Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things to do in Dubrovnik

I had my first visit to Dubrovnik this August and spent a great week in the area. Here’s my suggestions for the top 5 great things to do in Dubrovnik.

1) Walk Around the Old City of Dubrovnik

Number 1 is simple, free and pretty unavoidable – take a walk around the old city. Dubrovnik is a stunning, picture postcard pretty, place to wander around. As you enter through either of the main gates, Ploce or Pile, into the walled city you are immediately hit with historic views all around you.

Entering through the Pile Gate you are directly on Placa (also called Stradun), the 292m long main street through the old city, with the Onofrio fountain on your right and the Church or St Saviour on your left.

Entering via the Ploce Gate you have great views of the old harbour to your left, and then walk through narrow alleys with the high city walls to your side, until you pass the old harbour entrance and reach the other end of the main street (Placa/Stradun). At shi end of the street you have the Bell Tower by your side.

The city map from the Dubrovnik Tourist office shows all of the key attractions within the walled city, but just wandering around the historic streets without using the map is quite a pleasure. The whole area is pedestrian only – so no motor vehicles to worry about as you wander.

2)Visit the Island of Lokrum

The Island of Lokrum, or the Island of Love as it is also known, lies about 200m off the coast of the old city.

There are numerous options for visiting the island, including several regular kayak tours from the old city near the Pile Gate, or from St Jacov’s beach about 1 mile south of the old city. Or take it easy and take the regular passenger ferry boat trip to the Island from the old city harbour, near the Ploce Gate to the old city.

Once on Lokrum there are numerous attractions to enjoy including Botanical Gardens, the Monastery, the Dead Sea Lake, diving from the rocks, swimming and snorkelling in the clear blue Adriatic and many walks. In the summer months the lake and snorkelling would be the top of my list, with the walks and gardens for the winter months, but that's just my personal taste! There is a restaurant on the island.

3)Walk Dubrovnik’s City Walls

The city walls offer visitors stunning views over the city. Some 1940m in length, circling the whole city at up to 25 metres in height, there is no better way to
witness Dubrovnik’s streets plans, shell like layout and red roofs.

The walk is ‘one way’ circling the city clockwise, so if you did not want to do the whole lap choose your entry place carefully. Entering near the Pile gate will give you the stunning sea views through to the harbour, without the big climb of the inland part. The big climb up to the Minceta tower is the starter, when you enter near the Ploce gate.

I would highly recommend doing the full lap if you have the time, and a reasonable level of fitness. We did the walk at sunset and enjoyed stunning views of the city, the surrounding islands and mountains and the sun setting over the walls.

4)Visit the Elaphite Islands

The Elaphite Islands are a small group of Islands just north of Dubrovnik. There are numerous small uninhabited islands and a few charming larger inhabited islands
including Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud.

In the old harbour you will find numerous operators offering boat trips and fish picnic trips to the islands. There is even a regular high adrenalin speed boat transfer service to take guests to the great beaches on the islands.

If, like us, you prefer to get away from the crowds, and explore in tranquillity at you own pace hire a speed boat.

We hired an excellent speed boat from Dragan at Dubrovnik Speed Boat and spent a superb day in the islands, visiting the many places Dragan had pointed out to us earlier. Superb for relaxing, mooring up in deserted little bays, snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and discovering the charming islands and their villages.

5) Take the Dubrovnik Cable Car

If you want to enjoy superb aerial views of the city take the cable car up to Mount Srd and enjoy panoramic views over the old city and the islands beyond. The modern cable car was recently re-opened after the original was destroyed during the
war in the early 90’s.

At the top there is a great restaurant / bar, a superb place to enjoy the summer breezes while dining and drinking with stunning views.

Have fun - its a superb city!!

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