It’s time for a confession: I may have been a bit of a ‘Donnie Downer’ about Dubrovnik.
I don’t like to gravitate towards a crowd when I’m travelling, and when I first visited in 2011 I was disheartened to discover hoards of people filing through the narrow alleys, even at the very beginning of the Adriatic tourist season.
On that trip I had just arrived from Split, a quieter city with a lived-in old town that made me feel like I was walking through a scene in history. And so, over the last six years, whenever the topic of Dubrovnik has come up, I haven’t missed the opportunity to play the contrarian and recommend that people look further up the coast instead.
This Easter we travelled to Tirana, Albania’s capital, worked our way up Montenegro and then, out of convenience, flew home from Dubrovnik.
We gave ourselves two days in Tirana – a vibrant, curious city that we could have easily spent another week in – and just one evening in Dubrovnik.
Of course, this time I was charmed.
The scale, the winding streets, the joy of finding an empty courtyard in an otherwise busy city or catching a glimpse of sunset through the old walls – it’s a magnificent place and at last I realise why so many people are keen to visit.
Dubrovnik now has the prices to match its popularity, which came as a shock after two weeks in Montenegro, but I was pleased that an otherwise coincidental stop allowed me to reassess the city.
I think it’s only fair I revisit Split as well, though.