Dubrovnik, Croatia :D
(Apologies in advance for holiday photo sharing!)
So, this week I got back from my holidays - three nights in sunny Dubrovnik. It was a bit last minute, my first holiday abroad in a while and my first time in Croatia. It was lovely. I booked with my friend Hannah, as we've wanted to go away for a while but never got around to organising it. I don't know what made us alight on Croatia (well, for me it was partly the Game of Thrones connection, not going to lie) but I'm so pleased we did. We stayed Airbnb, which was a much cheaper alternative to a hotel, and our host, Vanja, was lovely and picked us up from the bus station so we didn't get lost. She was also able to recommend some good places to try, and as she was local we knew to believe her! We were staying in Lapad, twenty minutes outside of the Old Town by bus, in a residential street, but just across the road from a supermarket, the touristy bit with bars and restaurants, and ten minutes walk from the beach. It was perfect. Also nice to be able to come back from a day out and sit in the apartment with a cup of tea (we brought tea bags from home, English necessity.)
After settling in and checking out Lapad (and having a swim) on the first day, day two we went into Dubrovnik and took a boat from the harbour (so much Game of Thrones feels) to the island of Lokrum. It only took fifteen minutes and the boat trip was lovely with great views of the town as we left. They use the walled city as a location for King's Landing, and (apart from all the tourists milling around) it's a gorgeously well-preserved medieval city.
It was pretty amazing walking around the city, but I loved Lokrum too. There are wild peacocks and rabbits everywhere and we even saw a tortoise. We swam in 'the dead sea' a deep sea pool, and saw some more Game of Throne-y locations as they film a lot Quarth (think series two) there. We also walked up the 'path of paradise' - which was a very inappropriate name, I was practically dead by the top - to see Fort Royal, which they used for the 'house of the un-dying' and some fab views from the top. Really spectacular views actually.
Day three (after a morning at the beach in Lapad) we spent the afternoon exploring Old Town properly. From the monastry garden, to the steps that were the setting for Cersei's 'walk of shame' in GOT, to walking the city walls (a must do - and they're not as strenuous as is made out, we were walking in the heat and we managed fine) and taking the cable car up above the city for more amazing views and to watch the sunset (although I lost my pictures for that one which was a bit gutting). It was a fab day. We went into the city afterwards for food, which was also gorgeous. If fact, everything I ate during the week was pretty delicious. Ice Creams too. It was really buzzy and cool at night, very King's Landing.
So basically I would definitely recommend Dubrovnik. There's so much history, culture, there's the Game of Thrones stuff (you can even take a guided tour of all the locations) it's just a really beautiful place and a perfect mix of city break and beach-y holiday (although it's mostly stony beaches rather than sandy.) I'd go again too, because there's so much more to see and that I would have liked to do - more islands, kayaking around the rocks, a proper night on the town, more days by the sea reading and swimming. Hopefully I'll get back there one day.
Ever been to Croatia or any other Game of Thrones locations? Excited for season seven???? Not long to go now!