The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’
The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is one of Croatia’s most-visited spots, and with good reason. This ancient walled city, one of the most beautiful towns on the entire Mediterranean, is now repaired and back in business since playing an unfortunate part in the civil war of the 1990s. With high stone walls, impressive battlements, winding back streets and a picturesque port, it’s the stuff that movie sets are made of. Better still, it’s real and waiting to be explored.
Dubrovnik is more renowned for its setting and its history than its shopping potential but, being the visitor honeypot that it is, there’s plenty there to woo the tourist dollar. In the Old Town, the open-air market at Gundulić Square sells fresh fruit and veg as well as souvenirs like basketware and olive oil. It runs until 1pm and gets particularly lively on Saturdays. Away from the Old Town, Lapad is home to a daily market of its own as well as the fashion outlets of DOC Mall (Kralja Tomislava 7), while the neighbourhood of Gruz has a large daily market that attracts plenty of local attention.
Food & Drink
Croatia’s cuisine can vary according to the region. In Dubrovnik, the restaurants draw on specialties from around the country – among them truffles and Mediterranean dishes – but tend, unsurprisingly, to focus on fish and seafood. Nautika (Brsalje 3) is a classy spot with a great sea view and an extensive menu, while the earthier, more traditional Kamenice (Gundulićeva poljana 8) draws locals and tourists with well-priced dishes – the squid often gets recommended. The resort hotels scattered around the wider region generally have culinary treats of their own – try the fusion cookery at Tartufo, part of the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa (Na Moru 1).
A week-long Mardi Gras-style celebration complete with brass bands, masked balls and noisy parades, traditionally ending with a mammoth part at Revelin Fort. Its roots stretch back to the 14th century.
Festival of St Blaise
Marked to commemorate Dubrovnik’s patron saint, the Festival of St Blaise combines religious observances with traditional costumes and a spirit of revelry. The relics of Saint Blaise himself are paraded along Stradun, the main street in the Old Town.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Held every summer, this is the longest-running cultural festival in Croatia, showcasing theatre, opera, dance, classical music and all manner of other performances. International names often feature on the schedule.
Running since 1983, this water polo tournament is the focal point of the city’s passion for the sport. It usually involves more than 50 separate clubs, with matches held over the course of several weeks off Dubrovnik’s beaches.
New Year’s Eve
Dubrovnik’s Stradun (main street) comes alive with late-night parties as each New Year rolls around, with the Old Town’s picturesque setting lending itself well to a memorable celebration. It’s usually less chilly than many other parts of Europe, too.
Dubrovnik has a good variety of accommodation options, broadly split between those properties located within the Old Town itself and the resort-style hotels that cluster along the surrounding coastline. Within the medieval walls, the luxurious Pucić Palace (Od Puča 1) is a baroque, 18th-century building with a plum location, while there’s a less pricey but similarly historical offering at Villa Four Winds (Kunićeva 23). Away from the main tourist sights, Dubrovnik Palace (Masarykov put 20) is a high-end modern resort located on the Lapad Peninsula, and the more modest Hotel Petka (Obala Stjepana Radića 38) provides good three-star accommodation in Lapad Bay.