27th October 2016: No visit to Croatia is complete without exploring the UNESCO listed city of Dubrovnik. There really is no better way to discover the history and charm of this 'Pearl of the Adriatic', than to explore on foot with a walking tour. Accompanied by an experienced guide, you’ll not only discover all the major sites, but you’ll also be entertained with interesting stories and details, giving you a real insight that only the locals would know. Here are my highlights from the tour.
1. Old Port
Your tour will most likely start at the Old Port, in the Eastern part of the city. It was once a thriving boatyard, where boats were built in the old Arsenal, and the shipbuilders were known for their quality of work. In the 17th century, it became the original 'Quarantine', where merchants had to spend a mandatory 40 days as precaution against plague and other incurable infections. Today the Old Port is home to many private boats and yachts of local citizens, and you can see them bobbing in the water as you stroll along the walkway and Breakwater Porporela.
2. City Walls
Possibly the most medieval walled city in Europe, the huge ramparts that encase the old town are incredible to wander. About 1,940 metres in length, you can walk along these walls in about an hour to an hour and a half, and with spectacular views, it is a must. Along the tour you’ll enjoy plenty of stories and facts, as you gaze out over passing sailboats, the Old Town and shimmering Adriatic Sea. Tours cost approximately 120 Kuna.
3. Old Town
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is stunning and full of character, with cobbled streets and narrow alleyways, I’d advise you to leave the Jimmy Choos at home, and wear some comfortable flat shoes. A tour of the town will take you down the Main Street or Stradun, where you will find a selection of restaurants, pizzerias, cafes and al fresco dining. The ice cream parlours are also worth a visit. The main sights include an 18th century cathedral, 14th century Dominican monastery, a gothic Rectors Palace and beautiful fountains, so there’s plenty of stunning architecture to appreciate along the way.
4. War History
On a more sombre note, it is hard to avoid the lingering presence of the civil war, 25 years ago, when you see the beautiful architecture pocked with bullet holes. For those interested in the wartime history, the Homeland War Exhibition within the Old Town is definitely worth a visit. Featuring the photos and names of all those who perished defending their city, as well as documents, art, weapons, equipment and video materials, it gives a detailed insight.
Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of stunning architecture, breath-taking cultural heritage, markets and restaurants, so it’s perfect to explore on your own or with a tour. The tour was wonderful, introducing us to some sites we’d never have thought of, and with the knowledge and stories of the local guides, it really brought the city to life.