Why visit Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s diverse cultural and political history, world renowned architecture, preserved heritage and striking natural beauty are the reasons why this well known and very popular Mediterranean beauty is an UNESCO heritage site.
With its wide range of tourist services and facilities, Dubrovnik offers its visitors the perfect blend of new and old, nature and architecture, elegance and peace and all the commodities of a modern city. Once in Dubrovnik you have the chance to step back in time and explore its many historical sites, galleries, museums while touring the city and its surrounding area, taste its world renowned gastronomic delights or simply attend local sports events, all of which will regenerate your body and soul.
Because of Dubrovnik’s geographical position, it offers a largely Mediterranean climate with mild and rainy winters and hot and humid summers with an average of 2 600 hours of sunlight a year. Its Mediterranean landscape, the deep blue colours of the Adriatic Sea and its white cliffs and numerous historical gardens are just some of the heritage that can be discovered in and around Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is an all seasons destination where the average temperature is 25 degrees celsius in the summer and 10 degrees in the winter with the most common winds being the maestral, bura and jugo respectively.
As a result of the rising number of tourists arriving in Dubrovnik and Croatia, Dubrovnik can be reached by air, sea and road.
Numerous airlines fly into Dubrovnik Airport a few times a week during the summer months and less often during the other seasons. Dubrovnik Airport is located 20 km from the city and is well connected with the city.
Dubrovnik is well connected with both international and domestic ports with a high number of cruise ships ascending its shores each summer. Once in Dubrovnik, Lastovo, Hvar, Split, Korčula, Brač, Mljet, Lopud, Šipan, Koločep and Lokrum Islands can be easily reached from the Dubrovnik port.
Dubrovnik is also well connected by road (car or bus) with the rest of Europe, however one has to remember that when travelling by road you will have to cross the Bosnia and Herzegovina border in Neum. To get to Dubrovnik one can travel via the motorway or take the scenic route and travel via the Adriatic highway.
It is said that the Adriatic Sea is the bluest point that can be seen from outer space, so why not allow yourself to take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Dubrovnik coastline and its surrounding islands.
Dubrovnik’s beaches are varied and diverse where visitors can always find something to suit their needs, from family friendly sandy and pebble beaches, romantic and sheltered coves for honeymooners and lovers to quiet bays for divers and fashionable beaches with various facilities, parties and sports programmes for the ‘’it’’ crowd.
According to a poll conducted by http://www.trivago.co.uk, Dubrovnik was voted in the top 5 as having the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean.
For the most part Dubrovnik’s and surrounding islands beaches are pebbly and rocky with only several sandy beaches with the most popular sandy beach being the Šunj beach on the island of Lopud.
Dubrovnik and its surrounding area boasts a number of Blue Flag beaches, (an ecological sign of an unpolluted sea and beach, an equipped and maintained marina and beach) including the ACI Marina. For those more adventurous, a nudist beach and a number of coves can be found on the Isle of Lokrum, also known as the ‘’Island of love’’
The Uvala Lapad, Banje and Copacabana beaches offer entertainment and sports during the day, while the Copacabana beach is easily accessible by disabled persons as it features an elevator that provides easy access to the water. These beaches are reachable by boat, foot and car and are perfect for relaxing, resting and escaping from everyday stress as you relax in the crystal clear water whilst enjoying the sounds of and smells of the pine trees.
> More on Dubrovnik Beaches
Not sure where to start you Dubrovnik tour; well there is no better way to get a first impression of one of the most beautiful cities then strolling down its famous promenade Stradun or Placa as it is also known.
The astonishingly beautiful stone city is surrounded by 1940 meter long stone walls that can be toured individually or in groups, whose views will take your breath away.
By visiting the many museums in Dubrovnik, one can find out many interesting facts about the times gone by such as where grain was stored, where the rector of the Dubrovnik Republic used to live and which of the famous sailing ships were part of the Dubrovnik Republic fleet that traveled the world.
Dubrovnik is a living and breathing monument and if one of the main reasons for you visit to Dubrovnik is to experience its culture then prepare yourself as the core of Dubrovnik is its culture, architecture and arts.
UNESCO recognised Dubrovnik’s beauty and history some thirty years ago while the Festival of Saint Blaise was added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in October of 2009.
The Dubrovnik Republic, a golden period in Dubrovnik’s history, harmoniously regulated the life of the city through its statute and other historic documents. Miho Pracat, a famous seaman from Lopud island is the only person to have had a monument erected in his honour during the Dubrovnik Republic as it was not customary to erect monuments to contemporaries during this time.
While in Dubrovnik do not forget to visit the Franciscan monastery museum which houses the artefacts from the Friars Minor Pharmacy from 1317. At the Dominican Monastery you can find works by members of Dubrovnik’s 15th and 16th century school of painting, including a canvas by Titian. Visiting the Cathedral treasury one can see numerous gold and silver relics that were made by Dubrovnik’s goldsmiths from the 11th to the 19 century.
