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Dubrovnik

Food, Travel

Vegan in Dubrovnik – A Guide

July 25, 2016

Being vegan or vegetarian in Croatia isn’t very common. In fact, when some of my (Balkan-based) family learned that I was vegetarian they didn’t believe me, and definitely didn’t believe that I would even survive. 10 years later, most of them have somehow grasped it, but depend on me eating cheese, eggs and such instead. So if you’re a vegan, you’re a rare kind. Traveling in Croatia as a vegan is not the easiest, but luckily it’s getting easier and easier – especially in the more popular tourist destinations. Dubrovnik is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and once you visit you will see why. It’s a wonderful, beautiful town. Being vegan in Dubrovnik might not be the easiest thing, but I was there just a few weeks ago and did some research on the vegan food scene. Here’s my guide to visiting Dubrovnik as a vegan:

  • Stay in an apartment or a good hotel

When we were in Dubrovnik we stayed in a wonderful hotel that had some options for vegans during breakfast, but not much else. They had rice and soya milk, sourdough bread (which is made with no animal ingredients), lots of veggies and fruit, marmalade and so on. If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, do check in advance what they offer. However, a cheaper alternative to staying in hotels is booking an apartment with a kitchen. I find this option makes me feel more like a local than a tourist and you can often get great tips from the hosts. Try AirBnb, Booking.com or hotels.com (yes they have apartments too!). When you rent your own apartment with a kitchen you can make your own breakfast and on-the-go lunch as well as the occasional dinner. Not only is this a cheaper alternative than eating out all the time (believe me, I’ve learned the hard way!) but you can ensure that your food is vegan. Plus all the veggies are so much more delicious when they are grown in Croatia.

  • Nischta

Nischta is one of my favorite restaurants! Not only in Dubrovnik but one of my all-time favorites. I’ve written about it here before. The menu is vegetarian and vegan and most of the vegetarian tems can be ordered vegan, which is great. The food is absolutely delicious and the staff is really friendly. It is located on one of the small streets, parallel to the main street in the Old Town, Stradun. Make sure you book a table ahead if you’re eating dinner there though, as it is often fully-booked during evenings.  I could eat here every single day, but beware it’s closed on Sundays.
Where: Old Town, Prijeko bb
More information an d menu on website.

vegan in dubrovnik

Bowl with rice, veggies and tofu

  • Marco Polo Restaurant

Marco Polo is a regular restaurant but also serves vegan food. There’s a vegan salad with apples, walnuts, and cranberries, a tofu steak with wok vegetables, and wok rice noodles with veggies and soya sauce. Although I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit the restaurant, I hear it’s very good. We did walk past it and it looks very nice so I definitely recommend coming here if you’re visiting. Plus, it’s perfect if you’re with a meatie who craves something other than veg food.
Where:  Old town – Lučarica ul. 6
More information and menu here

  • Bio&Bio

Bio&bio is a health store with shops throughout Croatia and makes it that much easier to be vegan in Dubrovnik! The Dubrovnik shop is located a bit outside of the Old Town but you can easily walk there or take the bus from Pile gate. Here you’ll find lots of vegan food – vegan snack bars, plant-based milk, patés, tofu, seitan “meat” and other vegan items. Shop ’til you drop and go cook yourself a lovely meal before you head out for the evening.

Where: Vukovarska 36, Dubrovnik (walk there or take the bus from Pile gate to the Tommy centre). You can buy tickets on the bus.

  • Be nice and ask!

Most restaurants who don’t have anything for you on the menu will make something just for you. They are used to tourists and you’re probably not the first vegan to walk into the restaurant, so don’t be afraid to ask. I normally ask the host/hostess before entering if they have anything I can eat and if they don’t, they often say which dishes the chefs can make for you. If they don’t have anything, well, at least you’ve let them know there’s a demand for it.

