After spending five days in the small village of Murter, we were excited to go back to a city. Before going to Dubrovnik, we stopped by Split. A large city located on the Adriatic sea. We stayed there three days before taking the ferry to Dubrovnik where we stayed three days as well. We’ve been charmed by the beauty of the old town of Split. Dubrovnik is even more beautiful but everything is so touristic and fake that we didn’t like it. Here are some survival tips that I recommend you to take serious if you ever go there. First one: Don’t go during the high season. Really.
Heaven for Game of Thrones fans
The old town of Split is very beautiful. The architecture inherited from the Romans made us feel like we were in a movie. We understood why HBO chose Split as one of their film work site for Game of Thrones. We paid the entrance to Diocletian’s Palace underground which is 40 kuna so six euros , and it was worth it. In Game of Thrones, the caves are Daenerys’s throne room as well as the dragons room. The place is actually impressive. Dubrovnik was the main filming location in Croatia for King’s Landing. HBO integrated the city so well in the series that when you walk through the old town of Dubrovnik you get déjà-vu impressions. The old towns of Split and Dubrovnik look like film work sites due to their middle age look and monuments. We preferred Split’s old town even if Dubrovnik is more beautiful simply because Dubrovnik is just too touristic. It is really too much and you feel like you are in Disneyland.
Croatia: The kingdom of tourist traps
We came to a point where we didn’t like Dubrovnik despite the beauty. In the old town, everything is touristy and nothing feels authentic. Prices are incredibly high. The only solution for us to eat there was to buy a pizza slice for five euros. Everything else is just too expensive (a basic salad for ten euros). We really felt like they take tourists for cash cows. We already spent quite much money on worthless food in Zadar and Split; Dubrovnik was just too much that we got disgusted by how the Croatian are treating visitors. Also, the old city is full of restaurants, seventy-four in total, and meaningless tourist shops. What a pity to treat this amazing historical heritage this way. Lucky us, we’ve been here end of October when the flow of people is not that big. We looked for images of Dubrovnik old town during summer and it seems awful. After two hours in the old town we just left. We felt trapped in a tourist hell.
Where to eat well and at a fair price in Split ?
We didn’t go to restaurants at all in Dubrovnik. There was no way we would go to a tourist restaurant and pay twelve euros for a basic green salad. In Split, we found a couple of very nice places that are really worth visiting. This is where we found the best restaurants during our trip in Croatia. Here is the list. You can find them on my map too.
Articok : The interior is design and arty. The service is very neat and the food menu offers healthy meals. As I already said, the food offer in Croatia is not so healthy. We were very happy to find this place. The prices are ok for the quantity. I recommend to go there for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, they only offer tapas. We had the cheese plate once and it was really delicious.
Buffet Fife: Too bad we discovered this place on our last day. Otherwise, we would have gone there every day. This restaurant is exactly what we were looking for since we arrived in Croatia. They serve traditional dishes at a very fair price, the quantity was really good and it felt like it was cooked by a Croatian grandmother. Last but not least, the service was friendly which is rare in Croatia. This place is loved by locals.
Step by Step : Perfect for breakfast or brunch. They serve gluten free food as well as smoothies, shakes, and juices. The choice is wide and the food is tasty. The prices are not that cheap but once in a while, it is good to spend a bit of money for a healthy and solid breakfast.
Konoba Marjan: This restaurant is rated number one on TripAdvisor. We’ve been there for dinner and we were not disappointed at all. We had a fish plate for two for twenty-three euros per person. It was worth it. The quantity of fish was sufficient. The quality was great and the way they grilled the fishes was just perfect. We had tuna steaks, sea bass, scampi, white fish. The tuna was particularly tasty and tender. Memorable.
Figa food bar: This restaurant is cozy. You can sit outside in the narrow street made of stairs were they installed benches and tables or you can have a table inside. We’ve been there for lunch and dinner and both times were satisfying. Prices are fair compared to the rest of the restaurants in Split. They serve salads, pad thai, homemade pasta but also delicious homemade cakes. The quality of the service depends on the waiter you get. We had a lovely woman serving us the first time and a not super friendly waiter the second time.
What is not worth visiting in Split and Dubrovnik ?
According to our experience, I would say that it is not worth paying the entrance to Jupiter’s temple. At the bottom of the bell tower, you will see a desk where you can pay entrance to the tour, which we didn’t visit and to Jupiter’s temple. It is not worth it. The temple is a room with a statue inside. The entrance is 3€ per person. We didn’t do any of the boat excursions to the blue caves and sightseeing of Split by boat. The way they sell these excursions is so not attractive that we preferred to skip them. Regarding Dubrovnik, I would simply recommend you to not go there. Even if it is beautiful and full of history, there is nothing to do there expect from the old city which is very touristy and the expensive excursions to go kayaking or diving. If you happen to make a stop there, don’t plan to stay for a night or more. Stop for two hours if you really want to have a look at the old town and that’s it. Of course, if you are a fan of history or Game of Thrones, you’ll find the place great.
What did we enjoy the most ?
Basically, we liked the scenery. That is true that these cities located on the Adriatic sea offer great views. Walking in Marjan forest in Split was a good experience. You can climb all the way up to have a beautiful panoramic view over the sea and the city. We truly enjoyed Diocletian’s Palace and its underground. Also, every day at 8 PM there is live music at Lvxor Kavana & Restoran at the bottom of the palace. The atmosphere is unique as you can see in the video.
Thank you for reading. Take care.