In every city, there are a handful of iconic sights that a visitor simply can’t miss out on. Even if it may seem like a well-trodden path, there is a reason that these places and activities persist year after year, for the sheer beauty and spectacle that they offer. In Dubrovnik, visitors get to enjoy sights and places that have lasted for centuries and are utterly unlike anywhere else anywhere else in the world. These legendary spots are among the reasons that Dubrovnik has become a favorite destination for travelers from around the globe:
Dubrovnik City Walls
The old heart of Dubrovnik is completely encircled with 2 kilometers of massive stone walls that have protected the inhabitants for nearly a thousand years. These spectacular fortifications have withstood centuries of siege and warfare and have never fallen. From atop the walls, visitors enjoy an extraordinary view of Dubrovnik, the surrounding landscape, and the gorgeous Adriatic Sea. These walls have made the city famous, and it’s an experience not to be missed.
Visiting Dubrovnik City Walls
The walls are open every day of the year except Christmas Day. The entrance fee is ~$25, and must be paid with Croatian kuna or by credit card; they do not accept Euros. Entrance to the walls includes entrance to Fort Lovrijenac.
It typically takes about 2 hours to walk the length of the walls, and you can expect a moderate amount of stair-climbing. In the height of summer, a visit to the walls can be hot and crowded, so it is best to visit them early in the day to avoid both. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water with you.
Also known as St. Lawrence Fortress, Fort Lovrijenac is often called “Croatia’s Gibraltar.” Situated just outside the city walls, it was built to defend Dubrovnik from the Venetians, and from all attacks by sea. In addition to it’s historic significance as a key defensive measure for the city, in recent years it has been also repurposed as an excellent theater, and summer productions of the works of Shakespeare are rapidly becoming a popular local tradition.
Visiting Fort Lovrijenac
The entrance fee is included with the fee for the City Walls, but if you go to Fort Lovrijenac first, the entrance fee is ~$8, and keep your ticket for a discount on admission to the walls. The fortress is staggered over the rock, so visitors will need to do some stair climbing. It is not handicapped accessible. During the annual Dubrovnik summer festival, in July and August, Fort Lovrijenac is transformed into a theater.
Dubrovnik Old Town
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is among the best-preserved and most authentic medieval cities left in the world. Surrounded by the legendary city walls, the Old Town has narrow streets, sunny squares lined with cafes, and holds palaces, churches, monuments, and museums. It is the social and cultural center of Dubrovnik, where locals visit the open-air markets and bazaars, and young people gather to visit the clubs at night. Although the historic heart of Dubrovnik is small and easily crossed on foot, it is so full of life, history, sights, and activities that it offers endless opportunity for exploration.
Visiting Dubrovnik Old Town
The Old Town is closed to vehicle traffic, and cars and bicycles are prohibited. Many of the streets are only accessible by steep stairs. It’s important to wear good walking shoes that are resistant to slipping. Dubrovnik is incredibly safe, day and night, but large numbers of tourists do attract petty crime in the form of pickpockets and scam artists; use common sense.
In the heart of Old Town lies the Rector’s Palace. This stunning building dates back to the 12th century, but centuries of change, war, and destruction caused it to be rebuilt and expanded, so that today it encompasses a history of architectural styles and techniques. The original medieval fort was rebuilt in the 1400s in a Venetian-Gothic style, then repaired later than century with Renaissance elements, and repaired again in the 1600s in the Baroque style. This building is one of the most beautiful in Dubrovnik, and of central importance to the history of the city.
Visiting the Rector’s Palace
The Rector’s Palace is open daily. Admission is ~$20, and includes admission to the Maritime Museum, Ethnographic Museum Rupe, Revelin Fortress archaeological exhibit, House of Marin Držić, Dubrovnik Art Gallery, Natural History Museum and Dulčić, Masle, Pulitika Gallery.
Visiting these historic sites gives you a glimpse into the storied past and gorgeous present of this incredible city. Don’t miss these essential sights in Dubrovnik.
We know that unlike many of our well-trodden destinations, Croatia may seem like a step out of the comfort zone. But don’t let a few strange letters of their alphabet scare you off! Once you check out our brief eBook about what to expect on your first trip to Dubrovnik, you will realize that it is much more simple that you imagine. Download it right here: