Check it Out: Dubrovnik

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“Those who seek paradise on Earth must come to Dubrovnik,” wrote George Bernard Shaw. Dubrovnik, also known as “the Pearl of the Adriatic” is one of the most beautiful small cities in Europe. With its intricate maze of medieval-esque streets and cafes, it’s a lovely place to explore, even in the winter. The best time to go weather-wise is Easter or Autumn, in between the chilly rain and summer heat—but the Christmas festivities and month-long July outdoor festival are certainly a fabulous excuse to check out the town. Here are some Must-Sees on our List: 

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  1. For an unforgettable view of sea- and cityscape, walk the famous ancient City Walls. Go early in the morning or late evening to avoid the crowds to watch people weave their way among the maze of Dubrovnik streets. The magnificent fortifications date back to the 10th and 13th centuries, reaching 25m in height at their highest. The main entrance is just outside Pile Gate, and is open from 8am to 5:30pm. Admission is 90 krona and it takes about one hour to make the 2 km (1.24 miles) loop, so be sure to pack water and snacks just in case.

  2. Art lovers and history buffs should head over to the Francisco Monastery (14th century), to admire its stunning Gothic-Romanesque architecture. The library that lies within is one of the biggest in Europe, with over 70,000 books, more than 1,200 of which are manuscripts several centuries old. The monastery also houses the third oldest functioning pharmacy in the world, dating back to 1317.

  3. The 15th-century Rector’s Palace is another worthwhile stop. Its elegant halls feature countless pieces of old furniture, paintings and sculpture, an atrium and a theatrical stage. Nearby, the Archaeological Museum also houses an intriguing collection of hundreds of objects (coins, ceramics, glass), dating back from Prehistoric, ancient Egyptian, Roman and early Christian periods. 

  4. Visitors not afraid of heights can take a cable car out to the top of Mount Srd for about 94 kuna ($15) roundtrip. A clear day will grant you views of up to 35 miles and ample photo opportunities. Go at dusk to watch the sunset over the salmon-colored rooftops. On the top of the mountain is also the intriguing Museum of Croatian War of Independence, located with Fort Imperial and worth a visit. Exhibits include documents, art, photographs, weapons, mines, and explosives. When you’re done you can sample some Mediterranean fare with excellent views at the Restaurant Panorama, located at the upper cable car station.

  5. Dubrovnik would be nothing without its port! You can trace the city’s seafaring history at the Maritime Museum. Located in St. John’s Fortress, exhibits include sailors uniforms, navigational instruments, maps and model ships.

  6. If you’re looking for souvenirs, browse Dubrovacka Kuca in the medieval St. Dominik’s Tower—they have an impressive selection of local rakija, wines, olive oil, honey and truffle products.  For fresh seasonal foods, try the morning open-air market on Grunduliceva Poljana in the old town. Visitors into designer clothes and shoes should drop by Maria Concept Store for the latest in forward fashion.

  7. The more adventurous might consider taking a ferry to Mljet National Park and wandering its many hiking trails and 12th-century Benedictine monastery. You can also take a boat out to the beautiful wildlife reserve of Lokrum (departs every half-hour from the Old City Harbour). Ferry companies operate year round to these destinations, and further to Korcula and Split in warm months. 

  8. On the eastern end of the Stradun Street stands the famous stone column fashioned in the form of a knight. According to legend, Orlando and his fleet defended Dubrovnik from a 15-month-long Saracen siege, and in honor of his memory they erected the column in Orlando’s visage.

  9. If you fancy an excursion, drive out to Plitvice Lakes National Park, and admire the beautiful cascades, and unrivaled pools of bright green and blue. Although there are a few buses, the best way to get there is by car, and may require an overnight, as it’s more than 400 kilometers from Dubrovnik.

Visit Dubrovnik and nearby Split and Istria Peninsula on an Adriatic cruise or roadtrip from Zagreb. Call Willamette Intl Travel to discuss options for traveling throughout Croatia. 

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