Adriatic Sea Kayaking Blog: Croatia and Montenegro

Sea Kayak Croatia: What To Do in Dubrovnik

Posted by Tammy Resor on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 @ 06:42 AM

Main Tourist Activity

The UNESCO protected walled city of Dubrovnik is very small. The population has dropped from roughly 5000 in 2004 to a mere 1000 residents in Stari Grad (Old City) in 2010. The main tourist activity and attraction in Dubrovnik is to walk the City Walls.  Walking the city walls is typically a 1 to 2 hour activity, hardly enough to fill a day. However, when there are cruise ships visiting, which is most of the time- every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday April through November and daily June through August- Old City’s streets and surrounding city walls become congested and overrun with human traffic.  Under these conditions, walking the City Walls, or even visiting Old City, is not a fun activity.

Old City Dubrovnik and LokrumOld City WallsCruise Ships in Dubrovnik

The larger cruise ships visiting Dubrovnik carry roughly 5000 people; one cruise ship therefore can increase the population of Old City by five times in a short period of time. Sometimes there are 7 or 8 ships in port at the same time. Old City Dubrovnik, a tiny city completely surrounded by walls with only 3 entrances, can hardly absorb the volume of tourists that cruise ships unload Despite local politicians annual promise to limit the number of ships and cruise ship visitors to Dubrovnik, the numbers increase each year.

What to do in Dubrovnik

There is not a lot to do. Old City is the UNESCO monument. Dubrovnik if not filled with interesting museums, restaurants, shops, or cultural events: the city itself is the monument. People run out of things to do quickly. A sea kayak tour, especially when Old City is overrun with cruise ship visitors is the perfect get away activity. The sea is warm, usually calm, and crystal-clear and Croatia’s coast is littered with over 1100 islands, of which only 67 are inhabited.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik

A sea kayak tour offers visitors a unique perspective of Old City. Kayaking in the Adriatic Sea around Dubrovnik’s City Walls you are not only able to avoid the masses clogging Old City’s streets, gated entrances, and primary tourist activity, but  you also have a spectacular view of Dubrovnik from the sea.  From your stop on Lokrum Island, the small island just a half kilometer from Old City, you can hike up to the French fort for a panoramic view the Dubrovnik, the sea, Cavtat to the south, and the Elafiti Islands to the north. See the “what to do during the day” section of a NY Times article on Dubrovnik. 

French Fort on LokrumLokrum Island- Ben and Matt

Tags: Croatia, Dubrovnik, Sea Kayak Croatia

The Postira Ferry: Sea Kayaking Croatia

Posted by Tammy Resor on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 @ 10:17 AM

All our daily tours to the Elafite islands start by boarding a small ferry called Postira. This old member of the Croatian state fleet is the only daily line for the three inhabited Elafite islands: Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan. Built back in 1963, the ship is the only one of its class still alive and running, and over the years Postira has become part of Elafiti islands tradition in many ways. It was built in times when convenience and comfort did not matter, when ships were simply built to last. While some might find Postira a little unattractive, it is surely sturdy and functional. Croatians love tradition more than modern, charm more than comfort, and Postira keeps the tradtional way of life on the islands going, even on board. Elegant food and beverage service - inside on the second level, a small cafe bar serves drinks and snacks. Order a beer or a coffee, and you will be served with a glass or china cup – no plastic or styrofoam here. Reminders of war - behind the bar, a small medal and graduate comemorates Postira for its service in the Homeland War because the ferry served both the islanders and the navy and sustained heavy damaged while doing so. Everyones's business is everyone's business - in the high season of July and August, when large number of tourists join the locals and fill up the ferry, it is hard to find a comfortable place to sit on the open topside passenger deck, but it is easy to hear people speaking Croatian, German, English, French, and other languages because private conversations are impossible.

Early in the morning, Postira starts on Sipan (having spent the night at there at the end of the pervious day) and ferries the islanders to work and the children to school in Dubrovnik and brings them back later in the day (its daily schedule is definitely geared to locals, not tourists). It carries the mail and, most importantly, all the necessary ingredients and materials for households, restaurants, and hotels. In Dubrovnik, all the cargo is manually loaded onto the ferry's large cargo deck, and at each island stop, the islanders work together quickly to unload their supplies. Everything is so well coordinated that, regardless of the size of the cargo, the ferry is rarely late for another island port. Those who travel regularly know the habits of the two crews, especially the captains: one captain always seems in a good mood and the other in a bad one; one captain is an excellent docker while the other often scrapes the ship against the pier and becomes an object of laughter for the islanders; one captain will wait for passengers who are late and run towards the ship while the other leaves the dock a minute before the departure time (everything in Croatia can be so contradictory).

In the last couple of years, even AKT guides and kayaking groups have become a part of the Postira tradition as our backpacks, paddles, and bikes (and once in a while even kayaks) have joined the rest of the cargo. Morning coffees, evening beers, and plenty of kayaking and biking stories together with outstanding views make the Postira ferry a perfect way to start and end our tours.

Tags: Dubrovnik, Adventure Travel, Sea Kayak Croatia