I was first introduced to Dubrovnik when it was still part of Yugoslavia. I remember walking along the ancient city walls that overlook the Old Town and shimmering Adriatic Sea, fascinated by the canons that once protected the city from invasions from the sea.
Years later I came again, this time by cruise. Now the independent country of Croatia, and still healing from a long and hard fought war. My Dad and I once again climbed up the steeps steps to the top, took a leisurely walk along the storied walls, and later explored the Old Town area. There were reminders of this recent war that could be seen on the walls of the Old Town entrance and there were more people and few more restaurants, but thankfully not much else had changed. Old Town, with its limestone streets, quaint alleys and baroque buildings, was just simply stunning, and memorable.
Fast forward to today. Dubrovnik is a still beautiful place to visit, and in my opinion, doesn't need much publicity. But with more and more cruise lines stopping here combined with the the popularity of Game of Thrones (which uses Dubrovnik as one of their film production sites), tourism has grown exponentially. Good for Dubrovnik and Croatia, but it also mean crowds. Especially in the small Old Town area.
It's best to avoid Dubrovnik in July and August - peak season, and hot. Come here during off season (November - April) or shoulder season (mid April - early June, September - October) when it is less busy and the temperatures are better.
Exploring the famed city walls, limestone streets and alleyways of Old Town are a must. Go beyond and check out these six sites as well.
Old Town and the City Walls
The amazing City Walls were a major deciding factor for the Game of Thrones producers when selecting Dubrovnik to shoot this beloved series. Countless scenes feature the Medieval style walls including scenes near the Narrow Sea and many private walks taken on the show.
There is a fee to gain entrance to the top. The entire length of the wall is about 1.25 miles and takes approximately 2 hours to walk all the way around. You can walk it on your own or take a tour (including a Thrones tour) for an additional cost. There are three main entrances, and from the walls you will get a chance to see Lovrijenac Fortress and capture beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea.
This area is often referred to as St. Lawrence Fortress and is a theater located on the outskirts of the western walls of the Old Town in Dubrovnik. The story goes that back in the 11th century, Venetians originally had chosen this spot to build a fortress in order to control Dubrovnik. The people of Dubrovnik, when they heard about this, built their own fortress to protect themselves from the Venetians. They beat them to the spot.
Today, the fortress has become a magnificent stage for plays during the Dubrovnik Summer festival, including Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The Jesuit Stairs
These Baroque stairs became famous in an iconic scene in the Game of Thrones. The stairs extend from Gundulic Square to St. Ignatius Church and embrace Spanish architecture. The view from the top is charming and gives you a great view of the city. It is also the site for wedding ceremonies.
Franciscan Church and Monastery
Located inside the Franciscan Monastery is not only one of the oldest pharmacies but also the longest operating pharmacy in Europe. It was founded in 1317 and some of the products offered today are made according to ancient Franciscan’s recipe. Be sure to check out the museum.
A great way to get away from the crowds is to go up to the top of Srd Hill. Here you will undoubtedly be greeted with spectacular views of Dubrovnik, Lokrom, the Elafiti Islands and the surrounds. You can reach the top by walking, by car, cable car or tour. The fort at the top (Fort Imperial) is intended to become the Museum of Homeland War.
(Note - as of this writing, the cable car is not running due to legal reasons.)
Island of Lokrum
Lokrum is a beautiful forested island located 600 meters (a short ferry ride) from the city (see island in above picture). It is home to the ruins of a Benedictine monastery built during medieval times, and for Game of Thrones fans, the popular ‘Iron Throne’. The monastery has a beautiful botanical garden that was planted in the 19th century.
This site is located 10 miles from Dubrovnik. The park is stunning. It’s one of the oldest arboretum’s in the world and the hedges combined with the floral selections are simply immaculate.
Ready for an experience that takes your adventure to a new level?
Call Laurie at 602.540.7338 to get the process started
or schedule a complimentary discovery call here.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder