Cilipi Folklore – Embrace your inner tourist

Every Sunday the quiet little village of Cilipi becomes something of a paradox. Traditionally clad men and women stroll around against a backdrop of tour buses, SLR zoom lenses and loud speakers. The Cilipi Folklore extravaganza is in session!Cilipi Folklore

The Science Bit

Getting to Cilipi couldn’t be easier. Both Dubrovnik and Cavtat have a tourist bus service that takes you there and back. From the Cavtat bus station it costs 25Kn each way (€3.30) and it really is the best option. There is no point in lingering in Cilipi afterwards and the buses depart right after the show. The only downside is that you will arrive in Cilipi quite early – around 10am – and the show starts at 11.15am.

What to See

Folk GroupEntry to the village of Cilipi is charged at 45Kn (€6) and for this you get access to the market, entry to the museum, a shot of liquer in the wine cellar and a view of the show.
The museum is interesting but won’t take very long. Unless you are particularly interested in embroidery the market isn’t very exciting. A couple of stalls also sell some traditional sweets, oils, souvenirs, etc but it is 90% embroidered goods. Down in the wine cellar you can enjoy music performed by the folk group while you sip your drink.
I would advise you to take a book in case you find yourself having exhausted all Cilipi has to offer in advance of the show start time. You can buy a coffee in the little cafe (8Kn/€1) to while away some of the time before the show starts. Alternatively, you can attend mass with the locals in the lovely church in the square.

The Show

Cilipi Folklore CoupleAt 11.15am (after mass) the show commences. You will enjoy traditional music and dancing from the Konvale region, explained by the MC in Croatian, English, French and German. The show lasts around 30-40 mins and is highly enjoyable. The MC will explain the purpose of the dance and you will see some elements of a wedding procession. In the final dance some lucky people will be selected to participate – if you fancy a waltz with a traditionally clad partner be sure to sit on one of the front steps for the show.

While this is definitely an incredibly “touristy” activity it is none the less very enjoyable. It only takes a morning and you will have some excellent photo memories to take away.

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Cavtat – Dubrovnik’s little sister!

Most descriptions of Cavtat [sav-tat] will tell you that the town is only 20KM from Dubrovnik. However, looking at Cavtat as simply a convenient launch pad for visiting Dubrovnik really does this charming little place an injustice.Cavtat from Mausoleum Steps

Cavtat is a resort town and has all the trappings that go with that – the mandatory souvenir shops, the menus with little language flags, the “apartment to let” signs. But unlike some resort towns, the people of Cavtat don’t appear to have the sole aim of relieving you of your money. There is a single excursion stand on the waterfront and you can walk past without having to do the “let me pass” shuffle with an overenthusiastic guide who insists that his tour is the best tour in the whole of the land, maybe even on the whole planet. When you stop to admire an item in a shop you are not immediately pounced on by someone telling you how much the yellow banana hat really suits you and that they will give you a “very good price”.

If you want a party town, Cavtat is not for you as it attracts mainly older couples and some families. I visited in October, about 2 weeks before the end of their tourist season and it was very quiet. The weather changed on my last days and the people disappeared – I was the only person in my restaurant on my last night. However, my experience may not be representative of the town in the high season.  Perhaps it was more laid back as the season was winding down. Or maybe all the parties were around some corner I never found!

Language

Almost everyone speaks some English as all Croatians learn in school. If you want to throw a few phrases into your conversations check out my little cheat sheet. I have found that most people appreciate any small effort you make, even if it’s just please (maw-leem) or thanks (ha-va-la). I’ve also included some useful sign words.

Sights

The town is small and you could easily walk the whole place in an hour if you didn’t stop anywhere, and most of that time would be spent on the steps! Boat excursions can be booked on the waterfront or at the two booking offices on the bus station side of town. Some of my favourite sights were:

Our Lady of the Snow Church / Franciscan Monastery

MonasteryI felt like I’d already been here before when I arrived, I had seen so many pictures of it. Every Sunday and Monday night there is a classical concert in the monastery cloisters.  Tickets go on sale at 8pm and the concert is at 9pm.

Racic Family Mausoleum [Raach-eech]
View from MausoleumThere are about a million steps but it is definitely worth it. The view over the town from the steps is worth the effort even if you don’t go all the way. The mausoluem is beautiful and the view amazing (title image) – not a bad place to spend eternity! It costs 10Kn (€1.30) to go in where you can see depictions of the three stages – birth, life and death. The mausoleum was built entirely from stone, with only the door and the bell being made from bronze.
The Town
Cavtat TownTear yourself away from the waterfront and wander around the streets (and steps) of Cavtat. You will find windy laneways, intricate gateways and beautiful buildings. As there are no cars in the heights of the town you will come across many locals walking around, some of whom will be happy to stop and chat.
Sunset on the waterfront
Cavtat Sunset
With the two sides of the bay jutting out, the Church on the left and the odd boat sailing in the photo opportunities are amazing. Add in a gelato and you’re in heaven!

Dubrovnik

Cavtat Dubrovnik FerryShould you want to take a trip to Dubrovnik you have two options – ferry and bus. The bus runs every hour and costs 17Kn (€2.30). It takes approx. 40 minutes. The ferry is more expensive but it is certainly an experience. It takes 50 minutes and costs 80Kn (€10.60) for a return. The last ferry back from Dubrovnik is quite early in the evening, so if you plan on doing a day trip you will want to take an early morning ferry across.

Eating & Drinking

The majority of restaurants in Cavtat all range around the 100-150Kn (€13-€20) mark for a main course but there are both more expensive and cheaper options to be found. There are two supermarkets (I also spotted a Lidl on the way in) if you are self catering. There are several ATMs throughout the town.

Some guide prices:
Gelato cone – 7Kn / 94c (and they’re not mean with the scoop!)
Small bottle water on waterfront – 10Kn / €1.34
Large bottle water in supermarket – 6Kn / 80c
Bottle of local beer in supermarket – 6Kn / 80c
Coffee – 10-20Kn / €1.30-€2.60

Some of the restaurants I enjoyed were:

Pekarnica Peco Bakery
Nice little bakery on the bus station side of the town. A nicely sized pizza for one or a ham and cheese pastry with a coke costs just 31Kn (€4). They also sell a range of pastries, including donuts for 5Kn (67c) or baklava for 15Kn (€2).

Ancora Winebar
Lovely staff and a beautiful view of the water from the terrace. Two plates of tapas and a coke cost 108Kn (€14.40). Wifi is available.

Posejdon
From the terrace of this restaurant you have a view of the area of the waterfront roped off with two goals, so you can watch if any locals are playing. A toasted ham & cheese with a plate of fries and a small beer will set you back only 53Kn (€7).

Cafe Bar Delfin
This cafe bar is just outside the doors of the Church of St. Nicholas on the waterfront. The major selling point of this place for me was the free wifi. A small local beer costs 13Kn (€1.74) and imported beers e.g. Corona cost 22Kn (€2.94).

Dolium Restaurant
This was my little treat and it was well worth it. The staff are so friendly and the food is delicious. The octopus salad and fillet of seabass, with 1.5 local beers cost 245Kn (€33). There is a 12Kn cover charge but you do get as much bread as you want, a sardine appetizer and a glass of the local herb schnapps to finish.

All conversions based on today’s rate at xe.com

More information on Cavtat at:
Tourism Cavtat
Tourist Board of Konvale