July 14, 2016 — Our tour of the countries of former Yugoslavia concluded in Croatia. Our group checked into the beautiful Rixos hotel overlooking the Adriatic sea. After a champagne welcome and cocktails on the terrace, we decided to make this part of our itinerary all about rest and relaxation.
I was eager to re-connect with Croatia’s sparkling beaches, while my guests wanted to explore the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik, and visit the tiny island off its coats where the TV series Game of Thrones is being filmed.
I haven’t visited Dubrovnik in six years, but much has changed since the last time I was there. Though it is the most popular destination on the Adriatic, the place was not inundated with tourists. Sure, cruise ships and the new airport bring thousands of foreigners to its shores, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be more crowded than before.
The town is walkable because it is so small. The actual fortification of Old Town is only a square mile, which anyone can explore on foot without a guide. Outside its walls, there isn’t much in terms of activities. The beaches are the reason anyone comes to Croatia, and the further away from Old Town you go, the nicer, quieter and cleaner the beaches get. The Old Tow in surrounded by several luxury hotels that have a surcharge for anyone wanting to enjoy the view of the fortification.
Personally, I find the more secluded beaches to be more spectacular. I love Croatia’s rocky coastline, and the small beaches that are nestled below its pine forests. There are a few hidden beaches north of Dubrovnik, to each side of the Rixos hotel. Also, you could walk or take a public bus south for one or two stops, because as soon as you pass the luxury hotels and the more touristy hot spots, you will find yourself amidst the most spectcular beaches in the world. Check out the small town of Mlini which is just a few short bus stops south of Dubrovnik.