The Jewel of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik, Croatia!

For a long time, Dubrovnik has been in my radar as a destination.  The images of this city sitting on the Adriatic Sea with its tiled roofs has always captured my imagination – as I hope it does yours, if you have not been to this gem of a place!  This initially was going to be one post but there was so much I wanted to share, I decided to split into two, to not short change you, my readers!

Planning a trip to Italy with friends, I began wondering where else I could go after the Italy visit since I was already across the Atlantic.  As I reviewed the map (first mentally, then online), I zoomed in on Croatia.  Very close to Italy… I did not have a hard time making my mind up.  Croatia it was and Dubrovnik within it….

Arriving in Dubrovnik

I landed in the small but very efficient airport and boarded the bus to town, saving tons of money and paying little to be dropped off right outside one of the main gates into the old city.

The main bus stop area outside of Pile Gate in Dubrovnik, Croatia

As I rode the bus along the coast, I kept my eyes wide open waiting for my first glimpse of Dubrovnik.  And that moment was still as impressive as I thought it would be:  this place looked like out of a fairy tale!  Though I didn’t luck out in the weather department that week, it was impossible to not be charmed by Dubrovnik…

Approaching Dubrovnik, Croatia coming from the airport and meetings its famous tiled roofs

Not too bad for a pic taken from a moving bus!

My Home for 4 Days – The Hilton

My hotel, the Hilton Grand Imperial was almost across the street from the bus stop.  Lucky guy!  (In fact, you can see in the top picture on the top right of the picture!)

Grand Hilton Imperial Hotel in Dubrovnik, Croatia

The beautiful Grand Imperial!

Sample architecture in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Building across from the Hilton Grand Imperial Hotel

The hotel was built in the late 19th century and suffered greatly in the attacks in 1991 (I saw a picture of its roof burning in a local museum where a photo exhibit shows the pain the city went through that year…).  It is now a beautiful Hilton property with excellent service, great location, and an incredible buffet breakfast (along with a well prepared gym to burn off any calories you don’t burn by walking around!  Oh and an indoor pool, sauna, and steam room – imperial indeed.).  (Check out my TripAdvisor review for this hotel.)

Hilton Grand Imperial welcome treat in my room in Dubrovnik, Croatia

A nice welcome treat after a long day coming from Rome via Munich at the Hilton!

Background to appreciate this beautiful place even more…

Dubrovnik competed with Venice, in its heyday (as it does today in my head!), for being one of the most important centers of trade in that part of Europe.  In fact, the Republic of Ragusa, as it was known, was the only contender in the eastern Adriatic to Venice.  It was a skilled center of trade working through complicated politics and centers of power to remain independent until a series of mishaps in the late 17th century started eroding its staying power to be independent.  Little known to me and likely to my compatriots from any of our history courses, this place was definitely unique in history.

Eventually, after many different circumstances, Dubrovnik ended up in Yugoslavia.  When the Yugoslav state began falling apart, Croatia declared its independence along with Slovenia.  Unfortunately, it was not a clean break for Croatia.  Dubrovnik suffered serious attacks in 1991-2 that destroyed parts of the city and most of the tiled roofs that added a lot of charm to the place.  Most of the tiled roofs you see today, in fact, are reconstructions due to the war.  It is very sad not only for the loss of human life and the destruction suffered upon this beautiful city but this city had been demilitarized in the 1970s on purpose to ensure it would never suffer war due to its beauty.  But nationalist zealots don’t respect much…  Dubrovnik paid the price – still visible as bullet holes in some buildings and by the new-looking roofs.   Who is laughing now, though??

Old Town and the City Walls

For sure, the best part of Dubrovnik is what is in Old Town and what surrounds its:  its famed and still intact city walls.  There is so much to share on this that I devote another post to what Old Town offers.  For now, until a few days from now, know that exploring every corner and alley of Old Town is a delight!

The following are views of different portions of the famous city walls as I walked them!

Along the city walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Along the city walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Along the city walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Food – Because You KNEW I Was Going to Go There

I mentioned in my review of the Hilton how good the buffet breakfast was – so that was one meal I did not go elsewhere for!  I had a nice meal at a local place in Old Town one night, and then another meal right between the Hilton and the Pile Gate at a restaurant that was good but pricey.  However, the star of the show for me was Restaurant Posat.  Though in my TripAdvisor review I mention that it was pricey, it was a great deal.  I had mussels for a starter and then a local grilled fish for the main course.  The mussels and the fish were very fresh (and I know fresh fish having lived in Chile for a year!!).  I sat by the waterfront, under the aegis of the St. Lawrence Fortress (or Fortress Lovrijenac).  The restaurant, though outside of the Old Town and very close to the Pile Gate and the main bus stop, was and felt tucked away.  Oh, and they had good wifi!

