History, Romance & Beach Fun
Magnificent, spectacular, stunning. It doesn’t matter which adjective you use to describe your first impression of Dubrovnik, right after entering through one of the city’s medieval gates. You’ll understand instantly, why the entire old town, not just one gate or one church, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.
Located in the South of Dalmatia region in Croatia, Dubrovnik used to be Venice’s rival at the Adriatic Sea. Today the city counts more than one million visitors per year.
You need to be aware of the fact, that Dubrovnik is full of tourists looking for the perfect Game of Thrones photo motive. Organised groups and tourists with selfie-sticks are everywhere.
There isn’t any ideal way to avoid the crowds during the day. Try getting up with sunrise and – if possible – choose accommodation within the town walls. That way, you’ll be one of the first persons exploring Dubrovnik’s ancient streets in the morning and one of the last ones to stay until late in the night.
Dubrovnik is an ancient town with lots of beautiful sights. We don’t want to bore you with a list of all convents, churches and museums. Decide for yourself, if you want to go in or rather stay outside.
We started our sightseeing with the town walls. As soon as they opened in the morning, we were on the top.
That way we even had some parts for ourselves. Besides, the closer to noon, the more excruciating the heat. If you need a few minutes of shade, take an espresso break in one of the wall-bars. The wall towers offer a spectacular view over Dubrovnik’s surroundings. Plan some hours for the 2 km walk on the walls.
But you can also start the day with a stroll through the fruit market on Gundulićeva Poljana. Then rest your legs on the Uz Jezuite stairs and observe the morning hustle while enjoying delicious figs from the market.
In the side streets from Stradun – the main street of Dubrovnik’s old town – you’ll find many places for a lunch break. On hot days, you’ll appreciate the shade of the 17th-century houses.
After lunch, get a tasty ice-cream in one of the gelaterias. The little plaza in front of Dubrovnik’s cathedral is the perfect place to finish your cone.
Before dinner, order an aperitif in one of the streets close to Prijeko lane. The more stairs you climb, the more beautiful the view gets.
Don’t miss a moonlight walk from Luža Square through Stradun to the western gate. When the moon illuminates the limestone-paved street, it gets so shiny, that you’ll want to sit on it.
Of course, Dubrovnik is not only for history and Game of Thrones enthusiasts. The warm water of Adriatic Sea is phenomenal. And so are the (mostly rocky) beaches. That means you’ll need to jump straight into the water and climb back up after your swim.
You’ll find the first beach cliffs just behind the city walls, close to the old harbour. Cross the Porporela pier, go around the tower and take a dip! Swimming just under the town walls is an experience, you’ll never forget.
If you want to spend a whole day at the beach, Banje Beach Club located within walking distance from the old town is the place to be. You need to be ready to pay around 10 € per beach chair. But the drinks are tasty, and the beach is well maintained. Besides, it offers a beautiful view over the old town.
If you want to escape the crowded streets of Dubrovnik, hop on the ferry to Lokrum island. The cliffs serve as a large beach. There is plenty of space for everybody. If you need to cool down, pine trees provide excellent shade. Lokrum also has something you would never expect from a Croatian island – a miniature of the Black Sea. Sea water enters from underneath the ground building a small salty lake.
As the water evaporates, salt concentration increases. Thus you can freely float while reading or listening to music on the water surface. Make sure to stay on the surface though. The ground is full of sea urchins.
Dubrovnik is full of romantic spots to watch the sunset. But the ultimate romantic experience is sunset sailing around the town walls. We booked our trip with Dubrovnik Sailing. The starting point is in Lapad, a short taxi drive from the old time.
After the sun sets, there are many places to choose from for a candlelight dinner.
We loved the Bosnian restaurant, Taj Mahal. Their pljeskavica na žaru – traditional grilled minced meat dish was delicious. Also, the fusion Mediterranean-Croatian-Vietnamese kitchen of Azur restaurant in one of the side streets was a culinary delight.
For breakfast try café Dubravka just outside the western gate. The view over the sea and Lovrijenac Fortress is unique.
If you like seafood, you shouldn’t miss the grill restaurant Lokanda Peskarija in the old harbour. Their lignje na žaru (grilled calamari) served in traditional grill pans are yummy. It is an excellent place for an early lunch before catching one of the ferries to Lokrum.
A word of practical advice: Make your dinner reservations in advance. Good places tend to be full and sometimes you’ll have to wait for more than an hour for a table.
After dinner, don’t miss a drink in Buža cliff bar. Just look for a hole in the wall and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Adriatic Sea and the Lokrum island. It is also a superb spot to watch the sunset. But you need to be quick; the seating is limited.
For a romantic getaway, you should also have an elegant place to stay. We chose Roko House near the Pile Gate and liked staying there very much. The lovely apartment house is located in the old town. Our host, Ines was very friendly and gave us some tips on where to eat and how to get to the beaches.
It doesn’t matter if you look for history, beach fun or romance. Dubrovnik has it all!