“The best time to walk the wall is just before the sun sets,” they say.
True. And one time – as the setting sun bathed Dubrovnik in a vivid golden glow – we did stroll atop the massive stone wall (1-¼ miles long) that surrounds the Old City.
And it was lovely…
A treasure trove of sights
But another time, we enjoyed walking the Dubrovnik city wall in the morning.
Strolling from tower to tower, we gazed down 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 Dubrovnik city wall. And it’s a highlight of a visit to Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik: The “Pearl of the Adriatic”
“Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik,” raved playwright George Bernard Shaw upon visiting the city in 1929.
Other Croatian cities are gems too – like Split, built in and around Diocletian’s Palace. But Dubrovnik deserves its reputation as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”
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). Vehicles aren’t allowed inside, so you can walk the marble-paved streets and alleyways without fear of being mowed down by a scooter or car.
Monasteries, museums and more
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.
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. But since the end of the Croatian war in 1995, the city has been virtually restored.
Interested in the country’s complex relationships with its neighbors, we visited the museum of war photos called War Photo Limited – a very moving experience.
If you plan your trip between July 10 and August 25, you’ll catch the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, founded in 1950. Held each year, the 45-day event is filled with more than 70 ballets, operas, poetry readings, theatre shows and concerts.
Walking the Dubrovnik city wall
The next time we visit 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.
Have you visited Dubrovnik? Have you walked the city wall?
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We’re Janice and George Mucalov, professional award-winning travel writers, sharing tales of luxury travel with a twist of adventure.