Dubrovnik, called also ‘The Pearl of the Mediterranean’
Dubrovnik is situated in the far south of Croatia, the city was originally called Ragusa and was formed in the 7th century. Over the next five centuries Ragusa expanded and by the 15th century was one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean. The walls that still surrounded the city today were built over centuries to protect the Republic of Dubrovnik. Through diplomacy and influence Dubrovnik remained a strong power and in the height of the Republic had embassies all over the world.
Visit the Rector’s Palace, a Gothic-Renaissance monument that was the seat of government in the old Dubrovnik Republic. Nearby is the Church of St. Blaise, an 18th-century Baroque building dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik.
Enjoy the outdoors at Banje, Dubrovnik’s main beach just outside the walls of the Old Town. Swim in the crystal-clear water and bask in the sun while taking in the view of the Adriatic Sea. At scenic Gruž Harbour, Dubrovnik’s main port within walking distance of the Old Town, browse fresh food markets and catch a ferry to one of the nearby islands.
The people of Dubrovnik are fantastic hosts and will help you to enjoy a pleasant stay in their city. Many gardens and orchards throughout the city have figs, olives, peaches and oranges growing from their trees. The city can become really busy during high season when hundreds of tourists at a time disembark from the cruise ships.
One of Europe’s most attractive drives is the 20-kilometer Dubrovnik to Cavtat coastal route. For one of your afternoons, you might want to consider going to Cavtat, to the south. It is a very old city with a nice harbor and promenade. Antique churches, forested headlands, beach boats and cafes are all part of the scenery. There are water taxis there from the harbor and frequent buses.
Several wide avenues stretch the length of the old city, intersected by narrow alleys. Umbrellas and awnings shelter the many tables of cafes and restaurants located along most of the arteries of this compact city. Two spring-fed fountains in the wider avenues provided a source of clean, cold water to refill tourists’ water bottles.
Pile Gate is a grand entrance into Dubrovnik’s Old Town, on its western wall. Pile Gate has an outer and inner gate with statues of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint. Built in 1537 to protect the city from invaders. The inner Ploce Gate were once called The Gate of St Luka, according to the nearby church. As you pass between the gates you’ll notice a commemorative plaque that indicates the extent of the damage caused during the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991 and 1992.
There are guards standing outside at all times in costume/traditional dress. Don’t miss the changing of the guard every evening at 9pm – an absolute spectacle.
The term “Stradun” comes from the Venetians and mocking the name of a major street, and the name of the “Placa” is derived from the Latin word “platea”, meaning “street”.
The Stradun, the main street through the Old City, runs as straight as an arrow through the heart of the city and was, and is still today, the main meeting place for the city’s inhabitants.
Stradun (officially called the Placa) This central stone street of the Old City was built in 1667 after the great earthquake destroyed the city. This is the Main Street in the old town. The limestone shines like a “Sea of Glass”. At night time, the Stradun concrete floor looks wet but it’s shiny due to the many years of wear from throngs of visitors. You have many smaller street connecting to this one fulled with bars, restaurant or shops! you want to eat something or have a drink, wander around, in the smaller streets it’s much cheaper and less crowded. In the evening it gets a little big crowded, and it is better to visit it in the morning.
Dubrovnik Ancient City Walls
The first city walls were built in the 11th century but the shape you see today dates back to the 14th century when Dubrovnik gained independence from Venice. The best way to really see Dubrovnik is by walking along the city walls, affording a bird’s eye view of the labyrinthine alleys and streets of the old city. The width and height of the walls varies as you walk around – getting as narrow as a metre wide in some areas and with dizzying views down into the narrow streets below. So if you were thinking of skipping Dubrovnik because it’s too touristy, don’t! You must see it; you must live it in order to truly understand what makes it so very special.
