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Dubrovnik has dusted off and repolished its limestone, healed its war wounds and has embraced, well, pretty much everyone. The heart and soul of the majestic Dalmation Coast and the new "it" spot in Europe, Dubrovnik has something for every traveler. Exploring in, on, along and through the Old Town--the walled, limestone medieval city where no cars are allowed--is an absolute must, no questions asked. Brimming with restaurants, boutiques, bars, churches, fortresses and placas, all of Old Town is a designated UNESCO heritage site beautifully balancing the old and the new. Revel in the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Sponza Palace then walk around the city walls, where construction began in the 8th century, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea. Come back down for some white coffee (coffee with creme) or bijela kava--a local fav--while gnawing on crustaceans, the specialty of Dalmatian cuisine. Don't forget to spend a day or two on the rocky beaches Dubrovnik is famous for and admire the spectacular sunset over the harbor. If you are a bit more adventurous, hike up the nearby mountains, dive off the Adriatic coast or wander around Lokrum island.
When the sun goes down, the energy of the city only brightens: Dubrovnik has bars and clubs aplenty, and the Old Town streets can be crowded at 3AM. The locals, aside from pointing out the proud shrapnel wounds from victory still apparant in Old Town, will also dare you to balance on a slippery piece of protruted limestone right near Pile Gate, which as Croatian legend goes, will prepare you for marriage. With some of the best views in the world, luxury restaurants, good times and great people, it's no wonder the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw wrote, "If you are looking for heaven on Earth, go to Dubrovnik."
Gunduličeva poljana 2
An absolute must when visiting Dubrovnik. Soaring 82 feet, Old Town’s main attraction still allows people to grace the ancient pathways and gaze at the stunning scenery, including the entire walled city, the coastline of the Adriatic Sea, Srd Mountain and the rest of beautiful Dubrovnik. The walk is a mile-and-a-quarter, which should take you about an hour when adding in the awe-factor and picture-taking time. The walls were constructed between the 8th and 16th centuries and offer 16 towers and fortresses on the walk.
Begin your exploration of the walled city at Pile Gate, the western entrance to the city. Built in the 16th century, the gate highlights a statue of the city’s patron saint, St. Blaise, two gothic arches and a drawbridge that used to be pulled up every evening. During the summer, guards stand by in costume to reenact the pull.
you enter into Old Town through Pile Gate, walk along the Stradun, the city’s main drag, for window-shopping and a taste of Dubrovnik. Feel free to veer off into the side streets and explore a bit—the city has posted handy maps on street corners to help guide tourists back to the Stradun. Be careful if it rains however, the lovely limestone becomes a bit slippery when wet.
Luza Square (Clock Tower)
Stop for a coffee, a glass of wine or a bit to eat at Luza Square at the end of the marbled Placa. Not only is Luza Square a central point for Dubrovnik’s cultural events and festivities, but it is also the intersection of some of the city’s most famous sites: the Clock Tower, St. Blaise Church and Sponza Palace. If you get there on the hour, you’ll see the two prominent bronze figures ring inside the Clock Tower, which was first built in 1444.
If you like architecture, history and government, then this is the place for you. A combination of both Gothic and Renaissance architecture, Sponza Palace is now the state record office of Dubrovnik. The palace courtyard is also a popular venue for concerts and art exhibitions located just off of Luza Square.
Eastwest Beach Club
Frana Supila bb
After you rent your beach chair and umbrella for the day, grab an ice-cold pina colada at the bar and lounge on one of the few sandy beaches in the area. Your afternoon will consist of gazing at both the idyllic Adriatic Sea and Old Town while taking a dip in 70 degree water during the summer months. And if you stick around, the bar scene livens at night.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
One of the largest cultural festivals in Croatia, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival has been a Croatian tradition since 1950. The entire city, national and international performers, and tourists alike come together to experience the classic music, theater, opera and dance offered in more than 70 open air venues throughout the city. The opening ceremony begins in front of the Sponza Palace on July 10 and runs through August 25.
Hop on the ten minute ferry ride from Old Town and use the shaded walking trails to visit this deserted island complete with a 12th century Benedictine monastery, lush greens and exotic wildlife (peacocks included). Pack a lunch and a bottle of wine and relax on the slabs of rock over looking the Adriatic Sea and if you're adventuruous, try your hand at cliff jumping. Or, sit and unwind at the cafÈ and look back on beautiful Dubrovnik.
Stillovika 43 (Zaton Mali)
A 12 minute cab ride from the Old Town, this restaurant is an old boathouse cut into the hillside on a quiet bay in the fishing village of Zaton Mali. Here you dine and also have a swim while your food is being prepared. Try the black risotto made with mussels, langoustine and cuttle fish.
