On the night of our arrival in Dubrovnik, our taxi driver was careening along the narrow and treacherous road from the airport to the city, and pointed out a small band of lights near the shore.
“Cavtat,” he said, in a thick accent. “That is really where you should go. The seafood there is the best and it is not so crowded as Dubrovnik.”
Undoubtedly he had shepherded hundreds of tourists to and from the city for short, barely-scratch-the-surface trips. Little did he know that we had booked four weeks in his hometown, and were eager to explore. Cavtat became an immediate destination in our minds, and we committed to spend a day there during our time in Croatia.
Life in Dubrovnik had a wonderful cadence. Mr. Valise and I woke up most mornings to watch the sunrise behind Mt. Srđ; in the afternoons, we took a break to swim in the salty Adriatic. I worked on my book, fell in love with ethnic food from my heritage, and had enough time to explore beyond the Old Town walls and common tourist sights. Late in our stay, we made a trip to Cavtat on the recommendation of that taxi driver, and now add our voice to the chorus: Cavtat is really where you should go.
Here’s how to take a day trip to Cavtat if you’re visiting Dubrovnik and have the time.
Why Visit Cavtat
To give you a sense of why Cavtat is worth visiting at all, I put together a quick video showing our experience there. Click below to watch the 35-second video!
How to Get to Cavtat from Dubrovnik
To get from Dubrovnik to Cavtat, you have several choices:
- Hire a taxi – This is the easiest way to get to Cavtat, but also the most expensive. It’s not hard to call a taxi service and request a driver to take you on the ~30-minute drive.
- Take the bus – Surprisingly, Dubrovnik has a reasonably good public transit system, and it’s possible to hop on the bus even if you’re not familiar with the area. One route runs down to Cavtat, and there are bus stops along the main road that runs through Dubrovnik. Fares are 25 kn (~$4 US), and you can learn more about the bus system on the Bus Croatia website.
- Catch a ferry – What better way to move between Croatian towns than by boat? This was how Mr. Valise and I went to Cavtat for our trip; it’s definitely an experience! The taxi we caught made stops along the coast, and was affordable at just 40 kn (~$7 US) per person, one way.
As I mentioned, Mr. Valise and I took a ferry down to Cavtat, and caught a bus back to Dubrovnik in the evening. Both were super easy, and low stress (except that our ferry was quite choppy and I definitely felt seasick!).
What to Do in Cavtat
Cavtat is a small town, with roughly 2,100 citizens. However, it’s a popular spot for yachts to make a stop, and plenty of tourists from Dubrovnik come down on day trips (organized options are available). It’s easy to spend the day walking around and seeing the sights.
1. Walk Around the Cavtat Peninsula
The town of Cavtat includes a peninsula that is primarily woods and beaches, and there’s a nice paved trail you can walk along to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. There are also a few bars and restaurants along the route, where you can stop to relax.
You can also opt to stop at one of the beaches and go for a swim; we saw people jumping right into the cool water from the rocky shore, or lounging on beach chairs near more sandy spots of beach on the northern shore of the peninsula.
2. People-Watching and Cat-Watching in the Harbor
Cavtat is another harbor town, so there is no shortage of people-watching you can enjoy. Boats pull in and out of the harbor all day long, including some stunningly nice yachts. Mr. Valise and I spent a while sitting on a bench, imagining our life if we had a yacht like that. (Hint: you could all come hang out with us!)
Like Dubrovnik, Cavtat is full of cats. These cats are a little more wild, but they love to hang out near the restaurants and people along the main stretch of harbor in Cavtat. There are a dozen delicious restaurants with outdoor dining sections where you can sit and watch people stroll by; there are also benches if you don’t want to sit down for a meal.
But! You should sit down for a meal…
3. Enjoy Dinner at one of Cavtat’s Restaurants
Along the stretch of Cavtat harbor where the boats moor, there are loads of delicious restaurants, and a few other popular ones farther into town. Mr. Valise and I sat down for our most indulgent dinner of our travels at Bugenvila Cavtat. We enjoyed a delicious multi-course meal as darkness fell outside the cafe; it’s still one of my favorite food memories from our time in Croatia (we had some amazing meals there!).
Naturally, we also splurged on ice cream from a local shop as we walked around after dinner.
4. Hike Up to the Cemetery on the Hill
Cavtat is located in the shadow of a small hill, atop which sits a cemetery and a mausoleum for the Račić family. This beautiful spot is a great chance to see how Croatians honor their loved ones, and Mr. Valise and I spent a while looking to see if there were any Stimac family members who made their final resting place with the incredible view. (There weren’t any; my family is from the north.)
Want to Stay Longer? Where to Stay in Cavtat
If you fall in love with Cavtat like we did, you may decide to stay the night or an extra few days. Here are some places I recommend you can book to stay.
- Attic studio with a stunning view of the harbor – $88 per night
- Seafront apartment with room for 4 – $71 per night
- Two-bedroom apartment with stunning pano views – $102 per night
Don’t forget, you can receive $40 off your first Airbnb stay by clicking my referral link, then booking!
- 3-Star Hotel Option: Hotel Supetar Cavtat (4/5 stars on TripAdvisor) – From $98/night – Book on Hotels.com
- 4-Star Hotel Option: Villa Pattiera (4.5/5 stars on TripAdvisor) – From $144/night – Book on Hotels.com
[info]I really loved our four-week stay in Croatia last year. I’ve put together a series of posts about visiting Dubrovnik and the surrounding area:
- When, Why & How to Visit Dubrovnik – The resource page that consolidates everything you need to know about Dubrovnik: where to stay, what to eat, what to do!
- One Perfect Day in Dubrovnik – An itinerary and photo essay that shows you how to spend a day in Dubrovnik. If you’re like me, you’ll do this every day in Dubrovnik!
- Cats of Old Town Dubrovnik – A short explanation about Dubrovnik’s fluffiest, cutest citizens and how you can safely interact with them.
- How to Spend a Day in Lokrum – A guide to help you take a day trip to the island of Lokrum, near Dubrovnik. It’s a perfect spot to explore if you’re taking a longer trip to the area.