Dubrovnik, or as it is known, the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is simply breathtaking, and according to playwright George Bernard Shaw “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik”. I agree with him. While I have had the pleasure of visiting magnificent places along Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera, and the Greek Islands, Dubrovnik was simply a place that was still on my bucket list, and I just had to check it off. After seeing so many glorious photos of this sleepy, medieval town (a UNESCO Heritage site since 1979), I just knew a visit to Croatia was a necessity. Luckily I was blessed with the opportunity of visiting Dubrovnik recently and it certainly lived up to its reputation, how could it not…beaches, cliff diving, ancient medieval town, beautiful terracotta roof tiles, great food, fantastic nightlife and add a bit of romance. And one of the things I also really enjoyed about this place was that even though we visited during the peak of the summer in August and yes, there were hundreds of tourists everywhere….I could still feel the difference, it’s not quite as spoiled as some of the other destinations like Venice or Mykonos, which was pleasantly surprising. Entering the city through Pile Gate, there’s still the feeling that not too much has changed.
But first I must brag a bit about our hotel, the Hilton Imperial…wow! Since I am all about the views on my trips, I had researched that certain properties in Dubrovnik offered amazing views of the old town and city walls. After looking into a few, we decided on the Hilton and splurged on a suite which guaranteed the coveted Old Town views, and it did not disappoint…here is what we saw while peeking out our windows:
In addition to the views, the hotel offered a delicious buffet breakfast and a number of different amenities, along with a fantastic location just a few steps away from the historic entrance at Pile Gate. There are also plenty of buses and taxis available right outside the hotel, making it easy to get round town and to the nearby beaches.
Dubrovnik’s picturesque city wall surrounds this gorgeous city perched above the Adriatic Sea. Tourists flock here to parade down the old town’s shiny streets, which again, in the height of the summer, can get quite crowded. But in my opinion, walking the city walls, cannot be missed. While walking the full perimeter atop the old city walls, (and no, you don’t have to walk the entire perimeter), you will be rewarded with the most amazing views. Perched up above all the orange rooftops and church spires, you can circle the city and gaze down on it while you take in the ocean and surrounding islands.
For a fantastic panoramic view of this walled city, take the funicular up Mount Srd to the Napoleonic Fort Imperial, which overlooks the entire city. Scrub surfaced Mount Srd, stands 400 meters above Dubrovnik. It can be also be reached by car (15 minutes) or on foot (90 minutes walk). If you decide to visit the mountain, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best views over the city.
As with most popular European cities, Dubrovnik has its fair share of traditional tacky tourist shops, as my husband likes to call them, along the main drag but don’t be discouraged. You can also find some places selling beautiful embroidered tablecloths and linen, Dalmatian wines, spirits (known as rajika), and delicious preserves and dried fruit, all beautifully packaged. Oh and the old city is a pedestrian zone, so you don’t have to worry about traffic as you wander through the marble-paved streets.
And of course in the 100 degree weather we were experiencing, a long day at the beach accompanied by a sunset cruise, is a must. We chose to visit Banje Beach, because of its location, with beautiful views of the walls of the old town and Lokrum Island which is nearby. I will say, as much as I enjoyed the beach with the crystal clear, cool water, I wish I would have brought some water shoes, as the beaches here are full of large stones and pebbles and by the time we left our feet were hurting quite a bit. There is a 2-hour sunset cruise along the Dubrovnik coast where you’ll need your camera to capture the most glorious sunsets while in your own private boat. See the city walls from the sea as well as various reefs, the lighthouse and Lokrum Island. In addition to this cruise, there are many other boat excursions leaving from the harbor, also offering terrific views of the coast.
While there are many good restaurants in town to choose from (although for the more popular ones make sure you have reservations), fresh yummy seafood can be had almost anywhere. Take a look at this, right by the harbor:
And last but not least Dubrovnik is home to several locations used in filming the hit TV show Game of Thrones, which I know nothing about (gasp). Take a three-hour tour around the Dubrovnik old town to see where most of the filming took place. Upgrading your tour will include an extra one and a half hour trip to Trsteno Arboretum.
Here are a few more photos of our trip for your enjoyment.
Have you visited dazzling Dubrovnik? I would love to hear what you enjoyed most…