George Bernard Shaw, enchanted by the dazzling city of Dubrovnik, penned the moniker "the pearl of the Adriatic" to describe the urban gem. He went on to say that "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik". After my recent visit there, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with the acclaimed playwright and scholar. It is no wonder why Dubrovnik is often compared to the likes of Venice for its romance and ambiance. Dubrovnik was incredibly breathtaking, unabashedly charming and unexpectedly likable as well as livable. And there is just so much more to it than meets the eye.
I couldn't help but compare it to my home (America's Finest City...) of San Diego in the sense that not only is it an amazing tourist destination, but also, it seems to be an incredible place to actually live. Though the main draw may be the Old City (seen below in the rectangular box), there is still yet an entire modern city to explore beyond the Old City's walls which is every bit as delightful as the main tourist attraction. The entire peninsula, from Gruz Harbor to Lapad Bay to the Old City and beyond towards Montenegro's coastline, is filled with sites and attractions that will fill both a vacationer's itinerary or a local's craving for variety.
Of course, the first thing to see is without doubt the Old City of Dubrovnik, which is the city's precious claim to fame and one of the 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites that has made the entire country of Croatia famous for being a traveler's paradise.
|Welcome to the Old City, Dubrovnik|
|Inside the Old City's Walls|
|Old City's Port & Harbor (separate from Dubrovnik's main port at Gruz Harbor)|
Do yourself a favor and pay the 70 kuna (approximately $14 US) to walk atop the Old City's walls, a 2 km stroll along one of the best sightseeing opportunities I've ever laid eyes on. Anything and everything worth seeing can be seen from atop the Old City's walls. Don't miss this...it's the highlight of the visit to the Old City and is what makes the trip memorable. I, along with other tourists, could not help "ooooo-ing" and "ahhh-ing" at the many unparalleled views along the way.
|From atop the Old City walls looking out toward an ancient fortress|
|Taking in the views from atop the Old City Walls|
|See the restaurant nestled below the city walls? The Old City is filled with hidden finds like this one|
|Old City Harbor View from above|
|Looking out towards the ocean from high above on the city walls|
If you have the time and you are staying extra days in Dubrovnik, it's worth it to check out the city's famed beaches. The two most well-known on the peninsula are Lapad Beach and Banje Beach. Lapad Beach is a rocky beach attached to a pedestrian-only promenade filled with busy restaurants and it also segues into a coastal path above the water which makes for a shaded, romantic walk at any time of day. Make sure to bring your camera...you won't know whether to pay attention to the views or to your significant someone! You will find an abundance of ladders along the way, leading down to rocky perches near the ocean where sunbathers can take in the sun in their own little paradise. Then, there is Banje Beach, which is closer to Dubrovnik's Old City and is a sandy beach with a stellar view of the Old City's walls. This beach is a bit more packed and lively, with volleyball nets, basketball courts and busy beach activities going on at any given moment.
|Banje Beach, Dubrovnik|
|Lapad Beach, Dubrovnik|
|Promenade near Lapad Bay|
|Coastal Path off of Lapad Bay|
|The beautiful Valamar Hotel Dubrovnik beachfront property|
Once you've saturated your stay in Dubrovnik (which is nearly impossible to do), there are an abundance of day trips to keep you busy. The town of Ston is a short drive away and here you can eat oysters and traipse along the second largest man-made wall in the world (after the Great Wall of China). Then there is nearby Trsteno with its 15th Renaissance residence and garden. Or perhaps visit the national park on Mljet Island which attracts a great number of nature lovers. Perhaps you might opt to sail off to the nearby Elaphiti Islands to relax, play and swim. Finally, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, it takes just a few hours to reach the nearby countries of Montenegro (described as "a dream") and also Bosnia Herzegovina, where I will be taking you guys tomorrow on our final stop on our Croatian (and surrounding countries...) tour!
|Bosnia? Montenegro? Croatian day trip? Where do you want to go today?|