Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
Over the past few years the most numerous tourists to Dubrovnik have been from Great Britain. Without doubt one of the factors is the number of direct flights that operate between the UK and Dubrovnik through the summer months. The low-cost airline EasyJet carried the largest number of UK passengers to Dubrovnik in 2015 and they have just announced that they will be increasing the number of direct flights for this year.
Until now EasyJet have operated three flights every week between Dubrovnik and Stansted Airport, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. However they are to introduce a fourth line, on Thursdays, due to the amount of interest from the UK market.
EasyJet have also announced that they will increase the number of flights between Pula and Gatwick Airport, from two to three.
Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik are forever connected. Ever since the second season was filmed in the city the two have been joined eternally. With the six season recently broadcast and the seventh season due to be filmed in Dubrovnik at the end of the summer we decided to check out the Dubrovnik “Game of Thrones” offer.
Over a dozen locations around the historic city of Dubrovnik have been used by the HBO production team, as well as the island of Lokrum and the Trsteno Arboretum. The best way to check out all the locations in the city is to take a walking tour; all of the locations are within walking distance. We checked out a tour with the professional guide Ivan Vuković, basically we tagged along.
The Game of Thrones tour started in the city, on the Stradun, with a briefing of what to expect, it was a two-hour tour. We moved onto the Pile Gate, through the Pile Park and then onto the Bay of Pile where the Battle of Blackwater was filmed. We had walked less than 250 metres and already we had passed four Game of Thrones locations. And at every location there was a photo explanation of the real life location where we were standing.
Onto one of the highlights of the tour, the St. Lawrence Fortress, the location for so many sections from season two to season six. The views over the Old City are stunning and the Game of Thrones atmosphere was special.
Back into town and onto more Game of Thrones scenes, including the iconic steps where the “Walk of Shame,” was filmed. Our knowledgeable guide was not only well clued-up on the city, but he was also a keen Game of Thrones fan. Every question throw at him but the group was answered in seconds, truly a great tour.
Check out the Dubrovnik – Game of Thrones tours here.
Every weekend our resident "Style Guru" will be scanning the streets of Dubrovnik for the latest and greatest in fashion.
After a cloudy, windy and occasionally rainy Saturday, weather forecasters have predicted that today will also be wet and windy with the chance of storms. According to the latest forecast of the Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, today is expected to be an unsettled day, mostly cloudy with occasional rain and local showers with thunder, and cooler. Temperatures will reach a high of 19 degrees today.
The forecast for the following week is for more unsettled weather, with the start of the week seeing yet more rain and even the odd thunder storm. However the rain should clear by the middle of the week and by Thursday and Friday the temperatures will start to rise and the sun should break through.
To get the full Dubrovnik experience you’ll need a little inside knowledge. Here is our list of the top five “don’t miss” Dubrovnik attractions.
Walk the City Walls
Walk a full circle or a half circle, but don’t leave Dubrovnik without at least walking some of the iconic city walls.
Escape to green heaven
A ten-minute boat and you are in the green oasis of Lokrum. Find a spot in the shade and soak up a natural Mediterranean spa centre!
Get regal with the Rector
The Rectors Palace was the seat of power in the times of the Republic. The museum is well worth a visit and the museum shop has some great authentic souvenirs.
The wow factor
Rent a scooter and drive up to the observation points to the south of the city, the views are fabulous, so don’t forget your camera.
The Buza Bar hangs off the cliffs between the city walls and the Adriatic. Prices are as steep as the rock face, but the view comes free of charge.
Finally Dubrovnik should have more comprehensive connections to international airports for this winter. The latest airline to announce flights through the winter months to Dubrovnik is the Spanish carrier Vueling Airlines. Until now the carrier has only operated summer flights to Dubrovnik, as is the case in the vast majority of airlines. But now Vueling Airlines have confirmed that they will fly between Dubrovnik and Rome and Barcelona all year round.
According to Dubrovnik Airport the flights will be operated twice a week through the winter and will “help boost operations during the slower months.” Vueling Airlines aren’t the only carrier to operate through the winter, with British Airways expected to fly twice a week to London, Croatia Airlines to connect the city with Rome and Frankfurt and Turkish Airlines to continue flights to Istanbul.
Just the name intrigued us, Escape Room, what are we escaping from or whom! This is a concept you are either already hooked on or have no idea what it is, we fell into the second category. But once we found out we couldn’t wait to try. It is all about using your brain, working as a team, solving puzzles, thinking logically and discovering the clues. This first ever Escape Room in Dubrovnik has a Game of Thrones theme; we caught up with one of the co-owners, Diana Marlais, to seek some clues.
