Dubrovnik is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places of all the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and in the same time one of the most popular touristic destinations. The city is a former fortress of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, on whose rebuilt walls you can walk along. It was founded in the 7th century under the name Ragusium, meaning people living on the cliff.
“Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro”, freedom is not sold for all the gold of the world, says the ancient motto of the city. However, the reality is different. Indeed, you can experience “this liberty” visiting the city and its surroundings, which in the season is sold for a high price. Nonetheless, if you want to find cheap places to spend the night, you can do it, either out of the Old Town or in its numerous hostels.
They say that you never have the chance to make a good first impression. However, you’ll definitely have the best first impression of Dubrovnik, if you’re reaching it by car passing the mountains. While crossing these breath-taking roads you will be overwhelmed by the sensation of flying over the Stari Grad (Old Town), almost like a bird reaching the Adriatic coast to fish.
The Old Town is not big. It’s very welcoming, full of tourists and shops. If you ever watched the Game of Thrones you may recognize in Dubrovnik the King’s Landing. Indeed, large part of the series was filmed in Croatia, even if many scenarios were later added with the CGI. No, I’m sorry, you won’t find dragons nor dire wolves, but keep looking around, who knows maybe you’re the lucky one?!
The city’s greatest attractions are all within the Old Town: Placa Luža, Prid Dvorom Square, Placa Marin Držić, Placa Stradun and Gundulićeva poljana are all within minutes’ walk. I suggest you take your time and get lost in the small streets of the Old Town. You will be amazed of how the streets will crawl the hills with their stairs creating a contrast with the mountain and the sky.
At the entrance of the Stari Grad you will immediately find the Onophrian Fountain. The legend says that if you wash your hands in all the 16 sinks of the fountain your wishes will come true. Well, to be sincere I have not done it, but you can give it a try.
The one thing I will suggest you to focus on is the old port. It is amazing and can become very romantic, especially during the night. It also gives the idea of how this place was exploited throughout the centuries by the Republic of Venice.
Another awesome attraction are the city walls. They are accessible at the entrance of the Old Town. The entrance is around 15 euros. It definitely should be on your “to do list”, it is the best way to see the city from the top. We took our time and spent around 3 hours to walk it all. Wonderful pictures from this spot are guaranteed.
Coming to food, all the places are quite expensive. Nonetheless, you can spend reasonable amounts of money eating very good seafood and drinking fantastic Dalmatian wines. Inside the Old Town there is a very nice winery called D’vino, while just outside the walls, with a spectacular view of the Old Town, is Nautika, an extraordinary place to enjoy breakfast and/or a light lunch.
Finally, I suggest you to have the last look over Dubrovnik from Mount Srđ, where you can stop to enjoy the most beautiful view of the city. Here you can also visit the museum on the effect of the Yugoslav wars on the city of Dubrovnik that despite being part of the UNESCO World Heritage was targeted by many bombings. Luckily, today the city is flourishing being one of the many pearls of the Mediterranean.