What's it really like?
Language: Croatian but English is widely used.
Tipping: Many establishments automatically add
10% onto the bill
The fascinating walled city of Dubrovnik is a medieval maze of narrow
streets and gothic buildings - the earliest dating back to the 10th
century. Fountains and facades combine to create an enchanting scene.
The best way to soak up the sights of this world heritage site is by
walking around the surrounding fortress wall which also offers superb views of the harbour and nearby countryside. The vantage-point is a
photographer's paradise but can be difficult to reach because of the
number of steps and steep sections along the high pathway.
Thousands of people visit the old town every day and many are day trippers
straight off the cruise ships so be prepared for crowds. A
few hours spent in Dubronik will barely scratch the surface so try to plan a longer
visit or vow to come back. Returning in the evening for a meal and some
late bargain hunting is also an option.
Old Dubrovnik is usually entered via a draw-bridge over the
drained moat which leads onto the main street, called Placa. Much of
the city is built on level ground, however there are lots of stepped alleyways
(above) bursting with shops and cafes. It is a wonderful place to explore
especially for history-buffs thanks to a raft of monuments and museums.
A monastery within the walled city houses one of Europe's oldest
pharmacies and there are several other religious buildings and
artifacts. The many eateries are best for pizza and pasta lovers thanks to the
influence that Italy has had on Croatia. The selection of seafood dishes
is also extensive.
The shops are stocked with the typical tourist in mind so expect lots
of souvenirs and snow globes. Costume jewellery and embroidered goods
are in plentiful supply, too. It is well worth exploring the tiny
streets for more unusual items.
Cruise Ship Tip:
Old Dubrovnik is an ideal place for independent travellers to explore
and is only a couple of miles from where most cruise ships anchor in
Gruz harbour so you could save money by opting out of an official guided
tour. Many ships offer shuttles into the old town but expect lots of
crowds around the bus terminal for the pick up.
|Cavtat (left) is a quaint yachting
marina approximately 12 miles from Dubrovnik with a modest
selection of shops and restaurants along the harbour. There
are one or two hotels dotted around this peaceful retreat and
a large hotel chain overlooking the bay and arguably spoiling
the view across the bay. Boats act as small ferries to whisk
people off to Dubrovnik town.
Lokrum is a tiny inhabited island visible from
the main coastal road. Rumour has it Richard the Lionheart was
shipwrecked on this wooded retreat but there's no recorded
proof. The island is accessible via a short boat journey and
it home to the remains of an abandoned monastery. Naturists
favour one of the secluded beaches.
Buses or boats are the common mode of transport for short-stay
visitors and they run regular services between Dubrovnik, Cavtat and the
the main harbour at Gruz.
The bars in Dubrovnik tend to be low-key and 'live' traditional music
is what most visitors appreciate more as an accompaniment for a few
drinks or a meal. There are a few pubs, Irish bars and local bars dotted
throughout the streets of the old town.
Younger children may not appreciate the walking and the bustling
streets of Old Dubrovnik but many will be fascinated by the
fortress-style walkway and the fairytale feel to the walled city.
Guides Front Page