Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a gorgeous city along the Adriatic coast, known for its marble streets, turquoise waters and beautiful Renaissance architecture. With friendly locals, succulent, fresh seafood from one of the many cafes dotted by the seaports, and great nightlife, Dubrovnik has something for everyone, and exploring the city with its surrounding islands is usually on the top of the list on a visit to Croatia. Below are ten things, in no particular order, which cannot be missed.
1. Walk the City Wall
One of the most striking features of Dubrovnik, and one of the first things you should do when visiting the city, is walk along the imposing two kilometre 10th Century wall, built to protect the citizens of the town. The walk takes about an hour, and from here you can view people below weaving through the narrow streets, as well as see the new terracotta tiles of the roofs alongside the older, red tiles – a reminder of the devastation inflicted there in 1992.
2. Try the Delicious Seafood
Fresh fish and seafood are a local delicacy in this Adriatic city. Succulent mussels, grilled squid dripping in garlic-infused olive oil and traditional fish recipes passed on from Dubrovnik fishermen are all must-have items on the menu, perfect for washing down with a glass of wine. Many of the city’s restaurants and cafes overlook the sea and the ports, and make for a very pleasant evening.
3. Go kayaking
The sea is crystal clear and clean, with a turquoise twist, and perfect for taking a kayak and exploring one of the many secluded caves alongside the majestic city walls. If kayaking is not for you, then a simple swim in one of the shallow coves is a must.
4. Attend the summer festival
The Dubrovnik summer festival is a 45-day cultural event in July with musical concerts at night and live plays hosted on many stages, such as the prestigious ‘Hamlet’. It is a fun and lively event that keeps the old town young during the summer months.
5. Take a boat trip to Cavtat
Cavtat is a pretty little village and harbour to the south of Dubrovnik. It is a quiet retreat away from the busier nearby city, and a ferry will take you straight there for around £7. With beautiful roof top restaurants overlooking the harbour and serving fresh fish, private swimming bays and bicycles that can be hired for a ride amongst the serene surroundings, Cavtat is perfect for those who want to do things in a slower-paced way. If you enjoy art, do not miss the Vlaho Bukovac Art Gallery.
6. Go souvenir shopping
Souvenir shopping seems to be one of the most popular things to do in Dubrovnik. In the old town, many a shop selling silver jewellery and embroidered items such as tablecloths welcome you on each side of the narrow streets.
7. Experience live music in Stradun
The old town of Dubrovnik hosts most of the lively nightlife and entertainment, with plenty of opportunities to hear live music. Stradun is a popular street where most of the locals go, and the soaring temperatures that can be felt during the day here in the summer months, often remain as the night begins.
8. Take the cable car
The new cable car takes 4 minutes to get to an altitude of 405 metres, and once at the top, panoramic views of the old town and the surrounding walls of Dubrovnik can be seen. The view is breath-taking, and although the ride is a little scary at first, it is worth it at the top!
9. Detour to Montenegro
A day trip or two is often a nice idea if you are in Dubrovnik, as countries such as Bosnia and Montenegro are nearby and well worth a visit. I took a trip to Montenegro, the tiny, undiscovered secret of a country, with beautiful beaches, soaring, rugged mountains and vast lakes. A visit to the man-made island of Gospa od Skrpjela in the Bay of Risan is a must-see. The island was built when people started piling up shipwrecked material on the cliff, and on the island are interesting archaeological exhibits and paintings of ancient ships.
10. Go island-hopping
Dubrovnik is surrounded by the Elafiti Islands – islands housing little fishing villages and summer houses owned by the locals of the city. Sandy beaches and tranquil seas are what lure tourists here, year after year, and there are many different islands to choose from. Island Sipan is the largest of the Elafiti Islands, and as with Cavtat, hiring a bicycle is a great way to explore the vineyards, castles and olive groves of this tucked away gem in the middle of the Adriatic Sea.