The Pearl of the Adriatic
Nothing can prepare you for the breathtaking view on the taxi ride from the airport, the first glimpse of the orange tiled roofs, the fairy-tale towering stone city walls and the contrast of the beautiful blue of the Adriatic. We were staying for a special occasion so had splashed out on a room at the Hilton Imperial. There are not many hotels near to the Old Town and the Hilton is just outside Pile Gate. We had friends staying in Dubrovnik at the same time and we had helped with the booking arrangements. The accommodation choices were great! So many apartments available in the area, I find booking.com the best site to book our accommodations. After checking in we decided to explore the old town, a short walk to the Pile Gate, down some steps and you come to the Stradun. Late afternoon, evening is the best time to take this walk. Due to the large crowds from the cruise ships docking at certain times during our stay, the entrance and the Stradun can get very busy. We were fortunate that we could make the most of the old town when there were less tourists rushing around, however the hustle and bustle can add to the atmosphere of the place. We checked the docking times of the ships at the Dubrovnik Port Authority to work our visits around these periods….
Inside the City walls we found an abundance of cafes, shops and restaurants. During our stay we had some favorites including Buza bar found by climbing through a small entrance in the city walls where you can sit with a beer and enjoy the view of the ocean, overlooking Lokrum Island. Cafe Festival with their super friendly staff and simple menu, a great place to people watch on the Stradun, and Troubadour Jazz Cafe where you can enjoy a tasty cocktail and live music in a relaxed open air setting. There is a great choice of restaurants in Dubrovnik, to suit all tastes and budgets. Blowout at Nautika with its high quality, though highly priced food. Ask for a table outside to make the most of the views. Budget (by Dubrovnik standards) at Restaurant Komin tasty un-fussy BBQ food which provides set menus for larger parties and has seating on a covered terrace. The fresh seafood in Dubrovnik was my very favorite and I can’t forget the seafood restaurant below the towering Fort, Restaurant Orhan, where we booked a table on the terrace, and enjoyed our meal whilst listening to the waves.
Inside the Old Town there are beautiful buildings to visit. Sponza Palace which is a mix of Gothic and renaissance styles, previously housing the bank, merchant stores and the treasury. Now it holds temporary art exhibitions and a memorial room for the Defenders of Dubrovnik. It didn’t take us long to look around this small building, but worth a look around in my opinion. The Rectors Palace, another example of the beautiful architecture in the old town. This now holds the cultural- historic section of the Dubrovnik museum. A nice place to visit and soak up the history. The Franciscan monastary and the bell tower are other examples of the buildings to enjoy. Dubrovnik is a very photogenic city! My favorite experience in Dubrovnik was walking the city walls at sunset. The views of the city were amazing and it was so romantic watching the sun dance along the orange tiles before going to sleep behind the sea. The cost to enter is around 100 kuna, you can walk the full length or just one side depending on how much you want to see. I would recommend this especially at sunset you wont regret it!
Another often overlooked attraction is Fort Loverijenic, which after a a bit of a steep climb we discovered amazing views of the old town. It is also a nice place to explore with its cannons and climbing tiers and to watch the Pirate style ships sail by. Lokrum Island is a place which we didn’t have time to visit (but it gives me an excuse to go back) there are regular boat trips and sea kayaking to the uninhabited Island where you can find families of peacocks, a salt lake and the abandoned Benedictine Monastery.
There are beaches near to Dubrovnik where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the Mediterranean sun, personally I visited Dubrovnik for the historic old town, for the people watching and cafe culture, so didn’t check out any of the beaches on this visit. Maybe next time….
Dubrovnik is a city that can be enjoyed by everyone, and is becoming a popular holiday destination. We travelled with friends of different ages and interests and they all enjoyed what Dubrovnik has to offer.
Have you been to Dubrovnik or have any Questions? Share your experiences by leaving a comment