Standing proud over crystal clear waters, the breathtaking town of Dubrovnik, a Unesco world heritage site, lives up to its nickname as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. The car free old town is a combination of narrow streets, marble floors, cafes, churches and red roofs, making this one of the world’s most beautiful walled cities.
When you walk the old walls and look into the town, it’s hard to imagine that when Dubrovnik was shelled in 1991 (during the Yugoslav wars) that 56% of the buildings were damaged to some extent. Such has been the scale of the restoration process that very few scars remain. The walls completely encircle the old town and you can walk the entire 2km, exploring the bastions, forts and towers. Entrance is just inside the Pile Gate at the end of Stradun.
There’s plenty of museums to keep you informed of just how Dubrovnik has survived the ages, War Photo Limited perhaps being the most powerful. This gallery of thought provoking images covering the war is a powerful reminder that Dubrovnik was a very different place just 25 years ago!! As a balance to the history, there’s plenty of places to sit with a coffee or beer and watch the visitors exploring the town or the boats ferrying those off to the islands.
No visit to Dubrovnik is complete without a trip up the revamped cable car to the top of Mt Srd, for outstanding views and maybe a spot of lunch. A return ticket will cost you around £13, the lower station is situated just outside the city walls near the main road.
If you’re feeling adventurous take an hour out at the top of the Mt Srd to go on the buggy safari from the cable car – more great views, stunning countryside and lots of dust!! You get fantastic views over the Lapad peninsula and the Elaphiti Islands.
There’s plenty to do outside the old town too. Cycle tours to vineyards, kayaking tours, days trips to Kotor (Montenegro) or Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina) and Island hopping using the local ferries. The closest Island of Lokrum is just 15 minutes away by ferry. Dubrovnik makes a great starting point to ferry hop for the rest of your trip – up to Mljet, Korcula, Hvar and Brac and finish off in Split.
The downside – Dubrovnik gets very busy, especially in summer and when the cruise ships arrive. Unfortunately, the majority of locals have given up their homes in the old town for tourism, a fact which can on occasions make it feel like big museum. Should this stop you going ? Absolutely not!!