One can’t help but be dazzled when visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia! I’ve wanted to visit for a while and the photos that I saw online of Dubrovnik showed a beautiful little paradise. They didn’t lie!
Situated across the Adriatic from Italy, I thought just hopping a ferry would be the cheapest way to get there. However, I was wrong. Flights going from Bari, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia weren’t cheap either…unless I flew to Rome, Italy & spent the night in the airport. So that’s what I did (I flew west to go east!) and ended up having the hours fly by due to the wonderful company of another traveler.
Once I finally arrived in Dubrovnik, all that I wanted to do was check into my hostel, Hostel 365 For U (it had only been open for 2 weeks so everything was nice and new) and take a nap! Unfortunately, I was too early so, shedding my bags, I dragged myself to Old Town.
I didn’t explore much on my first day but the beauty of this destination was undeniable even though I was too tired to fully enjoy it. The heat didn’t help either. You may want to plan a visit sometime other than July!
Old Town is an incredible walled city that is amazingly intact despite being fought over by the Venetians, Ottomans, and eventually taken by Napoleon. It was highly coveted because it was a major maritime trading center and one of the wealthiest cities in southern Europe.
The walls were built in the 16th century but parts of the city go back to the 11th century. One of the pleasures of the wall is that you can walk along the top of it, all of the way around the city! The views are stunning! With rust red rooftops stretching out to crystal blue seas and the small, green island of Lokrum floating within easy reach. Everywhere you look is pleasing to the senses!
The city itself is a maze of narrow streets, steep steps, restaurants, shops, museums, monasteries, fountains, cathedrals, an 800 year old Gothic church, and Europe’s oldest pharmacy. Looking everywhere at once as I wandered the cobblestone streets, I suddenly emerged at the old harbor.
There are restaurants fronting the marina but you can by-pass them and continue around Sveti Ivan Tower to Porporela (the pier and breakwater). People were strolling along, sitting on benches staring out to sea, sunbathing, and young men were jumping into the sea from the rocks. It’s a very restful place to be! Especially in the heat of summer!
Fort Lovrijenac sits 37 meters above the sea on a rock that juts out into the Adriatic and is impossible to miss. It’s nicknamed, Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar, but Game of Thrones fans know it as a landmark in the fictional city of King’s Landing. Much of the TV show has been shot in Dubrovnik.
The Dubrovnik Cable Car is a fantastic way to the top of Srd Hill where you’ll get the absolute best views of Dubrovnik. I, however, decided not to do it as I didn’t want to spend the money. Lucky for me, I met 3 young men (from India, Africa, and Copenhagen) at my hostel and one of them had a car. They were going to drive up the hill and I was invited to join them. It was a scary drive but completely worth it! We arrived at the top right at sunset and “breathtaking” just doesn’t do that view justice!
We spent some time getting to know each other for a bit while soaking in the scenery before dropping the car at the hostel and walking to Old Town for dinner. Old Town at night is completely charming, of course!
Dubrovnik is expensive (I paid $20 for a burger, fries, & beer!) but it’s so full of history and beauty, as I found all of Croatia to be. It can be seen in a day but why not take your time? There are many great day trips from Dubrovnik, as well. Dubrovnik is a destination everyone needs to include on their bucket list! You’ll be dazzled!!