The Bright Orange Rooftops of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia, on the Dalmatian coastline of the Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean) is truly a Pearl of a Place.  Some people haven’t even heard of the port – many think it’s in Turkey, e.g. me!  Dubrovnik is a city where you can enjoy the best of both modern and medieval times.

The Burnt Orange Rooftops of Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Burnt Orange Rooftops of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Despite the ravages of recent troubles (wars) this magical walled city of Dubrovnik, with its marble streets and palaces, has healed. The city was truly a feast for our eyes and cameras. Rich in culture and history, with distinctive orange tiled rooftops, there was an ambience difficult to describe.

Now did you know – folklore has it that the spots on a Dalmatian dog represent the number of islands along the Dalmatian Coastline? Although, as there are approximately 1,000 islands, this is a bit of a stretch – makes for a good story though!

Dalmatian Dog - Count the Spots!

A Porcelain Dalmatian Dog – Count the Spots!

The exciting port and harbour of Dubrovnik

A port is a port is a port, but arriving into Dubrovnik by cruise ship is a magical experience.   Surrounded by the deep  and pristine Adriatic Sea sparkling in the sunlight is a sight never to be forgotten.

The harbour was so busy! Hours were spent watching the many ferries, small ships and boats plus kayaks weaving in and out to reach the open waters.

The Bustling Boat Harbour of Dubrovnik

The Bustling Boat Harbour of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Walking Tours

When ashore (if arriving by cruise ship) be sure to book a couple of independent walking tours of the Dubrovnik Old City.  There are no vehicles allowed in the Old City which makes the walking experience much more enjoyable.

An alternative is to fly in, book an apartment in the Old City for 4-5 days and explore at a more leisurely pace.

Locals rent out their homes between April to October.  They then rent accommodation outside of the Old City. This provides extra income to help with the high cost of housing.  Visit Airbnb  to find yourself a local holiday home.

I found combining a morning and afternoon walking tour of Dubrovnik the way to go.  This gives an hour to enjoy a delicious pizza and beer at one of the many cafes.  All cafes have free Wifi giving the chance to catch up on emails, Facebook etc.

Food is reasonably inexpensive – the cost of a shared large pizza, pint of beer and large glass of wine was $27 AUD.

Dubrovnik Walks  offer excellent walking tours in English and Spanish.  This company won a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

1 – The Discovery Tour of Dubrovnik Old Town 

The tour takes 1.1/2 hours and begins by entry to the Old City through the Pile Gate.  Cost is 100 Croatian Kuna ($19.70 AUD).

The first ancient structure you see is the large D’Onofrio Fountain, built in 1440. Here we filled up water bottles at no charge. The water continually runs from fountain taps built into ancient carved stone figure heads, is safe to drink and and tastes amazing.

Large D'Onofrio Fountain, Dubrovnik - built in 1440

Large D’Onofrio Fountain, Dubrovnik – built in 1440

The tour continues through the heart of town and touches on 1,400 years of Dubrovnik’s history.   The Rector’s Palace is considered the most important building in old Dubrovnik and is worthy of its own tour.

As with everywhere in Europe, there is so much history to absorb in a couple of hours.  Pick up a brochure from the Information Centre located near the Pile Gate to refresh your memory with the many interesting facts. This will help you sound intelligent when later bombarded with questions about places visited.  It’s impossible to remember every detail – Boomer or not!

2 – Tour on Top of the Dubrovnik City Walls

Cost of “The Tour on Top of the City Walls” is 120 Croatian Kuna ($23.60 AUD) and has a walking distance of 1.1/4 miles.

This was an ideal way to end a visit to the fascinating city of Dubrovnik. So many towers and fortresses – photo opportunities at every corner with the Adriatic Sea always sparking in the background.

Walking the Walls in the Old City of Dubrovnik

Walking the Walls in the Old City of Dubrovnik

 

Dubrovnik Harbour View from at City Wall Water Level!

Dubrovnik Harbour View at City Wall Water Level!

Note – costs quoted for both tours were as at September 2016.

3 – Dubrovnik calls out to Game of Thrones fans.

King’s Landing, the capital of Seven Kingdom awaits you…

Find out firsthand about the sets, actors and backstage at King’s Landing, ie the Old City Walls of Dubrovnik.   You  will have the chance to discuss fun theories and re-enact the actual scenes.

Not every Boomers cup of tea but a very popular day tour.

For those who fancy a more leisurely approach for a bird’s eye view of the city there’s always the cable car!

The Stradun of Dubrovnik

The Placa (or Stradun) is a charming wide street for pedestrians only – no honking of horns in this Old City. The street runs from the Pile Gate to the Place Gate and many grand old homes in this area date back to the 17th century.

This is also where the major shopping precinct is located with the best buys being:

  • crystal
  • filigree lace work
  • wood carvings
  • jewellery
  • ceramics
  • tapestries
  • handmade embroidery

Many resorts are around the harbour and, with the lack of beaches, visitors can be seen laying over sun-bleached rocks soaking up the sun’s rays.  An unusual sight for Aussies!

Soaking up the sun on the sun-bleached rocks in Dubrovnik

Soaking up the sun on the sun-bleached rocks in Dubrovnik

Snippet of Dubrovnik’s Recent History.

Most of the damage from the five year War of Independence has been repaired. Virtually all churches, monasteries, palaces were damaged and many houses destroyed in 1991.

The walls of the city were a saving grace from Yugoslav and Serb attacks. These have withstood wars and earthquakes from the 10th century and in parts are 6m thick.  No wonder an old battering ram coming over the drawbridge had little effect in Medieval times!

The intensive restoration work that followed has transformed the smoking ruins of December 1991.  Dubrovnik City is again recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating locations in the Adriatic Sea of the Mediterranean.

You Need to Go.

For anyone looking for total immersion into an old Mediterranean City, Dubrovnik needs to go on your bucket list. To fully appreciate this magical medieval walled city without crowds aim for a 4-5 day stay on the shoulder season March/April and October/November

This gives time to see the main attractions and enjoy enjoyable Dubrovnik lifestyle.

  • Gundulic markets – fresh produce, local liqueurs and lavender
  • Lokum Island with its famous botanical gardens
  • Concerts and films
  • Self-guided audio tours – impossible to get lost even if the streets do look like a rabbit warren.
  • Taking a walk around the island
  • Cliff climbing for the adventurous
  • Sunbathing on the Nudist Beach!
  • The list is endless but Wikitravel will answer all your questions.

Useful words:

  • Hello –  Bok
  • Yes –  Do
  • No – Ne
  • Please – Molim
  • Thank you – Hvola vam
  • How much is it?     Koliko kosta?

Tips –

  • Travel in March/April or late September/October.
  • Baby Boomers, make sure you ask for concession /seniors rates for tours – 10% off so it’s worth asking!
  • Cafes take Euros or major credit cards.
  • Souvenir stalls only take local currency. Withdraw a small amount for minor items because any change received will be in local currency (Croatian Kuna).
  • Cafes and Restaurants have free Wi-Fi – buy a coffee and catch up with the world (or not!)
  • TAKE YOUR CAMERA!

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