For years now Croatia has been one of the most prestigious European tourist destinations: the calming Mediterranean atmosphere combined with the beautiful landscape, clear sea and top-of-the-notch tourist facilities to create a tourist paradise. And in that paradise, one city has a special status of being the proudest feather in Croatia's tourist cap, and that is - Dubrovnik.
What to see in Dubrovnik?
In the Middle Ages, Dubrovnik was a powerful maritime republic; the city reached the peak of its wealth and power in the 16th century when it was of the most developed cities in Europe. The mighty city walls, once a strong system of fortifications and towers, were built in that time and they stand preserved to this day. The walls have become the symbol of the city and a strong tourist attraction.
Other important historical landmark is the Old City, with its shining paving stones and the promenade of Stradun, which made Dubrovnik a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stradun is the center of life in the city as there are many bars, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and events held every day.
You should also visit the islands in the vicinity of the city. The island of Lokrum has been connected with the city for centuries at it is a peaceful, green oasis where the Dubrovnik nobility used to rest and relax. The island can be reached with a ferry (there's a ferry every thirty minutes) and it's only a twenty minute trip. Other notable islands are the small Elafiti and the larger islands of Mljet (with its own National Park) and Korčula; you can explore these on your own if you employ the services of one of the city’s boat rental agencies.
Entertainment in Dubrovnik
The city has a great deal of bars and nightclubs which reach their peak in the summer months. Summer is the time when the two largest festivals in the city take place: the Dubrovnik Summer Festival (a music and theatre festival) and the Libertas Film Festival (usually held in the last week of August).
Usually, the city is full of visitors from all over the worlds, and perhaps you could meet some of them at one of the beaches; Dubrovnik beaches are clean and preserved and host all kinds of water sports. The most popular beaches are the Copacabana, the Lapad and the Banje beach – all of which can be reached afoot from the city center.
Also, we recommend visiting the mountain of Srđ, which looms over the whole city and provides an astonishing view of the entire landscape; you can walk all the way up, which will take you about an hour and a half, but the best way to go there is to take the Dubrovnik cable-car and you’ll be enjoying the panorama in less than four minutes.
If you want to get to know the locals better, we suggest visiting the Konavle region, located in the hinterlands, where you'll be able to see the traditional way of life and folk customs of the area.
Cuisine in Dubrovnik
There are a lot of basic, fast-food venues and diners but we strongly suggesting exploring the traditional Dubrovnik cuisine, based on fish and seafood. The cuisine is usually not spicy and it includes dishes such as 'zelena menestra' which is a combination of cabbage, some vegetables and meat, the pasticada, a pastry-based dish, and the famous vanilla-flavored delicacy called rozata. Squid, lobster and oyster dishes are also very popular.
How to reach Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik has a functioning international airport located some eleven kilometers south of the city center; the bus lines connect the city with the airport. There is also a network of city buses designed to make transportation across various parts of town easy and fast. Of course, you can reach it by boat as various ferries and cruise ships dock at the port every day. You can even reach it from Split by car (there is also a bus line) if you follow the coastal road (called the 'Jadranska magistrala' or D8) – although this trip takes a few hours, you'll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.
Dubrovnik has a lot of hotels varying by price, location and the quality of their service, but many locals also provide accommodation for tourists, renting rooms and apartments, which is usually cheaper.
If budget is not an issue, Dubrovnik has beautiful, luxurious holiday villas and the best hotels (the Hilton Imperial, Hotel Bellevue, Hotel Dubrovnik Palace and Hotel Excelsior) all within the walking distance from the Old Town (except the Dubrovnik Palace which is located on the Lapad peninsula, some four kilometers away).
Some cheaper solutions include hostels such as the Marker Dubrovnik- Old Town Hostel (check-in at 12 AM, check-out at 10.30 AM, 15 to 40 Euros per person) and the Hostel Rooms Ana Dubrovnik Old Town (check-in 1PM, check-out 10AM, 15-45 Euros per person).
Mid-priced hotels include the Komodor, Neptun Dubrovnik, Lero, Petka and Splendid Hotel; all include free WiFi, air conditioning, restaurants and free parking for their guests.