Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik

This is a hilarious guest post from travel writer Ashley Hubbard. 

I’m sitting in the middle of the Adriatic, my shoulders and upper arms are numb from exhaustion, and my mother is doing nothing to help. An hour ago I thought kayaking three hours would be a piece of cake, now I was rethinking my overly confident judgement skills.

After arriving in the Old Town of Dubrovnik from the cruise ship port by way of bus, there were several guys standing around with kayak paddles in their hands. I’ll cut down on the suspense – they were trying to sell half day kayak tours to all of us cruisers.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Departure
Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik

Now, I love outdoors activities and despite only kayaking a couple times (and nothing that could have been classified as anything but tame) I felt like I was more than competent, but I still wasn’t jumping all over the idea. In stressful situations, my family tends to do a whole lot of snapping and yelling. We love each other – we just don’t handle those situations well. And, honestly, I just wasn’t excited at what I figured would turn into a stressful situation.

In the end, however, my mom’s desire to do the tour won out – like most mothers’ wishes do. We signed up for our time slot and continued exploring the Old Town while waiting for it to begin. Since my brother was an experienced kayaker, he got the one single kayak while we took a double – myself sitting in the back, and mom in the front.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: And off we go
Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: And off we go

I feel like the term “it’s like riding a bike…it instantly comes back to you” definitely does not apply here – at least not for me. Riding a bike and steering a kayak do not go hand in hand. Or, maybe it’s because one of us was back stroking while the other was forward stroking and when one would switch to the correct way, the other would also switch – which basically left us going in circles or the completely wrong direction. I don’t do well when I’m flustered, but after about ten minutes of going in circles and cursing each other, we finally managed how to go forward. Funny thing is, after we had our little moment, we were suddenly expert kayakers. So, maybe it is like riding a bike after all.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Mom looks professional
Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Mom looks professional (but keep reading)

You think trying to paddle on the same rhythm of your kayak partner is a challenge, try paddling double the weight with no assistance. After starting out, my mom couldn’t stop taking pictures, which left me to do all the hard labor. Can’t really complain too much though or else we wouldn’t have as many pictures as we do.
After paddling out from a small port beneath Fort Lovrjenac, our instructors led us out to sea. Okay, we didn’t really go out to sea – we were still in view of the shore – but for the sake of excitement, we were led out to sea.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Pretty scenery
Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Pretty scenery

This particular tour takes you to explore several caves as you circumnavigate Lokrum Island – beware – if you have never seen a nude body, you’re about to see a whole lot of them. I’m talking wrinkly, drooping, in your face full body nudity here. Don’t worry, you’re safely in your kayak. Although the way your shoulders feel at this point, you may would rather take your chances among the nudists.

After enjoying the view (of the sea – get your head out of the gutter) and circling around three-fourths of the island, we reached a hidden beach cave called Betina. You get to take a break, eat lunch (included!), do a little snorkeling and cliff jumping, and rest your body.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Cliff jumping and swimming
Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik: Cliff jumping and swimming

After a short break and some lunch, we got back in our kayaks. It thankfully didn’t take us ten minutes to re-learn how to steer a kayak. A short journey took us back to the port where we said to goodbye to our instructors and fellow kayakers.

Despite my prior inhibitions and my sore shoulders, I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Sea kayaking in Dubrovnik is a pretty popular pastime and I can definitely see why. I had no idea it was that popular until stepping off the shuttle bus. I didn’t know much about Dubrovnik at all actually until I arrived there. It was simply the last stop on the Mediterranean Cruise – after the “better” ports of call – i.e. Venice, Rome, Florence. I was sorely mistaken – Dubrovnik, and all of Croatia from what I’ve read and seen, is not to be missed. And, definitely don’t miss sea kayaking in Dubrovnik – where else can you see gorgeous views of the Adriatic, the famous city walls, get some exercise and see naked bodies.

Sea kayaking in Dubrovnik: Half Day Tour

Half day tour includes:

  • Kayakying & snorkeling gear
  • Waterproof barrels for personal items that are placed in your individual kayak
  • Instructors
  • Lunch (sandwiches & water)

Price: 30-40 Euros per person; cash only
Duration: approximately 3 hours

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31 thoughts on “Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik”

  1. Thanks, Elise! All the great points … and you are right Croatia is very laid back when it comes to naturist holidays.

  2. I can’t understand some people’s frets about the human body. It’s like they take a bath with clothes on. Truly bizarre. If you have never sunbathed or swam naked, then it’s your loss. We are just like anybody else on a beach, except we don’t see the point in wearing clothes in heat on a beach! There is nothing to ‘get’ just simplicity and no stress. One of the many reasons that I love Croatia, is it’s laidback attitude to naturism. To knockers, why not try it, you might enjoy the freedom.

    Oh and it is not about how you look naked, it is how you feel naked.

  3. Looks great fun. I saw a ton of people doing this in Dubrovnik, but I didn’t do it. Actually, I didn’t do much in Dubrovnik, that place was bloody expensive. I did have a go once I made it down to Montenegro though, for a teeny fraction of the place :) great fun!

  4. Great post! It must have been an experience to kayak with your mom (or you kayak and your mom take pics…but look on the bright side, you have lots of memories!!)

