Dubrovnik: city guide. Croatia’s top city for azure sea, history, culture and stunning architecture

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Old Town Dubrovnik
Old Town Dubrovnik
Why go

One of the best city and sea destinations in Europe. Visitors to Dubrovnik can enjoy beautiful hot weather, with an azure sea to dip in and out of whenever the whim takes you, history, culture and stunning architecture. The old walled town has a host of narrow streets to explore and Croatian islands are a short boat ride away.

What to do

Dubrovnik’s spectacular coastline will entice even the most reticent swimmer to jump right in. Banje beach is the most popular beach, and the one that appears in all the postcards, but there are many little coves to find up and down the coast. Boat companies also run daily excursions to and from the islands near Dubrovnik. For culture vultures, the walled town offers many cathedrals (there are 17 of them), museums and galleries.

Where to stay
Dubrovnik Grand Villa Argentina
For glamour stay at The Grand Villa Argentina

For a luxury escape head to Grand Villa Argentina, where Maria Callas chose to spend her summer holidays. Built into the side of a hill, the hotel offers guests a private stretch of the sea. There is no beach, so you jump off from the entertainment area right into the warm water. For guests who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there is an outdoor and indoor swimming pool and a spa. Villa Orsula is an ultra luxurious boutique hotel located just a small way away from Grand Villa Argentina. The hotel houses Victoria Restaurant, a top class dining experience for food lovers. Visitors who want to immerse themselves in the old town will enjoy staying at The Pucic Palace, voted the best small hotel in the Adriatic three years running. Built in the 1700s, this hotel combines classic architecture and charm with the very latest in modern luxury.

Where to eat

Dubrovnik is undergoing a bit of a shake up in terms of food. It is starting to offer some real foodie experiences. Nautika Restaurant is the restaurant to go to if you want to eat the finest food while gazing at the finest view. The menu offers mainly seafood but other tastes are catered for too.  It is a fine dining establishment of the highest order and booking is a must. Mea Culpa, situated in an old medieval alley serves up wonderful pizza, while Proto, also within the old town, offers great local cuisine.

Getting around

The old town is compact and it’s easy to reach the city beaches from the centre. To venture further, there are buses and a well run taxi network.

When to go
View towards the city of Cavtat south of Dubrovnik. Photo bluemagichaven2.blogspot.hr 620
View towards the city of Cavtat, south of Dubrovnik

For sun worshippers, June, July and August are great but August can be very busy with European tourists. Dubrovnik has concerts and summer festivals running from July through the summer. Canny travellers who enjoy the cultural aspects of a trip as much as the weather, spring, September and October are also perfect times to travel.

Three things we like
  1. In spite of not seeing a street sweeper or policeman anywhere, Dubrovnik is one of the cleanest and safest towns in the world.
  2. Dubrovnik taxi drivers are extremely friendly and want to tell you all about their town.
  3. The Adriatic!  Calm waves, warm temperature and crystal clean – you’ll want to stay in it all day.
Something we don’t like

The driving on the mountain pass into the town is of the cowboy variety. If you’re hiring your own car or motorbike, be prepared for lots of locals overtaking you.

Don’t miss
Dubrovnik harbour
Dubrovnik harbour

Dubrovnik will delight on all fronts but a particular treat is the apothecary garden. Located just inside the Pile gate, the garden is to be found behind the façade of the Franciscan monastery. This is where the monks grew their plants for the chemist they dispensed medicine from to cure people of numerous ailments.

If you have a week or more in the area the drive down to Montenegro is amazing and a stop in Kotor, one of the most spectacular fjords in Europe, is an absolute must.

Take a boat to the nearby islands where you’ll find more gorgeous beaches. If you’re on a budget take supplies from a supermarket with you as island restaurants can ramp up their prices for tourists.

High50 insider tips
  • Plat is a 30 minutes’ drive away from Dubrovnik – a delightful little cove and the best place to enjoy the last dip of the day as the sun sets.
  • The walk from the old town back to Grand Villa Argentina or Villa Orsula is a good workout.  Frana Supila street is rather steep.
  • Dubrovnik gives Rome a run for its money when it comes to ice cream!  Whether you eat at a five star restaurant or grab a pizza, make sure you leave space for a cone afterwards.
Need to know
  • Dubrovnik is one hour ahead (GMT +1).
  • You will need a European plug adaptor.
  • Flying time from the UK is around two hours and forty minutes.
  • Most restaurants, not all, serve Croatian wine exclusively.
  • Tipping is expected but not obligatory.  Ten per-cent is a good amount to tip for good service.
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