It’s been almost two years since my last travel post – my trip to London in October 2019 was the last time I was abroad before COVID hit. And while Switzerland is definitely a great place for living and holidaying, you just don’t get any seaside vibes in this landlocked country – most definitely not during this summer of epic rain. Craving sunshine and the sea, my boyfriend and I ended up visiting and instantly falling in love with Croatia.
We were there for 8 nights and decided to focus on the Dalmatian coast in the area close to Dubrovnik. We spent 3 nights in Dubrovnik, very close to the Old Town, before heading a 30 min. drive up north to peaceful Brsečine for rest and relaxation. We spent the final night in charming Cavtat, walking through the old town and making the most of the sea before an early flight home. Short but very sweet, we had a good mix of activity and exploring (highlights: the old city walls of Dubrovnik – best in the early evening; kayaking around the island of Lokrum) coupled with downtime, basking in the Croatian sun. While Dubrovnik is not (yet? hopefully 🙂 ) a vegan hot spot, there were some foodie highlights I can share with you:
Located in the Gruž area of Dubrovnik (5 min. drive from the Old Town), this laid-back cafe with a large backyard is one of the two fully plant-based places I discovered in Dubrovnik and a must-visit. It serves breakfast including smoothie bowls until 11 am and subsequently serves lunch/dinner food. I wanted to try everything on the menu, but had to limit myself to a breakfast and a lunch: I had the Choco Lover Smoothie Bowl (basically chocolate nice cream!) with a green juice and for lunch an incredible lasagna (not on the menu). I love the mix of refreshing options like smoothies and salads combined with lots of heartier dishes like burgers, veggie kebab and “Mac’n’Tease”. Definitely a place I’d go back to in a heartbeat.
The other fully vegan place – you’ll find Nishta in a narrow street within the old city walls. With limited space inside and outside and no shortage of customers, please make a reservation if you don’t want to miss this plant-based haven! We didn’t and were super lucky to bag a spot for a late lunch on our second day – the evening before had been booked out and the subsequent evenings they were only open during the day. My boyfriend had a delicious spelt moussaka and I had the “Tempehritos” – burritos with tempeh and vegan cheese – which were an absolute dream! We both had a ginger kombucha and for dessert a slice of raw chocolate coffee cake. If I had been in Dubrovnik longer I would have been very tempted to book all my remaining meals here!
Other vegan options:
- Peppers Eatery – Increasingly hangry after being turned away from several fully booked restaurants, I jumped at the word “vegan” on the menu of Peppers. It certainly had more vegan options than the average restaurant menu we’d scanned in Dubrovnik. After a satisfying medley of fries my boyfriend had a vegan wrap and I had a fresh and vibrant quinoa, veggie and edamame salad. The only points off go to the slow service – we waited over an hour for the fries. (The first night at another restaurant we waited a full 1.5 hours for the first bite of food – from what we heard, some places appear to be understaffed currently.)
- Refresh – a small juice place in the Old Town, we went there twice for a quick, healthy breakfast. (Sadly Urban & Veggie wasn’t as convenient for us in terms of location, or we’d have been there every morning.) They have smoothie bowls, smoothies and juices. The smoothie bowl was quite small and without nut butter, but it was refreshing and an easy option. The second time I had a berry smoothie and requested to have some extra ingredients (hemp protein and flaxseeds) from a different smoothie added, to make it more filling. A convenient option for a quick and antioxidant-rich breakfast to fuel a morning of exploring.
- Cogito Coffee – I popped inside to see they have vegan ice cream; sadly none of the bakery items available were vegan.
- Marco Polo – this place was fully booked when we arrived, but there were some vegan options (tofu steak; falafel; veggie wok) on the menu. Another one to definitely book in advance if possible.
As you can see, this vegan guide is a short one. Hopefully, there will soon be many other places to add to the list for a future trip 🙂
There was no lack of incredible plant-based food during our days in nearby Brsečine. We stayed at NINON Design Boutique Hotel – a small family-run hotel which serves fantastic food using fruits and veggies from its organic garden. While it serves meat and fish, there is a veggie option and on request they can create a delicious vegan spread. A spectacular breakfast was included and left us in a mid-morning food coma. It was usually: some sort of chia / oat bowl with fresh fruit and juice followed by a savory dish (e.g. grilled veggies with homemade hummus and roasted red bell pepper dip with bread or veggie-stuffed filo pastries) and then something sweet (e.g. baked fruit or once vegan Kaiserschmarrn with homemade plum jam). Dinner was another three-course affair (EUR 32 for the veggie/vegan option) with starters such as a celery and pear soup with truffle oil, bruschetta with homemade dolmades, fresh salad with figs and walnuts; mains such as roasted bell pepper stuffed with veggie couscous, veggie risotto and desserts such as fresh sorbets, caramelized banana or chia pancakes with homemade jam. It was wonderful not having to think about dinner reservations or scouring menus – we simply showed up and let ourselves be surprised. Diana, who took charge of the vegan menu, was incredibly warm and friendly and seemed to enjoy the creative challenge!