How to spend a day in... Dubrovnik, Croatia
Jutting out into the dazzling blue Adriatic sea with its sturdy stone walls and pretty red-tiled roofs, Dubrovnik is a sight to behold. Here’s how to enjoy it…
Formerly a Medieval trading port, and now famed as a location in Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik is awash with Baroque churches, Renaissance architecture, gleaming white marble and winding alleyways. Here’s how to spend a charming day in the historic town…
In the morning...
Walk the walls
To get a sense of the city, start your day walking the 16th century town walls. At just over a mile, the battlements will give you a beautiful view over the red-tiled rooftops on one side, and the sparkling blue sea on the other. Stop and refresh with a freshly pressed juice half way round.
Explore the old town
With its gleaming white marble squares, Baroque churches and fountains, it is easy to fall in love with Dubrovnik’s old town. Enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site through Pile City Gate, watched over by two forts, Minčeta and Bokar (Minčeta is considered one of the most beautiful forts in the world). You will find yourself on the wide and bright main street, Stradun, which ends in a lovely square. The City Cathedral, Church of St. Blaise, the Rector’s Palace and the monastery pharmacy dating back to 1317 are all within walking distance and are fine examples of early Renaissance architecture. Explore the rabbit warren of narrow streets that wind around the centre and find the vibrant market at Gundulićeva poljana. From cheese to fruit, lavender and locally made brandy, you’ll find plenty for a picnic lunch. The market ends around midday when an official brings a bucket of corn to feed the pigeons.
In the afternoon...
Hop in a cable car
Neale Clark/Robert Harding
Get high above the city by taking the orange cable car and ascend 412 meters up Mount Srd. A military stronghold used as a frontier against Serb forces in 1991, the panorama over the town and blue horizon is breathtaking. There is also a restaurant offering local wines at the top.
Discover Dubrovnik on one of Princess' Grand Mediterranean itineraries
Learn about recent history
As you wander the streets, you’ll notice the bullet holes still scarring the walls from the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991, as part of the Croatian War of Independence with Yugoslavia. The conflict was one of the most violent and devastating since World War II and resulted in a great loss of life and damage. Take time to appreciate this recent tumultuous history at War Photo Limited. Its gallery houses a permanent exhibition on the conflict, plus changing exhibitions on other worldwide conflicts. Alternatively, the Museum of Croatian War of Independence at the top of the cable car has photographs, documents and newspapers commemorating events.
In the early evening...
Take a boat to Lokrum
If you want to escape the crowds, jump on the regular ferry and a mere 20-minute ride will see you wandering the isle of Lokrum. Unspoilt, the island is blanketed in lush trees, dotted with ruins and the only inhabitants are the roaming peacocks. After a wander around, take a cooling dip by plunging off any of the rocky outcrops into the inviting blue sea.
Find the not-so-secret bar in the walls
Through a hole in the South Wall of the old town, following a sign that says ‘cold drinks,’ you will find the panoramic terrace bar Cafe Buža. Sunbathers delight on the rocky outcrop as they sip beer and venture down the fixed steps into the sea. There are no toilets and you’ll be hard pushed to find some ice, but it’s all about the atmosphere and the sunsets are something to behold.