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I'm sure some of you may have seen that last month Chase and I took our 3rd anniversary trip to beautiful Croatia. It was absolutely one of my favorite trips we've taken for so many reasons. To be honest our pictures just don't do the city of Dubrovnik any justice. Ever since I met Chase the only place to visit on his bucket list was Croatia. Chase actually played water polo in high school and still loves the game. If you're familiar with the sport you would know that Croatians are huge on their water polo, We even passed by a local club's open ocean swimming pool. It was cool to see so many people playing throughout the day, you can really tell that the sport is loved by the people. We decided on Croatia because we were craving sun and water like never before, and we thought this was the best opportunity to go since we are already in Europe. It was such a great and relaxing trip and it was just what we were hoping for.

After doing my research I found out that Dubrovnik lacks hotels, so if you don't book extremely in advance, the odds of you finding an affordable hotel stay in the middle of old town Dubrovnik is pretty tough. 
However, there are plenty of are great Airbnb options, so thats what we did. We choose to stay in Mlini, which is about a 15 minute bus ride from Dubrovnik, give or take. This is our AIRBNB if you are needing a place to stay, I highly recommend this location. The price is so affordable and its in a perfect location, which I'll talk more about. 
The AIRBNB itself was nice with a lovely view of the ocean, and it was only about a 5 minute walk to the beach that we took full advantage of. The owners of the property have a garden in the backyard next to the room. They have apples, tomatoes, grapes, peppers, and oranges.  We ate outside most of the time on the picnic table right outside our door, and the weather made it so enjoyable. 
The owner even offered to pick us up from the airport, but we took a taxi instead. We did take them up on their offer to drive us to the airport though, and it turned out to be a better deal than taking the taxi (check the conversion rates). 
If you are dead set in staying within Dubrovnik so you don't have to worry about transportation and such, I totally understand; however, I would highly recommend staying a little outside the city. We really enjoyed Mlini, it's much quieter than the city, but still has a good combination of tourists and locals. Near the water sits all the restaurants and hotels. We ate at one of the restaurants for lunch our first day which was our anniversary. We noticed all the menus basically looked the same, so we kinda just picked one at random and it turned out to be really good. 
Since we stayed at an Airbnb with a full kitchen and all the cooking tools we needed, we decided to take full advantage and just make our own food instead of going out to eat so much. Another thing to be mindful of, is the fact that there are NO FAST FOOD chains, and if there are they're no where near Mlini or Dubrovnik. I know a lot of people end up eating at fast food joints as a cheaper food option, but you won't find that in out there. 
We walked about 8 minutes to the supermarket, which is located in some sort of mall, the market is called Konzum and they have everything you will need. 

If you are headed to Croatia, I'm guessing it's because you really want to relax, and that's truly the main thing to do there. Take it easy, jump in the water, and eat as much gelato as possible. There are plenty of things you can do in the water just as if you were on a Caribbean island, such as renting a jet ski, kayaking, and boat tours.

Old Town
As soon as you walk into old town you realize how different it is. It is so pristine and just beautiful, you feel as if the city goes on forever because every corner hides a new stairwell or new pathway. People still live within the old city, which is pretty cool, therefore be mindful when you are walking around. You'll see people's laundry hung to dry and kids playing outside, it's really great to see. So I would say just take as much time as you would like here and wander. There are plenty of restaurants around, all around the same price and all serving basically the same food. Gelato on the other hand is really affordable and delicious, it's about $1 for one scoop and I would say get it at the first shop when you enter old town (the one closest to the fountain), we found that one to be the best. Another thing to note are the floors, you will notice the floors are so slippery, it's hard to get a good grip, so wear decent walking shoes. 

Ancient City Walls 
Depending on the conversion rates we paid about $25 USD each to enter the cities walls. To be perfectly honest I normally would never pay that just to take a walk, however, the city doesn't have many other attractions, so this is the main point of interest. Chase and I went back and forth on whether or not we should do it and I'm glad we did. Although you can walk alongside the walls you can't actually enter or get as high if you don't pay the main entrance. They also check for tickets about the half way point, which is smart, so don't throw your tickets away. 
My biggest recommendation is to go when the sun is going down, due to the heat. The walls do close at 8pm during summer and it can take up to 2 hours to walk the entire thing (of course depends on your pace and how much you stop etc.). The walk wasn't as hard or steep but the ground is extremely slippery so keep that in mind when you are picking shoes. You can also hire a tour guide, which I'm sure is useful because the walls have so much history, and the city is still recuperating from the recent war. 

We went to the beach every day we were there. I'll be honest, if you are used to warm Caribbean water, like myself, think again. The water isn't freezing like some beaches in California, but it is brisk which feels great after a hot and sweaty day. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen Chase jump into the ocean off a cliff (you can still watch the video on his page @monadogg). Which brings me to my next point you can jump into the water ANYWHERE. There are hardly any restrictions, no signs, no lifeguards, and basically no rules telling you otherwise. You can really tell the locals enjoy their sunny beach days. One day Chase even jumped in to swim behind the old town, just outside the city walls, where there were other locals playing and swimming around. 

Day Trip 
One of the most popular things to do here is go on day trips. We we were planing to take one since Dubrovnik is so close to other cities. I had it in my mind to head over to Montenegro for the day, however, after getting to Croatia and speaking to the tour guides and scoping out for the best price, we quickly changed our minds and decided to head over to Bosnia. We thought we would probably never have the chance to go to Bosnia again, so we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. I'll be doing a full review of the day trip in a different blog post. Overall, the day trip was great, and I really enjoyed seeing a different culture. 

With regards to other day trips, there are so many! We also considered going to one of the national parks, or taking a tour of three nearby islands. It really depends on what you are looking to do and explore. The trips do take all day though, so be prepared. I would also note to remember your passport while on certain trips that cross borders. 

1. Learn the bus system, it's easy and cheaper than taxis.
2. Realize this city is still rebuilding from war, so be aware of it if you bring it up. It is a touchy subject.
3. Croatia uses the Kuna as their currency, but a lot of places accept the Euro. 
4. You can jump into the ocean ANYWHERE! No really, anywhere. There are no restrictions (besides the port maybe) which makes it so fun, especially on those hot summer days. 
5. The food isn't too different from surrounding countries. The cuisine to me is very similar to Italian - pizza, risotto, pasta etc.
 6. Try the local bakeries. Their baked goods remind me of greek pastries.
 7. You won't find any typical fast food places.
8. Mostly everyone speaks a little English (Don't assume though).
9. Wear sunscreen at all times, the sun will be directly on you.
10. Bring a water bottle, you'll need it. 
I am so happy we had the opportunity to travel to Croatia, and if we ever get the chance to go again, I wouldn't even hesitate in buying a ticket. I would love to get the chance to explore more of Croatia. It's just so beautiful, and holds so much history. One of the things I found interesting is how much they have rebuilt since the war. It's crazy to think that in my lifetime Croatia has been in war and been able to overcome it. Although there is still so much progress to be made, the people are happy, easy going, and are very welcoming to tourist.


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