Each city has its clandestine places that enchant you with its disguised charm, spicing up your daily routine, keeping you mesmerized. A coffee becomes more than a coffee. Each main street on the world looks pretty much the same at any given time of the day.
They can seem even more alluring in the night time when the lights and illuminated advertising lit the city up, bathing it in yellowish lights that tempts you to dance the night away. Uniformity is not the case with Stradun. Main street in the Old Town, the promenade, changes its face a couple of times during the day.
Exclusively, for the early risers, Stradun will give you a bit of Mediterranean flare, old-fashioned wooden carts with vegetables and fish are being brought to the local market …. old ladies in national costumes selling sugar coated almonds, lavender and scent oils, enticing smell from nearby bakery that mixes with the salty sea smell… The heat creates some vanilla kind of texture . . . gluten free or not you will find yourself in front of the counter ordering.
The first bar on the left is Festival. You might wanna take a break, not saying you would need one, but to blend in with the locals, you have to make sure to take enough coffee breaks per day.
Try to sit yourself next to the wall, the last row, for the couple of reasons. You’ll figure out why when touring groups start parading. If the first espresso didn’t do the job, order the next one, relax and try their breakfast- Festival has a big selection.
Festival, once known as Manon, is one of the oldest cafés in Dubrovnik. During the last war, the building was completely destroyed, bombed and burnt down, almost to the ground. But Mr. Luca, Northern Italian, in-love in Dubrovnik, restored it and gave back to Stradun its landmark. Festival is now locally owned, however it has one more specialty. A very cute, curly, tinny lady makes great cakes from the scratch. Recipes are secret and exclusively signed. Perhaps she has invented them or got them from her granny. Mojito is their specialty as well.
It will be hot, therefore find The Hole in the Wall, most of the free city maps have the spot marked. Due its position very likely there will be some breeze and you’ll be able to catch some fresh air. Picturesquely called the hole in the wall, in reality is a door size opening in the city walls.
The open space bar, situated on the bottom of the city walls, overlooking the island of Lokrum. Cursed or not, as per legend, it gives a stunning view cutting the immense horizons. I am not sure is it the light game or the white-greyish stone color that contrasts the cobalt blue sky, but it looks heavenly – almost not real.
The setting dimmed with evaporation, after half an hour of sitting on the Sun, will make you feel as you were in Lana Del Rey’ s Freak video. Therefore, not to be crashed with the heat and or the low pressure, make sure you brought your bikini. Yes, you have read it right, a bikini. If you are a Sport Billy type you might wanna stage one of your exhibitional jumps. There’s always a little, unofficial contest going on between the locals and foreigners. I guess it must be the heat, pretty girls in bikinis and too much testosterone in the air.
In the evening, the place looks entirely different. Candle lights, Frank Sinatra swinging and the waves sound bathing the rocks. I must add, a very private and romantic ambiance. Perhaps you might wanna pop the question if paired.
02:00 PM onward
At this point your brain is boiling, you need to find the shade. The best hidden shade is about 5 minutes away from Stradun. It’s Sesame bar terrace. Looks a bit French, with the little tables, little chairs and in reality- with a little shade.
Take a break, put yourself back together with one mid-afternoon coffee. The bar has a long tradition and interesting interior, check it out while there. If you liked the hole in the wall and rocky beach style, the chances are you will like Danče beach as well.
It’s just on the way from the Sesame bar. Danče beach has a long tradition, as well as Dančari. Yes, Dančari. It’s a term for the people that religiously go to that beach. They have their own association, the book club & the social club. They are like a family. They barbecue together, play cards while drinking bear or bevanda. Bevanda is the white wine mixed with water (Basically, an excuse for a daily excessive consumption of alcohol) The most people from the region drink it during the entire day. Oh well… it’s actually very refreshing!