View from Restaurant Posat in Dubrovnik, Croatia

View from straight ahead from the Restaurant Posat

View of Fortress St. Lawrence in Dubrovnik. Croatia

View of Fortress St. Lawrence – the immediate neighbor of Restaurant Posat!

Great Location!!

Dubrovnik is not just a phenomenal destination unto itself.  It is a great jumping place to many different places.  Island hopping in the Croatian coast, I hear, is incredible.  Heading to awesome Split not too difficult.  Day trip to Mostar, a jewel in Herzegovina?  No problem.  Saunter off to Kotor Bay, the double-bay in Montenegro, or visit Riviera-like Budva also in Montenegro?  Very easy.  Dubrovnik is just blessed with its location as a great place to base a lot of travel in the region.

How Do I Wrap My Head around Dubrovnik?

I have to say that I have seen many places and many places that I like.  I have seen many charming European towns and villages.  I have seen Venice.  And Dubrovnik fares EXTREMELY well when I stack it against any of these.  I dare say its charm is very unique, as is Venice’s.  Except no foul smells, floods, or sinking buildings here…  Stay tuned for part 2 where I hope you will continue to see why I so enjoyed this jewel of the Adriatic!

View of the eastern approach from the sea to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Beautiful view of the eastern harbor, the Fortress of St. John, the Bell Tower, the Dominican Monastery, St. Vlaho’s Church and the wonderful tiled roofs!

Comments

  1. Consider this added to my bucket list!! Too bad I didn’t make it there when I visited Croatia (Zagreb) and Slovenia… Gorgeous city, great photos.
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: A street in Oaxaca City, MexicoMy Profile

  2. I first went to Croatia a good 5-6 years ago and LOVED Dubrovnik. Wanna laugh? Stayed at the same hotel too!! Will never forget the seafood risottos, amazing scenery and the pretty walled town. Now I really want to go back!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..An English summer tradition: the BBQMy Profile

    • Glad someone else can vouch for the Hilton! Great location and building – plus the service and food (should’ve tried out their dinner!). Can’t believe you haven’t gone back since you are already on that side of the pond :)

  3. I have seen several posts from Dubrovnik of late, and it makes me long to see it. My parents went several years ago and are still talking about it…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..The 17 Mile Drive of Monterey PeninsulaMy Profile

    • I’d probably be like your parents – to the eternal annoyance of others! Thanks for checking this post out and stay tuned for part deux!

  4. i’m really wanting to go to Croatia at some point soon. when i got stuck in Budapest a few years back i debated going there or Vienna and Vienna won. ever since then i’ve heard nothing but awesome things and i feel i chose wrong!
    lola recently posted..Cambodia Countdown – 4-3-2-1-0 BLAST OFFMy Profile

    • Yeah, I’d pick Dubrovnik over Vienna any day – and you know I like Vienna in general! (must be all the schnitzels!) Maybe a Dubrovnik travel tweetup some day??

  5. dubrovnik & croatia in general is definitely at the top of our must-see list of our dream eastern european itinerary!
    the lazy travelers recently posted..no travel requiredMy Profile

  6. 30 years since I was in Dubrovnik, but those polished street tiles still shimmer in my memory.
    Johanna Bradley recently posted..The gnomes have it!My Profile

    • Aren’t those streets a dream??? I loved sitting at a cafe in one of the squares on the Stradun just staring at the buildings and street tiles! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Would love to cruise Croatia one day and definitely visit Dubrovnik. What a pretty city.
    Kieu recently posted..The Gilis: Our First Diving ExperienceMy Profile

  8. Dubrovnik is a beautiful city and Croatia, without doubt, should be on everyone’s list as a place to visit. I am not surprised to learn that it is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.
    Car Hire Assistant – News Blog recently posted..Etihad Airways strengthens ties with Italy’s flag carrier AlitaliaMy Profile

  9. This post made me want to visit Croatia even more! I’d first heard about it about ten years ago from a friend that was from Croatia. He was traveling home to visit family and went on and on about the beauty and of course, about the beaches. Great job, Raul. You’ve certainly moved this place up a few notches on my mental travel list.
    Leah Travels recently posted..A Sunny Day at Cloudy Bay WineryMy Profile

  10. It is too bad we humans are as capable of destruction as we are of creating beauty.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Five adventures overseas that went wrongMy Profile

  11. Very nice photos from Dubrovnik, Croatia!

  12. Did you know in the olden days (like 20 years ago), if it rained on your stay in Dubrovnik you didn’t have to pay your hotel bill that day? True story.

  13. Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

Trackbacks

  1. […] So, maybe we’ll move to Dubrovnik? The Jewel of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik, Croatia! […]

  2. […] views of Old Town from every angle and of the sea and hills outside of Old Town (read more about it here!).  I enjoyed walking the walls the most out of my days there.  The present city walls, though […]

  3. […] in Dubrovnik is picturesque (check out other sights in this jewel of the Adriatic!), including the view below of a harbor used by smaller craft including local […]

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