Staying in Lapad while visiting Dubrovnik

While visiting Dubrovnik, many people chose to stay inside the walls of its Old Town.   For those wanting to mix beach time with the historic centre,  Cavtat (about 20km south of the Old Town) and the Lapad and Babin Kuk areas (3 -4 km northwest of the Old Town) are both popular options.

While staying in the wall-ringed Old Town definitely has its advantages, for a four day trip in September 2015, we chose to stay in the Lapad area.

This posts summarizes why this option worked well for us.

The accommodation is cheaper and / or you get much more for your money

We stayed in an apartment in small, three unit complex, for just over €200 (for 4 nights!). The apartment had a small kitchen, decent size bathroom and queen size bed, located less than 50m from the restaurant strip and 250m from the beach and was blissfully quiet.

A large supermarket and the bus stop to the Old Town were was only a couple minutes walk away. Using the bus was very easy as you can purchase tickets from a manned booth (near restaurant strip in Lapad) or buy tickets from a newsagent. The bus ride took about 15 minutes, runs every 10 minutes and cost 12 kunas.

On one energetic evening, we even walked the whole way into town (3.5km) which, mostly flat, took about 40 minutes.

Lapad Beach

If you’re looking to mix beach time with visiting the historic Old Centre, the Lapad Beach is beautiful, with plenty of places to lounge in the sun and take in the beautiful views, and swim with the occasional fish!  The beach sits at the end of a fairly long bay, so there are no large waves, and is very protected if you want to swim.

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Looking back at Lapad Beach. To the right of the beach is a walkway that continues past several restaurants and ends at the Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel.
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Stairs from the walkway lead down to areas of concrete (some moulded into quasi lounge chairs), for free beach lounging. Continue along the pathway until you reach Hotel and Restaurant More (details below)

After spending our first afternoon in Dubrovnik and seeing the massive crowds, we decided to spend the mornings and early afternoons in Lapad, saving our evenings for Dubrovnik when it was cooler and almost more importantly, when the cruise ship passengers had left the town centre. We found this approach worked well as the days were relaxing, with the craziness of the Old Town saved for the evenings.

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Example of the crowds in the early evening  = room to move
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This was taken during a walk along the walls (highly recommended – 120 kunas) around 5:00pm. The picture shows the much thinner crowds later in the afternoon. The other highly recommended activity (but second to the City Walls Walk is the gondola ride to the top of the hill overlooking the Old Town. The photo at the top of this post was taken from the hill.
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View of the Old Town from the City Walls. The walk  takes about two hours and has three starting points – on Stradun by the Pile Gate, by Saint John’s Fort and at the Custon’s House Gate. Consider paying in cash as the day we went all the debit / EFTPOS machines decided not to work.

Restaurant and Bar Options

This category would be a positive and a negative for me. I found it was always easy to get a table at the restaurants in Lapad, it was very relaxed, you could eat almost anywhere coming straight from the beach, with the negative being that none of the meals we had were what I would call memorable. The one exception were the drinks and nibbles (ok not really a meal) at the Cave Bar attached to Restaurant More. The high end restaurant and the hotel are built into a cave, with Cave Bar More on the ocean side, with a more relax feel and easy access to a swimming area. Sitting at one of the deck chairs, with unobstructed views of the bay on a beautiful sunny day was priceless. As a bonus, the toilets are inside and are reached through a short walk through the cave. Very cool!

We tend to eat our largest meal in the evening, so we took advantage of the Old Town’s dining options in the evening. During one night, we had a mini pub / wine bar crawl complete with a lovely tasting board of tapas at D’vino Wine Bar (another highly recommended drinking and eating spot).

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Tasting plate at D’vino Wine Bar
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After four days of searching, I finally found a good cup of coffee at Glam Cafe.

 

We also had a lovely light meal, and a much later drink, at Soul Caffe. In the evening, they had live music playing and the cake selection is fantastic.

Despite the crowds, you can find some peace and quiet in the Old Town. Once away from the main street, Stradun, and closer to the walls you go, the more likely you are to come across a stairways like the ones below. It just takes a bit of exploring (and lots of walking up stairs!).

 

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In Summary

If I were to return to Dubrovnik (hopefully one day!) and I were staying for more than a couple nights, I’d definitely consider returning to Lapad to take advantage of the laid back feel and of course the beach. Being a resort area, Lapad has a very different feel to Dubrovnik and in no way is a substitute for one of the most beautiful towns I’ve visited.

For a shorter trip, you may want to consider sticking to the Old Town to really soak in the very unique town’s feel, vibe and overall beauty. Just try to book your trip around the cruise ship arrivals!

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