Try to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, otherwise you’ll be roasted. Make sure you stay hydrated and load up on the sunscreen because there is no shade there’s no shade up there. Allow at least 1-2hrs to complete the wole circuit – wear comfortable shoes !!! Dubrovnik’s city walls are open 8am–7.30pm during June and July; 8am–6.30pm during April, May, August and September; 8am–5.30pm during October; and 9am–3pm for the rest of the year. It will cost you 120KN ($ 17,84
Great Onofrio Fountain
This interesting fountain is just next to the Pile Gate and is a good meeting point. It was built by Onofrio della Cava to commemorate the completion of the new waterworks in 1438. The waterworks supplied the city with water from the Dubrovnik River, 12 kilometres away. As soon as you enter the main Pile gate to the old town you will see this fountain. Fountain is one of the city’s most important landmarks and provides shade and respite for weary visitors.
This is the place to fill your water bottles for free. Water quality is excellent and cold.
The statue of Orlando is one of the first monuments you’ll see on entering the Stradun from the Port end. Near the Clock Tower in the Square of the Loggia is a stone column with the figure of a medieval warrior bearing a sword and shield standing on a pedestal. Orlando’s statue is a symbol of the freedom of Dubrovnik and the flag of the Republic always flies on top of this column. Orlando’s Column was erected in 1418 at what remains the political and social heart of the city. The knight’s forearm was the official linear measure of the Republic – the ell of Dubrovnik (51.1cm).
See the Franciscan Monastery and Museum
Another of the places to go in Dubrovnik is the Franciscan Monastery and Museum. It is a mid 14th century cloister and home to Europe’s third oldest functioning pharmacy – it’s been in operation since the 14th century. Among its earliest surviving features is the south door, designed in 1499 in a Venetian Gothic style and featuring a beautiful carving (Pieta). The well-preserved furniture in the pharmacy dates to the 16th century, and the vases are from Sienna and Florence, dating to the 15th and 16th centuries. It also contains various presses, mortars, and an instrument for distilling water dating to the 14th century, as well as prescription manuscripts for making medicine.
St Blaise church
The church stands on the first square you see when you enter the old city and is very impressive with the staircase leading to it. Named after the saint protector of Dubrovnik, a church has stood on this spot since 1368, but following a fire, the present church was built in 1717. Do not miss the inside of the Church. History and art and architecture are all worth a mention. It is especially nice at night when it is all lit up. The church’s front steps are the setting for important events like the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration and the opening night of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Built in the late 15th century for the elected rector who governed Dubrovnik. The Rector’s Palace used to be the seat of government in the old Dubrovnik Republic and housed the offices of state, dungeons and a gunpowder store. During his one-month term he wasn’t allowed to leave the palace except on official business and contained a watch-house, a prison and an armoury. Visit the exhibition halls on the ground floor, mezzanine and first floor to see furniture, textiles, paintings, medals, weapons, coats of arms and coins from the Dubrovnik Republic. Walk into rooms decorated in period style with furniture from the 18th century. The building is very attractive from the outside.
You need pay entrance fee of $ 14,87. No photos allowed.
The fort raises on the 37-metre high sea cliff outside the city walls. It is located across from the old town and an easy walk just outside the Pile Gate entry. One can approach it from the little Pile beach climbing the flight of stairs in the shadow of pine trees. The walls are 121 feet high and the thickest portion is 39 feet on the water side. For that and the big rock it is standing on, it is known under the name “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”. There is a legend that it was built by the citizens of Dubrovnik in less than three months after the city was under threat to be conquered by Venice. Dubrovnik’s motto ” Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro” (“Freedom is not to be sold for all the treasures in the world”) is inscribed above one of the entries. The Lovrijenac Fortress is not an integrated part of the City Walls but is seperated from the main Old Town complex by a small shallow harbour of pristine turquoise blue water and small fishing boats. You can walk through the ammunition storage rooms and imagine what some rooms and structures may have been used for. It’s fun to explore up and down the stone steps and there are great views. The entrance is covered under the ticket that you purchase for the city walls tour or 30 kn ($ 4,46) separately.
Dominican Monastery Dubrovnik
Founded in the 13th century, but rebuilt or restored after earthquakes, this is a quiet and beautiful site for a visit to Dubrovnik. Although some Baroque elements were added to the church’s interior, it has kept its Gothic appearance of a hall church with smooth high walls and a timber roof. Stroll around to the museum which is small, but has a rich collection of jewelry, relics and paintings which are in the Renaissance style, features a massive painted Gothic cross by Paolo Veneziano, dating from around 1384.
