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Dubrovnik - Adriatic sea views and ancient buildings

Dubrovnik is an ace destination for the romantics, history buffs and adrenaline junkies, it isn’t for hyper active children or the less mobile elderly.

Youngsters would need to go down the coast to bit to more child-friendly resorts with water park amusements.

Meanwhile the first impression of our Games of Thrones setting is stunning.

Hotel Argentina is perched on the top of a cliff 5-mins to main beach and a 10-mins downhill walk to the old town.

Its backdrop and the sounds of the deep blue Adriatic lapping the sea walls are magical.

Location is perfect, staff are lovely and Graham Greene would probably have chosen the five-star accommodation – it does feel a little dated.

I would give it four stars, it isn’t ‘grand’ and the architecture of the hotel is uninspiring.

We upgraded for sea view and balcony; this was worth the extra as fellow guests complained of cupboard size front rooms with outlooks onto the busy one-way traffic system.

We thought the beds nice and soft and our daily cleaner was super-efficient even if the bathroom tiles and shower glass could have done with some anti-mould spray.

Breakfast was fantastic, spoilt for choice, and we were provided with kettle, tea/coffee/milk sachets for room (you must ask) but evening meal is limited to a set menu for those on half board with the best midweek meal being the Dubrovnik buffet.

The hot tub in the spa was out-of-order the seven days we were at the hotel and the undercover outdoor furniture isn’t comfortable for lounging unless you are propped up with loads of cushions.

However, nothing is too much trouble for the reception and piano bar staff and we were taxing guests with questions like ‘where can we watch the Barbie film’ to ‘are there any mosquitoes here’? If there were we didn’t see any but heard someone on the boat complaining about his bites! We didn’t get to see Barbie.

The one big failing was trying to get Croatian men interested in women’s football! Full marks to the sporting female restaurant staff.

It was very hot the week we were staying so the one day of torrential rain came as a welcome relief.

Dubrovnik has too many cars and according to our taxi driver too many people from cruise liners docking in the bay.

The old town is stunning but very busy.

Be warned lots of steep, narrow stony steps especially around the city ramparts which aren’t for the faint hearted.

The view at sunset from the top of the cable car is fabulous - here we met every nationally including Koreans, Americans and people from the Indian subcontinent.

The terrain is sheer rock faces and tall green trees with Legoland houses on the lower reaches.

Dubrovnik inhabitants mostly speak at least a view words of English. We don’t speak any Croatian.

And during our time there we saw no street touts, very little litter, no homeless and no police officers in this city relatively free from crime.

The 45mins boat ride to Cavtat was less scary than crossing the bay at Fowey and this town apart from being under the airport flight path is a delight with multiple bars, restaurants and a church or two.

We flew direct from Bristol Airport and our holiday cost £3,567.01 which is probably the most we have spent on a European jaunt.

Circumstances forced us to go in August but another time (and we are determined to return) we will choose a more off-peak date.

Thanks go to fellow guests Julian and Carolyn, from Vienna, Chris and Robyn, from Portsmouth, Frank and Liz, from Fife, and Lindsay and Liam, from Yorkshire, for adding to our wonderful holiday experience.

Carol Deacon

  1.  Arrive at 8.45am to 28 degrees of heat. Chauffeur driven air conditioned journey to our hotel. Lunch on terrace overlooking the Adriatic.

  2. Up early to tackle the 14th century city walls before the cruise ship hordes disembark. The red terracotta roof tiles abound, replacing the thousands of roofs destroyed by the seven month siege and blockade of Dubrovnik (1991-1992). We meet Julian and Caroline, opera lovers from Vienna and Liam and Lindsey, childhood sweethearts from North Yorkshire.

  3. Up early to complete tour of city walls meeting families from Philadelphia and Santa Fe. Onto the Rectors Palace which houses the Cultural History Museum including hard hitting photos of a war battered Dubrovnik including a sandbagged Stradun and a destroyed cable car station. Later on, we take the cable car to watch the sunset over Dubrovnik. Mojito and spag bol in the Old Town.

  4. National Homeland Day so the local supermarket is closed but the bars and restaurant's are open. Heavy rain at 8am. Visit the Archaeological Museum to admire helmet of Illyrian Warrior. Sun comes out after lunch and we meet Chris and Robyn a super fit couple from Portsmouth.

  5. The cruise ships appear just as the heavens open. I purchase Black Milk by Elif Shafak in the well stocked Algebra bookshop in Stradun. We meet Liz and Frank, ardent SNP supporters from Fife.

  6. We gather round Chris' mobile phone to watch England beating Nigeria in a penalty shoot out. The sun returns. I visit the Francisian Monastery Museum with its colourful fresco's and we enjoy several cocktails with Liz and Frank.

  7. We catch Adriana ( boat) to Cavtat with only two other passengers. We walk along the waterfront reminiscent of the Italian Rivera, visiting the Rectors Palace and St Nicholas Church before lunch at Mihael Bistro. Adriana takes us back to Dubrovnik this time stopping at several resorts on route. I befriend the skippers dog. Quick swim in hotel indoor pool then we enjoy pizza and beer at Jamnica in the Old Town meeting a party of young ladies from the Netherlands.

Bob Deacon

2023 holiday itinerary

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