An old medieval town in southern Croatia, situated between tall mountains and the Adriatic Sea and well known for its distinctive Old Town, Dubrovnik is a stunning place filled with history, culture and stunning views. We stayed just outside of Dubrovnik, in the small village of Soline where we were able to enjoy beautiful views of the Adriatic sea while escaping the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik Old Town. When visiting the Old Town, make sure to check the cruise timetable in advance and pick a day when there are few/ no cruise ships in the harbour; the Old Town is a surprisingly small place with many narrow streets and can get extremely crowded with tourists over the summer months. Therefore, plan ahead in order to make the most of it and avoid the crowds.
Dubrovnik Old Town
A real must when visiting Dubrovnik is walking the city walls. Do not leave this place until you have done so! When I was reading up on the city prior to visiting, everywhere stated that the city walls is the number one attraction in Dubrovnik, and they were not wrong. These walls are well preserved, encircling the entirety of the Old Town and include a number of fortresses/ towers. The main entrance is at Pile Gate but you can also get in at Ploče Gate and the Maritime Museum. The whole route is approximately 2km long with various scenic stops and photo opportunities. It takes about 1.5 hours to walk, depending on how often you stop. When visiting, it is recommended to either go early in the day to beat the crowds and avoid the heat (it is very exposed with little shelter and the sun can get extremely hot during the summer months). Alternatively, you can visit later in the day, as we did, when it is cooler and most tourists, particularly those from cruise ships are leaving. As the sun starts to drop, it also gives the Old Town a beautiful pre-sunset glow, enhancing the colours of those iconic orange roofs. It is also much easier to take good photos at this time of day, without worrying too much about overexposed photos due to the bright sunlight.
Dubrovnik Old Town and the island of Lokrum looking down from the city walls
There is so much else to see and do in the Old Town. Walk the Stradun, the main street through the Old Town stretching from Pile Gate to the port, and stop off at sights such as Rectors Palace, Sponza Palace, Dominican Monastery and St Blaise Church. Also, not forgetting that Dubrovnik is one of the major filming locations for the successful Game of Thrones series, make sure to visit the various locations that are featured. I will post a blog shortly with a complete Game of Thrones tour of King's Landing so look out for that. Rectors Palace, Jesuit Stairs and Pile Gate are among the main locations where iconic scenes such as Cersei's walk of atonement were filmed. There are also many stores selling official HBO merchandise throughout the Old Town (however, you can probably find most of these gifts online for half the price).
Narrow street in Dubrovnik Old Town Bell tower in Dubrovnik Old Town
Stradun, Dubrovnik Old Town
You will be spoilt for choice for places to eat and drink in the Old Town. We went to Mea Culpa, a pizzeria tucked away down a short alley, not far from the Stradun. The pizzas here were delicious, however, just to warn you it might be worth sharing a pizza as they are very big! If you do struggle though (as I did), the waiter will kindly put the rest in a box to takeaway. Then, if you have room for dessert, grab an ice cream from Dolce Vita - Croatian ice cream is similar to soft Italian gelato and everywhere we went there was a huge selection of flavours. At the end of the day, pop into D'Vino Wine Bar to try a drop of Croatia's finest wines. They have a large menu for you to peruse but, if you are unsure of what to order, just tell a friendly member of staff the wines you like and they would be happy to recommend one for you. Tastings are available all day and they can also provide tours, although we did not have time to do so on this occasion.
End the day by watching sunset up Mount Srd and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Old Town, island of Lokrum and the rest of the Dalmatia coastline. There is a cable car that runs from the Old Town up to the top, however, it was not running during our stay there. Alternatively you can drive or walk up (the walk takes approximately 45 minutes and worth doing if you have the time). Take care if you are driving; it is a one way road most of the way with few passing points and can get very busy with impatient taxi drivers. There is also a restaurant and war museum at the top so can you spend a bit of time up here while admiring the views.
Dubrovnik Old Town and the island of Lokrum looking down from Mount Srd I hope you enjoy your stay in Dubrovnik as much as we did!
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