Ul. Svetog Dominika 4, Dubrovnik. Open daily summer 9am–6pm; winter 9am–5pm. It will cost you 30.00 kn ( $ 4,46 )
Sponza Palace is located at the end of the main street (Stradun) left of of the bell clock tower and near the statue of Roland/Orlando’s Column and the Church of St. Blaise.
Sponza Palace, also known as Divona, is one of the most beautiful city palaces and an excellent example of Gothic-Renaissance building. It was built from 1516 – 1521. It was built by merchant masters Paskoje Miličević and brothers Andrijić from Korcula. The top floor has some beautiful Gothic windows. The lower floor has a beautiful portico with Renaissance arches. To the left of the entrance door is a small room where the defenders of the town during its siege by the Yugoslav (Serbian and Montenegrin forces) are remembered. Sponza Palace has had many lives since its beginnings as a customs house: the mint, the State treasury and a bank. It now houses the State archives, a significant collection of manuscripts dating back nearly a thousand years.
Open 10 am-10pm.
It will cost you 20.00 kn ( $ 2,97 )
Here are some of the top things to see and do in Dubrovnik:
Things not to miss
Open air market dubrovnik
For the majority of visitors, the most memorable shopping experience is a browse round the open-air market – Gundulićeva Poljana; mornings only in the old town, with stalls laden with seasonal fruit and vegetables plus locally produced cheeses and dried lavender, a variety of homemade liquors, jams, honey, and smoked meats. In this market, you will find some people that speak English to explain things to you.
The island of Lokrum
It’s an ideal place for a day trip, especially so when the crowds in Dubrovnik become just a little too much. Covered in pine trees, the island is an ideal place to spend a relaxing day – or few hours – sunbathing and swimming. There are also a few sights on the island if you don’t want to be entirely idle. There are various paths through the island if you want to wonder through the vegetation, and there’s a botanical garden in the middle of the island and the ruins of a monastery nearby as well.
The peacocks, Maximilian’s travel souvenirs brought from the Canary Islands, have lived quite happily here on their Croatian island for the past 150 years.
Botanical Garden sits in the middle of the island. Many of the 500 plant varieties may be attributed to Maximilian of Hapsburg who left his horticultural mark after temporarily owning the island in the mid 1800s, cultivating seeds and plants from Australia, California, Chile, and South Africa gathered during his travels around the world.
To get to Lokrum, there are boats that depart every half an hour (during high season) from the port in the Old Town. The journey takes 15 minutes. Make sure you know when the last boat back is. In Game of Thrones, Lokrum is turned into Qarth, the ‘Queen of Cities’ on the continent of Essos, and the setting for much of Daenerys’ story in season two.
A great spot that’s easy to reach is the Elafiti archipelago. Šipan is the largest of the Elafiti islands. Known for its homemade extra virgin olive oil and red wine. If you like walking,cycling, kayaking or snorkling then this is the place. There are walking trails leading inland that are worth exploring – many olive trees and a few sheep plus old stone walls provide interest. The sound of the cicadas’ constant chirping is so relaxing. The island is beautiful and the waters crystal clear. Very quiet, only a few restaurants and bars to choose from. Restaurants are very much fish orientated, well presented and clean. Bring cash if you plan a visit as there are no ATM’s and very few places (if any) take credit cards.
Lopud is the perfect gateway from Dubrovnik for a day hike. Take a loop walk around the island where you will discover picturesque bays with palm trees and citruses, old forts, churches, a botanical garden, the magnificent views over the cliffs. It is also famous for having the one of the best beaches in Dubrovnik.
