Dubrovnik: a two days trip in a medieval city
January 1, 1970
by Angie Arce
Hello traveler! You might have heard about Dubrovnik trough Game of Thrones serial or Star wars episode Vlll, but let me tell you: This beautiful city has much more to offer you! Giving its rich and turbulent history throughout more than 20 centuries. In this article I’ll provide you with some tips and interesting things to see and do while in Dubrovnik.
How to get there?
It is positioned in southern Croatian coast of Adriatic sea , in a region called Dalmatia; being one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Adriatic sea, that’s why it’s also called “Perla Adriatica”.
There are many ways to get there. You can take a plane (which is the most recommended because of its geographical position) and once you arrive, you can take a bus to the city center which is just 20 kilometers away. You can come by bus of course or like I did, by car. I took E65 highway for 120 km from Split to the town of Ploče. After that additional 100 km on regional motorway which took us through Bosnian city of Neum. By the way, prepare your passports, there are two border crossings 15 km apart because believe it or not Bosnia has a sea side. After crossing back to Croatia, you have 70 more kilometers to Dubrovnik.
Here you can find the complete route in the map.
Where to stay?
There are numerous hostels around the city, specially in the Old city “Stari Grad“. It depends on your budget where to stay, have in your mind: Closer you get to the old city, more expensive it will be.
Personally, I decided to stay in a private room with a family who we found on Hostelworld . They were so generous and welcoming (even to Pistache, our dog). Price of the room in low season is around 25 to 30 euros and was located 2 km away from the old city. I preferred walking everyday next to the sea but you can take buses numbers 4, 5 or 7 which take you straight to downtown from the western side of the city and the ticket was 15 kunas per person (around 2 euros).
Once in there… What to do?
Dubrovnik’s most famous attraction is the Old city of course, which is the original medieval city dating back from 7th century. The old city is surrounded by a great white wall which is from 4 to 20 meters high. This place was the set for the series Game of Thrones and Star Wars episode Vlll.
On our first day there, we arrived to the Old city around 4 pm and walking tours on the wall were from 8 am to 7 pm and it takes around 3 hours to walk all around, it depends on how fast you want to go. So for that reason, we had decided to walk around streets and see what this beautiful city has to offer.
First thing you see before entering inside Stari Grad is a gate with a bridge that takes you over what it used to be a water channel. Then going through the second gate you enter inside the city itself, for the fans of Game of thrones better known as King’s Landing.
Once inside, on the right side there is the Big Onforio’s fountain and further on the right is the Tourist info where you can get free maps of the city and maps of shooting locations of Game of Thrones. I recommend taking the map since it has walking tours drawn inside of them.
Having a map we decided to take a walking tour by our own (without a guide) since everything is so well explained.Walking from the entrance ahead of me there was main street called Stradun which goes straight to the main square.
As you walk down trough Stradun, on both sides of it you have around 15 little, 3 meter wide, streets. Left ones take you to upper part of the city over hundreds of stairs and the right ones keep you in the lower part, the heart of Stari grad.
In front of the main square you can find the St. Blaise church which is beautiful and very well preserved.
During summertime and high season you can see Mlet republic guards walking around the city, which is quite amazing because it’s something you don’t see everyday, and it takes you back in time when Dubrovnik was center of European medieval trade.
As you keep walking trough the streets, you can find many coffee places. The ones on the main street are the most expensive ones, but if you go just one step in one of those side streets, prices are ok. The coffee-bar I liked the most is called Cafe Buza , located in the upper part of the city (Just go from St. Blaise church to the right and up the stairs). You need to go though the wall and down the stairs out of the fortress, and its located in the rocks, right in front of the sea. It has an amazing viewpoint!! By the way,if you look around the area of the bar you can find the building of Littlefinger’s brothel. Just look around!
In the second day, we got to Stari Grad early in the morning (earlier you get there, it is less crowded, specially in summer!) and we took a walk in the walls, which is pet friendly by the way!
Please keep in mind to bring your own water bottles because there are no places to refill or buy any water or juice unless you want to pay 10 euros for a small bottle of water. (which is kind of ok considering its the only place to buy, so those who want… they can!).
First thing you see while climbing on the walls is the Fort Minceta (House of undying) on the far right. Then as you start the walk on the walls next thing you see in the distance is Fort Lovrijenac (Red Keep).
The view is breathtaking (besides climbing all those stairs) with the islands and the sea in front of you. You can also take a look to the interior of the city, with its small streets,beautiful red rooftops and private gardens hidden from our eyes while walking in the streets. Next thing you will notice are numerous medieval cannons along the side of the wall and if you are lucky to stay alone on the walls at one point, you get a strong feeling of being back in time.
But just describing it is not enough. You have to be there and feel it! The sun, the smell from the sea and the wind in your face.
What to eat and what (preferentially) not to eat!
As you can imagine, all the food in the Old city is overpriced. Let me explain myself better: for example, inside the wall, for a slice of pizza you have to pay 7 euros. But as soon as you get out, in the first pizza place you find, just add 1 more euro and you can get the hole pizza for 2 people!
You definitely have to try “fast food” grill. It looks like hamburger but its bigger and better and its called pljeskavica! Also ćevapi (something like kebab).
To get an ice cream place on the right, before the bridge to enter the fortress, is a must! Vanilla and pistachio flavors were excellent.
Also look for bakeries and ask for Burek! Its a traditional pie only found in Balkans. And once that we are in the seaside… Why not to try seafood?
…Something else to see
Of course you can see more of Dubrovnik beside the old city, all around there are beautiful beaches and nice spots to swim, some of them are Babin kuk and Lapad.
There is a cable car that takes you all the way to the top of the hill called Srdj. Hill is located above the city and it has a fortress on top. There is also a beautiful restaurant called Panorama where you can have a meal or just drinks and enjoy the most amazing view of the Old City, Lapad bay and the nearby islands.
If you have a free weekend or you are nearby Dubrovnik, now you know what is waiting for you.