  • Farmer’s market

Buy fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruiton the daily open farmer’s market in the Old Town. Get there early and buy everything from juicy, ripe tomatoes to herbs and olive oil at better prices than in the supermarkets. There’s also a farmer’s market in Gruz (by the harbour in Dubrovnik) but it’s also a fish market so be prepared to see a lot of dead fish 😉 .

Dubrovnik farmer's market

Gruz farmer’s market

I think that covers it for now, but as soon as I hear more about new vegan-friendly places I’ll make sure to add them here – do let me know in the comments if you’ve found a good restaurant or shop with a proper vegan selection. So as you can see, although Dubrovnik isn’t covered with vegan restaurants on every corner, being vegan in Dubrovnik can definitely be done with some research and planning – and preferably a small kitchen.

Food, Places I've Been

One of the Best Restaurants in Dubrovnik: Nautika

July 4, 2016
restaurants in dubrovnik

One of the days in Dubrovnik I needed something to cheer me up. Not because anything was wrong; I was just in a mellow mood. I had done some research on the best restaurants in Dubrovnik but essentially decided to just try one of the cozy restaurants down by the Pile Gate, overlooking Fort Lovrjenac (also known as King’s Landing in HBO series Game of Thrones), called Nautika. It has been recognized by the infamous Condé Nast Traveller magazine as the sixth most romantic restaurant in the world. I couldn’t agree more. The view was spectacular and luckily we were able to get a table for two with no reservations. Although it wasn’t any of the tables that offered a prime first row view, we still enjoyed both the view and our fantastic truffle pastas. In short, Nautika is one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik because of the impeccable service and the food…. oh, the food! And the wine… Oh, the wine! 

best restaurants in dubrovnik

This view though…

best restaurants in dubrovnik

My man <3

We skipped starters and wanted to jump straight to our truffle pasta, but were treated with an amuse-bouche and some Croatian olive-oil.

best restaurants in dubrovnik

Great local wine and olive-oil.

Later the truffle pasta was served and it just melted in our mouths. Oh, how I love truffle pasta! I could eat it every single day, and this one was one of the finer ones I’ve had.

best restaurants in dubrovnik

Truffle pasta with fresh Istrian truffles

Although the meal was a hot starter, like most pastas in restaurants are, we were quite full and didn’t go for dessert. However, upon asking for the bill we were given some home-made, orange scented chocolate which tasted sublime as well.

Needless to say after showing you these pictures Nautika is definitely one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik; not just for the fantastic views but the impeccable service, the tasty food prepared with perfect attention to details, and the Croatian wine we enjoyed. It’s not by any means one of the cheapest restaurants in the city, but if you’re celebrating or just want to splurge I’d say Nautika is a fantastic choice for that.

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My view was perfect, as you can see 😉

best restaurants in dubrovnik

All in all a lovely meal I’ll still be dreaming of many years from now.

Places I've Been

Visiting Dubrovnik: The Second Time Around

July 3, 2016
Dubrovnik Croatia

Last Sunday we finally arrived in Dubrovnik. As per usual the night before any travel we always end up staying up way past our bedtime to fix the last things. There’s always something to do. “Did I pack sun screen?”, “Where’s my memory card for the camera?”, and similar thoughts go through my head as I lay awake and count down the minutes until I have to get up. The lines were HUGE at Copenhagen Airport, because funny enough all of Denmark and southern Sweden decided to travel on the same day as us 😉 Anyhow, we made it just in time to board the world’s smallest plane that landed in Dubrovnik around 2 hours later. I had pre-booked  transfer, which was a good thing, because I’m always so eager to start my vacation. We arrived to our hotel and while we waited for our room to be ready, we changed into our swim wear and went down to the pool and private beach. The hotel we were staying it, The Dubrovnik Palace, is quite amazing.

After waking up, we got ready, went up to eat our breakfast, and then went down to the hotel pool/private beach to read books, bathe (in the pool only though, sea is way too cold!), and drink mojitos in the swim-in bar. Seriously, every hotel should have a swim-in bar. Being able to get a glass of wine and cool off in the water at the same time? Genious!

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Here’s were you could find me a lot of the time: cooling off in the pool!

