George Bernard Shaw said: „If you want to see paradise on Earth, come to Dubrovnik.“ There could be no better recommendation to visit this perfectly preserved city of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture that has attracted legends from royals to Hollywood stars.
When entering the Old City (as the local people call it) from the west, you pass through Pile gate, and make your way to Stradun, the main street from which many alleys take you to sights you just have to visit when in Dubrovnik.
From Onofrio’s fountain that brings refreshment in hot summer days, to a walk to remember, along the walls of Dubrovnik. They surround the entire Old City and provide a great view from above on old rooftops, town squares buzzing with life and famous fortresses like Lovrijenac (the only one outside city walls), St. John, Revelin (it is a home for a popular nightclub now), Fort Bokar and Minčeta that were used to depict Kings landing in the popular tv series Game of thrones. Without these walls and the city’s patron St. Blaise (Sv. Vlaho), the city could not have survived for all these centuries.
St. Blaise ‘s Church dominates the center Dubrovnik and right across to it is the Rector’s palace which was once the most important building in the City as it was the seat of the government of the Dubrovnik Republic and the residence of the rector. Today it is a museum where you can walk the halls and get a taste of the old Dubrovnik from numerous items and artifacts.
Sponza palace and the Cathedral make two more interesting stops on your walk around the Old City. All these places become a stage from mid July to end of August, for Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Catch a play or a concert if you have time, it is something to be experienced.
If you have time for a little trip while you’re in Dubrovnik, take the local boat to the island of Lokrum situated right across from Dubrovnik. The boat departs every half hour and the ticket is valid for the entrance to the island too. 15 minutes later you find yourself on a beautiful island with no traffic, no hotels, no noise whatsoever. Maybe only a peacock marking its territory may disrupt the peace and quiet. Take a stroll through the botanical garden, or have a dip in the crystal blue sea. But beware, legend has it the island was cursed by the Benedictian monks who were banished from this island many centuries ago. You mustn’t spend the night on the island, so make sure you catch the last boat at 7 pm. Another legend says that Richard I. Lionheart sought refuge on Lokrum after being shipwrecked on the return from the Crusades.
During summer, all the walking around the Old city can be exhausting and you will need a cold drink before you can go any further; cafes Buža 1 and Buža 2 are the places to go. They offer an enchanting view as they are like carved onto the cliffs on the outer city walls to the sea. Don’t expect anything too luxurious as you will get your drinks in plastic cups but as they say „you are not there for drinks, but for the view“.
In Dubrovnik you need to keep in mind that in most cases everything in the old town is overpriced, especially on Stradun but in the small alleys that surround it you can find lot of coffee shops and restaurants that have prices that are much more reasonable, so don’t be afraid to explore. Here I would like to mention Irish pub Karaka. Whether you want to sit, relax and have a cup of coffee or you want to drink a few beers and watch a football game this is a place for you.
One more place that you really need to visit is Caffe Dolce vita. It is literally famous for its ice cream and amazing pancakes, try the ones with cherries and vanilla, you will thank me later. When you get tired of the crowds in the old town then you can take a cable car and go to visit Srđ. Srđ is a hill on top of Dubrovnik with a restaurant and most beautiful view you can imagine. Even if the prices are maybe a bit higher, sit, have something to drink and enjoy the view, it’s definitely worth it. Or you can go and have a swim on the city beach Banje, and admire the city and the island of Lokrum, while sipping a cocktail at the lounge bar.