For those who like a bit of (TV) drama with their holiday, Dubrovnik is the ideal destination.
The magnificent Old Town complete with its dramatic waterfront and ancient brickwork is the background for many of the scenes from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Most notably, Cersei Lannister’s naked “Walk of Shame”, which resulted in her descent up the elegant Jesuit Staircase in King’s Landing. Many more locations were used, and a tour is a must for any GoT fans. The rugged coastline and fortress-buildings so characteristic of Dubrovnik’s historical centre also crop up in Star Wars, The Jedi Returns, and once you have seen the pretty terracotta roofs across the city, and the picturesque architecture, you will see why it is so suited to the big screen!
For a week of relaxation in the sun, you could do worse than packing your swimwear and jetting over to Dubrovnik. One of the smaller cities in the charming country, it is steeped in history and has lots to offer sun lovers, water babies and food enthusiasts. Whether you like exploring by foot, car or boat, there are countless adventures to be had.
Often described as the most scenic part of Croatia, the rocky cliffs and beaches, are punctuated with olive and lemon trees, and clusters of terracotta tiled houses snaking down to the sea; With spectacular sunsets, it offers a romantic location for some peace and quiet, perfect for groups of friends with beachside restaurants, and vibrant nightlife in the Old Town, equally it a great base for action adventure lovers.
I stayed in the impressive newly renovated, four star Valamar Argosy Hotel on the Babin Kuk peninsula, which has pride of place on the clifftop; And although fairly tucked away, with only other hotels around, it is just fifteen minutes drive into the Old Town, and forty minutes from the airport.
This wonderfully secluded location makes for the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and the simple, spacious accommodation is like home from home with plenty of comfy sofas, daybeds and a cosy library. Open from April to November, this is a true seaside retreat – providing a comfortable and modest base for guests looking for a quiet haven close to the bustling Old Town of Dubrovnik.
The vibe of the hotel is laidback and unpretentious. Decorated in natural tones with a nautical twist, the rooms are minimimilistic, but adequately equipped for a relaxing stay. The pools take pride of place, glittering like giant sapphires amongst the landscaped gardens, which are punctuated by day beds and stunning exotic shrubbery. It is easy for residents to while away the days lolling on a lounger or cabana on the decking, or swaying to the sea breeze in a hammock, whilst intermittently soaking in the infinity pool. And when you need to unwind even more, try out a Finnish or bio sauna in the on site Wellness Suite. The Argosy “body touch wellness ritual” is pure indulgence- a full body scrub and massage provides the perfect antidote before you leave, to preserve your tan!
Although the Argosy doesn’t have it’s own beach, guests are welcome to use the facilities at the Valamar Dubrovnik President which is footsteps away, and with seemingly unlimited loungers, day beds and watersports, this is the perfect option for beach lovers. With an impressive glass balcony with uninterrupted views of the Adriatic, it is the optimum spot to soak up the stunning sunset, and enjoy a sundowner.
Despite Dubrovnik being an easy option for a fly n flop break- the surrounding islands are also worth a visit.. Whether you want to go in a small group on a speed boat, or join adventurous kayakers, the Elafiti islands are well worth a visit.
The greenest island is Koločep Island, and is filled with nature and citrus trees, which all bear fruit. Peaceful and without too many tourists, this is the ideal place for immersing yourself with the slow pace of life and appreciating the scenery.
The best beaches can be found on Lopud. Sunj beach is one of a kind on the Adriatic- Mediterranean warm and crystal clear, it is the sand which puts it apart from the rest of the countries beaches. This leads out to knee deep warm water, which makes it a super family-friendly beach, with plenty of food and drink options, and gets the sun all day!
The highlight of an indulgent day out for me was definitely a visit to BOWA- an intimate restaurant on the other side of Šipan. Accessible only by boat, the private beach and cabanas offer a slice of paradise for those who have a sense of adventure. Enjoy a seven course tasting menu with exclusive use of a cabana from €100 per person- or peruse the tasty lunch menu, which you can enjoy on the terrace starts from €35. Only open during daylight hours, this slice of paradise is well worth devoting a complete day to!
Back on mainland Dubrovnik, be prepared to meander! Once you have torn yourself away from the hotel and countless beaches, head into the Old Town for some old fashioned Mediterranean glamour. Idle your way through the cobbled lanes and admire the jewellery and clothing boutiques. Stop for a coffee or ice cream and people watch by the fountain. Just as busy with tourists who come to explore the historical city walls, as locals who are bustling about their everyday business. Spend the day there, to watch the sunset, and finish with dinner under the stars at the port. Most of Dubrovnik nightlife takes place behind the walls of the Old Town, and expect to see glammed up girls and guys who are ready to hit the bars. The pedestrianised streets come to life after dark with street entertainers, buskers and laughter and music spilling from every terrace. Don’t forget your camera to snap up your own memories of Game of Thrones.
Valamar Argosy Hotel 4*
Ideal for a relaxing getaway, bed and breakfast room rates start from £180 per person per night in August and September. www.Valamar.com
With a generous 22kg baggage allowance to Dubrovnik from London Stansted Airport, the flights start from £39 one way including taxes.
For more information please visit www.jet2.com or call 0800 408 5599