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Am I chiiling in the pool? Am I drinking a cocktail? I am doing BOTH! 😉

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The mojitos were small but good!

Last time we were in Dubrovnik, we were only here for two nights but really fell in love with it. It’s just such a beautiful city, with good food, kind people and lots of things to see and do. Last time we walked the walls and went up to Mount Srdj with the cable cars, where we also visited the war musem. This time around we stayed for 5 nights and decided to just relax and not worry about doing a lot of things – we had seen the important tourist sights so now we wanted to just enjoy our time there.

Read my post about walking the walls of Dubrovnik last time we visited.

After chilling by the pool all day we would take the bus from our hotel down to the gate of the Old Town and find a nice place to eat. Dubrovnik has lovely restaurants and we wanted to try them all but naturally couldn’t. I’ll be writing some more about the food and wine we had the coming days so look out for those posts if you’re foodie like me.

That being said here are some pictures from our second time visiting Dubrovnik:

visiting dubrovnik

The private beach by our hotel (there’s more to it than this though – water was pretty cold so we stayed by the pool).

visiting dubrovnik

This three-man group played amazing jazz in the old town.

visiting dubrovnik

The sunset from our room at the Dubrovnik Palace hotel was nothing short of magical!

 

Places I've Been

Kayaking in Dubrovnik

June 30, 2016
kayaking in dubrovnik

Yesterday we decided to go kayaking in Dubrovnik. We had talked to one of the sales people who stand outside of the old city who told us to meet up the next day. We met our group around 11:45 down by the entrance to the old town and then proceeded down to one of the beaches where the kayaks were. We had two guides with us, who were both friendly and instructed us in how to kayak. It’s really not that hard: just do it simulatenously (with your partner) and follow the guides. Off we went!

kayakig in dubrovnik

Hello!

We went off to the island of Lokrum, just outside of Dubrovnik and this nice cave.

kayaking in dubrovnik

Entering the cave

 

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Inside of the cave the water was very, very clear as you can tell..

We had initially planned to visit Lokrum, as all the locals say it’s a must. Taxi-boats drive you there in 15 minutes and the only inhabitants of this island are… peacocks! There are also lots of exotic plans, a monastery that is first mention way back in 1023, a lake, and a few restaurants. Unfortunately we’ve been lazy and have just enjoyed staying by the pool/beach during the days.. but next time!

After the short stop in the cave we went over to another cave/beach where we stopped for a small lunch and some scuba diving – although we didn’t scuba dive, but just went for a swim instead.

kayaking in dubrovnik

View from the cave

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Jacob drying in the sun after a swim

After the lunch break we headed back to Dubrovnik. During the trip the guides stopped to tell us about the history of Dubrovnik throughout the years, which was very interesting. 3 hours after we had started, we returned back to the shore and tripped over a shooting of the new series called Knightfall, directed by and starring Jeremy Renner.

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The extras greeted us on one of the balconies of the great wall in Dubrovnik.

 

If you’re in Dubrovnik and want to get to know it from another perspective I definitely recommend going on a kayaking trip. We went with Adventure Dubrovnik, which I highly recommend, but there are quite a few companies to chose from. Just head down to the Pile Gate and talk to one of the many kayaking companies there.

 

Food, Places I've Been

Wining & (Vegetarian) Dining in Dubrovnik

September 2, 2015

As a vegetarian, I’m always a bit nervous when planning a trip because of the food. The things is: 1. I absolutely LOVE food 2. I’m a vegetarian. In many people’s minds, these two things don’t really go together. As if my choice to not eat meat and fish had anything to do with taste! I know that in Scandinavia, Germany, England and Italy it’s fairly easy to find really tasty food that I can enjoy as a vegetarian and Croatia is one of those places as well, as the cuisine is highly influenced by Italy. So nowadays, Croatia is one of my vegetarian foodie approved countries, which makes me really happy because I love Croatia. Anyway, I expected the food scene in Dubrovnik to be poor and expensive – but boy, was I wrong! Sure, it’s not cheap, but it’s generally really good – if you know where to go. So here are my 3 favorite spots to eat in the Pearl of the Adriatic:

