Dubrovnik - Charming Old Town in Stunning Location
"Wonderful First Impression"
During October 2004, my friend and I visited the Croatian town of Dubrovnik. The prime tourist attraction is the old walled town located right on the Adriatic Sea. The first view of it from the high coastal roads coming in from the south (where the airport is ) was staggering. The angle and distance you are from it gives you an instant idea of the form of the town, with church spires and large monasteries visible amidst the tightly clustered buildings and streets. Encircling these are the old fortified walls and the harbour area.
"Exploring The Old Town"
After the initial grand spectacle of seeing the Old Town from the outside I was eager to see what lay in wait inside the walls - I was not disappointed! The main entrance is through the Pile Gate, which leads onto the "Stradun" which is the main thoroughfare (No cars!). All the points of interest are just a few footsteps away from here, including the historic churches and monasteries, plus restaurants, bars, shops and access to the city walls and harbour area.
For a small charge you can climb up some steep steps and walk all way round the city walls which give excellent overlooking views of the buildings in the old town, plus amazing views of the adjacent sea on one side and steep rolling hills on the other side, which help accommodate a lot of Dubrovnik's residents. Whether it is day or night, walking through the entanglement of small narrow streets is a joy and there is always something interesting around each corner, (Including a lot of cats.)
"Great For A Short Break"
My friend and I found that about 3-4 days was more than enough to experience all the attractions the old walled town had to offer. The main street is great for sitting at a bar and people watching, but by our third night there everything seemed a little too familiar, including the menus of the restaurants. However the people you see over and over again are friendly, and look out for the chatty young girl on the main street in the evenings, who is obviously sent out after school to promote the family restaurant!
We found there are limited attractions outside the walls of the old town, in the rest of Dubrovnik. We stayed at the Hotel Sumratin, which was located in the pleasant Bay of Lapad, about 15-20 mins bus ride from the Old Town. With the ferry service and bus station nearby offering day trips to other islands and towns, Dubrovnik does however make a good base for exploring this region of the Dalmatian Coast.