Renting a kayak is something that caught my eye on our very first day in Dubrovnik. We were walking the city walls when I noticed an organised tour kayaking behind some rocks, then another group further up making their way around the city walls. I took one look up at the sun’s position in the sky and knew immediately that we just had to hire some kayaks for ourselves and embark one evening at sunset in this stunning, historic city.
After a quick Google search the following day we decided to walk down to Xadventure, located just before the Old Town’s entrance. We had a brief chat there with the manager who was really informative, and we decided that instead of renting our own kayaks it would be safer to book ourselves onto their sunset kayak tour that same evening as the wind was really strong to go out alone.
So we grabbed some lunch and returned at 4pm for the organised tour but unfortunately the wind was still too strong and it got cancelled. As gutting as that was, it was also good to know that they did take safety into account. Instead we rebooked for the following evening at 4pm.
The next evening came and finally the wind had calmed down and we were able to get our life vests on. We were really lucky as well that our group had only three couples including ourselves, plus a single kayaker, as many other organised tours had at least 10 kayaks grouped together. So after a quick briefing on how to hold and use the paddle we were ready to go.
I’ve never kayaked before until now so I was kind of nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to paddle for three-hours, but it turned out to be pretty easy. There were also a few stops along the way where our guide told us some facts and tales about Dubrovnik and the places we could see.
Tip: We were told about an abandoned 5-star hotel just a short walk away from the Old Town. Although it’s been sold, no work has been started and passers by are able to walk in freely. This is something I would have really loved to of seen and blogged about but unfortunately we were leaving Dubrovnik the very next morning.
What the sunset kayak tour includes:
- 7.5km/3-hour tour
- 500ml bottle of water, sandwich and small bottle of wine (red or white)
- Stop at Cave Beach Betina
- Return via Lokrum island
As per Xadventure’s website and what we were told on the day, the three-hour sunset tour makes a primary stop at Cave Beach Betina where we break for a snack and some free time for swimming and snorkelling, and optional cliff jumping.
The website also states: “This cave is reachable only from the seaside so you will be able to relax and enjoy the underwater world of the Adriatic Sea in your privacy and peace.”
I wanted to write this blog post to let anyone who’s interested in booking a kayak tour in Dubrovnik know what to expect.
Cave Beach Betina is not peaceful in the slightest.You are on the tiny bay with at least two other kayaking groups, which as previously mentioned are not as small as your own group. You cannot relax and instead whilst you snorkel you are constantly having to avoid being hit by active kayaks as there are new groups coming in at a steady rate. The lunch provided is a small, dry sandwich on hard baguette. The cliff jumping is also not advertised or directed.
After Cave Beach Betina the itinerary states that we’ll be kayaking to the island of Lokrum, making sighting stops at some more caves. However this entire section of our tour got cancelled. We were informed that our group was moving too slow and we were running out of time so had to start heading back via a different route with no views.
Although I understand the time restraint with the sun setting, I still believe that our guide should have made us aware of this at our first stop and given us the option whether we wanted to hang around there for so long.
We continued our tour going back the way we came but sailing into the sunset. Now, this experience was absolutely incredible. I’d been wet for so long that the water now felt warm against my hands with every gentle stroke my paddle took, the wind was steady and the air was silent. I could see open ocean for miles and this right here was the moment I had been waiting for. Utter bliss.
Downer Alert: Once we had arrived back on dry land it was time for some wine. But it wasn’t as quoted, “drinking some fine wine in a romantic Pile bay while chatting with your hosts and sunset tour guests”. The tour guide told us we had made a mess when we piled our life vests neatly on the table, and the “fine wine” was a couple of cheap bottles served in plastic cups while he disappeared. Very “romantic” as they state online.
I 100% recommend kayaking at sunset for this exact moment in the above picture. It could easily just be because the ocean makes me calm, but I honestly believe this should be on anyone’s bucket list.
However I would recommend hiring your own kayak and ditching the tour altogether. Although the facts and stories the guide told us were cool, the overall organised tour experience was not worth it for 230 kuna/30 euros. As long as the wind is low and ocean calm, going solo is nothing you can’t do.