If you are taking a road trip through Croatia, then Dubrovnik should be on your list of cities to visit. This amazing and unique city is the southernmost major city in Croatia and is considered one of the most visited places on the Adriatic coast.
Dubrovnik - Croatia
This wonderful city has a very long, rich and turbulent past where many different nations have ruled the city throughout history. Today, it is also known as the "postcard" of Croatia and one of the most beautiful cities in the country. It is known worldwide, mainly thanks to the many film and television productions that have been filmed here. This is mainly thanks to the fantastically preserved old town, which is a perfect filming location. The most famous TV series that was filmed in Dubrovnik is of course Game of Thrones, but besides this popular series, there were many other movies and series that were filmed here. For this reason, you can also join a tour of the city today to discover the filming locations.
But Dubrovnik is so much more than that, besides the filming locations, there are so many museums and galleries that you should visit. Moreover, here in Dubrovnik, there are many churches, walls, fortresses and much more that make visiting this unique city an unforgettable experience. By the way, Dubrovnik is considered the second most attractive open-air museum in the world.
1 VISIT THE OLD TOWN
The Old Town is the heart of Dubrovnik and a meeting place for the locals who gather here. In 1979 it was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. It is surrounded by a wall about 25 meters high, which served as protection against the Turkish conquerors. The main street of the old town is the Stradun. If you are in Dubrovnik, you simply cannot miss the Stradun. You must walk through this cult street, which is also home to some of Dubrovnik's most important sights. For example, the church of Saint Vlah, which is also the protector of the city. And then there is the Sponza Palace, another attraction you should not miss. Since Dubrovnik is a city that you can visit all year round, there are some great events on December 31 as well, so you can also celebrate New Year's Eve in the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
It's good to know that there are also many cafes and restaurants here in the Old Town, but the prices are very high, especially in Stradun. So be prepared to pay a bit more for a coffee or lunch than in other parts of Croatia.
2 WALK THE CITY WALLS
The city walls of Dubrovnik are one of the best-preserved fortifications in Europe. The walls are 1940 meters long and 25 meters high. Construction took up to 700 years and was completed in 1660 with the construction of the last four towers. In total 16 fourth towers are part of the wall and there are four main points with larger fourth towers at each of these four points - Minčeta, Revelin, St. Ivan and the most famous Lovrijenac. A walk through these walls is a must in Dubrovnik. While walking on the walls, you will have a breathtaking view of the sea on one side and the Old Town on the other. There are countless spots for perfect photos on this tour. If you want to explore the city walls properly, it will take you a couple of hours, but of course, this also means that you can visit some four-trees and other buildings that are part of the city walls. In the summer, you should not do this tour during the day, because a walk in the evening is much more pleasant, especially because of the temperatures and because the walls are very crowded during the day.
3 VISIT MOUNT SRĐ
A cable car to Mont Srđ was built in 1969 and was the only cable car on the Adriatic coast at that time. It was destroyed during the civil war in 1991 and rebuilt in 2010. The entrance to the cable car is located in the Ploče district and the ride to the top of Mount Srđ takes about 4 minutes. At the top of the 414-meter-high Srđ Mountain, you can enjoy the best panoramic view of Dubrovnik and its surroundings. At the top of the mountain, there is a cafeteria and a restaurant, as well as a small souvenir store where you can buy gifts and souvenirs. Here on the top of Srđ, there is also an imperial fortress. This fortress was built in 1810 and served to protect the city. It was also very important during the Civil War and today the fortress houses an exhibition about the Civil War. You can see all the weapons that were used in the attacks on Dubrovnik, but also all the weapons that were used to protect the city. There are also lots of videos and photographic material about the civil war in Dubrovnik. A round-trip ticket for the cable car costs about 130 kunas.
4 EVENING STROLL ON STRADUN
If you visit the old town of Dubrovnik, you can not miss the Stradun. This is the biggest and most beautiful street in Dubrovnik and it divides the city into southern and northern parts. In the past, Stradun was the centre for all the merchants here in Dubrovnik, as it was a very busy street with many different merchants offering their products and services here. The second name for Stradun is also Placa. It was built in the 11th century and is now the centre of activity here. It is the most popular strolling street for the locals and also the most visited by tourists. On the east side of the Stradun, you can visit the large Onfori Fountain. Another place you should visit here is the Luža, a bell tower where bells were placed to alert the city in case of fire. There is also a palace called Sponza, which is known as one of the most beautiful palaces in the city. Today, this building houses an archive of the Dubrovačka Republika. There are many important objects from the past here and Sponza is known as one of the most important archives in the world.
5 DISCOVER CHURCHES OF DUBROVNIK
There are many churches in Dubrovnik that are worth visiting. Not only are the churches truly unique and each beautiful in their way and representative of the era in which it was built, but they are also a great escape from the boiling summer sun. When walking through the crowded streets of Dubrovnik, it is a real refreshment to enter one of the city's many churches. Here you can enjoy the beautiful paintings and other decorations.
The Barque Church of St. Vlah was built in the 18th century in the Venetian style. The church houses some unique relics from the past that are of great value to the city. Saint Vlah is the patron saint of the town and in the church, there is a statue of Saint Vlah holding the map of Dubrovnik in one hand. On this map, you can see the old buildings, which were later destroyed by an earthquake.
