Updated: Jul 12
In Christmas break of 2018, We decided to visit one of the most beautiful cities of Croatia. Dubrovnik is located on the South, touching the coast of Adriatic Sea. The city is famous for its amazing and mind-blowing Old town.
The city got famous and one of the most visited after the shooting of the famous TV series “Game of Thrones”.
You can either use the bus, flight or rent your own car to travel from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. We came by a bus and the fare was quite nominal costing between € 20-30. You have an option of Flixbus or Croatian bus.
The total journey is for 8 hours but in our case it was for 9 hours as we used Croatian bus; the bus services are quite shitty. They even charged extra 3-4 for each bag, we kept in luggage trunk.
We had travelled along the coast and crossed the small patch of Bosnia where we faced border check. The official person came into the bus when we were exiting and entering the border and stamped our passports.
For our stay, we booked an airbnb. The host was super nice. He was waiting for us in the corner of the street as we got late due to the delay in our journey. The room was just okayish as the price was very fair.
If you want to spend minimal on your stay then I would definitely recommend this place as it’s just a 1 minute walk from the bus stop that takes to old town directly within 10 minutes. Don’t forget to change your currency because they only accept Croatian kuna in bus. The Uber is also quite cheap in the city as well.
Dubrovnik is known for its distinctive Old Town with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace and the Stradun is lined with shops and restaurants.
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What we heard from the locals that especially in summers the old town become so crowded that you can hardly breathe or walk. Sometimes, they even close the gate of the city to avoid the flood of people. Due to climatic changes, the city is becoming really hot in summers.
We were there on Christmas 2018 and the weather was around 14 degree Celsius and less crowded that’s ideal for exploring the city. If you want to visit the city in summer, we would highly suggest reaching to the old town early in the morning before it gets too crowded.
As we were coming from Zagreb, the general impression was Croatia is a cheaper country but Dubrovnik is highly overpriced.
When we reached the old town, it was a Christmas eve. The city was decorated with chandeliers and small stalls. There were many Christmas parties and concerts were happening in the town and the people were properly dressed up to enjoy the glimpse of the eve.
From where to enter the Old Town:
We entered the city from its Iconic Pile gate that’s a main entrance from the west to the city. The old town was cheered up with Christmas songs. The gate is connected with the wooden and stone bridge.
The Bokar fortress is also located here for the protection of the city. Apart from this, you can also enter from other East side Gates to the city called Ploca Gate.
Apart from this, you can also enter from other East side Gates to the city called Ploca Gate. The cable car is also located just a few miles away from the Gate.
If you are taking an airport shuttle, the bus stop is just next to the cable car. You can also enjoy a cable car ride and reach to the top called Srd. It was being constructed in Napolean era. You can also enjoy Baggi Safari.
Due to the Christmas holiday, the cable car was not operating. So we didn’t get the chance to go there.
The large Onofrio’s fountain is on the entrance of the city. The Onofrio’s was the main source of water for the local until the 19th century.
City Wall, Old Town:
The old city is surrounded with City wall. You have to climb up the city wall from the left side of the city entrance. The ticket cost € 20 and it also includes the entrance to Lovrijenac Fort.
It’s highly recommended to come early in the morning to enjoy the view of the distinctive old city in less crowd and also get your pictures with beautiful view of the old town and Adriatic.
It almost takes 2 hour to complete the round of the city wall and there are 3 exit points.
Check the city view from one of the tallest towers called Minceta tower in the city wall walk. Don’t forget to keep the entrance ticket with you because the security normally checks it on different points.
Exploring Dubrovnik, Old Town:
As we stepped into the old town, the most famous street of the Dubrovnik called Stradun came. It has local shops and delicious restaurants. Due the Christmas festivity, the street was lit up with lights, music and small traditional stalls. There are different crossing on the street and you can find narrow streets on both sides of the Stradun.
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The streets on the left have restaurants and narrow stairs which take into the upper part of the town. We were totally lost in the beauty of these narrow stairs which are well connected with other streets.
The street on the right side takes into the maze of other connected streets.
On the main street of Stradun, the two main historical church of St. saviours and Franciscan Monastery is located.
At the end of the Stradun, you can see the beautiful Sponza Palace. Nowadays, many activities are taking place in summers for the entertainment of the locals and tourists. You can also see the famous Orlando’s column.
Old Port of Dubrovnik:
You can also find the gate (near the rector's palace) which takes you to the Old Port of Dubrovnik. Normally, the ferries to Lokrum Island depart from old harbor and also some sightseeing boats as well. The ferries are not working in out of season.
As we were there in winters, so we did not get the chance to enjoy the ferry ride but we had sit near the Adriatic and enjoy the beautiful view. Check the schedule
Next to the gate to old port, the Rector’s palace is situated. It’s one of the most elegant baroque style palace and become more famous after the few scenes has been shot here of Game of Thrones.
St Blaise's Church:
Near to Rector’s Place, you can find the iconic St Blaise’s Church. The church has amazing baroque architecture and beautiful staircase which makes it one of the most famous wedding churches of Dubrovnik.
Spanish Stairs & St. Ignatius Church:
In the south of the city, the famous Baroque staircase (where walk of shame happened in GOT) takes to the St. Ignatius Church. From the famous staircase, you can see the beautiful view of the surroundings. The church has the oldest bell of the city.
The old town also has a small Mosque for the muslims.
Baroque Dubrovnik Cathedral displays a polyptych (multi-panel painting) by renowned Venetian artist Titian as well as more than 200 gold and silver reliquaries from the 11th–18th centuries.
Best Open-air Bar in Dubrovnik:
It’s highly recommended to roam around the narrow streets and stairs of the old down and lost in the beauty of the city. We have also been to the Buza bar. It’s an open air bar with a beautiful view of the sea. You can also do cliff diving but obviously depending on the weather.
Outside of Dubrovnik Old town:
Outside of the Ploca gate, Revelin Fort is situated. The purpose of the fort was to provide the additional security to the city from the east side.
If you have time, take a walk from outside of the Pile Gate to Ploca Gate, I was totally amazed with the outer boundaries of the wall and incredible bridges you can see from outside of the old town.
Outside of the old town, you can see the famous Fort Lovrijenac. From the city wall top, you can also enjoy the mesmerizing view of the fort and the sea.
The fort is located on the shore of the sea. You can also climb up the Fortress and enjoy the view of the old town. The cannons are installed on the fort well explain the historical defense of the city.
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Restaurants in Dubrovnik, Old town:
During our stay, we have tried a few of the restaurants from the old town. One of them is Pasta Lab, they have a variety of Pasta and Pizzas. The other one is Burger Tiger. They are also open till late.
We would highly recommend trying their burgers with their unique fries. Café bar Orlando is also highly recommended. We had their amazing Pizza.
Hotels in Dubrovnik:
Due to the Christmas holidays, the local restaurant outside the old town was not opened. For enjoying the evening coffee, we went to Hilton that’s just outside of the old town.
To enjoy the amazing view of the sea, we would also suggest Rixos Dubrovnik. The hotel has an amazing view pool and lobby.
Lapad in Dubrovnik:
Outside of the old town, you can also enjoy the large Peninsula called Lapad. There’s a direct bus to Lapad and it’s just 4 km from old town.
Apart from all this, Dubrovnik is famous for its Artistic panels painted by Venetian artist Titian, its pebbly beaches and crystal clear water, late night beachside clubs and bars. In short, a small city has a lot to offer and offers the best holiday experience.