Find out how the city was governed during the Dubrovnik Republic and how and way freedom was guarded as the biggest treasure of the time by visiting the Rectors Palace. Visiting the Rupe Ethnographic Museum one can learn about the state’s grain storage and wheat reserves while at the Maritime Museum you can learn about the seafaring tradition of the Dubrovnik Republic.
While in Dubrovnik learn about Getaldić, a mathematician, Ruđer Bošković a physicist that calculated the loading capacity of karaka, nava and galijun merchant ships as well as other famous seamen. Another must on your visit to Dubrovnik is the Synagogue museum which houses exhibits that testify to the life of Jews in Dubrovnik. At the Dubrovnik Defenders Museum located at the Fort Imperial on Mount Srđ you can learn about Dubrovnik’s recent history and its suffering during Croatia’s War of Independents.
Other things you must see and do in Dubrovnik include climbing Fort Lovrijenac, the Dubrovnik Gibraltar, the Dubrovnik steps, walk and admire the narrow streets, charming restaurants and shops, sip on a cocktail by the walls, visit the aquarium located within the walls of the medieval St. John fortress, enjoy the sounds of the sea at Buža, attend Dubrovnik festivals and its many concerts and plays and don’t forget to visit the surrounding Dubrovnik region.
> More on DUBROVNIK MUSEUMS
> More on DUBROVNIK OLD TOWN SIGHTS
Its Mediterranean climate ensures that sailing is available all year. Another must is a visit to the Elaphiti Islands which comprises of the Islands of Lopud, Koloček and Šipan. Cruise the Elaphiti islands and explore the untouched oases and picturesques villages. As ecology and environmental protection has become an increasingly important part of everyone’s life, great pride and care is taken in Dubrovnik’s preserved natural monuments, its clear blue sea, flora and fauna and subterranean caves.
Cavtat is a small medieval town, located 15 kilometers south of Dubrovnik, and is both a cultural and tourist center of the Konavle municipality. Among the things to see in Cavtat include the Račić family museum, the Ducal Palace, the Sokol Fortress and the birthplace of Vlaho Bukovac.
> For more information about Cavtat feel free to read our Konavle and Cavtat article.
The region of Konavle is full of natural beauties and contrasts from mountains and valleys to green hills and stone. Konavle are fringed by the mountains to the north, the Adriatic Sea to the south, inclines down to the Obod coves and Cavtat to the west and reaches from the Bay of Kotor to the Prevlaka peninsulas to the east.
Tour the town of Ston which is famous for its salt. Visit the salt works, taste the delicious oysters at Mali Ston Bay and explore the Pelješac Peninsula wine route. While on Pelješac take a quick ferry ride from Orebić to the beautiful Korčula island.
> For more information about Cavtat feel free to read our Konavle and Cavtat article.
The city of Korčula is another medieval city that is encircled by its city walls, is thought to be the birthplace of Marco Polo and boasts traditional knightly dances, moštra, moreška and kumpanija.
.> More information about Korčula
The Mljet National Park is located on the western side of the Mljet island and is the most densely wooded island on the Adriatic coast. Mljet National Park is known for its large and small lake, deep bays, diverse and lush vegetation and rich cultural heritage. Its famous 12th century Benedictine Monastery is located on the large lake and is a must see when visiting Mljet island.
> More information about Mljet National Park.
Tangerine picking, and consuming, archeology and bird watching can all be enjoy in the biggest valley in the region – the River Neretva valley.
The ancient town of Narona, Vid village located near Metković, the St. Vitus church, the early Christian church of Bare, the Christian basilicas complex, the Temple of Augustus forum and the town walls are a great example of the region’s historical heritage.
> More on visiting Dubrovnik area
Rijeka Dubrovačka lies at the western entrance to Dubrovnik and is famous for a number of renaissance summer residences from the 15th and 16th century. It is 5 km long and 200 to 300 meters wide.
Brenium, the historical name for Župa Dubrovačka draws its roots from either Illyrian or Slavic roots. Župa Dubrovačka is located between Dubrovnik and Duboka Ljuta, covers and area of more than 2000 hectares and was established on mill trades. Numerous historical buildings, a large variety of flora, vineyards, pines, olive groves and orange and lemon plantations can be found and explored here.
Zaton is located 8 kilometers northwest of Dubrovnik in a beautiful bay and is made up of Veliki and Mali Zaton. Zaton’s scenery and beautiful beaches are perfect for those looking for a peaceful holiday away from the typical summer crowds.
Orašac is village located 14 km northwest of Dubrovnik between Zaton and Trsteno. The houses in the center of the town were built close to each other as a way of protecting themselves from the Neretva pirates. When visiting Orašac you can explore the old churches, chapels and the Arapovo Castle.
