The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel in Croatia’s crown and an unrivalled destination anywhere on the Adriatic. Much of the old town was destroyed during the war in the 1990s, but it has been lovingly rebuilt to look exactly as it did beforehand.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stunning location, there are extensive rules in place to preserve its beauty. This means you will not find shop signs, but the names of establishments printed on traditional lamps and all the buildings have the characteristic terracotta tiles of the region.
In many ways, this makes a visit to Dubrovnik somewhat like stepping back in time. What is for sure is that it should not be missed on your holiday to Croatia. Read on to find out the best bits of this remarkable city.
The city walls:
Dubrovnik’s old town is completely surrounded by its walls, meaning visitors can complete a full uninterrupted circuit without having to go back down to street level once. This is a great thing to do and you will get unrivalled views of the city and the chance to look out across the shimmering sea.
From this vantage point you will be able to understand why renovators worked so hard to return the city to its former glory and why changes are forbidden. The vast expanse of terracotta tiles stretching across the buildings is a beautiful sight.
It is a good idea to do this walk early on in your visit, as it will help you to get your bearings. From here you will be able to see many of the places you will want to visit throughout your stay. But before climbing down be sure to head to the Buza Bar, which is situated on the cliff top just outside of the walls. This is a very special place to stop and have a drink.
Originally constructed in Gothic and Renaissance styles, the Rector’s Palace has seen many additions made to it throughout Dubrovnik’s history. Amazingly they all work in harmony, but you can identify which pieces were added when.
Note the grand staircase within the atrium, which is clearly Baroque, the bell stand with its Rococo elements and the Renaissance arches complete with the elaborate capitals favoured by the movement.
All manner of artefacts can be found inside the Rector’s Palace, placed there by staff from the Museum of Dubrovnik. Expect to see old furniture, classical portraits, documents and coins, as well as the original keys to the city gates.
One of the main landmarks in Dubrovnik is the long street known as Strada, which you will have spotted when walking around the walls. At each end of this walkway is a fountain, the most notable of which has 16 sides.
This is Onofrio’s Fountain and was constructed between 1438 and 1440. Notice that all of the sides have a different face carved into them, complete with a spout of running water. In historic times this feature of the old town was an important place from which locals obtained their drinking water.
The expansive facade of the Franciscan Monastery is hard to miss, as it runs a good length along the Strada. It represents a stunning example of Romanesque architecture and is well worth a visit inside, due to its beautiful courtyard garden.
Not only this, but it also houses a number of museum exhibits and a library, where no fewer than 70,000 books and 1,200 rare manuscripts are held.
Croatia is probably most famous for its beautiful beaches. However, make sure you get to the old town of Dubrovnik and explore all of the amazing sites that city has to offer. It truly is amazing.
Have you ever been to Croatia, or Dubrovnik? What were your favourite sights? Share with us below!