They call this destination the Pearl of the Adriatic. Situated on Croatia’s stunning Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is one of the finest old towns that you could ever visit.
Originally built in the 7th century, it acted as the wealthy port capital of the Republic of Ragusa in the 15th and 16th centuries, and many of the magnificent palaces, churches, monasteries and streets from this period still remain.
Exploring the old town, which is only open to pedestrians, is incredibly easy here. But it’s also the striking sight of the cliffs and beaches, alongside modern instalments such as cafes and hotels, that gives Dubrovnik its charm and character.
When is best to visit Dubrovnik?
July and August are peak season in Dubrovnik, bringing hot weather, lots of tourists, and higher costs. Travelling outside of these times (April, May, June) or later in the year (September, October) can be ideal.
In the winter, the city is quiet, which can be great if you prefer a bit of solitude, but keep in mind some attractions, sights, restaurants and museums may not be open.
- If you’re into cultural performances, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is worth attending and generally runs from early July to mid-August. Book early!
- December is also a great month if you want to see the Winter Festival and Christmas Market Fair. It’ll be colder, but dazzling.
What are the highlights of visiting Dubrovnik?
City Walls & Gates – You can’t visit Dubrovnik without exploring its famed City Walls, towers, forts and gates. Pile Gate in particular, built in 1537, is stunning and leads to Stradun or Placa – the widest and most popular street in the town.
Stradun – Many of Dubrovnik’s best attractions lie along the limestone-paved Stradun, including the Rector’s Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, the Franciscan Monastery and Old Pharmacy Museum, the Onofrio Fountain and the Clock Tower.
Lokrum Island – This lush, forest island can be a breath of fresh air from the sights of the city, and it’s only 15 minutes away by boat. You can swim in the Dead Sea lake, visit the Benedictine monastery, explore the Botanical Garden or grab a bite at one of the island cafes.
Cable Car – If you want even better views of Dubrovnik and its coastline, take the three-minute Cable Car ride up to Mount Srd. There’s a café and restaurant at the top, as well as a museum.
Museums – There’s no shortage of museums in Dubrovnik. You can check out the Maritime Museum, the Cultural History Museum, the Ethnographic Museum or the Museum of Contemporary History. Small art galleries are common here too and some of the most alluring include Homa, Romana and War Photo Ltd.
Gundulic Square – You’ll find this square just behind the cathedral, and it’s a must for morning markets and coffee. You’ll find stands selling fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts, flowers, brandies and more.
Tips for a great Dubrovnik stay:
- Dubrovnik is accessible by road, water and air, so research which option will best suit you. If you’re travelling from elsewhere in Europe, you should be able to easily find a flight, or even a bus or ferry trip, from neighbouring countries.
- Save with a Dubrovnik Card! It’s available for one, three or seven days and will save you money on entry fees to the top attractions (such as the City Walls), as well as at places including restaurants and souvenir shops.
- When out and about, pack lots of water, especially in summer. It can get hot and buying bottled water is not always cheap.
- Don’t like crowds? Check the local cruise ship schedules so you can plan your trip around the boating tourists.
- If you’re the adventurous type, there’s no end to what you can do in Dubrovnik. Tours include kayaking, snorkelling, cycling, hiking, boating and horse riding.
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