With a rocky coastline, clear blue seas and sandy beaches the Dalmatian coast is a natural draw for sun-worshippers and sailors alike. The historic city of Dubrovnik is a major attraction itself and from ancient ruins to cobbled streets, no trip to Croatia should ignore its charms. Below are ten sure-fire things to do whilst visiting Dubrovnik:
Arrive by boat
Whether visitors are on the boat from nearby Cavtat or taking part in one of the many sailing holidays along the Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is impressive from the sea. The historic harbour and ancient city walls are beautiful and remarkably well preserved despite previous wars.
Visit the Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik
Located in the Old Town, the Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik is a poignant collection of scenes from 1991-1992 when Dubrovnik was under siege. This is a fascinating exhibition and gives an insight into Croatia’s recent and bloody past.
Walk the walls
The historic walls of Dubrovnik are 2km in diameter and make for a wonderful midafternoon walk with spectacular ocean views.
Visit the Elaphite Islands
There are ferries to the beautiful Elaphite Islands of Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud with good beaches and some lovely walks. They are an eight hour round trip from Dubrovnik but worth the journey. Sipan is livelier with cafes and good beaches whilst Kolocep is a lot quieter with just a hotel and one shop but a great place to explore in peace.
Take a stroll down the Stradun
The wide main street of Dubrovnik is a wonderful place to wander down and perhaps take a drink in a bar, eat at a café or enjoy the interesting shops. It crosses the city between two historic gates and is at the heart of Dubrovnik. This is another good place to people watch as the locals wander around in the early evening.
Explore Stari Grad
The Old Town or Stari Grad has some interesting old buildings which include the Sponza Palace, the Church of St Blaise and the Onofrio Fountain. Encapsulated by the city walls they are wonderful to visit and have a glimpse of this historic city. The Rector’s Palace and the Franciscan Monastery are two of the other well-known places of interest in Stari Grad.
The island of Lokrum can be reached by ferry or for some active fun it is thirty minutes by kayak from Dubrovnik depending on how well you paddle. Once there the beaches are the ideal place to relax and perhaps have a swim in the Adriatic. There is also a botanical garden, a Benedictine monastery and a naturist beach. Snorkeling in the Adriatic is a delight with such clear water.
Grab a beer at Buza
This is a very popular yet hard to discover isolated bar on a cliff in Dubrovnik. Found by exploring the city walls, visitors emerge from a tunnel onto the sea wall where enjoying a beer as the sun goes down is a great experience in this funky venue.
Explore the Fort of St John
This historic fort once helped defend Dubrovnik and today the upper floor is home to the maritime museum. This is a wonderful place to learn more about Dubrovnik’s seafaring history with displays of model ships, diaries, portraits and other artifacts. The aquarium on the ground floor is a fascinating exhibit of the sealife in the Mediterranean which includes seahorses and many more fascinating creatures.
Take the Cable Car to Mount Srd
There is a cable car to the summit of Mount Srd but those on cycling holidays might like to ride as far as they can. The views are magnificent and the cable line which was rebuilt after the civil war is a wonderful way to get a panoramic vista of this beautiful city which holds so much history.
Our guest author, Rachael Rowe, is a UK based travel writer who has travelled extensively in Europe and enjoyed sailing holidays.