Trsteno Arboretum located in Trsteno, a small village right next to the sea, around 10km north of Dubrovnik. Arboretum rightfully is one of Dubrovnik top tourist attractions. It was built by the wealthy and powerful Gozze family in the late 15th century to house the plants and seeds they brought back from their travels. The garden is full of mostly Mediterranean and sub-tropical plants and they are great to explore. They also house a stunning belvedere pavilion that overlooks the Dalmatian coast and the Adriatic Sea, as well as a massive Baroque fountain of Neptune and his nymphs dating back from 1736. Don’t miss the two giant plane trees at the entrance to Trsteno village – each is more than 500 years old and around 50m high. The gardens are now known around the world for being the filming location for the palace gardens of Kings Landing in Game of Thrones. Sadly in the 1990’s the beautiful gardens were deliberately targeted by the Serbian Navy and many rare exhibits were destroyed. The arboretum was further severely damaged in 2000. by a forest fire during a drought.
To get to Trsteno, catch local bus 12, 15, 22 or 35 from Dubrovnik’s bus station.
You won’t find signs to get there, but most vendors in the walled city can point you along the way. It’s positioned on the southern part of the old town, outside of the walls on the cliffs. Clinging to a cliff and suspended over the sea, Buza Bar is a legendary location on the Dubrovnik Riviera. It’s a great spot to mingle with locals while watching magnificent sunsets.There are no signs, so finding the spot is half the fun. Admittedly, this isn’t a “place to eat” as it’s technically just a bar, but definitely come here for some pre-drinks (or post drinks) in the early evening. A cold beer is a bit more expensive here, but the view is fantastic. Not convinient for credit card users.
Betina Cave is a private cave and secluded beach that’s only reachable by the sea, meaning you’ll have to rent a taxi boat or row a kayak to see it. But that’s exactly what makes it so cool, you can expect beautiful quiet peace in its most natural setting because not everyone’s willing to take the trek to reach it – think of it like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the cupcake after a hike.
So forget the hotel pool and spend a day kicking back at Betina Cave, more info here.
Cave Bar is outside Dubrovnik old town in Lapad.
Within the deep recess of the rock walls you will find the Cave Bar.
This is owned by the Hotel More which lies above. The secret inside the bar is a vertical cavern of stalactites and moulded rock formations. These have been slowly shaped by water over thousands of years. The cave bar is small but very unusual and funky, with lovely views over the water. The lift from restraunt takes you into the heart of a trendy well lit bar with a good range of cocktails and regular drinks. The 330ml beers will cost you $ 4 and a glass of Chardonnay or Merlot $ 5,65. The snack menu ranged from $ 5,2 – $ 16,35 with most between $ 8,92 – $ 11,15. It isn’t a wild night out, more for couples but definitely visit for the experience of seeing a cave bar!
This bar is easy to find if you are staying in Babin Kuk or Lapad. If you are in the old town you would need to get a number 4 or 6 bus from the Pile gate. It’s about 10-15 minutes away.
Half of the beach is private and owns to a beach club. The public side of the Banje Beach is really nice! The water is crystal clear and the sight is wonderful!
The beach awaits, so pack your beach bag, swimming suit and sunscreen and head out to Banje Beach. It’s within the city limits and easily walkable from the old city. This isn’t a “sandy” beach, so make sure you bring water shoes to protect your feet against the rocks. There are chairs with umbrellas you can rent. Drinks and food are good, but be prepared to pay up.
Next, check out Buza beach — a perfect swimming and sunbathing spot just south of the city walls. It may be somewhat crowded but the view of the outer islands is worth the visit. Finally, stop by Danče beach, the oldest beach in Dubrovnik.
Nice sandy beach in pretty bay
Šunj is a beach on the island of Lopud and as such is accessible only to those who are staying on the island or those visiting it by boat. You can choose to walk from the promenade to Sunj Beach ( involves a steep hill) or pay $ 2,00 for a Golf Cart Ride, Check with the driver as to how much before you get on the Cart. There is a safe swimming area which is great for children as the sea stays shallow for several feet. There are two beach bars providing food etc, and sun loungers available for hire (two loungers and a brolly cost about $ 15 a day). There is a naturist beach at the end of the bay.
Boat lines for Lopud
On a north side of peninsula Lapad, beneath a tourist settlement Babin Kuk, is placed a beautiful pebbly beach called Copacabana.
