Dubrovnik is a world heritage site that sits on the Adriatic coastline, and although breathtakingly beautiful, there are reminders that remain throughout the city that tell of its tragic past.
Although it is a small city, there is plenty to do and explore within and surrounding its old city walls. Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction is to take a walk along these city walls that so clearly enclose the old town. In the past the drawbridges to the city would have been raised at night to deter any unwanted visitors from entering. The walk around the walls is something that should be on your list of things to do when visiting Dubrovnik as the birds eye viewed gained from doing so is a great way to understand the layout of the city beneath as well as marvel at the surrounding coastline views.
Other Old City attractions worth visiting are the Franciscan Monastery and Rector’s Palace. The monastery entrance is besides the entrance to the Old City Walls entrance. The monastery is perfect for respite from the summer heat of Dubrovnik, and inside you will find a hidden courtyard garden, only visible to others from the city walls above. The monastery is filled with artefacts, as well as information about the bombings that took place on the Old City, with a hole in the wall showing the damage inflicted.
The Palace is situated at the far end of the Stradun. It was built in the late 15th century and was for the elected rector who governed Dubrovnik. Inside is the rectors office, private chambers, public halls, administrative halls and even a dungeon which you are able to go inside. During the one month term they served, the rector was unable to leave the palace unless permission was granted from the senate.
Today the palace has been restored, with many of the rooms decorated in period style. As well as this, it serves as a museum that catalogues Dubrovnik’s past.
If you have a little more time on your hands, and particularly if you are a Game of Thrones fan, a visit to Fort Lovrjenac is an absolute must. A large proportion of the series was filmed at this fort, and even if you are not a fan, like myself, you can certainly appreciate why it was chosen as a set. To get to the fort you need to head out of the city gates, over the drawbridge, and up the hill past the taxi ranks. Keep waking until you see the signs. The views from the fort are spectacular, and take in the city of Dubrovnik as well as the coastline.
From the right of the fort we spotted a gorgeous cove with unbelievably clear waters, and decided this would be the perfect place for a cool off swim! To reach this, you need to take the left steps down when leaving the fort, and at the bottom turn left again. Follow this street for a minute or so until you find the secluded cove.
If you are planning to visit even only three attractions in Dubrovnik, it is worthwhile purchasing the Dubrovnik Card. We purchased a 3 Day Dubrovnik Card which cost 250 Kuna. which covered the cost of entry to all the sights and attractions, as well as a very handy information book. The cards can be purchased from the information centre below the clock tower.
A highlight of my short visit, had to be the trip to Lokrum. This is a small island located just off the shores of Dubrovnik. A return ticket by ferry costs 240 Kuna. It is a stunning island, left to nature, in that there are no cars on the island or inhabitants. It is home to olive groves, ruins, gardens, and a large number of peacocks! I recommend a tranquil lunch at Rajski Vrt, which is just a short walk from the pier, and is located in front of the ruins. To walk off lunch you can have a look around the ruins as well as explore the botanical garden. Make sure you bring your swimming gear as when the post lunch slump hits, there are ample trees to take a siesta under, or alternatively, head back to the rocks near the pier, where you can take a dip in the gloriously clear and warm waters, all the while watching the hustle of boats and peacocks.
For dinners, it is easy to get caught in a tourist trap so be cautious. I can recommend dinner at Villa Ruza, which you will need to book in advance in the busier summer months. Here we had a very fresh and delicious salt baked sea bass. I recommend!
If price is not an issue, it is worth booking dinner at Proto. This is a fish restaurant just off the Stradun and is a family run restaurant that has been around since 1886 and serves the finest seafood. A tip is to ask for a table on the hidden roof terrace.
If you are visiting in the summer months, there is simply no place better to be than enjoying a post dinner drink or two at one of the many bars along the Stradan. The yellow lighting reflects off the marble street and often music is being played whilst swallows race each other up and down the Stradun and over the clock tower. Quite simply, pure bliss.