This is a guest post.
Having just become the 28th and newest member of the European Union and with plans to join the single European currency, now could be the time to visit Croatia. While not as cheap as it was a few years ago, the country’s lengthy Adriatic coastline and warm climate makes it a perfect European getaway. There are a number of areas to choose from when booking your cheap holidays to Croatia, while they are still available (in the future, the Euro may push these prices up), but you needn’t venture far from Dubrovnik Airport to find the perfect holiday base.
The beautiful town of Cavtat (The ‘C’ is pronounced like an ‘S’) lies a mere 10 minutes from Dubrovnik Airport, between the airport and the city itself, which lies a further 10 miles up the coast. It’s a fantastic location, not only for a short airport transfer, but also if you want to visit the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik and take day trips into nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The town itself is also a wonderful place to spend a few days.
Despite having a population of less than 3,000, Cavtat boasts all manner of accommodation, from the five-star Hotel Croatia that occupies one of the peninsulas that create Cavtat’s natural bay, to self-catering apartments hidden in the cobbled back streets behind the main promenade and marina. Town life is centred round the marina, which welcomes a wide variety of boats and yachts, including those of the rich and famous (local restaurant Leut boasts of having served the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Roman Abramovich and Gerard Depardieu). Plenty other bars and restaurants line the front while there’s also a water polo arena where regular matches take place throughout the summer.
A walk around the other peninsula will take you from the centre of the town up to the Račić family mausoleum, situated at the furthest point of the town and providing stunning views of the Adriatic and over to the city of Dubrovnik. The family were wealthy thanks to their shipping fortune and it’s easy to see why they chose Cavtat as their final resting place.
You can’t stay in Cavtat without venturing into the city of Dubrovnik. The best way to get there is by local bus service, which takes around half an hour from the centre of Cavtat. Just be aware that the bus will drop you off in the modern city of Dubrovnik and you will have a 10-minute walk to the ancient walled city on the coast. A walk round the city walls is a must – it reveals a fascinating mix of Medieval history and modern-day life as residents go about their daily business as tourists look on. It’s also hard to believe when walking round the city that it was the target of concerted bombing just over 20 years ago.
You will find that, particularly during the summer months, old town Dubrovnik gets extremely busy and it can be relief to get back to the relative tranquillity (and cheaper prices) of Cavtat. If you took the bus there, why not hop on one of the many water taxis that run between the city and Cavtat for a different view of both places?
Cavtat’s position in the south of Croatia also makes it a great base for bagging countries. If you haven’t hired a car, there are several tour companies in Cavtat that offer day trips. The city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful stone settlement with a stunning old bridge while Montenegro and its Kotor Bay is naturally stunning and less than an hour from Cavtat.
If you are planning a trip to Croatia, and especially the city of Dubrovnik, you could do worse than basing yourself in Cavtat. It offers a quieter pace of life but with plenty on your doorstep.
William Ross is a full-time travel writer now based in Italy who specialises in southern European destinations.