If you love seafood, you've come to the right city. Dalmatian cuisine is loaded with crustaceans and fish, as well as meats and pastas.
Brsalje 3, 20 000
You know the seafood is fresh when you can see the Adriatic Sea from your table. Chef Nikola Ivanišević serves up the best seafood in town with breathtaking views to boot. Although the lunch menu is perhaps a bit sub par, the Dalmatian cuisine dinner will knock your socks off. Choices included lobster, scampi, shellfish, white fish, black risotto and other regional dishes along with an extensive local and international wine list.
Široka ulica 1, 20 000
In the heart of Old Town, Proto offers great food and great people-watching from either the sidewalk seating or rooftop terrace. Chef Boško Lonac is proud of his no-fuss fish and meat specialty dishes with local ingredients.
Šetalište Kralja Zvonimira 20 000
Although this second floor garden terrace restaurant in Lapad is more lowbrow than some of its peers, the food is just as delicious. This family-owned joint offers local food, flavors, wines and spirits in a relaxing setting with a la carte dining. The traditional Dubrovnik plates are all here: grilled lobster, shellfish, crab, lamb chops, pasta and pizza, and each dish is pleasantly presented and prepared.
Nika I Meda Pucića 15
The best dining spot on the Lapad peninsula of Dubrovnik, Levanat not only has superb food but a spectacular view of the Bay of Lapad, the islets Grebeni and Sv. Andrija, as well as the Adriatic Sea. Serving up traditional Dalmatian cuisine—lots of seafood and lots of meat—with a wide selection of wines, Levanat is great inside the elegant dining room or outside on the terrace.
Prijeko 8, 20 000
Take a seat on the limestone in the sidewalk seating section of Wanda in the center of Old Town. This Mediterranean restaurant mixes it up with some Dalmatian flavors, with a variety of seafood, steaks and pasta dishes. Nice wine list, too.
This Croatian restaurant is set in the Old City walls in a medieval arsenal offering sweeping views. Specials include Adriatic langoustine, Istrian summer truffles and lemon grass bisquits.
Croatia is coming into it's own in the wine department and here is where you can sample them for yourself. This wine bar staff will enlighten you on the Dalmatian reds, from a nice light Matusko Postup to a more robust Dingac.
Surviving three wars and five different governments, Ronchi is a main stay in Dubrovnik design culture. Since its establishment in 1858, the Grabovac family has been creating hand made hats at good prices in Old Town.
ARCA Antique Shop
Next to the Restaurant Arka, ARCA Antique Shop is also located next to the baroque staircase of Loyola Church and offers everything from antique dishes to jewelery to tablecloths. ARCA also sells local paintings from local Dubrovnik and Croatian artists.
Pred Dvorom 2
Did you know that the necktie was created in Croatia? Well these people do and they are damn proud of it. The boutique Croata in Dubrovnik sells ties, ties and more ties. Made from silk in various weaves by Croatian designers, stop in this Stari Grad shop to see what all the fuss is about.
The Wine Shop
Pred Dvorom 1
Croatia is an up-and-coming wine destination with vineyards sprouting up all over the place and the Wine Shop across from St. Blaise Church highlights this local wine (and liquers) with a comprehensive collection.
Eastwest Beach Club
Frana Supila bb, Old Town
A regular beach spot during the day, Eastwest Beach Club turns into a great little nightspot. Grab a fresh cocktail and take seat in the relaxing ambiance on the beach while you enjoy the sunset over the Adriatic with your sweetie.
Latino Club Fuego
Pile Brsalje 11
We’re not sure why it’s called Latino Club Fuego when all the music blasting from its speakers are techno and pop, but we do know why it’s the number one club in Dubrovnik. Located just outside of Old Town, this huge two-story club with multiple bars is always jam packed with locals and tourists alike. If you prefer just to have a drink and mingle, stay on the main floor, but if you want to bust out your dancin’ shoes, head downstairs and get sucked in for an all-nighter.
A cheaper alternative for a younger crowd, this hip bar mostly hosts Americans, western Europeans and Australians looking for great deals on drinks with fun pop music. Tucked in on a quiet street off of the Stratum in Old Town, Fresh is a great place to begin your night.
Ulica Sv. Dominika bb
Cozy up on the rooftop terrace in Old Town or stay out all night in this enormous restaurant/bar/club. A bit pricier than most places in the area, but a bit more chic too.
Buniceva Polijana 2
Easily the best jazz spot in town, this ultra-hip bar in Old Town has been a crowd pleaser for years. If the owner, Marko, doesn't have a live jazz band on stage, he's sure to play some on the stereo system. A "chill" ambience with a good vibe, hang inside or outside on the patio.