It seems Lord Byron had as good a taste in cities as he did in woman and aristocratic excess. It was he who first dubbed Dubrovnik the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, and it’s not hard to see why.
Or maybe the poet just saw something of himself in this self-important city. Tucked away in Croatia, Dubrovnik is supported by wealth, skilled diplomacy and a tourism industry bigger and better than any other in the land. It has its share of churches, monasteries and museums, including the informative Dubrovnik Natural History Museum and the Sponza Palace Museum, but walking around their finely carved facades pretending to take it in is just as fruitful. Dubrovnik really asks nothing more than that you enjoy strolling through the Placa sipping an alfresco coffee, or heading to the nearby island of Lokrum on a day trip – provided you dress the part.
Dubrovnik’s Top 10
10. Rector’s Palace With foundations dating back to the 1200s, this contemporary museum has evolved along with the city.
5. The Treasury of the Cathedral With over 150 religious artefacts, this museum has a certain historic creepiness to it that is well worth the admission fee.
9. Lapad This leafy suburb is known for its greenery – and unsurpassable sea views.
4. Synagogue and Jewish Museum The second oldest Jewish church in Europe.
8. Elafiti Islands The untouched beaches of this archipelago attract big crowds in summer.
3. Ancient City Walls These walls were designed to keep people out, but that won’t stop you walking along them for some of the best city views.
7. Franciscan Monastery Houses an unreadable but impressive collection of over 30,000 15th century books.
2. Dubrovnik Cable Cars This rickety cable car will exhilarate you with both brilliant views and vertigo.
6. Mljet Home to an immaculately preserved national park that’s great for hiking and exploring.
1. Old Town Step back in time to explore the city’s most magnificent architecture.
- Roland's Column – Also known as Orlando’s Column, this monument is a slender stone flagstaff dedicated to the legendary knight.
- Bell Tower – Located atop of the tower are the well-renowned Zelenci bronze statues.
- Sponza Palace – A gothic renaissance palace home to historic archives.
- Big Onofrio's Fountain – A popular meeting place for locals.
- Fort Lovrijenac – A monumental fort constructed to protect Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik Art & Culture
- Visia Dubrovnik 5D Theatrum – Visitors here are guided through the history and culture of the city of Dubrovnik.
- Franciscan Monastery – A beautiful monastery featuring a baroque church.
- Synagogue and Jewish Museum – An original Sephardic synagogue widely considered to be the second oldest synagogue to remain in use in Europe.
- The Etnographic Museum (Rupe Granary) – Constructed in 1590, this building’s exhibits provide an insight into the economic and cultural development of Dubrovnik.
- Bukovac House (Kuća Bukovac) – This venue holds the works by Vlaho Bukovac, a contemporary Croatian painter.
- The Pharmacy – Located at the Franciscan Monastery, this ancient pharmacy creates toiletries based on age-old recipes.
- The Old Town – This area of Dubrovnik is ideal for those looking for traditional Croatian goods.
- Lidl – Found east of the Old Town, this shop is packed with locals.
- Magnolika – A small gallery selling unusual art and unique jewellery.
- Clara Stones Jewellery Store – This quirky shop sells handmade jewellery to take back home.
Gay & Lesbian Dubrovnik
- Troubadour – A quaint café found in the Old Town.
- Lokrum Island – Located just outside of Dubrovnik, this nudist beach is a mingling spot for gay men.
- Solitudo Beach – A gay-friendly beach accessible by bus from the Old Town.
- Latino Club Fuego – Not strictly a gay club, but an interesting club featuring a carefully designed interior and an excellent playlist.
- East West Club – A lively club located on Banje Beach that welcomes both straight and gay individuals.
- Lapad Beach – A sandy beach on the Lapad Peninsula. A tranquil place in which to relax under the shade of the trees.
- Banje Beach – Located near the Old Town, this pebble beach grants tourists the opportunity to place beach volleyball, mini football and water polo.
- Dubrovnik Summer Festival – An open-air music and theatre festival held from mid-July to late August.
- Dubrovnik Cable Car – A must for those who like to view the city from above.
