Dubrovnik is an attractive assortment of restored and reconstructed Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque palaces, plazas, monasteries, churches and fountains.
Over the centuries, earthquakes, civil war and sieges have nearly destroyed Dubrovnik. The most notable events were the catastrophic earthquake of 1667 and the heavy shelling during the civil war in the early 1990s. But today, Dubrovnik is a city reborn.
Begin your visit by walking on top of the city walls that encircle the entire old town. The fortifications were built between the eighth and 16th centuries. This huge curtain of stone is almost 1.4 miles (2 kilometers) in length and up to 72 feet (22 meters) high, providing excellent vantage points to see the city’s attractions. A tour of the wall at a casual pace takes about an hour.
Come down from the walls and explore the pedestrian-only Old Town. It’s a World Heritage Site and contains most of Dubrovnik’s major attractions including palaces, churches, gardens and designer shops. Walk down Placa, the marble-paved main street that’s lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. Note that there are no billboards or shop signs here. Their absence is due to local regulations that aim to preserve the area’s traditional look.
Visit the Rector’s Palace, a Gothic-Renaissance monument that was the seat of government in the old Dubrovnik Republic. Nearby is the Church of St. Blaise, an 18th-century Baroque building dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik.
Enjoy the outdoors at Banje, Dubrovnik’s main beach just outside the walls of the Old Town. Swim in the crystal-clear water and bask in the sun while taking in the view of the Adriatic Sea. At scenic Gruž Harbour, Dubrovnik’s main port within walking distance of the Old Town, browse fresh food markets and catch a ferry to one of the nearby islands.
At night Dubrovnik offers both lively clubs and laid-back venues. The Old Town is dotted with many restaurants, cafés and bars. If it’s dancing you’re after, go to Culture Club Revelin, a nightclub situated in the ancient Revelin Fort. For something more soothing, take in a classical music concert at Rector’s Palace.
As most of Dubrovnik’s attractions are within the pedestrianized Old Town, most people travel on foot. Moving around the rest of city is easy by bus, taxi or rental car. Consider purchasing a Dubrovnik Card. This pass offers free use of public transportation, a travel guide to the city, discounts in restaurants and free entry into some of the cultural and historic attractions.