Back in 2007 I traveled to the popular Mediterranean port destination Dubrovnik, Croatia. Looking at a map of the crazy outline of Croatia, you can find Dubrovnik on the lower tip, just miles from the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations and is known as one of the best fortified cities in the world because all of its walls remain intact today.
Shawn Explores Dubrovnik
I arrived by cruise and was immediately impressed with this city. First off it was warm so that is always a good sign. From the arrival by ocean you will see houses that straddle the Adriatic Sea. A lot of the homes in Dubrovnik have red roofs that really remind me more of Italy. In fact the ‘feel’ of Dubrovnik feels closer to Italy than what I would think traditional Croatian. Or maybe I should classify the feel to be a completely Mediterranean feel.
The area is very mountainous and land shoots up from the coast pretty quickly. When coming on a cruise you will dock further away from the city (they probably don’t want to ruin the quaintness of Dubrovnik), go through some check points and then the city.
Once in Dubrovnik there are several streets that are lined with beautiful palm trees and plants. The buses will drop you off near the fortified city or the old part of Dubrovnik. I went in the summer so it was rather busy but it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded. The only problem or the good thing, depending on how you see it, is that many of the streets in Old Dubrovnik are narrow and steep. You’ll see some people trying to attempt to climb them but most stay on the marbled main street or the Placa Ul.
Placa Ul is a lovely street that goes almost straight until it ends at a Bell Tower and a church. Along the Placa Ul there are several narrow streets that you can go up to get a better view of the area and to take some interesting photos. I love going off the normal path and it was a good idea as the buildings blocked the sun, providing some momentary relief.
I was surprised to see how hilly the old city is! If you want to, it’s possible to walk on the fortified city wall (I didn’t) to get good views of Old Dubrovnik. I believe it was free to do, but don’t take my word on it! Word of caution, the steps in the old city can be quite slippery and I saw a few people trip!
However I did go down to dip my hand in the Adriatic Sea. In the old city there is a small section where some boats are docked where tourists can pose for pictures with Dubrovnik in the background. Also there are views of the mountains, views of another section Dubrovnik and it’s possible to “see” the border of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a geography major, I thought it was fascinating that there was another country behind those mountains and part of me wanted to go to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When to go?
My recommendation is to go during the summer time because Dubrovnik is meant to be explored in the sunshine. The city illuminates in the summer and everything just seems to be extra beautiful. It can be warm though, and the sun can be quite intense. So it’s recommended that you bring some sunscreen and hide in some of the narrow streets that block the sun.
The only thing I did was walked the old city, eat some lunch, tourist shopped and took some photos. And that was enough for me. There are of course other tourist attractions like Cliff Jumping at Cafe Buža, sailing, and swimming in the Adriatic Sea. I have to admit that the water did look really appealing but I had no chance to get into the water!
Of course there is the normal touristy shopping, which I did do, but there wasn’t much to actually buy. Besides I was having too much fun taking photos and enjoying the scenery. Being in Europe, there are also a lot of museums to explore in Dubrovnik.
Eating and Drinks
Most of the people will stay in the old city, unless they’re staying for more than a day. Eating in the old city is more expensive like any other touristy place but being that it’s in Croatia, it’s not really that much. There are a lot of restaurant selections and the most popular type of food is seafood. It was so nice the day that my family went, that we had lunch outside, café styled and enjoyed some traditional Croatian food.
How to get to Dubrovnik?
Most people will arrive in Dubrovnik by cruise as I did. This is probably the single best way to get to Dubrovnik and probably the smartest way. Dubrovnik is easily explorable in a day and you will surely get a good taste of the city. However there are people who come to explore the region and to stay longer. There is an airport close by with flights to many big European cities because it’s a popular tourist destination among Europeans.
There are roads to get into and out of the city but I’m not even sure how you would rent a car and where you could do that. For the everyday tourist, flying in or coming by a cruise seems to be the way to go.
Several cruise lines go to Dubrovnik and the most popular American ones are Carnival and Royal Caribbean. In 2007, I took a Carnival cruise that went to other Italian ports as well as Spain and France. Dubrovnik just happened to be on the list and sometimes the cruises will go to other Croatian cities like Split.
Put Dubrovnik on the Bucket List?
Do you need an idea for your European trip? Put Dubrovnik, Croatia on your list and you will not be disappointed. It’s such a relaxing, calm city that has something very few cities in the world have going for it. An intact, fortified wall. That should be reason enough!
But if it isn’t remember that the weather during the summer months is spectacular, which is why many Europeans flock to Dubrovnik. Plus its picturesque and there is many excursions to do around the city. Dubrovnik is the perfect place to relieve your stress and relax in the Mediterranean sun.
images by: shawnvoyage