Many may know it as King’s Landing, but Dubrovnik has a fascinating history all of its own, far from the fictional world of Westeros, so delve into local culture and explore to your heart’s content.
6 hours… in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s Old Town and its surrounding walls are the main reason why so many people visit the city. The ancient city walls are one of Dubrovnik’s biggest attractions and are a great way to explore the city from above as well as get a feel for its ancient architecture. Along the route, there are forts and towers to scale as well as some superb views of the city and the Adriatic Sea to be had. Handily, there’s a bar tucked away within one of the walls, which offers much-needed refreshments during your walk.
Though it’s virtually impossible to avoid the tourist crowds, your exploration of the Old Town will be a little more relaxed thanks to the fact that it is completely pedestrianised. It’s completely enclosed, so even if you fancy a wander through the back streets, you won’t get lost and it won’t be too hard to find your way back to Stradun, the gated main thoroughfare. Another popular way to see the city from above is by taking a cable car to the top of Mount Srdj, which is the best way to visit another of Dubrovnik’s most popular attractions, the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence, which offers an educational insight into the conflict.
When it comes to natural attractions outside Dubrovnik itself, the surrounding islands offer a number of possibilities. Mjet is often referred to as Croatia’s greenest island and indeed, in its north-western area, you’ll find a National Park which offers wilderness escapes, lakes and two picturesque beaches which prove very popular with sun-seekers. Lokrum is a short boat ride from Dubrovnik and is a great place to go if you want to get away from the crowds. It offers nature-lovers the chance to explore its beautiful botanic garden and 300-year old olive grove and there are plenty of well-shaded places to get out of the sun.
The island is also very popular with swimmers and offers a number of prime spots. Another island which is perfect for getting away from it all is Lopud, where there’s no traffic a laid-back atmosphere and the perfect sandy escape in the form of Sunj Beach.
Can’t keep away?
The main thoroughfare Stradun is the place to go if you want to pick up a souvenir or two and there are all manner of shops offering examples of the local crafts, including ceramics, local delicacies, traditional sweets, jewellery and wine. Interestingly, art is quite a big deal in Dubrovnik and the city’s independent art galleries are also some of its most popular shops and exhibit and sell large numbers of works from local artists and graphic designers, including oil and canvas paintings as well as photographic pieces. Some of the shops are specifically themed and decorated to reflect Dubrovnik’s ancient heritage and well worth a visit, even you don’t have a lot of cash to spare.
Don’t even bother!
Crowd of cruise ship visitors and other holidaymakers can become annoying during peak season in Dubrovnik, so if you really want the freedom of the city, time your arrival for one of the quieter months, between May and June or September and October.