Another church worth seeing is the small church of St. Spas. This church was built in the 16th century and was dedicated to Sanit Spas, who saved Dubrovnik from a great earthquake. It represents the style of Renaissance architecture.
You should also visit Dubrovnik Cathedral from the 18th century, which is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the city.
The most important Gothic church on the Croatian coast is undoubtedly the Church of St. Dominic. In this church, you can admire many objects from the past and if you are lucky you can visit the church while someone is playing the old organ.
6 TAKE A DAY TRIP TO LOKRUM ISLAND
During your stay in Dubrovnik, take a day to visit the island of Lokrum. The boat to this small and beautiful island departs from the port of Dubrovnik and it takes 10 minutes to reach the island. Lokrum is one of the most popular places for relaxation among the locals. In 1963 it was declared a nature reserve and in 1976 a special reserve for forest vegetation. Lokrum is also called the island of love and you will surely fall in love with the beautiful landscape of the island. Lokrum has a long tradition as home to a botanical garden, which is very old and well preserved, and where many exotic plants from all over the world thrive. On the island, there is also a salt lake called the Dead Sea, which is ideal for non-swimmers and children, as the water level is quite low.
This island is also a kind of mystical place, as some locals say that it is cursed. One thing is for sure, if you visit the island, you will come back mesmerized by its beauty and relaxed atmosphere. It offers a beautiful view of the city of Dubrovnik and also has a lot to offer itself. So you will not regret a visit to Lokrum Island.
7 RELAX ON THE BEACHES IN DUBROVNIK
There are many beautiful beaches in Dubrovnik and its surroundings. In summer, the beaches are quite crowded and you probably will not find a quiet beach in Dubrovnik. But of course, if you come here, it would be a sin not to jump into the sea and relax on one of the iconic beaches. The first one is the beach of Saint Jakov. This beach is located at the entrance of the city and is a bit hidden under the cliffs. This romantic beach offers a breathtaking view of Dubrovnik and also a view of the boats and ships entering and leaving the city. The second beach is Banje beach, which is considered the most popular beach in Dubrovnik. This beach is located in Stari Grad between two luxury hotels and offers everything you need during your stay in one of the most popular tourist cities in the world. In third place is Bellevue beach, located in a small bay surrounded by cliffs and buildings that provide shade in the afternoon hours. Copacabana Dubrovnik beach is quickly becoming a very popular beach in the city. This is mainly due to the many contents that this beach has in store for visitors.
8 VISIT THE PORT OF DUBROVNIK AND LAZARET
The city of Dubrovnik had a sophisticated strategy to combat mass diseases and epidemics. This strategy included the lazarets that were built around the city. Every person who came to Dubrovnik from regions affected by the plague had to be quarantined for 40 days in one of the lazarets. The last one was built in 1642 and is located at the eastern entrance of Dubrovnik, the so-called Ploče. It is very well preserved and today houses various art associations, a place for folklore dances, art and craft workshops, etc.
The person who designed and built the port and all the supporting infrastructure in Dubrovnik was Paskoje Miličević. It is thanks to this architect that the port of Dubrovnik was very well protected from big waves and also from possible enemies. Today, the port of Dubrovnik is a place you should visit during your stay in this spectacular city.
9 VISIT FORTRESS LOVRIJENAC AND DUBROVNIK SUMMER FESTIVAL
Lovrijenac Fortress is one of the most famous and important fortresses in the city. This monumental structure was built on a 37-meter-high cliff above the sea on the west side of the city. The impressive thing about Lovrijenac is that the outer walls are four to twelve meters thick, while the walls facing the city are only about 60 centimetres thick. The point is that the walls face the sea and possible attacks are thicker because of stronger protection, but if the enemy takes the fortress, the Dubrovnik army can still attack it from the city. Since Dubrovnik people have always been known to value freedom, at the main entrance of Lovrijenac there is a famous inscription "NON-BENE PRO TOTO LIBERTAS VENDITUR AURO", which means "Freedom is not sold for all the gold in the world".
Today Lovrijenac is not only a famous tourist attraction but also the venue of the famous theatre festival "Dubrovačke ljetne igre" or "Dubrovnik Summer Festival". At this festival, the plays of William Shakespeare are the most famous and have a strong tradition with Hamlet. Many famous actors have played Hamlet in Dubrovnik, including Rade Šerbedžija, Daniel Day-Lewis and Goran Višnjić.
10 ENJOY IN SOME TRADITIONAL DALMATIAN CUISINE
Dubrovnik is known, among other things, for its great gastronomic offer. You should try authentic Dalmatian cuisine. Many great restaurants in the city offer local dishes, but you will also find some more renowned restaurants like Restoran 360, which has a Michelin star.
If you are taking a road trip through Croatia, expect prices to be higher in Dubrovnik than in other parts of the country. But even in Dubrovnik, prices vary. The most expensive bars, cafes and restaurants are definitely on the Stradun and in some other prestigious areas of the city. Once you move away from the city centre, you'll quickly find more affordable places to eat or have a coffee or glass of wine.
Since Croatia, especially Dalmatia and the villages around Dubrovnik, are known for their quality wines, you should also try some of the local wines. There are many wineries in Dubrovnik where you can spend a nice evening tasting local food and drinking Croatian quality wine. Of course, if you are travelling by car, you should not drive after leaving the winery, as safety is paramount and the laws in Croatia are very strict.