Croatia is a hugely underrated destination that’s somewhat off the beaten track compared to more popular Mediterranean holiday hotspots such as Spain and the Balearics. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s got all the weather of Spain’s coastlines yet more history than the cultural capitals of the world all rolled into one, once named the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ by Byron, Dubrovnik is most definitely the place for you.
If you want a taste of Croatia as part of a larger trip, you’re in luck as Dubrovnik is one of the best Eastern Mediterranean cruise ports, meaning the destination is included as part of various cruise routes in the area and often has excellent value cruise deals during the summer months. Small cruises will dock just outside the city in the Old Harbour, meaning you’ll get the best first look at the city imaginable, whereas larger ships will dock a few miles away. Whether you choose to spend a day exploring the ancient walled city or a week, you won’t be disappointed.
What to do in Dubrovnik
You can’t fail to be astounded by the beauty of the wonderfully preserved UNESCO World Heritage site that is Dubrovnik’s baroque walled city, backed by dramatic hillsides and spilling out into the crystal clear waters of the Med. The ancient Lovrijenac fortress of Dubrovnik will be instantly recognisable to many as the film setting for Game of Thrones. Take the cable car from Mount Srd to take in the best views of the breath-taking landscape, or book yourself onto a walking tour to learn the history of the Republic of Ragusa associated with this fascinating city.
While Dubrovnik is renowned for its beautiful views and history, it’s also the perfect place to get active with kayaking tours around the naturally rugged coastline or on in lakes; stand up paddle boarding to see the Old Town from an entirely new angle; or lace up your boots and take to the hills – Dubrovnik’s cliffs offer spectacular views back down to the sea.
Dubrovnik has managed to make a name for itself not only in its beauty, but for its celebration of film that takes place in the city once a year. Screens are put up outdoors in the summer months around the old walled city where locals and tourists alike can spend a few hours immersed in movies and entertainment. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting while this is on, it’s something that’s definitely worth taking advantage.
The Mediterranean is renowned for its excellent fresh seafood, and Dubrovnik is no exception. Croatian cuisine takes influence from the many varied regions around it including Italy and Spain, as well as Austria and Hungary. The best way to experience the best food Dubrovnik has to offer is to seek out the bars frequented by the locals. The Old Town is home to oyster bars aplenty, and these are always worth a visit thanks to the fresh, clean waters of surrounding sea. But the most important thing is to make sure that you don’t leave the city without a taste of the local gelato under the hot summer sun.