Mala Braca: The perfect gift from Dubrovnik
This is the working pharmacy in the Franciscan Monastery just inside the Pile Gate. When I travel, I like to bring gifts that are unique to the place I visit, but not overly touristy, and this fit the bill perfectly. The pharmacy still makes several face and hand creams and infused water (rose and lavendar) to original recipes from 1317 and sells them in the shop. If you tell them its for gifts, they will put them in special bags too.
What to buy: I bought lemon hand lotion, rose face cream, and a moisturiser with jojoba and menthol that smells exactly like a lemon yoghurt! It is all gorgeous and only available from here.
What to pay: about 40-50 kn per jar.
Stalls by the harbour: Pretty handwork
If you've read any of my shopping tips on other pages , you'll know that I love textiles - they make ideal souvenirs - as well as usually being part of a long tradition of local customs, they're unbreakable, functional and often an important source of income for the women of the community.
When I first went to Dubrovnik, nearly 40 years ago, there were women selling their handwork from stalls set up in the shade of the city's walls down near the harbour - I was delighted to see they're still there today.
You'll also find stalls set up along the wall-top walkway.
You should be able to pay in euros and US dollars as well as Croatian kunars.
What to buy: Hand embroidered table linen is the main stock. It's great to see that it is local work, albeit obviously produced in some sort of organized cottage industry - everyone has much the same patterns and prices are pretty well the same, but it's attractively done and fairly priced (an embroideress will know exactly how many hours have gone into it)
What to pay: I paid US$90 for a large table cloth with eight napkins - and more than happy with that price.
Tanti Gusti: Cheapest breakfast in Dubrovnik
This tiny little bakery just off the Stradun is the perfect place to get breakfast or a snack and is open long hours (eary morning until midnight!). It's very cheap, too.
What to buy: We regularly got breakfast from here - usually a cream cake for each of us and a small loaf of fresh bread, to be eaten on the steps of the large Onofrian Fountain (sometimes with cheese from the market). Every day there are different cakes so I never got to try all the ones I wanted!
What to pay: For a loaf of bread and two cakes we spent about 14 kn. Definitely a budget option, but so yummy!
Farmers’ market in Dubrovnik
I love farmers' markets and rarely miss my weekend trip to my local farmers' market in San Rafael, California. This one in Dubrovnik looked every bit as appealing. If we had been staying somewhere with a kitchen, I'm sure I would have loaded up with these delicious looking fruits and vegetables and tried my hand at whipping up a Croatian dinner.
I don't know how often this market is open, but it was open the morning we were there, and was closed down by about 2:00 pm. It was located in a small plaza on the east side of the old town.
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
Casa Croatica: The best shop in Dubrovnik
The shop is located in one of the side and narrow streets of the old town and it connects the main street and Prijeko (the restaurant street). It is the warmest and cosiest place I've seen in Dubrovnik!! The interior is designed with wood and stone, old furniture, bricks for the wines, and old traditional objects. It is a place where you can really feel the local ambiance.
The shop has a great selection of local products: olive oils and wines from different Croatian regions, traditional and home made brandies and liquours, delicacies made according to the centuries old recipies, hand made emboidery, and many authentic souvenirs which are actually made in Croatia by local people (not in China)!!
What to buy: Croatia has a very old tradition of wine making and has very good wines made of their known grapes plavac mali, so buying a bottle of wine is a great choice for a good quality souvenir!!
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
En-lu: Tasting Dubrovnik
En-lu, on Ulitsa Od Puca (the street that leads out of Gunduliceva Square), is a great place to look for foodie souvenirs and gifts from Dubrovnik.
What to buy: Avjar, roasted red peppers, aubergine garlic and oil, and maybe some chilli, is the flavour of Croatia in a jar.
Everyone loves cookies and you'll find some Croatian specialities here, paprenjak - a biscuit flavoured with honey, walnuts and pepper, the recipe is reputed to be hundreds of years old - or perhaps you'd prefer seizis - nut coated biscuits with a strawberry jam filling.
Air-dried ham (prsut) - if your home bases' quarantine regulations allow it, beautiful almond nougat, sour cherry syrup (maraschino cherries originated here in Dalmatia), dried fig jam - they're all typically Croatian, and delicious.
Wine shop on the Stradun
While browsing through the shops on the main promenade, we came across a delightful gift and wine shop. The shop carried many wines produced in Croatia and we were very impressed with the selection. The prices were somewhat comparable to the price of a mid-priced wine in the US.