Copacabana Beach is an attractive half-moon shaped expanse of pebbles and concrete in Dubrovnik’s Lapad Peninsula. Copacabana Beach is a favorite of families because the waters are relatively shallow, providing good swimming conditions for young children. Take advantage of the numerous water sports that can be arranged along the beach. Try waterskiing, windsurfing, paragliding you can get fun, such as riding on the banana, or jet skiing. Rent a kayak or canoe and paddle along the scenic Lapad coastline. Among the facilities here is a lift at the concrete part of the beach to help people with disabilities get in and out of the sea. Copacabana Beach can easily be reached by bus from central Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik cuisine is characteristically not very spicy and is famous for traditionalism. Many popular meals are characteristic of Dubrovnik such as zelena menestra (it is the name for many sorts of cabbages and other vegetables with meat), pasticada and the famous delicacy dubrovacka rozata. Dubrovnik fish restaurants are popular.
Dubrovnik has more than 60 sidewalk cafes and restaurants, so it was no problem finding a place to eat. The hardest part was deciding where. Everything looked good.
Fresh local seafood tops the menu in Dubrovnik – staples include octopus salad, black risotto (made from cuttlefish ink), and fried squid. Whole fresh fish – which you’ll be shown on a platter so you can choose which one you want – are generally barbecued, drizzled with olive oil and served with a wedge of lemon.
Pantarul – feels like home, roomy and modern restaurant with sharp decor. Only about a dozen tables this gives a good atmosphere but allows privacy in conversation. Scallops wrapped in bacon to start were Delicious. Aubergine rolls filled with fresh cheese on a bed of salad with red pesto. There are also spaghettini (again freshly hand made) with seasonal vegetables which was sounds simple but tasted amazing. Dessert more than good. The atmosphere and decor is modern and relaxed. Definitely need to book a table.
The restaurant is in a great, quiet location in old town, has a lovely terrace upstairs which is stylishly designed. It specialises in classy Dalmatian seafood, so you can indulge in fresh oysters from Ston, škampi na buzaru (shrimps in garlic, white wine and parsley) and fresh fish served filleted. Make sure you reserve the table for dinner.
Accepts credit cards.
Nishta- This quaint little place up the stairs on the north end of the Stradun was our favourite place to eat in town.
Nishta is located on an extremely busy main street in Dubrovnik’s old town with stacks of restaurants, and is easy to find although up some steep steps as most of the old town is.
Very nice vegetarian food! The menu shows a variety of different vegan and vegetarian dishes (Mexican, Indian and Asian options etc.) Nishta serve 100% vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes.
Best to book as it’s really popular.
Where to drink good wine
D’vino Wine Bar
As you walk down the main street of the old city from the Northern gate, about the third street on the left, and then half way up that street is this lovely wine bar. Charming little place, easy to find. You can have wine by the glass, bottle or various wine flights (three small glasses of different wines). Hard cheese of cow milk and goats milk with dried figs and honey and it was fantastic. Marinated tuna, cheese plates and olives, all served with a welcome and a smile.
Adriatic Kayak Tours – Plan Your Adventure kayaking
Half-day tours which last approximately 4.5 – 5 hours.
Set out into the clear blue sea on a small-group kayak trip for an unforgettable view of Dubrovnik. Adriatic Kayak Tours runs kayaking trips for all levels from the heart of the city, across the gleaming Adriatic, to the green isle of Lokrum. Zaton Bay and Beyond Kayak Tour – The deep bay, surrounded by mountain ridges. Konavle Bike Tour – Cycle past ancient stone farmhouses and hilltop villages Price: $ 51,81. Konavle Hike & Winery Tour – Lunch and wine tasting included, light lunch of local prosciutto, cheese, figs, salad, and olive oil accompanies a wine making presentation. Price: $ 66,61.
