When you arrive to Dubrovnik, it is for sure that you will be enchanted by its ancient charm. The Old Town, a World Heritage Site at UNESCO, is full of enchanting sights and historic landmarks. Let this guide lead you through the streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
Pile Gate – your first-to-see attraction in Dubrovnik.
The primary entrance to the Old Town, bustling Pile Gate, dates back to the 15th century. In the olden days, it featured a wooden drawbridge that was raised at night to deter unwanted visitors from entering the fortified city.
This drawbridge was eventually replaced with a stone one. Today, a picturesque stone bridge leads you across a verdant passageway through the Pile Gate and down the steps to Stradun, the Old Town’s main promenade.
City walls in Dubrovnik
The historic heart of Dubrovnik Old Town is encircled by impressive walls (“Gradske Zidine” in Croatian). These walls safeguarded the city from invasions since the 10th century. They stretch nearly for two kilometers, and they reach 25 meters in some areas. This formidable defense system comprises numerous gates, towers, and forts.
To the east, by the harbor, you’ll find Fort St. Jana (Tvrda sv Ivan), which now houses the Maritime Museum, and Fort Revelin (Tvrdava Revelin). Near Fort Revelin stands the 16th-century Ploče Gate (Vrata Od Ploča), which links the fort to the Sponza Palace inside the city walls via a stone bridge.
You can access the historical center from the west side through the grand Pile Gate (described above). In the nearby square, you’ll find an entrance to the walls, allowing you to climb up and walk around, admiring views of the city from above – which are totally insane, we promise!
You’ll then find yourself in the heart of the Dubrovnik Old Town, on the Stradun or Placa. This marble-paved boulevard is lined with quaint stores, lively cafes and charming architecture. Be sure to stop and marvel at the intricate details of the great Onofrio Fountain, a true testament to the city’s medieval past.
As you continue your exploration, don’t miss a visit to the Rector’s Palace. This Gothic-Renaissance building was once the residence of Dubrovnik’s elected ruler and now houses a fascinating museum. Here you can immerse yourself in the rich history of the city and admire a collection of historical furniture, paintings and artifacts.
Dubrovnik Old Town: Cathedral
Next on the agenda is the magnificent Dubrovnik Cathedral. Rebuilt after an earthquake in the 18th century, this Baroque-style church houses an impressive treasury. Don’t forget to take a look at the beautiful paintings, including a famous work attributed to Titian.
After admiring the beauty of the cathedral, make your way to the nearby Franciscan monastery. As you stroll through the tranquil cloisters, take time to admire the ornate stonework and lush gardens. Be sure to visit the Old Pharmacy Museum, one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, located in the monastery.
When you get hungry, indulge in the delicious local cuisine. Try traditional dishes like “pašticada” (a slow-cooked beef dish) or “crni rižot” (black risotto) and drink a glass of good Croatian wine with it. While eating, enjoy the lively atmosphere of the charming pubs in the old town.
End your day with a cable car ride up Srđ Mountain. During the ascent, you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the Old Town and the shimmering Adriatic Sea. Once at the top, you can enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious dessert at the mountain restaurant.
In summary, the Old Town of Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of history, culture and charm. From the well-preserved city walls to the lively streets, you’ll undoubtedly create lasting memories in this charming city. So pack your bags and let the magic of Dubrovnik sweep you away.