Aktualisiert: Jan 27
The port I would like to talk about today is one of the most frequented cruise ports in the Mediterranean and simultaneously one of the world's most over- and underrated destinations. And in case you might be wondering how one port can be over and underrated at the same time, it is quite simple: There is a single sight at this destination that is so massively overrated that everything else around it is forgotten and ignored.
I am talking about the medieval port city of Dubrovnik, famed for its giant city walls, its ancient buildings within them, and their appearance in the Game of Thrones tv series. Unsurprisingly the masses of tourists flock only to these parts of the city, completely ignoring everything located around it, which is a shame to be honest, as Croatia as a truly unique and stunning coastline, marvellous mountains, and deep-cutting coves that could be described as fjord-like. So of course, in this blog, I would like to focus a little on the area outside of Dubrovnik’s famed ancient walls.
Our day started like any other, with the hasty unloading of our bikes. Since the port became famous thanks to the old city the berthing slots, there have been in such high demand that almost any ship is moored only half-day. This, in turn, only left us with limited time for our biking excursions, necessitating us to speed up the loading and unloading part as much as possible to have enough time on tour.
On the day in question, I was allowed to accompany the active biking excursion, leading up into the city's mountains. This was not something I usually had the chance to in this particular contract, as I had been placed on a slot as Segway Guide. Nowadays AIDA no longer offers these Segway excursions, but at the time those were very popular with our guests. However, they were equally unpopular with the activities crew. You have to remember that most guides sing up for the cycling part of the job and standing on a Segway all day is not exactly how most have imagined their work onboard. I liked the position as Segway Guide, but of course, I also enjoy cycling. So each and any time my excursion did not occur, I jumped on the bike and was off with the active group.
In case of this tour, we first cycled towards the hilltop towering directly over the old city of Dubrovnik. Its peak is actually one of the very few places not entirely disregarded by the tourists, mainly because there is a gondola leading from the old city to its top. And already the long ascent was a highlight in its own right. Never to steep to get into that painful-climb-territory, always with a soft breeze from the sea on our skins and with very little traffic on the road, it was quite a blast. And already numerous stops along the uphill part offered us their best views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
It took us only a short while to ascend towards the gondola station, and there on the top, and we could take an extended break to catch our breath and let the scenery in. From here we were lead in one of the best downhills I have experienced on all the AIDA active cycling tours. As our ship had just been equipped with brand new hardtail mountain bikes, we decided to test them out and flowed an old military road down the mountainside. While always in a double-track configuration, the road was in quite a bad shape, giving us a small, but fun challenge to overcome on our bikes.
The offroad fun did not last forever though, and soon we were back on tarmac, descending further into a fjord. Here we had a break at a nice little restaurant, directly at the shore, with some smoking barbeque and a chance to cool off in the water. There an especially curious phenomenon could be observed. Since a hydropower plant, fed by a cold mountain lake, led into the fjord quite close to our beach, the water was split into two distinct layers. One ice-cold was at the surface of the water, and actually the deeper you dove, the warmer the water became. This made bathing alone quite an interesting experience.
However, even this experience had to end at one point. And from there we only had one thing left to do, before getting back to our ship. Actually, visiting the old town of Dubrovnik. Cycling is not allowed there, so I stopped at a parking lot, close to the cities gates and there let my guests go and explore on their own, while I used the time to catch up with all the other guides of shorter biking tours, that also had their stop at the same spot.
And finally, from there we cycled back to our ship, as we had to leave already after a short day in port.