Sea Kayaking Tour from Cavtat
Make your own way to Cavtat’s harbor, roughly an hour away from Dubrovnik by bus or boat. Discover the sea around Cavtat, an ancient town just south of Dubrovnik, on a 3-hour guided sea kayaking tour. You must contact the local service provider to verify your exact departure time; contact details will be listed on your booking voucher. Listen as your guide takes you through a safety briefing and provides you with the equipment you need for your tour including a kayak, paddle, waterproof barrels for your personal stuff, and a lifejacket, get ready to get in the water. Follow your guide to the nearby island of Supetar. Get out of the kayak and enjoy a bottle of water and a sandwich, prepared at a local restaurant. Take a short hike around the island or choose to go snorkeling. At the prearranged time, climb back inside your kayak and follow a route along the opposite coast of the peninsula back to Cavtat Old Town where your tour concludes. If you chose the evening tour, a glass of wine is included once back on the pier. Bring a bathing suit, towel, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.
Adventure Park Cadmos Village
Cadmos Village is adventure park situated in picturesque Konavle region near village of Komaji hidden in unique oak woods.
There are three levels of adventure park and 4 zip-lines, paintball, giant swing and many other activities. Suitable for families and children, as well as for those who seek more adventure and adrenalin. Set yourself for unforgettable adventure experience which is going to excite your senses. Good to spend a couple of hours out of the 30+degree heat too as its slightly cooler high up amongst the trees.
Abseiling Down The Dubrovnik City Walls
This is a unique experience and a small adventure with no previous experience needed. In Dubrovnik, there are very noticable, ancient stone walls surrounding the city down which you can try out something new. The price includes: Helmet, harnesses and ropes, climbing shoes, water, equipment, insurance and guide assistance. Every day during the whole year. Meeting at Pile – entrance to the main city walls.
Boat trip Dubrovnik
Island-Hopping Cruise by Yacht from Dubrovnik
There is only one way to go island hopping in the southern Dalmatian Coast: by luxurious and comfortable yacht from Dubrovnik. Enjoying the spray of the sea and heat of the sun while someone else does the driving – in this case, it’s around the Elaphiti Islands. Disembark on Koločep Island, an isle that is the southernmost inhabited Island in Croatia. Spend some time exploring the island, lounging along the sea of strolling through the villages. Take several hours of free time on Šipan, checking out the medieval ruins or the Renaissance-era manor houses and medieval churches that dot the inhabitations on the island. Šipan is the largest of the islands, and particularly lush with olive, fig and orange trees growing across it. If lazing in the sun isn’t your thing, there are heaps of winding, easy-to-follow forest paths here for a little light trekking. Move on to the island of Lopud and take some leisure time to relax on the beach to enjoy the island’s famous sandy strands or go for a swim in the Adriatic’s clean and refreshing waters. Make sure you also ask your boat driver to drop anchor somewhere far out to sea, where you can swim and snorkel as much as you like without another tourist in sight.
Elafiti Islands Cruise from Dubrovnik
Enjoy a fun and relaxing day out as you sail on a ship designed like a Dubrovnik galleon from the 16th century, completely made of wood and equipped with sails, cannons. Explore the beautiful islands Koločep laden with coniferous forests, orange and lemon groves and fields of olive trees. Šipan the largest of the Elaphiti islands. On the island, pop into one of the many Gothic churches and Renaissance-era manor houses or stroll among the citrus groves and grapevines. Finally, stop on the island of Lopud, where you’ll have 2.5 hours of free time to swim, lounge on the beach or snack on local food before going back to Dubrovnik. The interior is decorated very modern – has four decks, three lounges, several bars and a restaurant – Exclusions Food and drinks, unless specified.
What to wear: Casual / light sportswear
What to bring: sunglasses, camera, hat, bathing suit, towel
The boat ride around the Old Town Dubrovnik lasts about 45 minutes. The ticket costs ($ 13,38) and can be purchased from the vendors at the Old Town City Port. The water is remarkably clear around Dubrovnik and there’s plenty of marine life so be seen – that said, you’ll see much more if you spend the time snorkelling instead.
Culture Club Revelin
It’s located in a castle right outside of the city walls.
Until midnight not really crowded, after midnight you can have a nice party. High vaulted ceilings, flashing lights, fog, lots of people, fantastic sound system. The music was great and the lighting was pretty cool. DJ festival that was happening during August,and the beautiful girls dancing in cages. Drinks are of course expensive.