Best Things To Do in Dubrovnik
Tiny Dubrovnik packs in a lot of to-dos. Start by tackling its history; patrol the elevated stone walkway, from there you'll take in the gorgeous city views by the sea. Pick your next stop from above. Should it be a religious site like the Dubrovnik Cathedral or the Franciscan Monastery? Or should it be a political one like the Rector's Palace? And don't forget why you came to the Dalmatian Coast in the first place -- the gorgeous beaches and warm crystal waters. You can hop a water taxi to the shores of Lokrum Island or enjoy one a local beach like Banje.
Updated October 10, 2018
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The first thing you'll see as you approach Dubrovnik from the sky or the sea is the city walls. These ancient fortifications were built and rebuilt in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries as the threat of Turkish invaders grew. At some points, the walls are almost 20 feet thick and 82 feet high. They enclose the entire Old Town, protected by strategically placed forts and towers.
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The original Dubrovnik cable cars shut down in 1991 after the town sustained heavy bombing. But in the summer of 2010, nearly 20 years later, the cable car triumphantly returned during the Summer Festival -- the city's largest event. The company's website claims to offer "the best views of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area … from the top of the Srd Hill." And recent visitors concur. One TripAdvisor user writes, "On a nice day, this is a must-do activity in Dubrovnik." The same traveler also includes a great money-saving tip: "The secret is that the cable car operator sells one-way tickets (for about 60% of the cost of a round trip). Take the cable car up the mountain and then extend your enjoyment of the fabulous views of the southern Dalmatian coast by walking the trail back down the mountain at your leisure." The approximately 30 minute walk down Srd Hill drops you off right outside of the Old Town city walls. At the top, you'll find an elaborate snack bar that offers a small selection of drinks to be enjoyed on the two viewing terraces.
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On its website, the War Photo Limited professes its intent is "to educate the public in the field of war photography, to expose the myth of war and the intoxication of war, to let people see war as it is, raw, venal, frightening, by focusing on how war inflicts injustices on innocents and combatants alike." In layman's terms, this museum might be a welcome change from the ancient history on view at Dubrovnik's other top sites.
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Dubrovnik Cathedral, or the Church of the Assumption, is actually the third church built on the site. The first, a Byzantine-style building, was constructed in the 6th and 7th centuries, before a Romanesque church replaced it in the 12th century. Then, the 1667 earthquake wrecked the structure. The final incarnation assumed the Baroque fashion soon after. Aside from the architecture, the artwork is of particular note, which includes Titian's The Assumption at the main altar. For about 10 HRK (or about $2 USD), you can explore the treasury that has amassed a large collection of previous reliquaries and several body parts of St. Blaise. One IgoUgo user remarks, "The cathedral’s treasury is a true spectacle; and if you happen to have any parts of St. Blaise lying around at home, I urge you to donate them."
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If you didn't know, the Dubrovnik beaches are limited in space and number; those available can get very crowded. So where are you going to catch some zzz's in sun in this resort paradise? Lokrum Island is the picture-perfect answer. Less than half a mile offshore, this forested island calls to the onlookers from the Dubrovnik city walls. One IgoUgo visitor who made the short voyage recalls, "The beaches are very rocky … but they are clean and safe, unlike those on the mainland." For swimmers, the island also offers a small saltwater lack and, for exhibitionists, a nude beach.
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By the end of your visit to this circumvented paradise, you might find yourself wanting to stay inside the formidable stone city walls. One head-over-heels TripAdvisor user exclaims: "There were men playing classical music, aromas in the area, the historical castle you are walking through, and some of the friendliest people you can meet. This was truly a great experience. We only stayed half the day because of the cruise but I would go again! Bring a camera because you don't want to forget this trip!"
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Also known as the Dubrovnik Museum, Rector's Palace isn't what you think of when you imagine a monarch's residence. Perhaps, that's because each rector only lived there for one-month stints at time. This system was in place in the Dubrovnik republic until 1806, when Napoleonic forces ended its sovereignty. Now, you can explore the halls of this public palace. The internal courtyard stands as the most memorable feature, but there is also the city museum on the second floor. Here, you'll find antique furniture and works from local artists. You should also examine the bizarre collection of clocks. Reviews of the palace are generally positive; however, the museum lacks much warm praise. One TripAdvisor user reports: "The building itself is lovely, with a beautiful staircase in the courtyard. However, I found the actual exhibits rather boring."
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This Franciscan Monastery has operated continually for almost 700 years. Even more fascinating, the monastery houses the third-oldest functioning pharmacy in Europe. The museum portion of the pharmacy has antique laboratory equipment, tools and medical literature. In 1667, an incredibly destructive earthquake almost brought down the entire complex; all that remained was the church portal. One highlight is the 14th-century cloisters with ornate columns that have unique faces on the capitals.
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