Being in Croatia and not visiting Dubrovnik… unacceptable! So as soon as the weather got warmer, I grabbed the car and hit the road. I love watching Game of Thrones and therefore I was thrilled! (Season 7 finally started!!!)
Since I live in Split, it’s fairly quick to reach Dubrovnik by car. Therefore, a 1-day trip would be enough to see the city and come back.
The plan was to first go to the Trsteno Arboretum (those scenes in the gardens of King’s Landing, helloooo). After that, head to the city of Dubrovnik and explore the “pearl of the Adriatic”. In this post, I’ll tell you a bit more about my visit to the arboretum and then part 2 will be on the blog soon.
Arriving in Trsteno
After crossing the border to Bosnia, then crossing again to Croatia and with plenty of curves in the mix, I finally arrived in the Trsteno Arboretum. Everything green, the birds singing… Upon the entrance gates, there was a lovely guy that let me enter the arboretum for free (although I honestly don’t know if there’s an entrance fee)… anyway, up to a good start.
Can you guess my reaction when I started walking in the garden?? “WOOOOW”! I went straight ahead on the main path and found these amazing views over the Adriatic:
The story behind the Arboretum
Located near Dubrovnik (about 20 minutes by car, maybe more if there’s traffic), Trsteno Arboretum is famous for its historical gardens and extensive diversity of flora. With an area of 28 hectares, it is the oldest Renaissance garden in the Croatian Adriatic coast.
Back in 1494, it was the park and summer residence of the family Gučetić-Gozze. For their garden in Trsteno, numerous plants and seeds started to arrive at the estate, brought by ships that arrived in Dubrovnik. The garden grew over the years and during the 19th and 20th centuries several exotic plants arrived in Trsteno.
Unfortunately, in 1667, an earthquake destroyed the villa, but soon a new one was built in the exact same place – which is the one we see today in the Trsteno Arboretum. During the war in the 1990s against the Yugoslav army, a fire burned 80% of the vegetation, which means that more than ten thousand trees were lost. Also, the summer residence was damaged and robbed.
The Trsteno Arboretum is nowadays part of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts. The arboretum is protected by law as it’s considered a monument of garden architecture.
The Renaissance garden
The Trsteno Arboretum is a typical Dubrovnik Renaissance garden. It includes the villa, the pavilion, St. Jerome’s chapel, the green loggia, the aqueduct and the fountain.
The pavilion has an amazing view over the Adriatic sea. Sadly you cannot go inside… What you can do is remember those scenes from Game of Thrones (Olena Tyrell walking in the garden paths and chilling on the pavilion ahah).
The fountain was obviously one of my favorite places in the arboretum. It’s actually not the original Renaissance fountain. The one we see today was built in the 18th century and it has statues of nymphs and the god of the sea, Neptune.
Most of the flora in the arboretum has a Mediterranean and European origin, but there are also numerous plants from Asian and America.
And, in case you’re wondering, the oldest and highest trees are around 150 years old and have trunks with a diameter of 5 meters!
Apart from the popularity acquired due to its presence in Game of Thrones TV show, Trsteno Arboretum is really a magical place. The garden of the Gučetić family didn’t lose its charm and beauty and I totally recommend you to pay a visit.
If you want to visit the Arboretum, here are the opening times:
May-October, 7am-7pm; November-April, 8am-4pm.
Dubrovnik trip PART 2 available here.
Check my last blog post where I talk about the reasons to visit the city of Split.