The pearl of Adriatic, Dubrovnik rose to fame as one of the best preserved medieval cities and the filming location of the popular TV series Game of Thrones. With polished limestone streets, high stone walls and gorgeous orange tile roof – it’s a time portal that offers you a glimpse of the simple elegance existed almost one thousand years ago.
Truth be told – Dubrovnik is not a very big city. In fact, you can easily visit the city in one day and walk all its streets. However, that doesn’t mean that you should. Dubrovnik is a city full of histories and more importantly, amazing architecture and viewpoint.
The Spanish Steps of Dubrovnik
The Onofrio’s fountain and St Savior’s Church
Onofrior’s fountain is named after the architect who built it in the 15th century. It was commissioned to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of water for the city. The aqueduct that feeds the fountain is still in use today and serves as the town’s water supply and its quality rivals that of bottled water.
St Savior’s Church is also called Holy Savior, a mix of Renaissance and Gothic building that nestled next to the city wall. It was built as thanks to gods after the earthquake in 1520 and was spared in the 1667 earthquake.
With beautiful columns and a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style, the current façade of the Rector’s Palace is a patchwork of repairs and additions throughout the medieval times as a result of damage due to gunpowder explosion, fires and earthquake. It was a defence building in the early Middle Ages, but became the seat of the Rector from 14th century to 1808.
This is the interior – if you are not particularly interested in the history of Dubrovnik then poking your head into the courtyard from the entrance is enough. Otherwise, admission fee is kn100 for adults and 25 for students.
It is fairly small, with only a handful of collections and galleries sprawled over two and a half levels with some exclusively in Croatian.
However, you will get to see some old chambers of the Palace adn the original twin brozne statue that rings the bell at the tower.
Church of St Blaise
Built atop the ruins of a medieval church that was damaged in the earthquake and destroyed by a fire, the Church of St Blaise is a Romanesque church built in 1715 by a Venetian architect. The church is dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik, St Blaise – who saved the city in the 10th century by warning against the invasion of the Venetians.
Cathedral of Dubrovnik
Built atop several cathedrals, including one that was commissioned by Richard the Lionheart, who survived a shipwreck nearby on his way back from the third Crusades, the current Dubrovnik Cathedral is largely rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake in Baroque style and finished in 1713 under serval different architects.
This gorgeous polished limestone street extends 300m through the old town and is the main street of Dubrovnik. It used to be a marshy channel that separated the settlement of Ragusa and Dubrava, it was eventually reclaimed in the 13th century and act as the main street of the city.
It runs east to west connecting the western Pile Gate and eastern Ploce Gate. It’s best to grab a Mojito from the snack store nearby and stroll down. And it’s exquisite at night!
The statue of St Blaise can been seen on top of the entrance.
The City Walls
There is simply no better way to see Dubrovnik than walking its city walls. As a medieval city with no armed forces, it relied entirely on its defence system to protect its citizens from invasion which has now become an excellent way to gain a panoramic view of the city.
The city walls span over 1940 meters and have three entrances and a one way system – whereby you can enter the wall at any point and complete a full circuit around in an anti-clockwise direction. The stairs to reach the wall are steep, and the paths are of polished limestone, therefore it’s best to be cautious when going around on a slope.
A walk around the entire circuit usually takes about an hour, but if you are there to take photos, it will probably take two hours. There are a large number of stairs so for anyone who is less able to walk you might want to take the cable car instead for a view of the city. (those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen this photo already)
There are about eight refreshment stops along the wall, with surprisingly acceptable prices that won’t have you crying out in outrage.
Out of the eight three are small refreshment stalls, two are little cafes and three are proper seating café area. We were all particularly impressed at one stop with the waitress being able to switch into Thai, Korean and English to invite the tourists to stop, and correctly identifying them.
The best view to the city can be view from the city wall, but the best view of the city would be from Fort Lovrijenac (also known as St Lawrence’s Fortress).
It is considered as part of the city wall, included in the ticket price for the city wall as well, though it is detached from the main structure and perched atop a small headland outside of Pile Gate. It stands 37m above sea level and offers spectacular sceneries of the surrounding area.
- Budget: AirBnBs are a great budget option. The Sunny Apartment (for 3 people) in the old town or Garden House (for 5) outside the old town.
- Mid-range: In a cute corner of Dubrovnik Old Town, Rooms Lavanda&Ruzmarin is a good choice in the west side. Villa Sigurata is good on the opposite end. But the old town is small anyway!
- Splurge: Peline Apartments is inside the Old Town with a great view and high rating. If you want to be at the VERY center of action, then Apartments Festa is your place.