1. Pizzeria & Spaghetteria Storia

After a hectic day driving from Montenegro to Croatia, and finally arriving to the last leg of our vacation we wanted a really good pasta and some red wine…. like we always do. We went to Pizzeria & Spaghetteria Storia and did not go home disappointed. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious as was the wine recommended to us by the friendly waiter. The athmosphere is very Croatian and you can’t help but enjoy the charm as you sip on your glass of red wine on the small cobble stone alley. The chef comes out in between cooking meals to talk to guests and friends who stop by, so there’s a chance to pour some compliments over him – and believe me, you’ll want to. I didn’t take any pictures here, but I assure you you won’t be disappointed.

2. Nishta

Imagine my happiness when I found an all vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Dubrovnik. That’s definitely a first. Nishta is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant with both raw food and gluten free choices on the menu, run by a Croatian/Swiss couple. The food is amazing and this little restaurant attracts both veg*ns and curious meat-eaters. There’s something for everyone here and the atmosphere is very relaxed – perfect for a lunch in the shade. We had both appetizers and a main course as we were very hungry but also because I just HAD to try as much as possible now that I had found a place where I could choose between everything from the menu. What a weird and delightful feeling. You’ll also find Nishta in Zagreb.

Vegetarian food in Dubrovnik

Jacob’s starter at Nishta.. orange scented vegan “meatballs” made of eggplant and brown rice in a delicious sweet & sour sauce

Vegetarian food in Dubrovnik

My starter… spiralized zucchini with a delicious avocado/lime sauce and fresh cherry tomatoes

Vegetarian food in Dubrovnik

Jacob’s main course – Mexican vegetarian tortillas with seitan, cheese and sour cream

Vegetarian food in Dubrovnik

Vegan Bar-bea burger (love the name) with onion BBQ sauce in naan bread with sweet potato fries and a homemade mustard sauce.

3. Dalmatino Konoba

For our last night in Dubrovnik, which was also the last night of our vacation, we wanted our favorite meal – a truffle pasta. After some heavy research, we made our way through the narrow streets and found this place. We ordered a truffle pasta and two glasses of our favorite Croatian wine – Dingac. As we sat on the narrow street and started dipping the white bread in some virgin olive oil (yum!), small drops of rain started falling on us and we moved inside where we were served an absolutely delicious truffle pasta.

truffle pasta Dubrovnik

Truffle pasta <3

…AND THE WINE

D’vino

Head on over to Palmotićeva street and popular wine bar D’vino, sit by one of the bar tables outside or relax on the steps where the wine bar has set up some stair-friendly small tables. We ordered some Dingac (again) and a delicious truffle cheese platter. If you’re a larger group, it’s also possble to book wine tastings. The service is a bit slow, but the staff is really friendly and the wine (and cheese) is well worth it.

wine bar dubrovnik

Wine and truffle cheese plate at D’vino

Places I've Been

Walking the Walls of Dubrovnik

August 19, 2015

Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik

– George Bernard Shaw

Dubrovnik – the stunning, beautiful medieval city in southern Croatia known for its famous walls, still intact many centuries after they were built, was the highlight of our trip. You see, I didn’t think I’d like Dubrovnik. I had heard that it was very touristy, crowded and expensive from several people who had been there, and so I had never set foot here before, despite my many vacations in the country, both as a child and an adult. But this time, we were flying to and from Dubrovnik on our way to Montenegro, so I suggested we’d stay in Dubrovnik for a few days, to cross it off our list and see what all the fuss was about (because I’d heard many good things as well). When you drive down the coast from Montenegro, you get a beautiful view of Dubrovnik and it certainly doesn’t get any worse once you enter it – although the traffic queues were a nightmare.

