Lokrum island near Dubrovnik

Lokrum – the green oasis of Dubrovnik

It is an island of legends, love and lush green vegetation. Located just a stone’s throw from the historic city walls of Dubrovnik the island of Lokrum has always had a strong position in the rise of the city. With hidden coves, covered walkways and untouched nature the island is THE place to escape the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik through the summer months, go where the locals go.

Lokrum island near Dubrovnik

Lokrum – an island waiting to be explored

The earliest mention of Lokrum stretches back to 1023 when Benedictine monks became owners of the island; you can still see their influence today with the monastery in the centre of the island. In fact most of the manicured gardens you see on the island also come from the monks, they were certainly busy! Over the years the island has changed hands a fair few times, it has been a turbulent history. There is even a legend that King Richard the Lionheart landed on the island after being shipwrecked nearby.

Modern day Lokrum is an oasis of tranquillity, a green island in a sea of turquoise. Just a short ten-minute ferry ride from the Old City of Dubrovnik and you are a world away, a haven of peace. Our advice is to get a morning ferry and spend a whole day on the island; there are plenty of cafes and restaurants so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Here are a few tips to make your Lokrum day go with a bang. If you are a family then one of the best places for children to swim is the so called “Dead Sea” which is a shallow lake-like area on the east of the island. If you fancy exploring a little then take a circular walk, start at the “Portoc” where the ferry lands and head west. A sunning pathway takes you through Mediterranean nature and fauna, the views back to the Old City are panoramic and unique. Just keep following the path, you can’t really get lost as after all you are on an island, and after 40 minutes you will get to the northern side where many beaches and attractions are located. And when on Lokrum you just have to dive into the crystal clear Adriatic. Search for a cove of your own, find the shade of a pine tree, roll out a towel, open a good book and unwind in the sunshine.

Peacocks on Lokrum

The peacocks are always happy to pose for photos

Time for lunch, wander off to the monastery where you’ll find a good restaurant or over to the playing fields and another great restaurant, and take a few photos of the peacocks along the way. The peacocks were introduced a few years ago and are protected on Lokrum, they are always happy to pose for photos. They aren’t the only protected species; the whole of the island was proclaimed a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve in 1976.

Lokrum is truly a summer joy, a sanctuary for a romantic day, a heaven for families and an island waiting to be explored.

Dance to the rhythm of Dubrovnik

With the cry into the night air, the first tunes from the Lijerica, the twist and twirl of the colourful dancers, this is Lindjo. One of the absolute points on your “must do” list whilst in Dubrovn…

Source: Dance to the rhythm of Dubrovnik

Lindjo folklore ensemble

Dance to the rhythm of Dubrovnik

With the cry into the night air, the first tunes from the Lijerica, the twist and twirl of the colourful dancers, this is Lindjo.

One of the absolute points on your “must do” list whilst in Dubrovnik is to attend a performance by the folklore ensemble Lindjo. With over fifty years of tradition the Lindjo ensemble is one of the columns of culture on which Dubrovnik is founded.

An explosion of song and dance and the Lindjo begins. The energy is overflowing, the passion incredible and the moves enthralling. The Lijerica plucks away its monotonous tone, the dance leader cries instructions to the circle of dancers, the harmony is outstanding.

Formed in 1965 the Lindjo dance ensemble performs traditional songs and dances from the Dubrovnik region. It is like watching history come to life. Dances passed down from generations, costumes created over hundreds of years and lyrics aimed to shock and amuse. History and traditions respected in a single dance.

The audience around me fall into silence, a silent awe, as the young dancers perform…”they are really unbelievable and so nice to see so many young people dancing,” I hear the English couple next to me.

Traditional dance of Dubrovnik

Dance to the rhythm​ of Dubrovnik

Through the summer months the Lindjo dancers are kept very busy. Apart from performing in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival they also dance three times a week in the Lazaretto complex. They also take this little piece of Dubrovnik on tour all over the world, great ambassadors for the city. They are accompanied by the traditional instrument, the Lijerica, a pear-shaped, three-stringed instrument which is played with a bow. It might look easy to get a tune from, but believe me it isn’t, far from it.

“And I can, thank God, raise my leg high in the air,” echoes out in the Dubrovnik evening sky, the dance leader has a firm grip on his troupe, his booming lyrics continue unabated.

In times when the authenticity of many world destinations is under question the Lindjo performers are without doubt as authentic as the City Walls themselves. To understand the society, the culture and the very spirit of Dubrovnik, the city that you have chosen to holiday in an evening with the Lindjo Folklore Ensemble is an evening that will create memories for a lifetime. This is the soul, the heartbeat of the city in a dance.

The crescendo of applause as the whole ensemble takes a bow is deafening, cries of “bravo” ring around, once again Lindjo has found a new group of fans.

Dubrovnik style Easter eggs

Easter in Dubrovnik – values that live on

“No, don’t break it…it’s beautiful,” I gasped in amazement at the scene in front of me. Easter in Dubrovnik is a time of traditions, a time of family and a time of fresh beginnings. It feels like a new chapter, a page has been turned, and yet the culture of the past is respected. Value is the key word. It is also a great time to visit Dubrovnik; it really feels like you are at the start of something special.

Easter isn’t really just a day, although Easter Sunday is the height of the celebrations, there is a week of events to experience. Which is how I came to be feeling sorry for an egg? One of the many traditions of Easter in Dubrovnik is painted eggs. Now I am not talking about whitewashed eggs in one colour, no far from it, these are tiny masterpieces. Incredibly decorated eggs with pictures, scenes and even messages displayed on them, pure miniature works of art.

