“The best time to enjoy the Dubrovnik wall walk is just before the sun sets,” they say.
True. And one time – as the setting sun bathed everything in a vivid golden glow – we did stroll atop the massive Dubrovnik city walls that surround the Old City.
And it was lovely…
Dubrovnik wall walk
But another time, we enjoyed walking the walls of Dubrovnik in the morning.
Strolling from tower to tower, we gazed down inside the city at a treasure trove of Gothic and Renaissance churches, monasteries, Venetian palaces and ornately carved fountains – all crammed together with shuttered apartments, hole-in-the-wall boutiques, and outdoor restaurants and cafés.
It was a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people who reside within the wall.
Schoolboys kicked a soccer ball along a narrow cobbled street. And a woman hung her laundry in a tiny courtyard garden.
On the other side of the wall, laughing youths dove off the rocks at the wall’s base into the cobalt-blue sea.
So really, any time is a great time for walking the wall in Dubrovnik. When deciding what to do in Dubrovnik, make sure you put this on your list!
Pile Gate, dubrovnik
There are three entrances to the Dubrovnik city walls – one at Pile Gate, one at Ploce Gate (near the Dominican Monastery) and one close to the Maritime Museum at Fort St. John.
Most visitors enter the fortified Old City – designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site – through the drawbridge over the 15th century Pile Gate (or Vrata od Pila). The Pile Gate entrance to the walls is thus a convenient one. You have a steep flight of stairs to climb to reach the top of the wall.
When you’ve finished your Dubrovnik city walls walk, you can exit the walls and enter Dubrovnik Old Town through this gate.
Allow two hours to walk the wall if it’s your first time. While you can do it in an hour, you’ll likely be so blown away by the views that you’ll be stopping to take photos every few feet – and you really want time to take it all in.
Dubrovnik Old Town
“Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik,” raved playwright George Bernard Shaw upon visiting the city in 1929.
Other Croatian cities, like Split, are gems too.
But Dubrovnik – especially the Old Town – deserves its reputation as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”
Are you a fan of the medieval series Game of Thrones? Then you know Dubrovnik was the film site for the King’s Landing. You may be interested in a Game of Thrones Dubrovnik walking tour.
Or you can simply stroll about on your own. Dubrovnik Old Town is compact enough that you won’t get lost. And because vehicles aren’t allowed inside, you can walk the marble-paved streets and alleyways without fear of being mowed down by a scooter or car.
Among the many historic buildings you can tour is the Franciscan Monastery.
In the gardened cloister, a pharmacy dating back to 1317 – the third oldest in Europe – still operates.
It’s also a museum. On display are the ceramic bowls, metal instruments, and mortar and pestle sets, used by the monks to prepare medicines.
Another beautiful sight is the present-day 18th century cathedral. (An earlier one, destroyed by an earthquake, was said to have been financed by King Richard the Lionheart.)
Inside, you can see gold and silver reliquaries.
War Photo Limited:
Throughout the city, occasional pockmarks on houses and patched roofs remind you of the bombing the city received in the early 1990’s by the Yugoslavian army. The Croatian war ended in 1995, and today the city has been virtually restored.
If you’re interested in the Croatia’s complex relationships with its neighbors, visit the museum of war photos called War Photo Limited. We found it a very moving experience.
Walls of Dubrovnik – let’s do it again!
The next time we visit the Old Town of Dubrovnik, no doubt we’ll stroll the Stradun (the main marble-paved street) again. And we’ll probably check out more shops. Maybe we’ll even go for a swim at Banje Beach. For sure, we’ll plonk ourselves down at an outdoor café for more cappuccinos (maybe more cake too!).
But we’ll also walk the wall again.
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Map of the Old Town of Dubrovnik
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All photos © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase