At a Glance
Dubrovnik is a city that has captured the heart and soul of many a casual traveller, and you'll understand why exactly from the moment you set foot in this charismatic, exotic city. From the mighty defensive walls that have earned it recognition from UNESCO World Heritage to the startlingly blue sea, this is a metropolis that possesses thrills and treasures in abundance.
You will likely arrive in Dubrovnik via the city's eponymous airport, which is located around 20km south of the centre. Buses operate between the transport hub and the Old Town, so you can get straight into the tourism if you want. There is no rail in Dubrovnik but it is easy to hire a car if you don't want to negotiate the buses.On first glance, the Old Town looks like it might be difficult to explore - a veritable warren of streets that can be something of a maze for the unsuspecting traveller. However, it is completely pedestrianised so there is ample opportunity to find your way around and escape into the traditional Croatian atmosphere that is so prevalent here. Street signs can be a little misleading, so it is better to rely on an up-to-date map. Buses to the Old Town are very regular if you're staying a little further away, and are priced very reasonably.
Eating and Drinking
Croatian cuisine is particularly famed for the freshness of its ingredients, which is second to none. The Mediterranean diet is naturally very healthy - the restaurants in the Old Town largely specialise in simple but well-made local seafood and meat recipes. The quality of the food is high if you go to the right places. Street dining is common and can be indulged while at a high-end restaurant or a charming little cafe.Venues to check out include the Oliver Twist bar, which boasts a cosy local feel, seating indoors and out, good music and free Wi-Fi. It's also worth heading to the Porat Restaurant and Terrace, which, as the name suggests, features an extravagant space with great views for al fresco dining. Be sure to try homemade rakija at any venue - this distilled drink made from fruits is incredibly popular throughout Croatia, although be careful not to be caught off-guard by its strength.
When it comes to shopping, you won't get much better than Dubrovnik itself. The Old Town - and specifically the main street Stradun - is excellent if you're looking for little knick-knacks to take home for yourself or that special someone. Shopping centres DOC and Merkante take care of more conventional requirements such as clothes, shoes, toys, books and other holiday necessities. If you consider yourself an oenophile, pop into Vinoteka Dubrovnik - this local shop sells more than 250 different vintages, mostly Croatian. You'll also find traditional delicacies here, as well as locally-grown spices, oils, jams and desserts.
Things to See and Do
As one of Croatia's most popular cultural hubs - and an incredibly popular tourist destination as well - there is always something to do in the city of Dubrovnik. Start by strolling around the top of the old walls and fortifications, as we've suggested above. This will give you a chance to take in some of the more splendid sights, as well as acquaint yourself with the city.If you're feeling cultural, consider paying a visit to the Modern Art Gallery to experience the unique art scene Croatia has to offer. Historical attractions such as the Rector's Palace and the Dominican are picturesque, fascinating and happy to reveal their secrets to the intrepid tourist. They're also inexpensive, so don't think that you'll pay through the nose in order to visit them.A spectacular beach boasting many places to sit and read or practice your watersports provides more than enough entertainment during the day on its own. At night, you'll want to trial the restaurant and bar scenes, both of which are among the best in Croatia.
We turn once again to Dubrovnik itself as a source of nightlife. At the centre of the Dubrovnik Riviera, it really is in a location to provide the best in music nights, theme parties, discoteques captained by famous DJs and much more. Well worth checking out is the Cafe Troubadour, which is renowned for its frequently-organised jazz festivals.Other resorts surrounding the city also offer a rich programme of evenings, including folklore evenings, classical music evenings, Dalmatian choir performances and even fishing nights - for those with an alternative preference of nightlife.
If you're not sure when to travel to the Dubrovnik Riviera and want to make the most of a particularly potent party atmosphere, try coinciding your visit with one of the events below. The various resorts are always adding to their calendars of celebrations, so it's worth asking upon arrival to your hotel if there's anything worth checking out.Always entertaining is the the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which takes place in July and August every year. FIlling the streets with the sound of music, life and laughter, the unique historical attractions that make the city what it is are transformed into stages for the biggest stars of the century. In all, 33 open air stages are set up - including at least one on the beach. You won't be disappointed. Elsewhere in the Riviera, the Mljet Summer of Culture gets tourists and locals alike out and about, experiencing music and art. Also worth a gander is the Korkyra Baroque Festival, an international music extravaganza celebrating the particular style that takes place every summer on the island of Korcula. In short, you won't need to look for things to do if you travel to the Dubrovnik Riviera when it's in party mode.