Day 4: Milan to Dubrovnik
After checking out of our hostel and boarding the train at Milan Central Station, we headed towards the airport to grab our easyJet flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia (purchased in advance). After landing in Dubrovnik, we had an airport shuttle service waiting to pick us up and take us to the city center, or Old Town Dubrovnik (also purchased in advance).
PRO TIP: There are many ways to get to the Old Town from the airport, including taxi, Uber, or private shuttle, but the cheapest seems to be the shuttle bus, which can be purchased at the airport. Make sure to check their time schedules before planning your trip!
The half hour drive from the airport to Old Town was beautiful. The roads wind along the blue coast and you can see Dubrovnik from up above. Make sure to sit on the left side of the bus!!
The bus drops you off at Pile Gate, or the main entrance into Old Town Dubrovnik. Although very crowded, this is a beautiful spot to stop and take some pictures of the wall that surrounds the city from the outside. Note that this wall is considered to be one of the greatest defensive systems in the Middle Ages, and were never breached by a hostile enemy during this time period!
After passing through the Pile Gate, you are on the Stradun, or the main thoroughfare through Dubrovnik. This limestone street is only open to pedestrians and is lined with restaurants and shops. The “street” is so polished that it almost is slippery at times, so be careful!
Now it was time to walk the Dubrovnik City Wall! The walls that surround the city are roughly 2km in length and have plenty of steps (although it’s not unmanageable). There are several entrances, and although we bought our ticket on the day of, it is now highly recommended that you buy them in advance.
Walking the walls takes about 2 hours, but probably more if you’re like us and need to stop every 5 ft to take a picture of the marvelous surroundings. This walk should not be missed!!
After the city wall, we walked back to our Airbnb to meet up with our friend who would be joining us for the rest of our trip, Jess! We got ready and headed back towards Buza Bar to catch up over drinks and a beautiful sunset.
PRO TIP: It gets EXTREMELY crowded for sunset – make sure to get there EARLY if you want any kind of seat at all. Many people just made themselves comfortable on any rock they could find.
After the sun had set, we headed back towards Gundulic Square and ate dinner outside in the shadows of beautiful St. Ignatius Church.
After dinner, we went out on the town to check out the nightlife. There are plenty of options, but we ended up at the Gaffe Pub, which was a lively pub with locals and tourists alike, before calling it a night.
Day 5: Kayak tour and drive to Split
Dubrovnik is well known for it’s great kayaking and snorkeling destinations. We booked a kayak tour, leaving in the morning from the Pile Gate. The tour first took us around Lokrum Island and into the Betina sea cave, where we were free to get out and swim around the cave.
PRO TIP: If you are not an experienced kayaker, don’t worry! This tour is for all skill levels and you can choose either a 1 or 2 person kayak.
Next we headed to the Betina Cave Beach, where we were provided lunch and snorkeling gear. We had a wonderful time relaxing and swimming in the crystal blue waters.
Eventually we were forced to leave the beach and head back past the Dubrovnik city walls and to Pile Gate. This was a great way to see Dubrovnik from a different perspective, and I’d definitely recommend a kayak tour if you get the chance!
After the tour, it was time to head back to our Airbnb, pack up, and hit the road. Our next stop would be the town of Split. We opted to rent a car through Discovery Car Rental, whose office was located near the cable car in Dubrovnik.
PRO TIP: There are several ways to get to Split from Dubrovnik, including bus or even boat! Because we eventually wanted to go to Plitvice Lakes, renting a car allowed us the flexibility we wanted at a reasonable cost! We had no issues using Discovery, so we would recommend them if you’re looking to do the same.
After picking up our car, we started the 3 hour journey along the coast towards Split. This was a beautiful ride, and we even got to stop for lunch in another country – Bosnia and Herzegovina!
PRO TIP: There are two ways to get to travel north of Dubrovnik – coastal route or the highway route. The coastal route will take longer, but will be way more scenic! Also, you will only travel through Bosnia and Herzegovina for about 20 minutes. Have your documents in order when you reach customs and let them know you are just passing through. An easy way to add a stamp to that passport!
We arrived in Split around 7:30pm and made our way to our next Airbnb, located near the old town and the beach. After getting ourselves ready, we headed out for dinner (around 9:30pm!). Restaurants were still open and the streets were still bustling. We opted for an outside dinner at No Stress Bistro, which had a wonderful view of the Old Town Hall.
After dinner, we wandered around the Old Town and came upon Diocletian’s Palace, one of the main attractions of Split. These ruins are some of the most valuable surviving buildings of the Roman era on the Adriatic coast. This site can’t be missed, especially at night!
We continued walking around the various streets until we found the Silver Gate, a gate once used to enter the Palace grounds. The ruins are still very much in tact.
Finally, it was time to head back to our Airbnb and call it a night.