The sun shone, the water was warm, crystal clear and bluer than the sky. The Adriatic Sea did not disappoint. We’ve spent the last two weeks in the Dalmatia region of Croatia that borders the Adriatic, staying firstly at the southern end in Dubrovnik then in Korcula town on the island of Korcula.
The main reason for the trip was purely for a summer beach holiday and Croatia’s Adriatic coastline could not have been better. We swam every day at some beach or another; there are squillions to choose from, and all picturesque. Most of the swimming spots are rocky, stony coves and inlets rather than sandy beaches. At favoured spots people sit perched on rocky outcrops, drape themselves over the few weathered slabs of rock or nestle into worn hollows to soak up the suns rays, altogether looking a bit like a seal colony. Other places are remote enough that you can have a small swimming spot to yourself.
In Dubrovnik Old Town we stayed in a lovely cool apartment tucked into a quiet corner inside the city walls near the Maritime Museum. Our regular swimming spots only two minutes walk away included the area on the sea wall by St John’s Fort, and a spot through the hole in the wall at the end of Pobijana Street where Buza café occupies the most spectacular terraced site with views over to Lokrum island and out to the deep blue yonder. Its also where daredevils jump off the rocks into the sea below. (We didn’t). A couple of times we packed a simple picnic lunch and took the ferry boat to Lokrum to enjoy the less populated spots there.
Besides all the swimming, Dubrovnik is a beautiful and historic city. It has “atmosphere” in abundance. In between close together stone buildings narrow streets are paved with smooth worn flag-stones that gleam in the sunshine as if polished. In the baking heat tourists amble past sleeping street cats while swallows dart about, swooping up and around the terracotta roofs and the bell towers. The old town is completely encircled by thick stone walls built progressively from the start of the middle ages to fortify the city; in the later stages (14th century) forts were built into the walls for extra protection. Taking the 1.9km walk all the way round the city wall was definitely a highlight. In the morning sunshine the views into the old city from the high perspective of the walls are magnificent and meant we avoided the crowds and the intense heat as the afternoons regularly climbed past 30 degrees. That was swimming time!
We took the cable car up Mt Srd above the city to see the Fort Imperial built during the time of Dubrovnik’s occupation by our “old acquaintance” Napolean Bonaparte (he got around a bit). Inside is an interesting exhibition of the history of Croatia’s Homeland War 1991-95; the time of the break up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was sobering that I remembered watching TV news bulletins of the conflict, that people we met had lived in Dubrovnik through that time. Twenty years on, Dubrovnik is attractive, it buzzes with tourists especially in the evening when the restaurants come alive in the squares of the old town and down every street no matter how narrow.
It was hard to leave, but we had a ferry to catch and more beaches to explore. Next stop Korcula………next post.
More photos here.