After finding the apartment we were renting, a place located within walking distance to the old town, up on the hills with an amazing view of the city, we headed downtown for a quick bite to eat, a dose of WiFi and to walk the infamous walls of Dubrovnik. We bought our tickets and headed up the very first steps to an awe-inspiring view of Fort Lovrjenac to the right and the old city to the left. If you’ve ever seen HBO’s popular TV show Game of Thrones, you might recognize Fort Lovrjenac as it plays a very prominant role as King’s Landing in the series.

Walls of Dubrovnik - King's LandingDubrovnik

 

Dubrovnik

Walking around on the walls, I started imaging what it looked like back in its heyday – who walked here back then? What did they do? What clothes did they wear? What did they eat? My mind started wandering off and my imagination went wild, but was interrupted once we’d climbed up to the top and had the most striking view of the Adriatic sea and the island of Lokrum. I can definitely see why this location was chosen to be in GoT, and why it is a part of UNESCO.

Walls of DubrovnikWalls of DubrovnikWalls of Dubrovnik

Walls of DubrovnikWalls of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

The whole walk took around 1.5-2 hours for us, as we stopped along the way to take in the surroundings, watch the sun go down and take some pictures. Thankfully, we had brought good shoes and bought some water at one of the small shops on the wall, so it wasn’t really the physical challenge we thought it would be, although the scorching sun sure made us sweat along the way. We were really glad that this was the first thing we did, as it allowed us to experience the city from above and see how truly splendid and charming it is. We were tired after a long day, so we found a cafe with good people-watching, drank some wine and beer and headed home to get ready for the evening.

 

 

Places I've Been

The Other Side of Dubrovnik You Need To See

August 11, 2015

When you wander the streets in Dubrovnik, it’s easy to be swept away by its charm and beauty and completely forget that just 25 years ago, the city was under attack in the Yugoslavian war. I was living in former Yugoslavia at the time of the war and have very detailed memories of the things I experienced even though I moved from the area when I was six. I remember the day before we fled to Sweden. I was sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen with my relatives all there and I was crying so loud, the neighbours said they could hear me. I could not understand war then, and I can’t understand it today. The story of the Yugoslavian war is a complex one, and we don’t need to go into the details here, but it’s safe to say that many people of all religions and nationalities suffered. Some wounds were physical and some are in the mind. Those are the wounds that never heal.

The cross on top of mountain Srdj

The cross on top of mountain Srdj

If you take the cable cars in Dubrovnik, you will reach mountain Srdj, which has fantastic views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. Here, tourists gather to admire the beauty, with cameras and selfie-sticks at hand. But if you walk just one minute to the Fort Imperial, you will find the Homeland War Museum of Dubrovnik which has an exhibition on the how the war affected Dubrovnik, called War Photo Limited. It shows a whole other side of the historic town known as “the pearl of the Adriatic”. The exhibition features photography of a city under seige, of its citizens and its defenders, and many artefacts from the soldiers who fought the war as well as documentaries made during the war.

Walking there, I felt an immense sadness. I was just a couple of years old when the war broke out in former Yugoslavia, but I still remember many awful things and those scars that have been there, slowly healing, were all torn up about 10 minutes after entering the museum. It’s hard reliving memories, and it’s surreal to know that those people on the pictures, well – the ones who were lucky enough to survive, are stillwalking among us, with scars so deep they’ll never heal. With memories so dark, I can’t begin to understand how they cope with life. They have suffered, they have lost homes, loved ones, and sometimes their minds. Because, really, how do you even deal with being a victim of war?

If you’re visiting Dubrovnik, you owe it to not only learn about the history of how the city was built, but to also educate yourself on what happened here just 24 years ago and  learn the history of how the city was almost destroyed as well. Dubrovnik has been through restorations worth over  $9 billion to look the way it does today, and may I say they’ve done an excellent job.

Fort Imperial where the war museum is located

Fort Imperial where the war museum is located

This is what happened to Dubrovnik's famed city walls during the war

This is what happened to Dubrovnik’s famed city walls during the war

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View of Dubrovnik from mountain Srdj

View of Dubrovnik from mountain Srdj