The last part of my three-part series that covers all the details about my Croatia trip last month. I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far. And if you’re just stumbling on this post and haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2, you can do so now before diving in.
This last post will cover the final leg of my trip, which landed me in two incredibly beautiful cities: Makarska and Dubrovnik. If you’re planning on visiting Croatia, you have to add these cities to your list. Dubrovnik might be a given but don’t miss out on Makarska. You’ll see why, in a minute, in the photos below!
So let’s get to it – I hope you enjoy the travel guides I’ve put together for Makarska and Dubrovnik. My hope is that you’ll be able to use this post as you’re planning your trip to Croatia. Enjoy!
Things To Do In Croatia: Add Makarska To Your List
My biggest travel day was the drive down to Makarska from Rastoke. That was planned, but after several hours of driving, I was very happy to pull into my Airbnb. It was positioned on a hill overlooking the city of Makarska, with a great view of the Adriatic Sea.
Makarska is a very small city, so you can see a lot in just a day. The first thing I did when I got settled into my place was to walk down the hill into the city center. Here you’ll find a little square with an old church and fountain.
But while taking pictures here, that’s when I noticed where I was in the world – Makarska is nestled below a beautiful mountain range. When I turned around and saw it, I think I said out loud, “Woah”.
But the visuals get better! I made my way down to the marina, and that’s where you’ll get the most epic view in Makarska. With the mountain range stretching out along the sea.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was in Croatia during Yacht Week, and so I also got to check out the gorgeous boats that were docked in the marina.
And this was probably my favorite part. Just walking along the promenade by the water. The views were incredible and the city was busy with visitors coming in from the sea and docking for the night. The promenade has all kinds of restaurants and cafes, so I stopped to have a glass of wine and some food before the sun went down.
Other things to do in Makarska:
- In the little square I mentioned, there’s also a monument of a Franciscan monk that’s kind of fun to check out.
- Head out to Sveti Petar before sundown to catch the sunset over the sea. It’s a lighthouse at the tip of St. Peter Forest Park.
- Head to the observatory at night to get a peek at the stars in the night sky! You can head over there after 9 pm. It’s 30 kunas to get in, and there’s a guide to help you navigate the telescope.
Places to eat in Makarska:
- There are all kinds of cute restaurants and cafes along the waterfront, so make sure to check those out.
- Otherwise, wander through the village to find Konoba Kalalarga, Susvid, or Konoba Pizzeria.
I was in and out of Makarska. I only spent one night there, but I got the best out of it with that amazing view. The next morning, I started the drive down to Dubrovnik.
Things To Do In Croatia: The Beautiful City of Dubrovnik
The drive to Dubrovnik is lovely. The curvy roads along the coastline reminded me of the drive on Highway 1 down to Big Sur. But with grander mountains and cliffs. It’s beautiful!
Tip: You’ll drive through Bosnia (for about 7 minutes!) so make sure to have your passport ready as you’ll be stopped at customs before and after entering Bosnia.
Once I got into the city, I immediately parked and found my Airbnb. It was a bit farther from the city center than I would have originally liked, but once I saw the place AND the amazing view, I was SO happy with the find. I felt very much at home here.
The walk down to Old Town was just 15 minutes (and all downhill). The first part of the walk has you going through narrow alleyways, where you’ll catch hints of Jasmine (I love that smell!) and stray cats wandering the stone pathways.
I entered Old Town from the Pile Gate. I loved that entrance the most because there were some great restaurants with views of the sea. And there’s a little gelato stand that’s a perfect sweet treat on hot days. And it was definitely hot! I think at one point it must have reached 90+ degrees.
Once I got on the other side of the wall, the first thing I did was grab a bite to eat at a little place that my Airbnb host recommended (Lucin Kantan). So, my first reaction to Old Town was the maze of alleyways that you’re walking through. It really brings you back in time (and can be a little confusing too!). But alas, I found the place and received a warm welcome. And some much-needed food. I was so hungry after a long drive.
There are SO many restaurants in the alleyways, so you’ll have a lot of options to choose from.
Then, I spent most of the day just exploring the city. I walked down Stradun, which is the main street in Old Town, that will get you to a small square where you’ll find a museum, a fountain, and the beautiful Church of Saint Blaise.
The Dominican Monastery is nearby, too, but sadly it was under construction when I went, so I didn’t get to go inside.
And then, of course, I explored the Dubrovnik Walls. Note: If it’s a hot day, make sure you’re ready to climb stairs in the heat. I had to stop a few times to grab water and rest!
But you’ll get beautiful views! Of the sea, of the iconic orange rooftops, the alleyways below, and of old church steeples that tower over the Old Town village. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll get all kinds of King’s Landing flashbacks, too.
The second day was even more fun than the first! I started the day by going up on the cable cars to a lookout point at the top of Mount Srd. Here, you’ll get breathtaking views of the Old City of Dubrovnik, the indigo-blue Adriatic Sea, and the little islands surrounding the city.
There’s a restaurant up there that you must stop at for food/drinks. It’s called Panoramic Restaurant. I stayed up there for lunch and watched the cable cars go back and forth for a few hours. And per the name, the panoramic views from up there are so nice. I didn’t want to leave!
Hello down there!
But, I had other things on my list that day. You see, I heard about this place called Buza Bar that I had to check out. It was described as a “hole in the wall” kind of place, but it did not disappoint.
It’s incredibly unassuming from the alleyway. In fact, I don’t recall the door even being marked. But once you find it, you’ll head down a steep stone staircase that brings you down to Buza Bar.
You’ll find seating on the top level, along with a bar, where you can sit for hours and enjoy the sound of the sea from under an umbrella. OR you can keep going down to the lower levels, where you can jump in and take a swim in the sea. How cool is that!? Plus, the waitstaff there was SO incredibly friendly and welcoming.
My last night in Dubrovnik was pretty special, too. I was blessed with an incredibly beautiful sunset that I got to watch from my Airbnb balcony.
The picture doesn’t even do it justice. The way the sun’s rays were peeking out from the clouds. It was incredible. So much so that I got teary-eyed! Yes, embarrassing, but it’s true. And it was mostly because I felt so grateful for the moment. I felt lucky to be seeing such a beautiful scene laid out in front of me.
It reminds you that we really do live in a beautiful world.
Other things to do in Dubrovnik:
- Take a ferry over to the island of Lokrum. I hear it’s a nice way to get away from the hustle of the city. Make a picnic and enjoy a day trip on the island as you explore the botanical gardens and an old monastery dating back to 1023.
- Buy a Dubrovnik city card so that you can check out a few tourist attractions while in Old Town, including the city walls, museums, and access to public transportation. You can purchase a one-day, three-day, or seven-day card.
Places to eat in Dubrovnik:
- Lucin Kantan was a fun little spot to grab lunch. You can eat out in the alleyway (which is fun), but there are windows and an open kitchen so you can watch the chef make your food on the spot.
- Dubravka 1836 Restaurant was the perfect spot to grab drinks on a hot day. The best part is that it has a great view of the Adriatic Sea and the historic city walls.
And that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve found my travel guides helpful as you start planning your Croatia trip. I found the country to be so lovely, and I know you will too!
Let’s go places,
All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!
I have collaborated with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board for this post, but all opinions are mine.