Every year BritMums hold their annual awards for Brilliance in Blogging affectionately known throughout the blogging community as the BiBs. In 2014 Gretta Schifano, author of Mums Do Travel, won the Travel BiB award and the sponsors, Wyndham Vacation, sent her off on a dream family trip to Dubrovnik, here Gretta tells BritMums all about it.
I spent a great week in Dubrovnik, Croatia, this Easter with my husband and kids – and it’s all thanks to the BritMums BiB awards.
BritMums BiB awards
When I found out that I’d won the BritMums BiB award for the best travel blog in 2014 I was surprised, thrilled and delighted in equal measure. I couldn’t collect the award in person as I was on a Mediterranean cruise with my daughter. One of the best things about the cruise (bear with me here, this is relevant) was the fact that it gave us a snapshot of many different places. We started from Venice and enjoyed brief stops at Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and, our favourite part of the itinerary, Dubrovnik. My daughter and I both loved Dubrovnik and agreed that we wanted to return there for a family trip as soon as we could.
My BiB travel award was generously sponsored by Wyndham Vacation rentals, which has more than 100,000 holiday rental properties around the world and includes well-known brands such as Hoseasons, cottages4you and James Villas.
When, soon after the awards ceremony, Wyndham got in touch about working together we quickly established that their James Villas brand was a perfect fit for our family. James Villas offers carefully selected, high quality holiday villas in great locations and has a reputation for excellent customer service. Even better, James Villas offer some wonderful apartments in Dubrovnik, our desired location, at the luxurious Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort.
We booked our flights from London to Dubrovnik as well as a hire car for when we arrived at the airport. James Villas sent us clear directions about how to get to the resort as well as a helpful app with check-in details and useful information about the resort and the area.
Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort
Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort is just along the coast from the ancient and beautiful city of Dubrovnik and we loved staying there. We had a well-equipped, comfortable, modern, two-bedroom apartment with a huge terrace looking out to sea. Each bedroom had an en-suite bathroom and there was also an open plan living and dining area and a galley kitchen. There was free wifi, to my kids’ relief – they were 16 and 12 years old at the time and not happy if deprived of internet access for too long. The apartment was spotless and was cleaned every day. We strolled across to the resort’s hotel for a fantastic breakfast each morning and ate our other meals at the resort’s restaurants or out and about in and around Dubrovnik.
I went to the resort’s wonderful spa at some point each day, often accompanied by my daughter. My son loved the all-weather football pitch and we enjoyed trying some of the activities on offer at the sports centre such as archery and climbing. It wasn’t warm enough to use the outdoor pools or private beach when we were there in April. The resort is a great place for families to stay and I’d definitely recommend it.
The old city of Dubrovnik is about a 15-minute drive from the resort – or a short boat ride away during the summer – and we spent quite a lot of time there. It’s a fascinating place to explore and there’s lots to see. The city has been extensively used as a film location for theGame of Thrones TV series, which has been great for the local tourist industry. We walked around the defensive city walls to enjoy views of the city, the Adriatic sea and the nearby islands. We took a cable car to the top of Srd Hill, which overlooks the city. We went on a brilliant off-road buggy safari (note to self: wear a sports bra before embarking on any more off-road experiences). We took a boat to Lokrum Island to see its nature reserve and roaming peacocks. And we decided that Poklisar restaurant, right by the old harbour, serves the best ice-cream in town.
We went on some enjoyable excursions further afield. A few people had recommended the pretty village of Cavtat, about 20 km along the coast from Dubrovnik, as a good place to eat, and so we headed there one evening and had a delicious meal at Toranj restaurant overlooking the bay. We checked out Trsteno Arboretum one afternoon. The historic 70-acre coastal site is overgrown and wild and has been used as a Game of Thrones filming location. My husband and I left the kids at the hotel one day while we went to the small Medieval town of Ston, about 50 km away. Ston lays claim to the longest defensive stone walls in Europe – they’re 5.5 km long and are punctuated by 40 towers and five forts. Our longest excursion was to beautiful Kotor, around 100 km away in Montenegro. To get there we drove around the bay of Kotor, which is shaped like a butterfly and offers scenery which is so spectacular that it necessitates many photo stops.
If you’d like to know more about our trip to Dubrovnik you can check out my blog posts:
Disclosure: James Villas provided our accommodation at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort. The Dubrovnik Tourist Office arranged for our entry to Trsteno Arboretum, the City Walls, and the boat crossing to Lokrum. All opinions are my own.
is a freelance family travel journalist and blogger who posts at Mums do travel
. Gretta’s lived and worked in Italy and Spain, and is now based in rural south-east England with her husband, adoptive and birth children, dog and cat. Gretta previously worked as a BBC radio producer and can be found tweeting at @grettaschifano
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