“The first time I played an Escape Room I was hooked, the adrenaline was pumping, I loved it and thought it would be a great idea to open one in Dubrovnik,” said Marlais adding that it was exciting to start a new offer for tourists in the city.
The Dubrovnik Escape Room opened its doors to the public just recently but it has already proved a hit with locals and tourists. Marlais, along with Bogdan Dascalescu, decided to theme the room with the Game of Thrones. “Dubrovnik and Game of Thrones are forever connected but the city has yet to fully realise the potential of this great brand,” commented the couple.
When we heard the words Escape Room we guessed that we would be locked away, however this room has a twist. In an hour you have to discover all of the clues solve the riddles and logically get to the end of the Game of Thrones story.
You are an in a medieval alchemy lab and have to find the hidden wildfire jar to save King’s Landing, or in fact Dubrovnik, from Stannis Baratheon. But you don’t have to be a Game of Thrones freak to enjoy the fun. “Everyone who has played the room has really enjoyed it, it is all about communication and teamwork,” said Marlais adding that up to five people can play the room at the same time. “We try not to give too many hints as we want players to have that “Aha” moment, of course we help them along the way but we really want players to immerse themselves in the room and the game,” concluded the couple.
Dubrovnik Escape Room
Will you beat the room or will the room beat you? This great new gaming experience in Dubrovnik is a breath of fresh air on the tourist attraction scene. We would highly recommend giving it a go. Wrap yourself up in a game that will have you scratching your heads and then, as the guys said, you will have that “Aha” moment. Adrenaline pumping you are off to solve the next clue and beat the room...or will the room beat you!
Contact the Dubrovnik Escape Room here and book a game to remember! dubrovnikescaperoom.com
“Blimey maybe they should think about fitting that church with a revolving door,” said the Englishman in front of me as we enjoyed a beer on the Stradun. It was one of the rare occasions in the summer months that I managed to scrap together a couple of fee hours for my wife and me. Unfortunately my wife is a little bit of a “summer widow.” She really doesn’t get to see much of me through the warmer months.
So there we were, although in the company of a couple of English friends, sitting on the Stradun. We probably sat for a total of two hours and in that time we watched four different wedding parties shuffle past us. OK, it was a Saturday, traditionally one of the busiest days for tying the knot in Dubrovnik, but four in two hours, blimey. As one group stood and had their photos taken on the steps of the St. Blaise Church another noisily entered the city and waited their turn.
At one point there were two wedding parties almost collided head on, one pouring out of the St. Blaise Church whilst the other was coming down from the cathedral. It was mayhem for a minute or so when guests got confused which direction and which bride and groom to follow. That is when the “revolving door” line came from my friend. One particular wedding caught my eye. The bride was quite clearly from India whilst the groom appeared to be Croatian. On closer inspection the groom was speaking a mixture of Croatian and English. “The groom is from Australia,” I was informed by one of the wedding photographers. Ah, so probably a second, or even third, generation Diaspora.
That idea became clearer as the older members of his family seemed to be speaking perfect Croatian. The bride, on the other hand, and her family quite clearly didn’t understand a word that was being spoken. I am not even sure that they understood what was going on around them. It was a real culture clash. A leather flask of rakija was handed around and the bride was expected to take a swig, to her praise she did, although the look on her face told the real story as to whether she actually enjoyed it.
Then, after the ceremony, the whole mixed marriage party spilled out onto the stone steps of the St. Blaise Church. No sooner had they entered into the open air the three-man band opened up full volume. Half of the wedding group joined in, the others looked around at each other. Another typical Croatian wedding classic boomed out. And once again the same story, although I did notice that the younger members of the Diaspora Australians were having problems keeping up with all the words. The Indian party had no idea what had hit them. They politely smiled and wiggled to the rhythm, but the lyrics flew over their heads. It was street entertainment.
We sat in Cele and ordered another beer, waiting for the second act. Of course the Croatian flags were being twirled around in the air. This brought a smile to our friends, “we don’t really have the habit the wave flags at weddings unless a member of the Royal Family is getting married,” he chuckled. But then from the direction of Pile came yet another wedding, blimey this one had more flags than the final of the World Cup! And right in the middle of the Croatian flags was two I recognized, the Stars and Stripes and the British Flag.
There must have been six Croatian flags surrounding the “foreign” colors. “How are there three different flags, unless the groom is marrying two brides at once,” asked my friend. He had a good point. The inevitable happened and the “multi-flag” wedding collided with the mixed Indian and Diaspora wedding. At one point it was a jumble of brides and grooms and flags, all accompanied by Croatian tunes from the band.
The two weddings untangled and although the Indians hadn’t managed to learn any of Croatian song lyrics the bride and groom seemed quite obviously overjoyed and deeply in love, after all love conquers all barriers.