Saturday morning we knew that if we had to walk the walls of Dubrovnik with almost no tourists then we have to start early and climb the staircases as soon as the walls open at 8:00am. So we started out of our apartment early, had coffee at Stradun and headed straight to the Tourist Information Center next to Pile Gate. The tickets are HRK 70, which also includes the Fort Lovrijenac. It takes about 2-3 hours to walk around the fort walls.
|What is that Owl-shaped head in Dubrovnik old town?|
|Also see: As you start walking the Stradun (main road) after entering the Old Town of Dubrovnik through the Pile Gate, look carefully and you might spot a strange gargoyle head protruding from a stone wall. It’s on the left side, just next to the entrance to the Franciscan monastery and the stairway that leads up onto the city’s famous walls.|
For some stunning aerial views of the Old Town Dubrovnik, this is a must-do for every visitor. We were one of the few first ones to climb the walls. It is highly recommended to visit the walls during the early morning hours or the late afternoon hours during mid-summer months as it can become hot. Dubrovnik is surrounded by City Walls which are 2 km long and for which it is famous all around the world. Through the history City Walls were protection from the enemy, today Dubrovnik City Walls brings the visitors from the whole world. There are 3 entrances to the City Walls: on Stradun by the Pile gate, by fort Saint John’s and at the Custom’s House gate.
Within the City Walls you will see Fort Minčeta and Fort St. John’s on the south-eastern side. Also, within the City Walls are Fort Lawrence at Pile and Fort Revelin at Ploče. Minčeta Fort is one of the most beautiful cultural attractions in Dubrovnik. It is situated on the northwest side of the city inside the City Walls. It was built according to the design of Renaissance builder Juraj Dalmatinac. St. Luke’s Tower you can see walking along the landward side of City Walls up to Ploče Gate. St. Luke’s Tower has protected the entrance to the Dubrovnik harbour throughout the history of the city.
A three hour walk over the walls and we were back to Pile Gate. It was peak travel hour for most of the ferries docking about 5 km away from the Old Town and passengers were ferried from the cruise ships to the fisherman’s port via small boats.
Having done with most of the sights of Dubrovnik, we headed to the other side of the Stradun, between the Town Hall and the Church of St. Blaise on one side and the Cathedral on the other side is the Rector’s Palace (adult HRK 40). Formerly the palace of the Major Council, now houses a museum dedicated to the city’s history. The palace owes its present shape to many additions and reconstructions throughout its turbulent history. From time to time it happened that the palace was destroyed or heavily damaged by either fires, gunpowder explosions or earthquakes which required a total or partial reconstruction or repair of the building. Each architect had it’s own view of how the building should look so nowadays we can enjoy the unique mixture of styles blended perfectly across this monumental structure.
Today the Rector’s palace is the home to the history department to museum of Dubrovnik. The majority of the halls have styled furniture so as to recreate the original atmosphere of these rooms. In addition to style furniture numerous portraits and coats of arms of the noble families, paintings of old masters, coins minted by the Republic, the original keys of the city gates, and the number of important state documents are on permanent exhibit in the palace (photography was not allowed at the exhibits).
Next stop was War Photos limited (HRK 30), a state-of-the-art photographic gallery that has beautifully displayed and reproduced exhibitions curated by photojournalist Wade Goddard, who worked in the Balkans in the 1990s.
All the touring and sight-seeing went for a few hours and we need some energy to still be able to finish the rest on our last day in Croatia, so we decided to try some Lasagna for lunch.
Up next on the list was the cable car. To reach the new cable car starting point, climb the steep by-streets and head to the Buža gate. Take the stairs up and keep walking straight on Zagrebacka. Turn right on Petra Kresimira and you will see the cable car station up ahead on your right. Each car leaves every 15 minutes and the amount is HRK 80 for a round trip and HRK 50 for one-way, for an adult. It takes about 5 minutes for the cable car to reach the top. Make sure to stand at the sea-end of the car for stunning views of the Old Town and the Adriatic sea as the car makes it way up.
There are two levels of atrium at the station and then walk around the building over to the huge cross overlooking the city. After spending some time there, we were down and it was about 3:30pm.
We were almost done with all the sight-seeing spots in Dubrovnik so it was time to hop on to a boat and head to the nearest island of Lokrum. There are boats running every hour (last one is at 5:00pm) from the fisherman’s port in the Old Town. It costs HRK 50 per person for a round-trip and the boat takes about 30 minutes to reach Lokrum Island. It is illegal to stay over at Lokrum Island so make sure to catch the last boat at 6:00pm.
On the eastern side of the island, protected from the open sea, there is a small natural harbour. The island covers an area of 0.8 sq.km and is covered in thick Mediterranean flora and woods. On the southern part of the island there is a small salt lake, 10 m deep, known as “the Dead Sea” (Mrtvo More). Nearby there is a deserted Benedictine monastery, founded in 1023. The triple-naved basilica, and a 14th century part of the monastery were badly damaged in the 1667 earthquake. The monastery was deserted in 1798. Today Lokrum is a Nature Reserve and a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve. The island is now a popular destination with visitors to Dubrovnik. A restaurant is located in the former monastery, and walking routes round the island are marked out. There is also a nudist beach at the south-eastern end of the island.
After two hours of relax and a dip in the sea, we were back to the main island of Old Town and the sun was just setting. So we headed back to Cafe Buža for some drinks.
A stroll back to Stradun, a quick bite to eat and we were exhausted on the last day of this magnificent trip to one of the most gorgeous countries in the world – Croatia.
The next morning we had our flight back to U.S. departing at 6:30am. Croatia Airlines serves up a coach bus (HRK 35 per person) that stops right next to the cable car entrance 90 minutes before the flight time. These buses are usually on time and although you will find a lot of tourists at the bus stop, make sure to wave your hand at the bus when it’s arriving. Or it may just skip the stop!
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = HRK 5 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
|Breakfast||HRK 165 or $32||For 2 persons|
|Dubrovnik Walls||HRK 70 or $13||Per person|
|Rector’s Palace||HRK 40 or $8||Per person|
|War Photo Limited||HRK 30 or $6||Per person|
|Cable Car||HRK 80 or $16||Per person|
|Lunch – Pizza||HRK 58 or $11||For 2 persons|
|Drinks at Cafe Buža||HRK 64 or $13||For 2 persons (beer and wine)|
|Boat to Lokrum Island||HRK 50 or $10||Per person|
|Ice Coffee at Lokrum Island||HRK 27 or $6||Per person|
|Lasagna Dinner||HRK 118 or $23||For 2 persons|
|Tiramisu||HRK 25 or $5||Per person|
|Bus from Dubrovnik to Airport||HRK 35 or $7||Per person.|
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Diocletian’s Palace & coastal town.
Old city built on Maritime trade.
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