After paying our traffic ticket fine, and because we were there for only one day, our traffic ticket fine (150 kuna) became our unit of exchange. A good bottle of Croatian wine costs a little less (about 120 kuna) than one Croatian traffic ticket.
What to pay: One traffic ticket or less
- Wine Tasting
Algoritam and Algebra: Books, masks and more
Look out for the shops called Algoritam and Algebra as you walk down Stradun. These are branches of Croatia's biggest bookstore and they carry a fantastic range of titles - paperback and hardback - in several languages, the best by far of any bookshop in the city (there are branches in Zagreb and Split also). You'll also find a small range of not-so-tacky-as-usual souvenirs. Really eye-catching is the display of masks - they are gorgeous, fabulous colours and designs - and a fraction of the price you'll pay at the other end of the Adriatic in Venice.
What to pay: We paid about 180 kuna for a beautiful half-face cat mask. The price obviously varies according to how elaborate the one you choose is, but these are lovely and they certainly are well priced.
Eminence Art Workshop: The art workshop you should not miss
It's a small artwork shop near Pile Gate off on a small alley along Stradun, very nice shop, lovely and cleverly displayed, nice friendly shop owner and reasonably priced. If you would like to get a little handcraft as souvenir, this is the place to visit.
Market: Fresh is best
Whenever I go to an new city, I make it a point to try to go to a local market. In Dubrovnik, I saw two, although there are probably more than that. The first one that I came across was one bus stop away from the main bus station (in the direction towards the port). It was in the afternoon on a weekday and there were plenty of folks milling about checking out the fresh foods for sale.
The other market is in the Old Town in a square called Gunduliceva poljana. This one is characterized by mostly old-timers selling their fresh vegetables, olive oils and other goods. Everything was clearly fresh and it was interesting to see the very homemade packaging that some of the items were sold in.
Get off of Stradun: Off the REALLY beaten path
When you're in the Old Town, make sure you don't spend all of your time on Stradun. Sure, many people have called it the most beautiful street in the world. Sure, it's lined with great cafes and shops. Sure, it begins with a beautiful monastery and ends with a great square with a Venetian-style palace and a beautiful church. But make sure you venture off of Stradun and explore the streets that run parallel to it, particular on the side closest to the water. There are plenty of good shops to keep you busy here.
Algoritam Book Shop: English language books and more
I arrived in Dubrovnik with some injuries suffered in Split after getting mugged. As a result, I spent more time at cafes and bars just simply relaxing, writing, people-watching, talking to locals and reading. I stopped at this bookstore along the main street in Old Town called Stradun. My sister had told me about this great book by Ann Patchett, called Bel Canto, so when I saw it on the shelf, I bought it. The book is great for travelers and music lovers alike and is really a good read.
Algoritam has the best English language selection in town and you shouldn't have any trouble finding various travel guides or just some good pleasure reading. I paid 70kn for the paperback.
Missori: Luxurious Shoes and Bags
I quickly discovered that the old town on Dubrovnik has not shortage of amazing designer boutiques and, as I hadn't set out to designate this a "shopping holiday", I was keeping my eyes averted from the goodies winking at me from every second elegantly dressed window.
Therefore, Missori took me by surprise. It lurks unobtrusively on a corner and so has window frontage on two streets. This makes it harder to resist.
I "just" wandered in to check out the goods, no intention of buying, and came away with a divine black leather Roberto Cavalli Bag studded with brass. The shop was happy to give a 10% discount for cash and I was more than delighted with my purchase.
This shop also stocks some fabulous designer shoes so be prepared.
What to pay: It's designer, so prepare for matching prices.
- Women's Travel
- Business Travel
- Luxury Travel
You can leave your hat on...
The "Ronchi" hat craftsmanship was established in 1858. It's present owner Marina Grabovac helps mostly ladies protect themselves from sun under her charming head covers. No wonder some ladies wear them late into the night.
Well, this was one heartbreaking scene. This young lady was trying to figure out how to take her favorite hat on a transatlantic flight. I guess she opted for Cargo in the end, I couldn't wait any longer…
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
Lots of Stands: Embroidery
These are stands and the ones we encountered clustered around the two passages through the East wall on the Embankment at the Old Port (but there may be many others).There does not appear to be much variety in prices and since only Croatian is spoken (and even that with reticence)our negotiations were only saying "no" and walking further. There were no calls after us.
What to buy: The embroidered cottons with crocheted borders were of good quality according to my buyer, and were not imported fakes. She said the prices were "appropriate" and so I approved and she bought. It was cash only.
What to pay: It depends on size and object. This stuff is easy to carry but may be too expensive for souvenirs but excellent for gifts.
- Budget Travel
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