Monday 27 February 2017

Island hopping - need to know

Getting there

Aer Lingus (0818 365 000; aerlingus.com) flies direct to Dubrovnik four times per week until the last Saturday in September. Getting from Dubrovnik to the islands is easy. Your hotel can often book ahead for you. For a cruise on a mock 15th-century galleon, contact Elite travel (00 385 20 358 200; www.elite.hr). Alternatively, for regular ferries, you can just turn up and buy tickets at the old city port.

Staying There

The famous Libertas hotel offers gorgeous ocean views and its restaurants stock delicious local foods. Rooms are large, with very comfortable beds and top-of-the-range amenities. Doubles from €255 (00 385 20 200 000; rixos.com).

Pension Stankovic is an excellent choice for those wanting to spend a bit less. It's small and offers both apartments and rooms. It's also situated a little outside of the city centre, but is all the better for it. Some rooms offer amazing views down on to the town. From €60 per person (00 385 98 182 7338; dubrovnik-accommodation-apartments.com).

If you want to stay on the islands, the homespun six-bedroom La Villa on Lopud is one of the best choices. Prices start from €100 for two adults (00 385 91 322 0126; www.lavilla.com.hr).

FIVE GREAT THINGS TO DO

•On Lopud, visit the beautiful sandy beach of Sunj, or get lost like I did by following the gravel walkway that goes around the island (not across it, where most tourists go).

•Visit the charming St Mary of Spilica monastery. Near the port, easy to spot.

•In Dubrovnik, visit the Church of St Blaise. This 18th-century baroque gem sits on Luza Square.

•Walk along the city walls -- the perfect way to see the place. Offers wow-inducing views and takes about an hour to complete the entire circuit.

•Try local seafood and drink Karlovaèko beer. But be warned, prices are often high in this tourist-driven city. Restaurant Orhan (00 385 20 411 918; restaurant-orhan.com) is a reasonable option. The black-ink risotto (risotto soaked in squid ink) is delicious.

BEFORE YOU GO

Irish citizens do not require visas to enter Croatia. Changing money is easy, and can be done on arrival or before you go. The currency is the Kuna (HRK) and €1 is worth about seven Kuna now. ATMs are plentiful.

A top tip, often overlooked: Dubrovnik's streets are paved with marble. Make sure you bring footwear that provides good traction.

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