Game of Thrones Self-Guided Tour through Croatia

Games of Thrones filming location in Dubrovnik, CroatiaOK, so I’m going to admit something very embarrassing…we based our trip on a show. Well not just any show, but Game of Thrones, the most epic of all shows in the entire world in my humble opinion. Some might have thought that it was the castles, or the history or even the people that enticed us halfway around the world. Nope, a TV show my friends. Ugh, we are SO American.

Game of Thrones self tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.com

I’m a HUGE fan so the thought of being able to see some of those beautiful filming locations live and in person = heaven to me. Croatia quickly rose to the top of the list and all of a sudden we had a 3.5 week trip planned and were headed to Eastern Europe. Obvi, after our initial research, we found a million other things to see and do so our trip wasn’t FULLY just about the show, but it was what got the ball rolling.

Trsteno Arboretum outside of Dubrovnik, Croatia - culitvatedrambler.comAs we were finishing up our final plans and reservations, I started looking into group tours because, I mean, that’s what’s important, right? And site after site showed some ridiculous prices, like $180 per person for a tour. #$%^&* I tried to justify it to myself, that we were coming here especially for Game of Thrones and how could we NOT go on an official tour. But my practical side couldn’t pull the trigger. That amount was days’ worth of meals and sightseeing for us and blowing it all in three to four hours didn’t seem right. I was depressed, I was let down, I was uber bummed…but then I came across this website.

Now I could see all of the sights without draining the bank account. Granted, we’d probably not get those insider scoops as to which actress was a pain to work with and what actor liked to skinny dip in the ocean but whateves. This gal was going to make it happen.

The walls of Old Town Dubrovnik - cultivatedrambler.comWe ended up seeing quite a few of the sites and in the end I got the taste of the show that I so desperately sought. If you happen through Croatia and want to see some of the sights, be sure to check out that blog! It’s a great resource for us Game of Thrones fans out there.

Kliss Fortress, Split Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comDiocletian's Palace cellars in Split, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.com


Dubrovnik travel highlights

Bustling Dubrovnik harbor, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comstayed: An air bnb studio apartment next to the main cathedral in Old Town. We looked out our window to the side of it and the tram zipping up the hill. Although it looks like it’s deep into town, the apartment is only a five minute walk from either gate. Close to plenty of interesting restaurants, away from the crowds and a stone throw away from Buza Bar 2. *Note to travelers: there was a garbage pick-up spot in front of the building so it was quite noisy in the AM if you accidentally left your window open.

Dubrovnik, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comsaw: Dubrovnik was really a feast for the eyes! I felt like I was walking into a movie set when we arrived to the Pile Gate in Old Town. It almost didn’t feel real. I’d highly recommend staying within the Old Town walls. It’s a bit more expensive, but you really get to submerge yourself in the history.

Walking Old Town Wall, Dubrovnik, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comPicturesque views from the wall. The back part of the wall had many more interesting views than the front part. It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to make the full loop, which we started at 9 a.m. to beat the crowds. This photo looks crowded, but that wasn’t even that bad unfortunately.

Hanging laundry, Dubrovnik - cultivatedrambler.comNeatly hung laundry. That inspired me to start hanging some of ours at home.

Sunset over Dubrovnik, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comThe sunset from a Buza Bar. The beer was expensive ($8!) but the view and atmosphere were great. I think many BYOB’ed, which was probably the cheaper, rule breaking way to go.

Trsteno Arboretum, Dubrovnik, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comconquered: Public transportation. We decided at the last minute to get out of town and explore another GoT filming sight – Trsteno Arboretum. As a hardcore planner, this had not been “on the list” and I was a bit nervous to just hop on a bus. But it happened, and it was totally a piece of cake. We were also far away from the crowds, which was a nice change of pace. I think we saw two other groups while we were there.

Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comFort Lovrijenac. Because Dubrovnik’s Old Town wasn’t enough?! This fort is right across a tiny bay (also a GoT filming location) and gave the town even more beefy, defense power. We came across quite a few GoT $200 per person tours and were happy to listen in when we could J

Driving in the most epic of epic rain storms to Dubrovnik from Mostar. Water was running like rivers down the hillside, taking over staircases and flooding the streets. It was hard enough driving in an unfamiliar city let alone in a huge thunderstorm. We were both a little frazzled after that.

Dubrovnik harbor, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comEven more relaxation. The final day was spent sleeping in, taking a siesta and eating a pack of Skittles in the harbor. I didn’t even take out my camera the last day and it was PERFECT.

other travel notes:
Food is expensive within the walls. Azur was great for dinner though, hello Asian flavors! We’d missed you! Segreto was also delicious with their lamb and this killer pea/mint sauce. Oliva Pizza was consumed a few times too.

That stupid tram line! We never found a good time where the line wasn’t a million miles long. Not sure how to get around that…

Dubrovnik rooftops, Croatia - cultivatedrambler.comGetting basic service inside an old town with narrow streets and lots of steps – how does it all work?! It seemed like a logistical nightmare but people have been making it work for hundreds of years. Towards the end of our trip, I noticed special delivery hand trucks just under the size of the narrow streets making deliveries all day long. That’s a job undo itself.

And that concludes our epic Eastern Europe travel adventure! Phew. So what did you think? Did we do it justice? Does it make you want to pack your bags and go explore? I hope so 🙂


Decisions, decisions

image1The most common question I got prior to our trip was, “Why did you choose those countries?” When people think of Europe, I suspect London, Paris or any city in Italy comes to mind. Slovenia and Bosnia probably aren’t on most people’s radars and granted, they weren’t on mine either at first.

But in comes my most favorite of all favorite shows, Game of Thrones. Many of the scenes in recent seasons have been filmed in Croatia and that got me thinking…what ABOUT Croatia? I started doing some research and I came across my dear friend Rick Steves Eastern Europe itinerary. After googling a few of the places, we were sold! History, castles, coastline and cheap accommodations? Sign us up.

I basically took his suggested itinerary and adjusted it to the amount of time we were going to be there. Here’s what we ended up with:

Amsterdam, Netherlands – This stop was an add-on more than anything as the cheapest flight was found through here so we added two days to our trip. The flight from Seattle (with a quick stop in Iceland) was really an easy flight. Highly recommended flying into Amsterdam.

Prague, Czech Republic – Seemed only fitting to really start our trip with a visit to the “Paris of the East!” Plus, it’s one of the few cities that was untouched by the war.

Krakow, Poland – Per my hubby’s request. I should have given us a bit more time here, but it’s hard to narrow it down.

Budapest, Hungary – Also seemed to be a “not to miss” place. Like Krakow, another day would have been great here.

Ljubljana, Slovenia – Recommended by a colleague of mine. She said to add a day to this stop and she was SO right. Give this country at least 3 days.

Zagreb, Croatia – The capitol of Croatia. Not a ton to see, but it worked well logistically in our travel plans. It was a good place to reorganize and pick up our rental car for the drive down the coast.

Split, Croatia – Featured on the Game of Thrones. Enough said.

Mostar, Bosnia – A quick side trip that was the biggest unknown. Will it be safe? How’s the drive? What will we do there? All valid questions that were immediately answered as soon as we crossed the border from Croatia. Yes. Easy. Eat, drink and sight see!

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Also a Game of Thrones filming location not to mention a VERY romantic city. A great place to end our journey!

We spent anywhere from 2 to 3 days in each city, which was fine for some and not enough time for others. It was definitely an ambitious itinerary to say the least. As soon as you got semi-comfortable, it was time to pack up and run to the next train. I’m pretty sure we’ll never travel like this again, but it was a memorable learning experience all around!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...facebooktwitterpinterestinstagram