A Balkan road trip #2: Croatia

After exploring the city of Kotor in Montenegro, our next destination was one of Croatia’s southernmost cities, Dubrovnik, located only a two-hour drive away from Kotor. It was our second coastal stopover before driving inland again to explore Bosnia and Herzegovina. In our search for spring we found rain; in Dubrovnik the light was filtered by heavy dark clouds and the Adriatic sea, that I used to know from the other side on the Italian coast, was the colour of petrol.

adriatic sea dubrovnik croatiaTo be honest, I didn’t mind the gloomy weather. This was not my first and only time by the Mediterranean sea so I didn’t mind not seeing it displaying its iconic saturated blue colour. Its charm was not only in the darker tone of its waters, but in the angry motion that would regularly make it swell and crash on the shore. The stormy waves outside the cliffs and city walls gave the landscape an even more dramatic quality that I enjoyed a lot.

dubrovnik-croatia-06dubrovnik-croatia-12dubrovnik-croatia-11The city itself surprisingly proved to belong to the lucky club of cities that look good in the rain – if not even better in the rain than in other weather conditions. This is a characteristic that not so many cities have, and certainly not one that a summertime destination like Dubrovnik usually boasts. Yet, that shiny thin layer of water over the stone walls and roads gave old town Dubrovnik a special glow.

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In search for some shelter from the ceaseless rain we spontaneously decided to check into a couple of wine bars where we tasted some Croatian reds. We were not disappointed and ended up buying a shared bottle to bring back to Sweden. Another culinary highlight of our stay in Dubrovnik had been an excellent fish-based lunch at a cosy restaurant just by the shore. I imagine that in high season that place is packed with people and prices are surely higher, so visiting it in low season had definitely its advantages in terms of exclusiveness and prices. The lunch had been our warm reward after getting a lot of rain and wind up on the city walls.

dubrovnik croatiadubrovnik croatiaThe wind really gave a special touch when I took this picture of one of my friends overlooking the old town. Looking down at the city, and not only at the stormy sea beneath us, proved an excellent way to get a glimpse of Dubrovnik’s colours in that strange stormy light. Old town Dubrovnik is one amazing display of textures in its stone walls and paved streets. Not to mention its beautiful rooftops.

dubrovnik croatia I think I loved everything about Dubrovnik. Out of all the places in our itinerary, this was the one I was most looking forward to visiting, also due to the fact that I am a Game of Thrones fan and I was eager to visit the setting of King’s Landing. My boyfriend had been there before and had told me how beautiful that city is and I was curious to see this for myself. Well I do agree with him and with all the people who describe the Croatian coastal city as beautiful – it really is. And it’s full of unexpected little treasures, like the cloister of the Dominican monastery that we discovered by chance, or this little dwelling carved into the cliffs and accessible only by boat. So charming.

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I think I want to go back to Dubrovnik one day, like I do with most of the places I liked the first time. But do I want to go back in the summer, when it’s packed with tourists and twice as expensive? Not sure. I really liked this sensation of exclusiveness that off-season, rainy Dubrovnik made me feel and may want to go back in low season again exactly for that. Thank you for the rain, Dubrovnik, that was what made you so special.

 I really liked this sensation of exclusiveness that off-season, rainy Dubrovnik made me feel and may want to go back in low season again exactly for that.

26 thoughts on “A Balkan road trip #2: Croatia

  1. Wow, great pictures! Most people would be thrown off by the bad weather und would have complained about it but you turned ‘something bad’ into something good 🙂

    1. I used to complain, too, but the weather is something you really can’t change so there is no point wasting your energy seeing everything even darker. The challenge is to find beauty even in conditions that are far from picture perfect. And Dubrovnik is so beautiful that even in the rain you can find so much beauty.

  2. Oh my gosh these photos are insane! I can see why Game of Thrones film here. I quite like the moodiness of the clouds though. I used to care if i got blue skies, but now sometimes it is better to have clouds…less sun hitting your lens haha. I really need to go here already.

    1. I used to worry about the weather in the past, too, then I just became a better photographer 😀 And seriously, Dubrovnik in the rain was no less sexy than on a typical sunny summer day. When we visited, it was being used as the set for the latest (or there has been another one already?) Star Wars movie. So it was not King’s Landing, but somewhere in Star Wars. Definitely a great city for movies.

  3. Your pictures of Dubrovnik are lovely. You managed to capture the beauty of this city even in the rain. I heard so many positive things on Croatia that I really wanna go and explore. I see that you went to Bosnia as well… was there just last week and loved it.

    1. Bosnia was beautiful, too. A totally different charm than Dubrovnik. If you have the chance to visit Dubrovnik I would totally recommend it. Even off-season, and in bad weather, as you can see I still had a blast and the city was no less gorgeous.

  4. Ahhh damn I should’ve gone here when I was in Croatia, it looks so games of thrones like it’s insane and I’d love to see kings landing. I think gloomy weather can really enhance some places (it certainly did for Brasov) so I’m with you on that one. Awesome photos 🙂 thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Sophia. Yeah, although the rain did make it a bit more challenging to take photos, the outcome was really impressive. Gloomy weather did not disappoint, and it kinda gave King’s Landing a Winterfell feeling 😀

  5. Love your photos, especially that one of your friend. She could almost be Sansa! I’m heading to Dubrovnik next month – can’t wait but also kinda hope it doesn’t rain.

    1. Thank you! I am so happy with the picture of my friend, yeah with the right outfit she could totally be a GoT character!!
      Have a great time in Dubrovnik, and remember that if you happen to have rain it can be a great excuse to linger in wine bars 🙂

  6. Gorgeous photos! We LOVED Dubrovnik too! There was just something really special about it. It felt “real” if that makes sense? You captured the essence of the city so well!

    1. Thank you! I totally get what you mean, you could find history at every corner. I love cities that have been around for long and have luckily been spared by wars.

  7. I love the photos regardless of the weather, I know a lot of people who complain when the weather went bad and backed out from doing something or seeing something in a place. amazing photos.

    1. Few places in the world have the sun 365 days a year, it’s important to keep in mind that bad weather happens and one must cope with it. Not only for photos, but for adventures as well. It’s always good to go out and play no matter the weather, I agree with you!

  8. I love exploring cities in the rain. It’s my favorite kind of weather and it often leaves the city with a deserted feel so you can take some really great photos without all of the people standing in the way. My husband and I were in split and we wanted to visit Dubrovnik but it was the end of July and the heat was scorching so we decided to head to an island instead. I hope to make it to Dubrovnik someday and I will be sure to see in colder weather. Great article by the way.

    1. Thank you so much! Well I think that exploring an island must have been also quite a nice experience. I would like to explore more of coastal Croatia. Rain is not my favourite weather condition, but I agree on the fact that it scares a good portion of the crowds away. I almost wished I had had rain at Reynisfjara, Iceland, when the basalt columns were all full of people climbing over. Not so fun when trying to take a picture without people. And the rain would have made the basalt darker, prettier on photo. But oh well 😀

  9. I love the moody, stormy qualities of your photos – and that you managed to explore and enjoy despite the rain. I often let rain get me down in exotic places – Major props for leaning in to mood and embracing it.

    1. Sadly I could do nothing about that stormy weather but embracing it. And I think I really succeeded. Well, all credits go to that jewel of a city, Dubrovnik.

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