Dubrovnik, or as it is often called the pearl of the Adriatic is a Croatian town, located in Dalmatia, south Croatia. Dubrovnik’s rich history, the nature and the beaches, the popularity of the place among famous people from around the world, make this town extremely popular for tourists. Its inhabitants live mostly from tourism (the town has over 45 hotels). In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic that was a rival Venice (that’s how big and important was). Dubrovnik’s best years of development were during the 15th and 16th centuries. The best season to visit this lovely town is during summer (perhaps even spring, but it might be chilly for the beach).
How to get there
Dubrovnik airport is reachable from any bigger European city as well as from Turkey and Israel. The airport is located about 20 km south of the city and in order to get from the airport to Dubrovnik you can either use a taxi or a bus which operates each two hours. You can reach Dubrovnik by train also. The closest rail station is at Ploče which is less than 2h by bus from Dubrovnik. If you take the bus, the main bus station is in Kantafig, near Port Gruz and the Tudjman Bridge, only 2.5km northwest of the Old Town. You can get to Dubrovnik by bus from the Croatian’s Capital, Zagreb or any bigger city in the neighbor countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia or Montenegro). Large cruise ships are docking at the Port of Dubrovnik (Port Gruz) across from the main bus station. You can get a ferry from Rijeka, Split or from the Italian town Bari.
Where to go and what to see
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is a maze (typical for Mediterranean towns) of little streets. You might get the feeling that you will easily get lost, but there are signs with the street names as well as with names of businesses, shops, restaurants and accommodation. The Old Town is pedestrianised and small enough to get around on foot. For tourists who are not accommodated in the Old Town (it can be pricey to stay there), they can always get there by bus.
Roland’s Column is in front of the Bell Tower. This is a slender stone flag staff of the legendary knight. Also known as Orlando’s Column. Ever since its foundation in 1950, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is officially opened by raising a flag carrying the city’s motto Libertus on Orlando’s staff.
Sponza Palace is located west of the Bell Tower. This is a gothic renaissance palace, and one of the few buildings that kept its original form before the catastrophic 1667 earthquake.
Placa Stradun is located in the Old town. The Stradun (Placa) is the central street of the city. The Baroque architecture of the houses in Placa, with shops on the street level and their ‘knee-like’ entrances, got its present-day form in the restoration of the City taking place after the disastrous earthquake in 1667, when a large number of luxurious Gothic and Renaissance palaces had been destroyed. Today, Placa is still the shopping centre and place where major events are happening.
Big Onofrio´s Fountain is located in the western entrance of the old town. This is the place where the local youth and the tourists are coming to rest and feed the pigeons (mostly at the stairs). The water in the fountain is drinkable.
Dubrovnik City Walls
From here you can see the entire Old Town as well as the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Visiting the walls in the early morning or late in the afternoon is the best because Dubrovnik summers are very hot. The City Walls have 3 entrances – on Stradun by the Pile gate, by Fort Saint John’s and at the Custom’s House gate.
There are several big catholic churches in the town such as Franciscan Monastery where the third largest pharmacy in the world was located. Another church worth seeing is the Church of Saint Blaise (Crkva Svetog Vlaha) which is a Baroque Church dedicated to the city’s patron saint.
Dubrovnik Natural History Museum is located on Androvićeva 1, is the home of 100 year-old taxidermy specimens dates back to 1872.
Synagogue and Jewish Museum is a Sephardic Synagogue is supposed to be the second oldest still in use synagogue in Europe today. A permanent Jewish community here was founded at the end of the 15th century following the exodus from Portugal and Spain. The Synagogue is tiny with heavy velvet drapes and a richly painted, midnight blue ceiling. The museum contains valuable menorahs and Torah scrolls, as well as information on the history of the Jewish community in Dubrovnik.
The Etnographic Museum was built in 1590. Here you can see the economic, cultural and spiritual development of Dubrovnik.
Another very important thing why tourists love Dubrovnik. Lapad Beach is a car free, sandy beach area located on the Lapad Peninsula, approximately 3.5 km from the old town. Lapad Beach is a must see.
Banje Beach, is another beach near the Old Town. Its closeness to the old town makes it very popular and visited by both locals and tourists. From here you can see the popular City walls, the Old Town Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum. On Lapad you can play beach volleyball, mini football or water polo.
Lokrum Island is easily approachable by ferry that you can take from the Old Town. The city beaches can be quite crowded during summer so this can be the best solution if you don’t like noise and lots of people around you.
If you happen to visit Dubrovnik between 10th July and August 25th you can go to the Dubrovnik Summer Festival which is famous for the selection of plays and concert of chamber music. Every year more then 2,000 artists from 30 countries perform during the 47 days of festival. Right when the Dubrovnik Summer Festival ends, Dubrovnik Film Festival stars and lasts till August 30th. Fun fact – certain episodes of Game of Thrones were filmed here.