Every time someone mentions Croatia as a vacation destination, most people think about Dubrovnik.
Which may be very nice place but hey, you do not have to flock Dubrovnik where all go!
There is a place literally next to the airport you can even reach on foot (but it does not make sense since Uber is available and affordable for 5 €!) and start enjoying fantastic time.
The place is Cavtat (Croatian pronunciation: [t͡sǎʋtat]).
Cavtat is real beauty in is tininess. Population is 2000 people. Only.
If you look at the google map while planning your stay in Cavtat, the place looks small and it may seem there is no big different where you will stay at the first glance.
The place you want to go and be all the time is the center of the city. It bends around beautiful bay. It is at walking distance from every location in the city.
Howerver, there is a still a small catch of which you should be aware of.
Cavtat is small but definitely not flat! Therefore, you may end up at very high spot with your accommodation place. If you do not mind climbing, up and down several times in a day, no problem!
There are two bay areas and the smaller one is definitely best place to be. Marked with number 1 on the image below. It is Cavtat historical center and you know what, it is not crowed!
You can easily walk around peninsula and discover what is there. What you will find on the way is more stone beaches, spelended views, some hotels in the distance and of course- eating places with cold mojito!
Walk around peninsula will end at bay marked with number 2 on the image above. You can award yourself with very fine dining at Restoraunt Ivan or Dalmatino if you want. You will sit right next to small fishing boat harbor.
Center of Cavtat is very nice. You do not see any of notoriously behaving tourists in this area. Maybe they all are in Dubrovnik since Cavtat is largely not discovered yet.
The atmosphere is relaxing and friendly.
There are not many (if any at all) sand beaches in Cavtat.
It is a bit different from the beaches you may be used to.
The beach area in downtown Cavtan is on the bay banks. Bay banks are made of concrete.
Its width accommodates exactly one sun bed and some more space for passing.
Need some cooling? Just step down from the bay bank and you enjoy Adriatic Sea water.
You should also try snorkeling. No need for expensive and heavy scuba equipment. Some euros or so is well invested to get the snorkeling kit and you can spend hours watching what is down there.
Concrete bay bank surrounds the whole bay. Sunbeds and shades can be rented locally and this is vise to do. The only thing they are missing are the soft mattresses for the sunbeds so be ready for hard plastic. I do not know why they miss the additional business opportunity by offering these things as well.
However, since you come with your own towel, you can use that.
On the flight to Cavtat I saw some travelers who carried soft beach mattresses with them as hand luggage. Obviously, they knew something that I did not at that point. Later I realized why. Either it is exactly for the plastic sunbeds or- more likely – the rocky ground of the whole beach areas.
But do not get me wrong! The rocky seaside is very good for the vacation! It gives you privacy because you can just chose your slot between the rocks on the cliff. The whole shore is more-less like a horizontal cliff.
You must wear rubber water shoes. Well, you do not have to. Using them is making your stay so much more enjoyable because as mentioned- no sandy beaches, just rocks! So be prepared. Moreover, you do not want to step on this guy. Or on her little boy.
No need to worry, you can buy rubber shoes locally from the small street vendors kiosks.
Staying Cavtat allows you to have a look on reach (and famous?) life because lot of luxury motor yachts are staying exactly in the center of the town. Pedestrians can walk next to multimillion yachts because the harbor is open for everybody. Actually, it cannot be closed anyhow because it is part of the downtown.
It seems Cavtat is not just good place for human beans but also for…cats! There are lot of lovely and very friendly cats wondering around Cavtat. Most of them you meet at restaurant´s terraces. They are not fat and I suspect this is because of the healthy food and hot climate, which keep these guys fit!
You can spend a week in Cavtat and feel yourself completely cut off from busy world.
The only signs that world is still spinning around and tourists hordes are constantly attacking Croatia are the incoming airplanes, which ones approaching to Dubrovnik airport.
For those, who still have to put Dubrovnik on their travel maps, are several boats from Cavtat which departure every hour.
Moreover, you can take glass boat tour around the area. The Glass Boat has one section of its bottom made of glass. This allows you see what is down there. It is nice and the trip lasts only approx. 2 hours and you will see some interesting things. Tito´s villa and war destructions of a hotel (I guess it was a hotel) are one of the key elements on that trip.
Eating out in Cavtat is experience by its own. Seafood. Of course, seafood. I did not get any bad seafood at Cavtat! The service is very good and kind and food is just delicious.
Check by yourself:
You have to try fresh figs. If you have not eat them before here is a tip for you. You do not have to peal these. Just eat as they are. Delicious. As everything in Cavtat.
All restaurants facing towards the sea, so you can enjoy delicious vine, having good food and watch sunset right at seafront. Or your fancy motor yacht.
The place is cool. Can you imagine what people are using here for protecting their cars from the heat? …a decent vineyard!
You will see also small vineyards in the town and you can buy fresh stuff from the small marketplace.
Marketplace at the city heart-right in the downtown!
So lets wrap it up!
If you want to avoid overpriced tourist traps and just enjoy your time, Cavtat is exactly the place you want to go!
*all images of this post are taken with Sony RX 100 IV