Referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik, Croatia is best known for the massive, impressive stone walls surrounding its Old Town which, it just so happens, are so stunning that they have even been featured in some very famous television shows. as if that weren’t cool enough, the city also has amazing architecture from other periods, styles and cultures, including Baroque, Renaissance, Venetian, Hungarian, and Gothic. Add to this streets paved with limestone and quaint shops and restaurants to visit, and this town is the whole package.
Read on to find out why Dubrovnik should be on your summer holiday itinerary and why we crowned it one of the best places to visit in Croatia.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia?
The best time to visit Dubrovnik is in September or October. These early autumn months are perfect, because the waters are still usually warm enough to swim in, but the large number of cruise ships that land in the port every summer will have already moved on, leaving you free to explore and enjoy the coast without all the crowds.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
See the Old City Walls
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you may actually recognize the Old City Walls of Dubrovnik. These six-meter-thick (and, in some places, six-meter-tall) stone walls were built in the 10th century and improved/added to in the 13th and 14th, creating a massive, nearly impenetrable defense system against invaders. Today, the walls are a great place to take a walk, although it is highly recommended to do this two-kilometer stroll in the morning, before the heat of the day sets in.
Take a Walk through Stradun
Stradun, also known Placa, is a 300-meter-long thoroughfare known for its white limestone pavement. The street itself was laid out in 1468, but most of the buildings you will see on either side of it hail from the 17th century, after an earthquake that destroyed much of the original architecture in Dubrovnik in 1667. These buildings usually have a residential area on the upper floor and a business on the lower one, which, perhaps, is why locals and visitors alike can be found spending their day just hanging out on the Stradun.
Take a Game of Thrones Walking Tour
Remember how I said that the Old City Walls were featured in Game of Thrones? Well, those aren’t the only things in Dubrovnik that made it into the hugely popular series. Fans of the show can take a walking tour all around the city, during which an expert tour guide will tell you about both the real history of the area and the fictional history created for the show. The city’s skyline, for instance, plays the role of King’s Landing, and the Trsteno Arboretum appeared as the Royal Gardens.
Some of the Best Attractions in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Nicknamed “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar,” Fort Lovrijenac was and is one of Croatia‘s most vital fortifications. During numerous attempted sieges by the Venetians, this 37-meter-high fort was shown to be impenetrable. It is rumored that its location was coveted by the Venetians themselves first, but the locals beat them to the punch and built the fortress for themselves first. One has to wonder, though, if the Venetians would have been able to do such a good job with the fort as the people of Dubrovnik: with walls 12 meters thick in some places, a triangular layout to make it harder to hit, and two drawbridges leading up to a high gate, it isn’t hard to see how it was able to keep out conquering forces!
The Large Fountain of Onofrio
While the Large Fountain of Onofrio is not as large as it once was due to the earthquake in 1667, it is still one of the city’s best-known monuments. Located not far from the also-famous Pile Gate, the fountain was built over a period of several years, between 1438 and 1444, to be a part of the city’s water supply system, which worked by bringing in water from the Dubrovacka River.
St. Saviour Church
Located right behind the Large Fountain of Onofrio is the St. Saviour Church, which, locals will tell you, is a miracle. Built to thank God (and, the Dubrovnik Senate decided, Saint Saviour) for sparing the city from a different, earlier earthquake in 1520, this Renaissance-style building has been standing — in tact — since 1528. It is said that the town’s female aristocrats were so enthusiastic about the project that they carried the wood and stone themselves to build it, which was unheard of at the time. Legend has it that it’s that dedication that caused the alleged miracle to take place here: when most of the rest of the city was destroyed by the 1667 quake, this church was one of the only structures that was spared.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Dubrovnik, Croatia
This post is too short to include all the sights there are to see in Dubrovnik, but Loggia Square should also be on your list. Here, you can see some of the city’s most well-known buildings and monuments, such as Orlando’s Column, Loggia of the Bells, the Church of St. Blaise, and the Small Fountain of Onofrio.
Dubrovnik is a fantastic city to just walk around in, as there seems to be an important piece of architecture at every turn. So make sure to get your legs in shape before you go!