If you’ve travelled to Dubrovnik on a tour, or taken a guided city walk there, you may be familiar with what’s called a ‘buza’ bar. The term buza, which originates from traditional Dubrovnik vernacular, translates to ‘hole.’ As the name suggests, the entrance to the buza bars are through a hole in the colossal walls that surround the city. These entrances are unmarked and inconspicuous, and therefore make it very easy to miss one of Dubrovnik’s most breath-taking attractions.
Two hours before our boat was set to leave, my brother and I found ourselves wandering the quaint, cobbled streets of Old Town Dubrovnik. With the July sun beating fiercely down upon the marble floor, we decided we were in desperate need of a swim and an ice-cold beer. Our guide had mentioned the buza bars in passing, and we decided to try our luck at finding one.
We made our way through Luza Square, passing the impressive clock tower, and headed for the city walls. As we abandoned the central, tourist-trodden streets, the lanes became narrower, and broke off arbitrarily into forks and stairwells. We came across a local man perched behind small stall. He was selling postcards.
‘Excuse me,’ I said. ‘We’re looking for the buza bar.’
The man didn’t answer. Instead he smiled, and pointed up a nearby staircase. We thanked him, and carried on.
We were met by the towering city walls at the top of the stairwell. I wiped sweat from my forehead and glanced around. Rob was pointing.
We hurried over and peered into a crumbled hole in the wall. It was smaller than I’d anticipated – we’d have to duck our heads to enter. Inside, it was shadowed, and I could just make out another wall beyond. I listened – all was quiet.
‘Surely this isn’t it…?’
‘Do you see any other holes?’ Rob asked. ‘C’mon, let’s give it a go.’
I followed Rob, dipping my head low as I stepped through the entrance. Immediately, the tunnel took a sharp turn. I walked slowly, trailing my fingers along the cool, rock wall. As we advanced further, I noticed the floor was slanting downwards, and light was seeping in, growing brighter with every step. The faint twang of reggae music was just audible.
‘Watch your head.’
Rob’s legs disappeared as he ducked through another small entrance. I followed suit, and stood up, relishing the feeling of the sun on my face.
We were gazing out at a stunning, panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea. Below us, cliffs were dotted with deckchairs, umbrellas and colourful sarongs. A man was shaking cocktails behind a small, wooden bar, and people were diving and flipping from the rocks into the ocean. Rob made his way down narrow steps towards the bar for our beers. I spread a towel over a rock and settled down to drink in the incredible view, and to suss out the best spot to jump from.
Check out tours to Croatia to experience a ‘Buza’ Bar for yourself!
Elle Conway studies Journalism in Canberra. Prior to university, she spent four gap years travelling, working and living abroad. She loves spiced rum, and dreams of one day travelling to Antarctica. (Photos by Pixabay)