Wanting to explore Dubrovnik? If you are in need for a unique experience and also love active vacation Dubrovnik Running Tours are the perfect choice. You can learn about Dubrovnik history and culture while running with your guides. We spoke to Damir Ovcina, Dubrovnik Running Tours manager, tour guide and runner about this interesting idea.
How did you get an idea for Dubrovnik Running Tours? I run and that's an important part of my life, I just love it. I ran around Dubrovnik and discovered the most beautiful routes, like those by the sea and through nature. I saw a lot of tourists running on the road, avoiding cars, and it got to me – they just can't find those routes that I love. I got an idea for a tour – running with a tour guide and discovering different parts of the city that they would probably miss if they went alone. I researched it and discovered that in the most of the bigger cities in the world there are around 10 agencies that do that kind of stuff. I couldn't believe it! I thought that that was really my unique idea. (laughs) I decided to start it, form three different tours that go around the city, show interesting locations and have great photo opportunities.
What are those three different tours that you mentioned? There is 'City and nature', 'Run Dubrovnik' and 'Lokrum Island'. For example, the first one is 7 kilometres long – we start at Orsan and run besides the sea, through Solitudo and Babin Kuk. We stop at beach Cava, where we talk about the beach itself and look at Elaphiti islands. There is possible to take photos while taking a break. We are not running during the whole tour, we run, then we stop and rest and then we run again. Level of the running tours is totally adjusted to the group.
So, anybody can be the part of the running tour? Not just professionals? Yes. It's expected that the person is active, at least a bit. But you don't have to be a professional athlete or runner! Level of activity is low or from low to medium. We run around one kilometre before we stop and take some rest. If we notice that somebody's having a hard time, we slow it down and add one more rest location. Every group has its pace.
Is it hard to combine sightseeing and running? No, it isn't, because we run through parts like nature, where there is not much to be said. We just enjoy the surroundings with light talk. When we stop at the location then we talk, look around and take photos. Sightseeing and running are not so combined, that would maybe be appropriate for the runners of higher level. This is really adapted to active people who get the chance to actively meet the city, have a light training and get valuable information about the city outside the walls and of course the Old City, where we end the tour.
Do you run in the Old City? No, tours are formed in a way that they end in the Old City. No more running, we stop at a bar and get squeezed orange juice that it's included in the price. During their cool down they drink the juice with the Old City tour.
Was it hard to find tourist guides that will work on running tours? It wasn't hard because I did most of them. (laughs) I have two or three people in mind that run with me and would love to do the tours. It's a dream for a runner – to get a training and get paid for it. It's ideal to do what you love and get money for it. That was my idea at the start.
You started the running tours last year. What are the reactions? Response was quite good since we didn't really do much marketing and we were booked through our website. However, our social media pages were just opened then so it's hard to say if it was good or bad – it was a start. By the numbers, like 8000 likes on Facebook, I think this year will be much much better. People who went on the tour are delighted. Reactions are fantastic, on Tripadvisor all of our comments are ''excellent'' and everybody added the text, explained why they personally loved the tour. Because on this tour they meet the city, have beautiful photos and also get amazing amount of info for their further stay. From restaurants to field trips, from museums to attractions. We are available to them 24 hours a day even after the tour. We offer the whole experience. During the tour we become friends and I'm glad to help them with everything.
So, the only thing that is necessary for the tour is good will, running shoes and that's it? Yes and just to relax and enjoy it!