Dubrovnik Travel Guide
Snuggled up between the waters of the Adriatic Sea and the grizzled Srd mountain is Croatia’s most popular destination, needing no pair of discerning eyes to scrutinize its beaming beauty. Dubrovnik is essentially a city of perpetual renaissance yet standing proud to have preserved its true identity. Its set-piece churches and public establishments blend strikingly with green-shuttered stone houses, constituting a perfect ensemble that has remained untouched even with the foray of modern-day development. Outside its walls, Dubrovnik exudes sheer Mediterranean elegance with its suburban milieu: its gardens are a fusion of bougainvillea and oleanders; and figs, lemons, and peaches.
A trip to Dubrovnik guarantees nothing more than a liberating experience, just like the city itself represents– a powerful metaphor of freedom. No matter how carelessly you wander through the city, the streets are bound to lead you to something impressive. Be it a restaurant, a new opportunity, a new friend, a stunning art piece, a breathtaking view, Dubrovnik offers you a dose of all of the above.
Best Time to Visit
Visit Dubrovnik ideally during the fall months, between September and October, when the weather is balmy and visitor influx is not that high. The water is also at its warmest during these months, which makes for a perfect timing to hit the beaches. Summer, being the peak season, may have the nicest weather, but it also implies that the city is packed with tourists, and that hotel accommodations and travel costs are astronomical. Prices plummet from October all the way through April, but so will the temperatures and the beach appeal.
Immerse yourself in cultural experiences and the magic that a city such as Dubrovnik, whose heart beats to the rhythm of art and streets are made of intricate strokes of vibrant color, has to offer. Plan your trip in time for these events.
1) Dubrovnik Shakespeare Festival
Timed to kick off on the Bard’s birthday, April 23, and running for two weeks, Dubrovnik’s own Shakespeare Festival has the mission of enriching the city’s cultural offering and promoting it abroad. The event was founded in 2009 by American playwright Michael Lederer. For the 2012 bash, which runs until May 7, there will be two contemporary versions of Shakespeare plays, plus premieres of two plays by Lederer himself.
Dubrovnik’s version of Mardi Gras sees colorful parades, lively brass bands, flamboyant masked balls and dancing, culminating in a party at the Revelin Fort. The event lasts for over a week, sometime in February.
3) Dubrovnik Summer Festival
This long-running high-brow festival, which spans from the 10th of July to the 25th of August, is a citywide event. Shows bring the city’s historic jewels to life, with performances (many of them open-air) at its landmark sights, and with the City Walls and moonlit sky as the backdrop. Bear in mind that there are also a number of free street performances when tickets get sold out.
Dubrovnik’s old town certainly makes getting around seem like a great challenge; however, do not fear for the city’s wonders are not impossible to access. Getting lost is not a problem since all streets have signs, making the city easy to navigate. As you walk through the lively streets, you will be able to experience the city’s color and magic in every corner. If you are going to travel outside Old City, into the less explored parts of Dubrovnik, getting around by bus or renting a car is the best option.
What to Do
Dubrovnik, being a cultural metropolis with a rich history and art background, is the perfect place to voyage to. You won’t have a minute to lose as you explore the city, as you will find yourself getting the most out of your experience. While there, never miss out on these activities, or your Dubrovnik vacation will not be complete!
1) Go Sea Kayaking
Paddle your way through the vivid waves that caress Dubrovnik’s beaches’ soft sand and explore the natural wonders that go beyond the artistic splendor, the city’s tumult and the abundant history into something simpler, yet captivating. Watch the picture-perfect village from afar and forget about the world as you explore the depth of the sea, its life and the small caves in which the light, shadow and the waters reflection absorb you into the ocean’s own masterpiece. Sea Kayaking tours are popular among visitors in which a professional kayaks along with you and leads you to the best spots while sharing with you his knowledge about Dubrovnik.
2) Shop at Old Town’s Signature Market
Find tradition in the Town’s oldest market. Here you can find some fresh fruits, vegetables and all kinds of exotic treats. The homemade brandy is something you must try, since encountering it anywhere else is rare. Find all kinds of Mediterranean goods (that have enchanted the world since the beginning of times) including spices and scented oils.
Get an unrivaled view of the city and the glorious beaches from above. Take a cable car tour over Dubrovnik and get out your camera to snap some stunning pictures of the city.
4) Sunbathe at Banjo
Go to Banje, the city’s signature and most famous beach. It is peaceful and the warm temperatures are ideal for sunbathing. The Elaphite islands are the best spot for relaxation in Dubrovnik and of course for a nice and long swim in the welcoming water. The best beach to treat yourself with peaceful swim is Sunj beach in Lopud. Not only is it beautiful, but is proximity to the port is a great advantage for those looking to get the most out of their time. St. Jacobs beach is sure to awe and is comfortably close to Dubrovnik’s old city. It doesn’t matter which of these beaches you choose; you are guaranteed to enjoy taking a dip into the clear warm water and take pleasure in the majesty of your surroundings.