Discover Dubrovnik’s top five destinations and see why Bernard Shaw called the city the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. Despite the Southern Croatian city’s turbulent past, tourists are still captivated by the essence of so many cultural and architectural treasures in and around the UNESCO World Heritage site.
If these walls could talk
Avoid the intense Mediterranean sun and walk during the quiet morning hours around the stunning 13th century walls that encircle the city. You are virtually alone at that time and can relish the fantastic views and sea breeze in peaceful surroundings. Looking across the red roofs onto the urban patches of green paradise as city dwellers still hang laundry to dry makes you have an appreciation for the simplicity in times past.
At first glance the walk appears like a short distance, but beware the length is 1,940 meters so expect to spend around 90 minutes to complete the track depending on your pace. Along the way you’ll find juice stands and places to capture the perfect picture with backdrops of the Adriatic Sea, as well as midway exits in case you’re ready for the next Dubrovnik top five attractions.
The streets glisten with gold
The main street within the walls of Dubrovnik is Placa-Stradun where residents once entered the city through one of four main gates Ploce, Peskarija, Ponta, and Pile–the later a good starting or meeting point. The 292 meter Stradun is full of uniform Baroque buildings, perpendicular streets and alleys where you’ll find restaurants to street-dine boutiques, hotels, living spaces, as well as other cultural institutions.
Don’t forget to romance the walking stones of Stradun at night which is impressive when the golden light glistens across the brick streets just like a scene from Oz.
Find the Cold Drinks sign
Thirsty for a drink or a view? Head toward Buza which means, ‘hole in the wall’. The small bar is melded into the rocks and fortress walls on two terraces and has an amazing view of the sea, passing ships, and cliff jumpers who walk the seemingly unsafe metal steps to dive into the Adriatic.
The cafe sells cold drinks and that’s it, but making an adventure to find the sign ‘Cold Drinks With The Most Beautiful View’ is a fun experience which will not disappoint. Hint: If you’re near the Jesuit Church and the Collegium Ragusinum, you are pretty close to Buza. Look for the sign and a small gated key-hole in the wall and have fun.
On a hot Mediterranean summer day tourists and locals head to the peaceful Lokrum Island. From the Old Town city harbor the 15 minute boat ride brings you to a seemingly uninhabited island, although there is one family that still lives there today along with many peacocks.
Mentioned for the first time in 1023, when the Benedictine monastery there was founded, the island has a botanical garden and several beaches including a nudist one. You’ll find the monastery and fortress on opposite sides of the island as well as a restaurant that has live music.
The locals may talk about the ‘Lokrum curse’ where apparently people went to the island at night and were never seen again. In that case, don’t be left behind on the island to see if the curse is true. Depending on the time of year, catch the last boat to Dubrovnik which leaves around 7:00 pm.
Moor Up and head to the club
Don’t let the idea of a snooty yacht club steer you away from a delicious, memorable, and affordable dining experience. Located on Lapad Peninsula, you’ll find Yacht Club Orsan where simple boats, luxury yachts, and huge cruise ships tank and dock. While on the marina look for the Orsan restaurant which has a beautiful leafy terrace, striking views during the day, and impressive evening romantic scenes when the light from the boats glisten across the Gruz Harbor waters.
Restaurant Orsan is not at all pretentious nor the guests. The service is superb and the fresh grilled fish is excellent and always served with the local side dish I call ‘Green pearl of the Adriatic‘ (Swiss Chard). Definitely start with the platter of little fish (smelt) which blends perfectly with a bottle of local wine or your favorite beverage. Sit among the evening stars and relish your time in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik, home to 42,641 residents along the southern coast of Croatia is one of the best medieval walled cities in the world with spectacular churches, monasteries, museums, and fountains for you to explore. If you’ve managed to visit the top five destinations in Dubrovnik and have time to explore more of this fascinating city, I recommend purchasing a Dubrovnik tourist card to take advantage of discounts on attractions and free public transport.