Travel Destinations

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Walled Old City of Dubrovnik Croatia

Walled Old City of Dubrovnik Croatia
Walled Old City of Dubrovnik Croatia

Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful old cities of Europe we have ever visited and one of the highlights of any trip to Croatia.  What makes Dubrovnik unique is its completely intact medieval city wall.  The wall along with the orange tile roofs and the marble roads that shine at night all make Dubrovnik very picturesque.
There are many things to do in Dubrovnik.  As Dubrovnik was the first stop of our Croatia and Slovenia trip, we stayed four nights, which allowed us to fully explore Dubrovnik, relax on the beach, and take a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Exploring Dubrovnik’s City Walls

Dubrovnik is the only city I have visited completely surrounded by a city wall and where you can walk the entire length of that wall.  Walking the top of the wall should be one of the first things you do when you arrive in Dubrovnik, as it provides stunning views of the city and the Adriatic Sea and helps you get a sense of the city’s layout.  It is believed the city was built in the 11th century.  Dubrovnik was damaged in 1667 by an earthquake, but was restored, and then damaged again during the war.  This UNESCO World Heritage site has been restored and preserved.  From the city walls the damage from the war is apparent as the roofs of the shelled buildings are bright orange while the original roofs are weathered.

City Walls of Dubrovnik Croatia
Walking Dubrovnik's city walls.
View of Dubrovnik Croatia from City Walls
View of the old city of Dubrovnik including the Franciscan Monastery from the city walls.

East West Beach Club

The Croatians enjoy the sea and the sun wherever they possibly can during warm weather.  It is not unusual to see the locals perched on a rock or even a slab of concrete by the water.  Sandy beaches are few and far between.  Being a Southern California girl, I wanted to enjoy the sun and the water, but I wasn’t quite ready to work on my tan on a rock.  The East West Beach Club is a short walk away from the city walls of Dubrovnik and has a beautiful beach with lounge chairs and easy access in and out of the water.  There is also a restaurant and bar, and waiters will take your order and deliver cocktails directly to your beach chair.
East West Beach Club Dubrovnik Croatia
East West Beach Club.  Did I mention they have beach lounge cocktail service?!

Other Dubrovnik Sights

There are a number of places to visit within the city walls.  They aren’t large and ornate, but are still interesting and worth the time.  The Rector’s Palace can be visited with a combo ticket that also covers the Rupe Granary and Ethnographical Museum and Maritime Museum.   The palace has a beautiful courtyard that is a venue for the Summer Festival.  We attended the Chamber Music Concert featuring Julian Rachlin & Friends during our visit.  It was a beautiful venue with seats around the courtyard floor and other guests sitting on the stairs and balcony.  The Gunduliceva Poljana is the site of the walled city’s outdoor market, with tables piled with fish and produce.  There are a number of places of worship within the city walls including the St. Saviour Church, one of the few buildings that survived the 1667 earthquake, the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Dubrovnik’s Cathedral of Our Lady, the rebuilt version of the cathedral originally built by King Richard the Lionhearted and supposedly the home of the swaddling clothes of the baby Jesus, St. Blaise Church, the church of the city’s patron saint, the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Jewish Synagogue.  The city walls enclose two monasteries as well, the Dominican Monastery and Franciscan Monastery.  The War Photo Limited museum, which has the goal of educating and exposing visitors to the raw and frightening aspects of war, is a must visit.   There are two fountains in the town, Onofrio’s Small Fountain and Onofrio’s Large Fountain, which were constructed in the 1400s and provide clean cold water from the Dubrovnik River via aqueducts.  We brought water bottles with us and refilled them at the fountains every morning and afternoon.  We missed those fountains once we left Dubrovnik.

Streets of Dubrovnik Croatia
Imagine living in this old city.
Onofrio's Large Fountain Dubrovnik Croatia
Onofrio's Large Fountain

Dubrovnik at Night

It is unfortunate that most visitors to Dubrovnik are only there for the day.  Dubrovnik is at its very loveliest at night when the streets empty and the lights of the city reflect off the marble streets and make them glow.  Walking around the city at night when the crowds have dwindled to locals and travelers who have made Dubrovnik their home base is magical.

Dubrovnik at Night Croatia
The shining streets of Dubrovnik at night.

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

There are a number of large hotels and resorts outside of Dubrovnik’s city walls.  However, to fully experience the old city of Dubrovnik, we chose to rent a room within the old city. We stayed at the Amoret Apartments owned by Branka Dabrovic.  Branka has 14 studio apartments scattered amongst four buildings within the old town.  The apartment, located off a quiet side street, was huge and beautiful with wood floors and a large Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.  We purchased parking for our rental car from Branka, as she could provide us with a discounted price for parking at one of the parking structures.

Amoret Apartments Dubrovnik Croatia
Our spacious (and affordable) apartment within the city walls of Dubrovnik.

I planned our Croatia travels, including our time in the Istrian peninsula, using Rick Steves' Croatia & Slovenia and Frommer's Croatia.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or book through them you pay nothing extra and they help fund our travels so we can bring you more travel stories.

Travel the World: Things to do and where to stay in the old walled city of Dubrovnik Croatia.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.