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atmosphere here is much more relaxed and lacks the frenetic pace often found in the Old Town. Hotels cling to the wooded hillsides


overlooking limpid Lapad Bay and its pebbly beaches. Just off the bay is Setaliste Kralja Zvonimira, a pedestrianised, tree-shaded thoroughfare lined with cafes and low-rise hotels. Locals who want a break from the crowds in the Old Town come to Lapad to eat, especially in the restaurants along Ulica Kralja Tomislava. The family-friendly ambience of Lapad carries on to its neighbour, Babin Kuk, which sprawls all over the northernmost peninsula in the city. As with Lapad, the interior of Babin Kuk is wonderfully green, with large swathes of woods covering the hillsides. Clients who want a chilled-out beach holiday have plenty of choice among the resort hotels here, some of which have direct beach access. The footpath that covers the northern coast goes past some of Dubrovnik’s loveliest beaches, including Copacabana. The path eventually leads to the deep harbour at Gruz, which cruise aficionados will recognise as the city’s cruise terminal. While Gruz doesn’t offer as much as Babin Kuk or Lapad, and is distinctly lacking in beaches, there are several good draws for clients who wish to use it as a base. One attraction is the food market each morning, where tantalising stalls of fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses


Tried & Tested


Hovering over the western edge of Babin Kuk like a stately ocean liner is five-star grande dame Valamar Collection Dubrovnik President Hotel. Breezy, contemporary and unstuffy is the style – all very modern decor, with sea views and terraces in its 292 spacious rooms and suites. It has its own expanse of pebbly beach, as well as a huge outdoor pool and well-equipped spa.


Seafood is the star of its main


restaurant, and there’s also a piano bar and beach bar. A bus trip from right outside to the Old Town takes 15 minutes. It’s one of a cluster of Valamar hotels in Babin Kuk, which include the four-star Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel and Valamar Argosy Hotel.


Book it: Doubles from €254. valamar.com


Locals who want a break from the crowds come to Lapad to eat, especially the restaurants along Ulica Kralja Tomislava


and fish are set up near the harbour. It’s a more authentic experience than the market in Gunduliceva Square in the Old Town, which is geared more towards tourists. And as with Lapad, the cafes and restaurants in Gruz have much more of a local flavour.


w ISLAND ODYSSEY Gruz is also the departure point for boat trips to some of the islands strung out along this part of southern Dalmatia. The Elaphite Islands are especially appealing, and can be visited in a number of ways. Ferries leave from Gruz’s terminal several times a day and stop at Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. Kolocep, the first stop on the timetable, is the smallest of the inhabited islands and is a pleasant place for a short stroll around the harbour of the tiny village of Donje Celo. The ferry usually carries on to Sipan,


the farthest of the islands, so that holidaymakers can spend the most


BELOW: Pile Gate, Old Town


time on Lopud – mainly because it has one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. Sandy Sunj beach is about a 30-minute walk from the port, but there’s a little taxi service that offers lifts to the beach in a golf buggy. Sipan, the largest of the Elaphite Islands, deserves a bit more time than is usually allowed on ferry schedules.


72 travelweekly.co.uk 4 October 2018


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