Without doubt the most beautiful city in Croatia, Dubrovnik’s man-made charms – including 2km of medieval walls – are equally matched by its location, sandwiched – between the mountains and the Adriatic.
Get your bearings
Dubrovnik Airport is a 20-30 minute drive from the city center and the scenery on the journey is spectacular, prepare yourself – it only gets better – at the main entrance into Dubrovnik you cross a stone bridge and pass through the intricate Pile Gate.
The gate takes you to the central boulevard, Placa, which is dominated by Renaissance buildings. Placa bisects the city and a network of lanes rise away from it on either side.
At the opposite end of Placa from the gate you will find the harbor and the azure waters of the Adriatic.
The majority of the main sites are found in the old town, but most visitors stay outside of the center.
Hotels in Dubrovnik are plentiful and range from the reasonably priced Hotel Vis, which you will find on Masarykov Put, to luxury such as the Villa Orsula Dubrovnik on Frana Supila.
The best way to capture the essence of a city is taking a stroll and Dubrovnik will not disappoint you.
As well as the renaissance building of Placa, Dubrovnik boasts the most complete fortress walls in Europe.
You can find the entrance to this medieval fortress beside the Pile Gate and tickets are sold from 8am-5pm. You can climb stone stairs to reach UNESCO-recognized fortifications that date back more than 1000 years and offer you the best views over the terracotta roofs of the city.
Having worked up an appetite it’s time to sate your hunger.
Due to its popularity with visitors, prices tend to be high in Dubrovnik and finding an economical lunch is difficult.
However, they can be found, the sandwich bar Skola on Antuninska is a small family-run business, the ingredients are always fresh and the price of food is very cheap.
Hunger satisfied it is time to experience some of Dubrovnik’s culture.
The best museum is the striking Dominican Monastery near Ploce Gate on Svetzog Domenica. Open from 9am-6pm daily you can view a collection of medieval and renaissance religious paintings – including Titian’s painting of Mary Magdalene and St Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik.
A more grass roots way to experience culture is to dine on the local fare.
El fresco dining on the staple seafood dishes at Kamenice on Gunduliceva Polijana in the charming market square cannot be beaten. The prices are good and mussels – “Buzara” – in wine, garlic and tomato sauce is delicious. You don’t need to chow down in a hurry – it is open until 11pm.
Rested and refreshed, this next excursion is best started early.
Regular buses leave from Pile Gate and can take you to the beautiful Lapad Peninsula. Take the route 4 or 6 bus and get off at the post office – Posta Lapad – to walk along Setaliste kralja Zvonimira. Pedestrian-only, this attractive boulevard has plenty of cafés serving Italian-style coffee.
The nearby beach is clean and well-equipped.
There is nothing better than a casual Sunday brunch and back in the city, Gradska Kavana on Gorica near the Rector’s Palace is a great place to relax and watch the world go by. The coffee is superb and while the menu is by no means budget, all dishes are well worth the price.
Purchasing something to remember your visit is an almost universal traveler habit and like any tourist destination, souvenir shops are everywhere in the center, but you will also find many fashion shops with prices to suit any pocket.
The biggest shopping mall in the Dubrovnik is DOC in Lapad where you will find famous chains such as Benetton, Miss Sixty and many others.
Take in the view
If you aren’t lugging too many shopping bags then this next experience is a must. Dubrovnik’s cable car is a communist-era relic but can take you to the top of of the hill that looms over the city Srdj in only three minutes from the base station.
At 400m-high you can look down on the entire walled city, the islands across the bay and if the weather is clear the country of Montenegro.
In summer, it is open from 9am to 12am.
By Jared Morgan, who is chief communications officer at hotel booking website Booked.net. The website includes comprehensive Dubrovnik hotel information to help you select the best stay in this beautiful city.