So Croatia – been on my hit list for over a decade and finally we booked the flights. Now to fill in the fun part.
We decided on a multi-centre – 3 days Dubrovnik (my part), an island somewhere (family part) and a day in Split (convenient to airport).
Now working in the travel industry for over 14 years you could say I have become a little spoilt. I take an age doing the research, changing my mind, back and forth and generally driving my hubby bonkers. He will smile sweetly and say I know what I am talking about and that I should pick but ultimately his pragmatic tendencies (I call them his tight Yorkshireman traits) decide what we can and cannot afford.
I did, however, take some advice from a friend that when in Dubrovnik not to stay in the Old Town as during August this will become unbearably hot and being able to escape and chill by a pool is bliss. Good advice indeed. (Despite what people think I do listen – occasionally).
So eventually, we decided on the Valamar Club Resort
This is not the typical property I would opt for 1) only 3 star and 2) a bit big and sprawling. (There is the snob in my coming out – apologies in advance). However, it was a good price and all 4 of us could get in one room. The hotel offered a “light inclusive” (drinks with meals only) and the cost for this package was similar to some better properties room only. So only being there 3 days we gave it a shot. Definitely not disappointed and the kids loved the pool. Food was OK – plenty of choice and whilst no Michelin Star would be awarded (does any buffet have it) it did the job when we were in the hotel.
Dubrovnik certainly didn’t disappoint and our first glimpse was in the taxi from the airport. The coast is stunning and then all of a sudden the Old Town comes in to view and it is just like any picture you will have seen #nofilterrequired. We couldn’t’ wait to get to the hotel and go exploring so after a quick lunch we climbed the short hill to the bus stop and headed in.
We had a quick peek over the wall and then it was through the main gates and time to take it all in. It was stunning and despite reading up before I even got on the flight I forgot it was a city and not just a tourist attraction so that took a bit of getting used to. So once we had a magnificent ice cream in hand we started to get to know this amazing place.
We had only just started on Game of Thrones at home (I know I am one of those people who didn’t have a clue what was being discussed in the office – I hear what is being said about us people). However, it is not about a fantasy programme (that is just the background) it is a magnificent place that you can wander around, up and down, just immerse yourself in. Even my 6 year old was keen to run up and down the stairs – in and out the alleys and as you know happy children = ecstatic parents. So the first day we got our bearings, enjoyed the ice cream and a nice cold beer and soaked up this beautiful place
Next day we had a lazy morning at Copacabana Beach and tried out the inflatables anchored at sea. Suffice to say great fun but reaffirmed my decision to hit the gym when I return as I am sooooooooooo unfit that I needed a lie down after. Kids had a blast and keen to do this at our next port of call.
We decided to hit the Old Town at dusk so we could head up the cable car and see the full panoramic of the old town whilst the sun was setting. Advice here is to make sure you take a coat as even in August it was pretty chilly up there. We decided to get a drink and drink in the view and a very kind waiter brought us some much needed blankets, however, without these we would have rushed off as the 6 year old was comparing it to being in Antarctica (obvs) and as any parent knows the whining (even when you do manage to shut it out) gets in the way of any enjoyment. Thank you kind waiter.
We then headed in to the Old Town and for a lovely dinner. Now, I know I am blessed with my little girl in many ways but one of the things I love to watch is her love of trying things new. (Some parent friends of mine find her freak-like but I embrace the freak) No chicken nuggets for this one. Ella looked at the menu and decided to share a fish platter with me. Mussels, shrimp (not peeled may I add), griddled squid and sea-bass. The original plan was for her to have a little and me to share with hubby but by the time he had finished his “side dish” of carbonara Ella had devoured all but a little bit of sea-bass that she kindly “saved for you daddy” resulting in fairly dissatisfied hubby but very happy child.
For our final day, Ella’s 6th birthday, we decided to walk the walls and I would definitely recommend this. Take a big bottle of water pretend you are from the ancient old days (despite lots of tourists in chinos, socks and sandals – urgh) and plod on. The views looking out to sea are spectacular, the views looking internally into the walled city are spectacular so all in all Dubrovnik is spectacular. My gorgeous little family loved it, however, Ella’s highlight was seeing a cat in a plant pot. Go figure!!!
After our trek around the walls we headed down and had “the best pizza EVER”. After which the boys (husband and stepson) decided to head back to the hotel Ella and I hit the shops to spend some of her birthday money. We ambled in and out for a while enjoying the freedom to coo at tat and then headed back to join the boys and take a well-earned dip in the pool.
The next day we headed to the port and the start of part two of our Croatia Trip. It was a fairly chilly morning but the sun soon came out and whilst the journey was long and a little boring – it was pleasant enough. Plus we got to see the lovely Hvar Town which was the stop before Bol.
We were sad to say goodbye to this delightful city of Dubrovnik – but excited for the next stop.