The Trudman bridge welcomed us to Dubrovnik

The second stop on our Balkan adventure was in Dubrovnik which is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”.  Dubrovnik lies almost as far south as you can go on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast near the border with Montenegro.  Like Split, Dubrovnik’s old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  However, unlike Split the city seams to be designed almost exclusively for tourists.  In Split there were lots of locals and as Catherine said “the city doesn’t need us”, whereas Dubrovnik seems like it would be empty without the tourists.  However, for the tourists it is a beautiful place to visit as you’ll see in the following pictures.

We arrived during daylight hours which made finding our accommodation much easier and the layout of Dubrovnik is a little more grid-like than Split which also helped.  Again, we stayed in a Sobe which was great because we could stay right in a really nice room right in the Old Town for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.  Pero, our awesome host pored us some grappa on arrival and proceeded to tell us all the best stuff to see and places to eat.  Luckily we only had one drink so we could remember all the advice on the following days.

The Old City is built right into the mountain that rises straight from the sea. So there can be lots of stairs to navigate. Our Sobe was almost at the top of these stairs - good thing we didn't have much luggage.
We were very lucky to get the top floor room with this amazing view over the city. The one benefit of all those stairs is you can get a great view.

On our first full day in the city we decided to do the main attraction which is to walk all the way along the city walls (~ 2km) which gives you a great view of everything.  The weather was perfect and there wasn’t much of a crowd so it was great.  April really seams like the perfect time to go to Dubrovnik.  While the water is still too cold to comfortably swim, the air temperatures are pleasant (18-20 when we were there) and there are few crowds – never any lines for popular restaurants or attractions.  The one day that a cruise ship arrived it was quite busy, but in summer up to seven ships can arrive in a single day making the city completely crazy.

Looking towards the old port and Lokrum Island which is a nature reserve. We spent most of one day there (will have a separate post for that).
Near the highest point on the wall.

Here’s a short video showing the entire landscape from the high point on the wall.

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Looking out through the entrance to a watch post.
The Fort of St. Lawrence lies just across a small bay from the main city. The aquamarine water looks enticing, but was still a little chilly for swimming.
Plants and flowers growing out of the rocks just outside the walls.

After the walk around the walls we of course were hungry so we grabbed a pizza and ate it at the park surrounding the Fort before checking out the structure itself.  The weather was so nice that I think we ate lunch and dinner outside each day.  Since the crowds hadn’t yet shown up we could choose any restaurant we wanted but it also meant that we were constantly pestered by hawkers outside each place trying to convince us to eat at their establishment.

Typical outdoor restaurant seating right on a pedestrian street. We had one really good dinner of salad, seafood risotto and fried sardines right on the plaza looking over the old port.

The following day we decided to climb Mount SrÄ‘ which takes you 400m above the city for some great views.  There is a Napoleonic-era fort on top that was operating as a nightclub in the 1980’s, but when the Serbs unexpectedly attacked Dubrovnik in 1991 a small group of the Croatian army and local volunteers (known as the Dubrovnik Defenders) took to the fort in an attempt to defend the city.  While many of the buildings in the city were heavily damaged or destroyed by the shelling (hence all the bright new orange roofs) the city never fell to the Serbs. The media images of the attack on a city of little military significance containing many cultural and historical artifacts was a large contributing factor in world opinion turning against the Serbs.

The Fort at Mount Srđ now contains a museum explaining the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991-92. Here are some of the mostly Soviet-era munitions used in the combat.
Catherine with the old city looking tiny below.
View out towards the Elaphite Islands from atop the mount.

Once we made our way down we spent the rest of the day lounging around by the water (and eating of course).

Catherine relaxing by the ocean and enjoying the sunshine.
Sunset from our room

The next day we took a short ferry ride over to Lokrum Island, but we’ll cover that in the next post.

1 Comment

  1. wow! looks stunning and like a great place for a vacation, good for you guys!
    ps. how were the sardines?

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