- Mount Srđ – Climb this mountain to experience a magnificent view of the town.
- Visit the Gradski Stadion Lapad to see the NK GOŠK Dubrovnik play football.
- Catch the Dubrovnik rugby club in training or in a tournament.
- Find the Dubrovnik Riviera Tenis club and check out the skills of the professionals.
- Visit the ice rink at the Ilijina Glavica outdoor sports grounds to watch the figure skaters and ice hockey players.
- Support the participants of the Cro Challenge, a kayaking competition held in September.
The Dubrovnik Carnival is famous for a masked parade that sees over 1,000 international and domestic performers fill the streets each February.
The talented and the glitzy gather together in April for the Libertas Film Festival, the premier film event in the region.
The best of two worlds are brought together in May for the Dubrovnik Wine and Jazz Festival.
One of the highlights of the Croatian cultural calendar, September’s Dubrovnik Summer Festival highlights the best in local and international performing arts.
It may be dowdy, it may be lame, but October’s International Festival of Jams & Marmalades is one of the friendliest festivals in the world!
When To Go
The early parts of the year are best avoided if you’re not a fan of the cold.
Dubrovnik looks its best for the start of spring in April.
From July to November, expect huge crowds and everything to be that much more expensive.
The little streets and alleyways of Old Town are best discovered on foot.
Locations are spaced quite far apart in the newer parts of the city, so a bus is a good option.
Rental cars are readily available if you want to explore further inland.
The scourge of war shrouded Dubrovnik from the rest of the world for years. The UNESCO World Heritage city suffered untold devastation in 1991 at the hands of the Yugoslav People’s Army, under the tacit approval of then Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
Thankfully, “The Pearl of the Adriatic” is back in fine form, along with the rest of Croatia. Once a dynamic capital of literature, philosophy, sciences and the arts, Dubrovnik now serves up a rich panoply of sumptuous sights. The Old City is one of the most attractive in all of Europe and the Adriatic Sea coast provides heavenly scenery.
Superb views of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic reward those who climb the Old City walls. The spectacularly preserved 13th century stone walls were refined over two centuries to protect the city from naval attack. Lovrjenac Fort to the west of the Old City was a formidable deterrent to foreign invaders.
The Dubrovnik Cathedral is a fabulous Baroque church with a treasure trove of relics and art. Visitors who tour the interior get a special bonus, with access to an ongoing archaeological dig designed to excavate specimens of the 7th century cathedral that once stood on the same site.
A Franciscan monastery in the heart of Old Dubrovnik contains a stunning Romanesque cloister, in addition to a pharmacy that incredibly, has been in business since 1317. A museum in the historic complex features ancient manuscripts, relics and instruments.
Mount Srd offers incomparable panoramas of Dubrovnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the crystal blue Adriatic. Photography lovers will not want to miss out on the view from atop the summit.
The Sponza and Rector’s Palaces are two of the most impressive buildings in all of Croatia, let alone in Dubrovnik. Although largely ravaged by fire in 1435, both were rebuilt in then fashionable Venetian Gothic style.
With some of the best coastline on the Adriatic Sea, the beaches of Dubrovnik are always aflutter with activity. In the hot summer months a prime spot in the sand can be hard to come by.
For a taste of local life, come for the Feast of Saint Blaise on February 3. The celebration of the patron saint of Dubrovnik is a joyful time to be in the city, with days of parades, concerts and great food.
The Feast of Saint Blaise runs into Carnival, the massive festival that precedes Ash Wednesday. The Old City is replete with costumed revelry for the occasion, with private, invitation-only masquerade balls scattered all over town.
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival coincides with peak tourist season in July and August. The festival features a series of dramatic productions and musical concerts around the city.
Dubrovnik has a Mediterranean climate, with rainy winters and hot summers. One rarity for the Adriatic region however is the occasional preponderance of high winds and thunderstorms.
- Winter (December to February) 6.5-13°C
- Spring (March to April) 8.5-17°C
- Summer (May to September) 15-29°C
- Fall (October to November) 11-21.5°C
Dubrovnik official guide
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