“Dubrovnik is sooo pretty, but extremely busy!”. I heard it from literally everyone. After all the kind warnings I expected Dubrovnik not only to be the next nirvana, but also an average Disneyland park on a Saturday afternoon during high season. Both were true. Luckily the first a bit more than the latter. Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to, and here are the 4 reasons why.
P.S. And, well, a lot of pictures. Those count as reasons too, right?
1. That city centre
Credit where credit is due: Dubrovnik has a magically beautiful city centre. Everything that matters in Dubrovnik is located within the city walls. You enter the city through some sort of gate and walk straight into a Game of Thrones empire. Seriously, if you watch that show, you’ll understand immediately why they use this city for Kings Landing. You enter the city through the main promenade called ‘Placa’. At the same time, this is the street you’ll want to avoid if you want to experience anything near authentic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, but everything is ridiculously overpriced.
If you have a look at the side streets you’ll notice how cute this city is, and that it’s not just grandeur. Sure, it’s both: you’ll almost trip over all the impressive churches and other buildings. The architecture is surrealistically beautiful (in my opinion). I really love Venetian architecture, and lucky for me Dubrovnik is full of it! Not really surprising if you look at its history. Dubrovnik looks very rich, developed and, well… just beautiful. It’s by far one of the most fairylike cities I’ve ever seen.
2. That history
As a history lover I loved being guided through the city, since Dubrovnik has a very interesting history. For centuries Dubrovnik was its own country with its own laws and currency. The harbour dates all the way back to the 7th century, but the rest of the architecture stems from the 14th-17th century period. The fountains you’ll find in the city have drinkable water, which has been this way for centuries. It’s so that if the city would ever be surrounded, the citizens would always have enough water.
After being under Venetian governance for a little while (hence the architecture) the city got a Hungarian government, which allowed Dubrovnik to be it’s own city-state (as long as they paid their Hungarian taxes, of course). And so the city developed into a rich trade-state during the 15th and 16th century, that profited immensely from its harbour and its location in between Europe and Turkey.
The sequel was a bit like this: yada yada, happy, money, rich, trading, yada yada, BAM EARTHQUAKE. Done. Since then the country went downhill, and in 1806 Napoleon took charge. After that, Dubrovnik was a part of Yugoslavia for a long time, and after that fell apart it became a part of Croatia. Despite the fact that there were fierce fights for a short time, you can’t tell when you visit the city nowadays.
3. A city wall?!?!
In basically every city you can go for a nice walk. Maybe even one along the water. Or one with a view of the whole city. But there aren’t many cities that combine all of those. Walking over a city wall with a view of the beautiful old inner city? Looking at the sparkling sea and islands further ahead? Sure, Dubrovnik has it all. Make sure to plan your walk at the end of the day: you’ll have a beautiful sunset, it’s less hot than during the day, and a bit less busy too.
4. You can go kayaking to an island!
I really like kayaking and I always like to do it when I’m traveling. There’s nothing I like more than actively discovering a city, and it’s even more fun from the water. So when I got the chance to go kayaking from Dubrovnik to the island Lokrum, I was thrilled! It wasn’t that far: maybe about half an hour, but the sea was quite rough at some points. Nevertheless the trip was totally worth it: Lokrum is beautiful, idyllic island. In the middle of the island you’ll find a crater lake. You take the stairs down and you’ll notice a lake (consisting of sea water). And as if that’s not enough (a completely enclosed crater lake, ummm yes?) there’s also peacocks walking around. Just… chilling. So there you are, swimming, in your crater lake, while there’s peacocks walking around everywhere. You’ll definitely feel like the coolest person on earth.
What did I think of the cliff railway to the top of the mountain?
Well… the view is really nice. You’ll get a view of the enclosed city and beautiful mountain tops and islands in the sea. It’s beautiful. But there’s nothing to do on top of the mountain (unless you want to go quad racing or visit a museum about the Balkan War). The price of (I believe) €11 was way too high in my opinion. Dubrovnik isn’t cheap anyway, but this was ridiculous.
But how busy is it?
I thought it wasn’t actually that bad. Yes, it’s busy. But so is Amsterdam, or London. Dubrovnik has an additional ‘downside’ that it’s enclosed in city walls, which makes there’s relatively little space for all the tourists. Maybe it’s because I thought it was going to be a circus, but I really thought it wasn’t that bad.
All in all Dubrovnik was a fantastic city and I highly recommend it. EasyJet flies from several European countries straight to Dubrovnik, which makes it a perfect city trip destination. It’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and believe me when I say it easily falls in the same category as Paris, Venice, Rome, Barcelona and Florence. So what are you waiting for?
Have you ever been to Dubrovnik?