    I absolutely love kayaking! I have only been kayaking with my husband so he is responsible for steering, extra muscle power, and ensuring we don’t tip over. My favorite kayak adventure was at sunset in Halong Bay, Vietnam! It was an unforgettable experience to kayak between the junks and the limestone formations while the sun made the water glisten. I highly recommend it, Ashley!

  5. Kayaking is definitely not as easy as it seems… and it certainly requires quite a bit of upper body strength if you’re planning on going for a long period of time or more turbulent areas. Luckily Yeison and I make a pretty good team while kayaking but I have heard of couples who have had terrible spats or arguments because of bad feelings while kayaking! That looks like beautiful scenery though!

  6. Agree that this is a hilarious read especially on a Sunday morning! Not sure I would be able to get those images out of my head any time soon but fortunately I don’t have to deal with that part (at least not yet anyway) – sorry Ashley! Kudos to you though for experiencing all of this, and also doing the sea kayaking with your mum!

  7. Hahaha, Fred! Yes, at least Ashley has done it and survived. I think my mum wold be more competitive than me. I would probably be the complainer of the team.

  8. You are so right about naturist beaches in Europe. You just get used to it. Although, I must admit I still don’t get all naturist resorts.

  9. That was a smart call for your first kayaking experience – take on a competitive slalom whitewater kayaker. Well done, Syd!

  10. Thanks, Xania! Good tricks with combining a teenage kid and his/ her mum in the back. Tricks of the trade, isn’t it?! Really looking forward to take your kayaking tour one day. Hopefully this year.

  11. We run a multi-activity company on the Croatian island of Vis. We call our double kayaks the ‘Divorce kayak’ funny to read your piece about paddling your Mum around. Our biggest arguments are usually a Mum at the back with her teenage son in the front of the kayak. Teenage sons generally can’t cope with not being the lead kayak. Kayaking Vis island though, (once we have helped you with your steering!) is a wonderful experience. Water clarity is amazing, coves and caves are plentiful and we only take 8 people so there is lots of trip flexibility.
    Hope it has not put you off exploring the water on a kayak, if it has, at least you have a future funny story to share over a glass of wine with your Mum!

  12. My last kayaking adventure (which I just wrote about actually) went super smoothly because my friend Lisa was in the back and she is a competitive slalom whitewater kayaker. I basically had to not paddle otherwise we would outstrip the rest of the group instantly. I seriously recommend this kind of paddling buddy….

  13. I love love LOVE kayaking but haven’t done sea kayaking. Only lakes & rivers. It must be tough on the arms/ shoulders, indeed.Tough AND talented girl!

  14. I loved this post, it reminded me about the first time we took a kayak in Malaysia! It was much more difficult than we thought, and we really had a painful day. Moreover in the afternoon the waves became quite rough so we needed a taxi boat ride back to our accomodation, we almost felt shame about that as we usually do great in physical activities, kayak seemed not to be our stuff:) We still had great time, and Ashley seemed to have fun too! In Southern Europe nudist beaches are everywhere, we got used to it and actually quite enjoy it. Of course we don’t go naked in the main beaches of Barcelona:), but in the smaller beaches where there are not many people it is just the normal thing here.

  15. That’s excellent :). The part where Ashley thought 3 hours sea kayaking would be a piece of cake reminds me my own bad judgement when I thought coasteering would be a piece of cake too… it’s just cliff jumping and swimming into the sea, right? So wrong…

    In May, we’ll go sea kayaking in Guadeloupe. I’m really looking forward to it :).

  16. Gosh I’ll never do that with my mum, we’d be yelling at each other the entire way! (bad tempers …)
    I’ve gone kayaking with Robb before, though I took the front seat, big mistake: in the back I could have let him do the job by himself!

    Anyway that does seems like a fun activity to do (just not with your parents!)

  17. Haha – what a great read. I love reading about other peoples misery. Well, it sounds like it turned out great, but I wonder how long it will take to scrub the wrinkly, naked images from your brain?

  18. I´m sitting here while smiling. I do exactly the same – always. Thinking cycling 9 hours, hiking a mountain for 7 hours, kayakking for 5 hours or cooking (yeah really) is a piece of cake but during I always regret my overly confident decisions… Loved the piece, way to go Ashley!

  19. I never would have thought to sea kayak in Dubrovnik as a cruise shore excursion. This was a great read. I can imagine the shock of seeing all the nude bodies. What a fun adventure though and I’m sure the views (beyond the nudists) were gorgeous. It’s a great way to work off all the cruise food.

  20. Thanks, Rachel! So glad you’ve liked Ashley’s piece. I too find it very amusing. Laughed few times while reading it. It’s funny how we get shocked with a public nudity. Although, they are probably nice people :)

  21. Thanks, Lauren! I think Ashley did a great job (both writing this post and kayaking in a double while her mother was mostly excited about taking photos) :).

  22. Fantastic post! I love kayaking! I heard it was actually way harder to kayak in a double one with 2 people than to take a single one on your own. Amazing views, I would love to take this tour!

  23. Haha, a nice amusing piece. I was in Dorset a few years ago and was enjoying the beautiful view out to see and the far off cliffs, and I turned back to face the beach only to find myself staring at a nude couple ambling across the sand. I’d walked onto a nudist beach without realising. They called over to say hello, and when they saw me blushing (me being young, naïve and innocent) they said they didn’t bite, and I should feel the freedom of nakedness and go for a swim. I smiled, waved and walked away. Quickly. I’m sure they were nice people though!

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