THE MAGIC OF DUBROVNIK
Everything in Dubrovnik seems to be magical. There are plenty of things to do, so try to spend 3 or more days. That way you will profit from all the amazing sites this city has to offer.
What to Do:
RELAXING AT THE BEACH
Depending on the sesason, suppose it´s summer, you may want to try one of the beaches. We were in August and it was so hot, that one day we relaxed at BanjeBeach. It has a high staircase to go down because Dubrovnik is built on a cliff (remember this if you are traveling with old people or with someone who has moving difficulties).
The beach is narrow as all the beaches in the north of the Adriatic coast. Before going buy some watersocks as these are not sandy beaches, so getting into the water can be uncomfortable if you are not used to walk over pebbles and stones (locals do!). The water is lukewarm, calm and transparent but many people pass very close with kayaks or motorboats.
We spent an amazing day relaxing and reading, something we needed so hard after a long trip were we had visited lots of castles, churhes museums and more! The only wrongside is that the principal attractions close before 5pm so you may loose the opportunity to visit some important sites. It depends on your priorities and needs! Just take a note of this tip when you organize your trip.
Imagine it´s about 95 degrees hot and humid. I wasn´t sure -honestly!- I was so interested in walking the city around and above it. I didn´t understand fully what it meant «walking the wall». But hubby was so determined to do it, that he dragged me there. I am so grateful he did so! I put this as the #1 thing to do inside the historic centre. The whole oldtown is protected by a fortified wall and never received attacks, so it´s very well preserved. On the top there is a path to walk all around it and dazzle with the most amazing sights. It is only 1.5 mile long and in some parts 82 ft high. Tickets are sold on the different entrances and the whole wall is closed by 7pm (literally, doors are closed up there), so the last chance to go up is around 6pm. If it´s summer be ready to suffer the heat. But no worries! The views are worthy and there are bars and kiosks inside to by sodas and drinks (you can also bring along your own bottle of water). For me this is a «must do»!
This palace was designed for the Rector or Governor who was in charge of the public state. He had the keys of the doors of the walled city, that was locked at night. The facade has beautiful columns (you have to watch when the lights turn on in the evening!). The interior is known for its excellent acoustic so classic music concert are still offered there and people attend very glamorously dressed up.
THE JESUITS´ STAIRS
This staircase is supposed to imitate Piazza Spagna in Rome. It has some reminiscences, but it´s not as wide as Piazza Spagna. I found it has its own character. The stairs became more famous after an important Game of Thrones episode was shoot there. It is named that way because it leads to the Church of Saint Ignatius or Church of the Jesuits. Taking a picture can get complicated as it is so crowded with tourists, but be patient and you´ll make it!
There are so many churches to visit, so try to pick those that mean something to you or that are open while you are visiting. The Cathedral is very beautiful. Before visiting check the opening hours schedule. We get into it by chance: it was supposedly closed but that evening the adoration of the Holy Sacrament was taking place and the atmosphere was pretty emotional. People praying in Croatian, we didn´t get a word but we could witnessed people´s devotion. It has a famous painting from Italian artist Tiziano and also treasures the famous relics of Saint Blas, among others.
Saint Ignatius or the Jesuits Church is on top of the Jesuits Stairs. Built with a baroque style and it has amazing paintings. The acoustics of the church are great so until today concerts are given often.
This is the main avenue inside Dubrovnik which connects one main gate to another (2 opposite doors on the each side of the walled historic centre). It may take only 5-10 minutes to go directly from one gate to another along Stradun. You will find from churches to some shops, chocolate and ice stores as well as souvenirs stuff. On the narrow parallel streets there are more local vendors and shops.
Where to Stay:
If you are looking for lodging inside the historic quarter, notice that there are only appartments available for daily rent. No hotels are allowed inside the oldtown, although many of them are located walking distance from the main gates that welcome you into the oldtown. Nearby hotels tend to be more expensive, so it´s up to your budget (if your lodging is too far, you will probably need to take cabs or buses to go into the historic center).
We picked Grand Villa Argentina Hotel, which had a gorgeous seaview and was only 10 minute walk from the walled town. The rooms are spacious and comfy, with excellent wi-fi and air conditionate. The decoration, furniture, linens and carpet looked old, they need to be renovated (that was kind of dissapointing because it wasn´t exactly a «budget» hotel). The breakfast was excellent, very complete to every taste, champagne included. If you go in summer you can have your breakfast on a nice terrace quietly overlooking at the walled town and the Adriatic sea. So stunning sight! The hotel also has a pool, umbrellas and towels. And you can dive into the ocean. You can order light meals, sodas and drinks for lunch and eat there.
If you are heading to Dubrovnik let me say I truly envy you! Loved it so much!