Children at school, grandparents at home and even companies produce their own hand-decorated eggs. Some carry messages like, “Bless you this Easter,” and all of them are glorious. After so much time and effort has been put into painting them they are broken, egg on egg in a kind of conker competition. However if you are lucky enough to be in Dubrovnik for the Easter period then it is your job to save a few, what a perfect and unique souvenir. I have a few tucked away.

Easter at the Kazbek, Dubrovnik

Easter atmosphere at Boutique Hotel Kazbek

You have to try some of the delicacies at Easter time, such as the special cake that is made, Pinca, we love it. And don’t be surprised if you see palm decorations everywhere, on Palm Sunday it is traditional to take plaited palm leaves to church. But it isn’t only in church that you’ll see these plaited palm leaves, every home and shop will proudly have palm decorations on show.

Often tourists will ask about the special celebrations and traditions in Dubrovnik for Easter, they are fascinated that these customs are still alive and kicking. The idea of just giving out chocolate Easter eggs still hasn’t invaded Dubrovnik’s culture. And as the weather breaks, the sun stays longer in the blue sky and the nature can almost be heard awakening it is truly an inspirational time to visit Dubrovnik.

Discover the beauties and the values that make Dubrovnik a unique city to be in, and these very values are highlighted the most at Easter time. Make your own Easter memories in Dubrovnik…and save a few eggs as a memento.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Discover the beauties and the values that make Dubrovnik a unique city to be in

Dubrovnik sunrise

Make 2016 your year – write your Dubrovnik story

The new year is here, seems to come around at the same time every year. Dubrovnik is calm and peaceful at this time of the year. The harsh winter that has embraced most of the rest of Europe has avoided, once again, Dubrovnik. Winter time in Dubrovnik, if you can call this mild weather winter, is a time for reflection, a time for new beginnings. With the start of the new year comes optimism, we have 360 empty pages of our life in front of us. Fill them; fill every minute of every day. Travel as much as possible, make memories, meet new people and dive into new experiences.

So what can we expect from a fresh summer in Dubrovnik this year? Already the international media is falling over itself to heap praise on Dubrovnik. Reports in publications, such as the New York Times and Condé Nast Traveller, have positioned Dubrovnik on their lists of places to visit in 2016. With all this publicity the region is certainly to be near the top on the lists of many world travellers this year. We can expect another great summer.

There will be events, concerts, drama and ballet…and that is just in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. The number of festivals in Dubrovnik, a city of culture, is growing year on year and we will welcome back many “old friends” this year. Why not jump on a flight and spend a weekend in Dubrovnik whilst a festival is on…you won’t regret it. And with more flights from more destinations expected to land at Dubrovnik Airport this year the opportunities are endless. Fly in on a Friday afternoon, spend a weekend in the Mediterranean sunshine and catch a concert, then return on Monday ready for another working week. Fill some of those empty pages.

guaranteed sunshine in Dubrovnik

Weekend in the sunshine

We will also be welcoming back our friends from HBO and the whole crew of the globally popular Game of Thrones series. Dubrovnik, which acts as King’s Landing in the serial, is forever bound to the Game of Thrones. And apart from bringing us yet more exposure it has also acted as a fuse paper for many other international production companies. Already, at the beginning of 2016, another film crew will shoot a Greek epic movie, “Alexandra,” in the city’s historic cobbled streets. You can be sure that others will follow.

Make 2016 the year that you fill the pages of your life with a trip to Dubrovnik. If you have already been then you are probably waiting to come back, if you’ve never been then…what are you waiting for.

Port of Dubrovnik

Aerial view of Dubrovnik

Xmas in Dubrovnik

Christmas time in Dubrovnik

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Dubrovnik in the festive season is a time of joy and celebration. The historic Old City shines like a beacon in the night sky…lights, decorations and Christmas trees fill the cobbled streets.

Dubrovnik is a city for all seasons, after all that is the slogan of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and holiday season is a special one to be in the city. Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy summer period Dubrovnik has another face, a calmer and more peaceful face, as the winter approaches. Tourists, the vast majority come in the summer, who visit Dubrovnik through the winter are often left with a special memory, “we had the city to ourselves…it was great.”

Christmas feel to the Stradun

Reindeer in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik

And this Christmas and New Year holiday season the city has really pulled out all the stops! The main street, the Stradun, has, for the first time in history, eighteen wooden festive huts lined along the polished stone. Wandering down the centre of the city you will see Christmas delicacies, gifts, sweet treats and souvenirs, all with the special aroma of mulled wine hanging in the air.

This is the second year in a row that the Dubrovnik Winter Festival has been held. Over 150 events will be held in the city until the middle of January, yes you have time to jump on a plane and experience the festive fun. Christmas market, concerts, an ice-rink, amusement park and shows…imagine telling your friends that you have been ice-skating in Dubrovnik! Nativity scenes and advent candles bring a spiritual soul to Christmas in Dubrovnik. The family values and traditions are still very important to the local people, Christmas has still yet to be “commercialised” in Dubrovnik.

And whilst you are in the city why not take the opportunity to taste some Christmas treats. Try “Prikle” – a small doughnut, “Arancini” – sugar frosted orange peel, “Hrostule” – sweet bread sticks, “Carob cake” – a locally made cake from the carob fruit and all of these are washed down with a glass (or two) of a homemade brandy to help keep the cold out. These specialities can be seen on almost all Christmas tables throughout the city, so why not pick some up and make your own “Dubrovnik Christmas,” when you get back home.

And don’t forget the New Year celebrations. The Stradun comes alive on New Year’s Eve, the wildest night of the year, with a massive concert. This year will be an extra special one as one of the most popular singers in Croatia, Severina, will perform on the main street, it will be an unforgettable night.

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Dubrovnik is waiting for you this holiday season. It may not be like “walking in a winter wonderland,” and we are not “dreaming of a white Christmas,” but we do “wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Hotel Kazbek in the winter

White Christmas in Dubrovnik