George Bernard Shaw succinctly summed up the outstanding beauty of this alluring city when he said “Those who are looking for paradise on Earth should come and see Dubrovnik”. It is a city of stunning architecture, rich treasures and magnificent scenery but be warned, it is certainly not a well-kept secret!
Although we are here early in the tourist season, the city teems with tourists from all corners of the Earth and the myriad of languages overheard at every turn would confuse the most linguistically adept scholar! Still, it makes for fascinating people watching and the city deals well with the crowds.
After taking the airport shuttle into town (40kn each), we entered the old city through the ancient Pile gate. Immediately in front of us was Onofrio’s Fountain, which has been supplying fresh drinking water to the people of Dubrovnik for centuries. It’s the perfect place to refill your water bottle and save a few much needed kunas, especially as it seems that the business owners have perfected the art of relieving tourists of their hard earned cash at every turn. Apparently, paradise comes at a price and although Dubrovnik is not a cheap destination, it’s worth every kuna!
If your time here is limited and you only manage to do two things in Dubrovnik, you really should walk the ancient city walls and take the cable car.
The ancient city walls stretch for about 2km and completely enclose the old city. They can (and should) be walked in their entirety starting at the main entrance at Stradum. The views of the crystal clear Adriatic and Dubrovnik’s red roofs, narrow streets and courtyards are enchanting but be warned, there are over 1000 steps to be climbed along the route … payback for me having avoided the gym of late 🙂 The final viewpoint is the Minceta Fortress, which is the highest point of the walls, the most tired my legs have been for ages and the very best vantage point for photographs. I will definitely be feeling it tomorrow!
After a sustaining lunch (read cheap pastries from the bakery), we decided to visit the cable car in the afternoon. It takes about 5 minutes to reach the top of Srd Hill from where the views of Dubrovnik, the Adriatic and its many islands are simply breathtaking. The wind was blowing quite hard when we were up there but visibility was still about 60km and in addition to the seaward views, the inland mountain vistas were simply stunning. It’s well worth the 130kn fare but be warned, the restaurant at the top is very expensive so rather keep your beer money for your return to the old town.
The ideal way to end a thoroughly satisfying day of sightseeing was to have hot pizza and cold beer while watching the sun set over the Adriatic.
Tomorrow we set out on the next leg of our adventure … a five day boat trip from Dubrovnik to Split, so watch this space!