Trsteno is located a short 20 minute drive from Dubrovnik and is famous for its natural beauty, rich history and 500 year old giant natural monument, the Asian plane tree. It is the home of the Trsteno Arboretum and the 15th century renaissance home of the Gučeti-Gozze family.
Slano is a small town located in a natural bay 35 km away from Dubrovnik that has been inhabited since the prehistoric and ancient times. Slano is known for its farming, viniculture, fruit and olive growing, herbs, fishing and tobacco. Visitors can explore its many ancient forts and walls, roman castrum, Christian sarcophagus, Franciscan church and the Ohmučevič family summer residence.
For those that are more adventurous, Dubrovnik offers numerous activities that will awaken your adventurous spirit. Why not enjoy the silence and the mystery of the Dubrovnik sea bed, explore Srđ mountain on ATV vehicles, go horseback riding, rent a kayak, canoe, pedalo or a scooter and explore the picturesque coves, Lokrum Island and Bete Cave or simply enjoy the crystal clear waters by water skiing, banana boat riding or windsurfing. If you are a tennis fan then check out the the Babin Kuk, Gospino Polje and Bay of Lapad tennis courts on the Lapad Island.
If you want a closer look at the diverse marine life on offer then explore the waters of the Bobara, Mrkan, Supetar and Mljet Islands. Here you will find 1800 amphorae and pithoi from the 1st century BC and 1st and 2nd century AD, underwater walls, sunken ships, caves and coral reefs
If you are after the finer things in life and enjoy a spot of yachting then the picturesque waters and island of the coast of Dubrovnik are yours to explore or participate in the numerous regattas that take place in the waters of Dubrovnik year round. If you are spending a longer time exploring the coastline and need to berth your yacht, a year round berth is available at Dubrovnik Marina. The ACI Marina located in Rijeka Dubrovačka (Komolac) only 2km from Gruž Harbour and 6 km from the Old City and has 110 dry and 450 wet berths. It is important to note that when entering Croatia’s territorial waters you must take the shortest route to the closest international port of call to pass border control and obtain the necessary vignettes.
For families travelling with children there is no need to worry are there are plenty of things to keep the kids entertained. Take a stroll on the King Zvonimir promenade, a pedestrian zone at the Bay of Lapad while enjoying an ice cream, pizza of pancakes. Take a stroll by the sea and head to Babin Kuk where your kids can play with the ball, ride a bike or enjoy a game of table tennis and minigolf. Let your kids explore the city walls and learn about its history from a local guide, visit the Aquarium and the Natural Science Museum. Take your children to Lokrum Island, where they can swim in the crystal clear waters and explore the peacock groves and exotic plants at the botanical garden.
As food is an important part of our lives, it’s no surprise that we learn so much about the country we are travelling in through its cuisine and Dubrovnik is no exception as its gastronomic offer is versatile and varied prepared in a simple way often seasoned with plenty local olive oil and not many spices. At the numerous Dubrovnik restaurants and taverns one can taste different Mediterranean specialities, original traditional food, delicious prosciutto and cheese marinated in olive oil, green pasta, smoked meat and cabbage stew, fried sprats, macaroni, octopus salad and fresh fish.
During the times of the Dubrovnik Republic wine was highly valued as its dessert wines were available only through prescription, and it is no surprise that wine has continued to be a staple in every Dubrovnik household and restaurant. Some of the best wines that can be tasted in Dubrovnik are the Plavac Mali and Pelješac Peninsula red wines and the Malvasia and Pošip white wines the latter from Korčula.
The increased popularity of Dubrovnik as a tourist destination has not only attracted more tourist but also more movie studios as they see Dubrovnik’s architecture and stone walls as the perfect backdrop for their movies. The Game of Thrones producers were no different as they chose Dubrovnik as their main Croatian film location and for hard core fans this is the perfect reason to visit Dubrovnik and explore the set of the fantasy series.
St Dominika Street
The historic St Dominika street is located within the Old City and is characterised by its stone houses and small cobbled lanes. Most of the series’s Gold Cloaks scenes were filmed in St Dominika street as it is the fictional home and of the City Watch. However. Most importantly for Game of Thrones fans is that this is the street where King Robert’s illegitimate child, Jon Snow met his death.
Gradac Park is located on the outskirts of Dubrovnik and was the setting for the Joffrey Baratheon wedding feast and murder in episode 2 of season 4. Gradac Park is accessible via the century old steps that connect it to the Old City and when you reach the top you will be greeted by the view of the city and the spectacular St Lawrence Fortress.
Due to its stone structure and fairytale look, the Bokar Fortress plays an important part in seasons 2 and 3 of Game of Throne as a symbol of King’s Landing.
St Lawrence Fortress
St Lawrence Fortress is located just outside the city walls and is most recognisable as King’s Landing, the capital of the realm’s seven kingdoms. The fortress is a castle that dates back to the 11 century and sits above the sea, or for you Game of Thrones fans Blackwater Bay and was featured in many battles scenes including in the Battle of Blackwater scenes.