Arriving in Dubrovnik after a 3hr bus ride from Montenegro. We quickly found our small but perfectly formed apartment, ate lunch and set off towards the old town of Dubrovnik.
We wanted to make sure we made the most of the sunshine, so we headed towards Dubrovnik’s #3 attraction (The cable cars and Mountain SRD). The cable car takes you up to the top of SRD hill (405metres) in just four minutes, where you get a chance to experience one of the most breathtaking views over the ancient old town and surrounding islands nestled in the vastness of the Adriatic Sea. However, it wasn’t meant to be for us today, as the cable cars were closed due to strong winds (which didn’t feel strong), but ‘hey…what can you do?’.
We therefore settled for the #1 attraction ‘the 1940m long city walls’ which are considered to be the most grandiose fortification monuments in Europe and served as protection to Dubrovnik, as well as the mythical King’s Landing in the popular series of ‘Game of Thrones’.
We parked our bikes and headed into the city walls. We were immediately struck by its charm and seductiveness of the dozens of labyrinth like narrow lanes. We walked along the #2 attraction ‘Stradun Street’ which is a popular promenade, towards ‘The city wall entrance’. Arriving at the entrance (at 3.05pm), we were informed that it closed at 3pm and that it costs €20 each. We were a little annoyed at first (as it was only 5 minutes past 3) but after chewing it over, we were pleased not to have paid the steep entry fee.
We settled for exploring the enchanting Dubrovnik and being lured down many tiny lanes and tunnels. We grabbed an oversized ice cream and wondered the streets popping into churches and various other buildings of interest. A worthwhile day’s adventure in one of the iconic settings for ‘The game of thrones’.
We were determined to get to the top of SRD Hill for the spectacular views over Dubrovnik and the surrounding islands however heavy rain delayed us at first, plus we knew the cable cars would still be closed due to strong winds. That didn’t stop us. We looked on Maps.me and followed the stony footpath snaking up the side of the 495 metre high hill. As we ascended the views got more and more impressive.
We snapped several photos on the way up and were hoping the the clouds would stay away. We were lucky, as the visibility remained clear for 90% of the walk and it was only when we reached the top, that the clouds rolled in and we could barely see the fortress at the top.
We looked around the fortress but decided not to pay the €4 each to enter the museum instead, we sat in a sheltered spot out of the wind, eating lunch.
On the way back down to our bikes, we chatted to a very interesting gentleman called Greg from Canada, who was on holiday for a couple of weeks. Whilst chatting away, the time flew past and before we knew it we were at the bottom. Luckily we reached our bikes before the heavy rain started. An excellent day’s walk!
We woke up early for a fresh but energising run, then headed into the old town of Split. We explored the roman palace ruins, Jon climbed St. Dominus’ bell tower which was built in the 13th century and stands at a height of 60metres, whilst Vanessa explored the palace dungeons (where several ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes were filmed).
We then weaved through the narrow streets ending at the port, where we were greeted with sunshine and a beautiful view of the coastline.
Plitvice Slap (waterfalls)
We had stayed in a guesthouse 15km from the entrance to the world famous UNESCO Plitvice waterfalls. Leaving us with only a 15 minute drive the following morning.
Waking up to a blanket of snow draped over each mountain and carefully balanced on the evergreens, caught us a little by surprise. Luckily for us the hire car started first time and the roads had been cleared.
Reaching the entrance, we were both a little sceptical that it would be open and felt ill prepared, as the thickness of the snow around us had increased and the ice made walking a little challenging, especially when you only have cheap runners on your feet!. To our delight, we were informed by the staff member at reception that the upper and lower walking sections were still open and safe to walk around (she did ask if we had good shoes though). Our ticket included a bus ride to the start and a boat ride on the way back.
We quickly jumped on the unusual looking bus and waited for it to head off. Arriving at the start of the walks, we followed the upper trails (with the assistance of Maps.me), holding onto each other for support, as the path varied from icy, thick snow, to sludge and dirt.
We explored a large cave leading to a boardwalk where we could see some of the smaller waterfalls, then hiked back up to continue the loop round the lakes.
The waterfalls were breathtaking and the sheer ferocity of the water plunging over the cliff faces made you appreciate the beauty and power of nature. There was low mist over the lakes which gave eerie feel to the place, but the snow also assisted to make it feel magical feel. As you’d expect, we got carried away taking photos.
We spent a good few hours exploring, then grabbed a hot chocolate at the cafe before boarding our small boat back to the start.
Plitvice Slap (Slap means waterfall by the way) is definitely a worthwhile trip!