Cavtat is a quiet, idyllic holiday destination just a few kilometers away from the Dubrovnik airport.
The town has a long history going back to Ancient Greece, when it was known as Epidaurus. The most important buildings of the town date back to an era a few centuries ago, when Cavtat belonged to the Republic of Ragusa.
Yet, Cavtat is not at its best just for seeing sights. Instead, it’s first and foremost a place for relaxing by the sea with beaches and restaurants having an important role. In summer, the town wakes up as one luxurious yacht after another moor in the harbor of the Old Town.
Where to stay
The Old Town in situated on the western side of the large peninsula. Since most restaurants and the cozy promenade are located in the Old Town, the most logical area for staying would be somewhere in the vicinity of the Old Town. However, the selection of rooms for accommodation is scarce in the area, and most of them are scattered around the town.
The nicest beach of Cavtat, Žal, is situated about a kilometer northward from the Old Town. If beach-life is your priority, you should consider staying somewhere towards that direction.
Cavtat is a compact destination, and distances from one place to another are not going to be an issue. On the other hand, the ground begins to elevate immediately towards inland from the coast. Do take that into consideration if planning accommodation farther away from the shore and the Old Town.
Beaches in Cavtat
Žal is the biggest beach in Cavtat. Nearby, there are choices for accommodation. The beach itself has bars, sunshade rentals and a selection of water sports on offer. The beach consists of gravel/pebblestone (a close-up picture here). There are no actual sandy beaches in Cavtat.
If the plan is just to idle in a deckchair by the beach, Cavtat is ideal for the purpose. Deckchairs are being rented all across the town, often with a bar next to it. On the larger peninsula, there are some small beaches (Rat and Ključice shown in the picture below) also with deckchairs on offer.
Things to do in Cavtat
There are walking tracks around both of the Cavtat peninsulas. The larger peninsula containing the Old Town, is encircled by a well-conditioned asphalt walkaway. It is convenient to walk upon and has excellent sea views along the way. The walkaway begins from the seaside promenade and ends at the parking area of the town.
The smaller peninsula covering the western corner of the town has a sandy trail with varying terrain going around it. On the side of the open sea, the trail changes into a rocky forest trail. The route doesn’t end where it starts. Instead, it reaches the Croatia hotel on the other side of the peninsula, but if you turn left to the stairs right after the playground and before the hotel, you can take a pretty convenient shortcut over the hill back to the starting point.
Cavtat is a great destination for water sports fans, since there’s an excellent selection of activities related to water and sports on offer. The following service providers are available in Cavtat:
Cavtat is a convenient starting point for boat trips. By far the most popular destination is Dubrovnik or the Lokrum island in front of it. The boat trip takes about an hour to Dubrovnik depending on the stops along the way, and a little less than that to Lokrum.
There are plenty of service providers around Cavtat, especially along the seaside promenade (shown in the picture). The small Elafiti Islands southwest of Dubrovnik are another good choice for a longer boat trip.
Vlaho Bukovac House
An exhibition of the works of the famous local artist, Vlaho Bukovac.
Location: Next to the promenade, there’s a signpost "Kúca Bukovac".
Rector’s Palace and Baltazar Bogišić Collection
Today, Rector translates to a mayor. The Rector’s Palace, the residence and working place, is situated in front of the church right at the start of the promenade. Some of the rooms are open to public, some are not. The part that is open for visiting contains, for example, the collection of Baltazar Bogišić. The selection of items in the museum is not very extensive.
At both ends of the promenade, there are churches which you can visit freely. The Church of Our Lady of the Snow is located on the northern end, and the Church of St Nicholas on the southern end.
The Mausoleum of the Račić family is located on a hill behind the old town at the tip of the peninsula. It can be seen clearly from the promenade and the harbor. The Mausoleum can be visited in the daytime, but the visiting times may vary. At the top of the hill in front of it, there’s a cemetery with a nice view to the sea and the mountains.
There are stairs leading to the Mausoleum next to the Church of Our Lady of the Snow. If you do not want to walk all the way up the steep stairs, don’t follow the signpost to the left. Instead, go straight, which will lead you to a more convenient footpath via the back.
It is easy to look for a restaurant in Cavtat, since most restaurants are within a few hundred meters from each other. There are terraces side by side by the sea. There’s plenty of fish, squid and other seafood on offer. Meat dishes and pizza are also served, if you prefer that type of food.
The prices are not among the lowest by Croatian standards, but many restaurants have more affordable Light lunch menus on offer between noon and 5 p.m.
Shopping and price level in Cavtat
Even though there are a few clothing and jewelry stores on the promenade, the tourist items and souvenir shops are the main focus in the town.
Below, there are a few examples hotel and restaurant prices. The hotel room prices refer to median prices on Booking.com. There are only a few hotels in Cavtat, and the majority of accommodation consists of more affordable apartments. Many larger residences have been transformed into a guesthouse, where the host couple lives downstairs and the rooms for accommodation are upstairs.
Pizza in restaurant
Steak in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (July)
Hotel room, 3-4* (September)
How to get to Cavtat
From the airport
The distance from the Dubrovnik airport to Cavtat is only six kilometers. There are no bus connections from the airport, and hence a taxi/Uber or other private transportation is the only choice with a direct connection on offer.
Bus number 10 operates between Dubrovnik and Cavtat; the time schedules are available here. The starting location is the bus station by the Gruz port. The station near the Dubrovnik Old Town is situated close to the cable car leading to the Srd Hill. The bus station in Cavtat is located by the smaller harbor and the large parking lot. There’s a ticket booth next to the piers.
In summer, there are several boat rides on offer between the Old Town harbor and Cavtat. The trip takes about an hour, and two-way tickets cost 100 kunas (approximately 14 euros) per person in the summer of 2019.
Since Cavtat is a summer destination, there’s not much on offer outside the holiday season. Depending on the weather, the summer season may kick in only as late as in June, which is when the seawater temperature becomes more and more suitable for swimming and deckchairs are set up around Cavtat.
The Croatian weather in summer is mostly hot and dry. In June, the highest daytime temperatures are close to 30°C, and in July-August even higher than that. In September, the air and seawater temperatures are ideal for having a holiday, but it begins to rain more that during the driest months.
Text and images: Jussi Ryynänen
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