For superbly preserved medieval cities in picture-perfect settings, you can't do better than Dubrovnik. From atop one of the massive limestone walls that surround this ancient port city, the view runs across red and tan tile roofs, around sea-splashed bastions and battlements, and into the blue Adriatic. The city is soaked in history and at the same time, full of life.
In the narrow streets below, residents go about their business, sweeping or scrubbing the doorsteps, hanging out wash on overhead lines, drying fishing nets in the late morning sun or simply lingering on corners to chat and observe the passing parade of tourists who, in turn, watch them. Here and there, flowers or vines spring from pots or window boxes or mossy crevices, reaching up two or three stories from the deep, shady canyon of the street for the day's quick dose of passing sun.
Dubrovnik led a charmed life through the tumultuous Middle Ages and beyond, paying allegiance to a succession of empires (Byzantine, Hungarian, Venetian, Ottoman) while retaining virtual independence as a maritime power and city- state. Of course, the walls and fortifications helped to discourage would-be invaders. In places, they are as much as 18 feet thick. The history of Dubrovnik has always been tumultuous and complicated.
The Old Town is one of those great places to stroll and explore: boutiques, bookstores, native craft and jewelry stores, coffee and pastry shops and restaurants on the main street, shops and tiny stone rowhouses on the narrow cobblestone alleys that lead off perpendicularly in either direction.
The recent history has seen Dubrovnik badly damaged in the 1990s Croatian War for independence. The Old Town today, however, is a tourist hot-spot attracting visitors from all corners of the world. The renaissance and baroque palaces have become venues for classical music concerts and cozy little art galleries can be found scattered around the small alleys.
Dubrovnik is beautiful all year long, but to truly enjoy its charm, it's best to come in the low season, when it's not too busy. March, April or late October is the ideal time to visit Dubrovnik. You'll get to share the city with its locals and there's no better way to truly experience a place like living there for a while like a local.
We invite you to discover Dubrovnik and learn about its history it in the company of our well-educated tour guides, all locals born and raised in this gem of a city!