The views of Dubrovnik from the walls make all the effort worthwhile.
Queues can be long (get there as early as you can, or wait until late in the afternoon - both times are better for photos anyway).
If the middle of the day is the only time you can make it, it will be hot - and there's no shade (wear a hat and carry some water though you will find drink sellers along the way).
There are lots of steep sections and stairs along the 2km long walls (wear sensible shoes and take it easy if the hips and the knees aren't what they used to be)
Your reward will be wonderful views of the city, the harbour, the sea and the area all around. The terracotta roofs of the city spread out before you, broken by domes and towers. You'll find yourself looking right into the gardens and houses you can only imagine lie behind the walls of the narrow streets below and the hour you have allowed yourself may well stretch to two or more.
Walking along the Stradun in Dubrovnik's Old Town allows you to walk past most of the main historic monuments, with many restaurants and bars with outdoor seating nearby. However, wandering away from the crowds and choosing to explore the outlying reaches of the old town can be just as fascinating. Due to the towns jagged street layout and narrow walkways you can never see what is in the distance, so always feel obliged to turn the next corner and explore. What is suprising is the difference in streets levels and amount of liitle slopes and flights of stairs there are to climb. This is especially intriguing at night, too and is always safe. My friend and I did this regularly to walk off the earlier big meal, and found a few cosy bars hidden away. Don't worry, you'll never get lost as the old walls act as a perimeter and all streets seem to lead to back to where you started.
If you limit yourself to the main drags in Old Town, you will certainly miss much of the charm of Dubrovnik. The back streets and alleyways offer countless surprises and more than a few breathless moments both figuratively and actually. Be prepared for a few tiring moments as some of the ascents are quite steep; but if you can manage them, they are definitely worth the effort.
An added benefit to exploring off the beaten track is that it is "off the beaten track"! You will rarely encounter tour groups and the experience is always much more personal. Also, you are often treated to unique and unexpected vantage points, not to mention great photo ops.
Intro Photo: This is the view we were treated to each morning as we exited our apartment looking down Palmotičeva Street toward the Stradun awash in sunlight below. The young man in the white short sleeved shirt was the maitre d' of one of the dozens of restaurants along Prijeko Street. He seemed to work all day, every day, and tried to lure us in every time we passed. Finally on our last evening in Dubrovnik, guilt got the better of us and we relented. While a bit more touristy than we prefer, we enjoyed an excellent meal and shared some fascinating dinner conversation with a young couple from San Paulo, Brazil at the next table.
Photo 2: This is the view looking up Palmotičeva Street. The first door on the left was the entrance to our apartment.
Photo 3: This view from Peline Street, the highest point within Old Town, is along the northern wall. We are looking down Ziatarska Street toward Luža Square and the Church of St. Blaise.
Photo 4: This view is again from Peline Street looking down Palmotičeva Street. Happily we were able to descend to our apartment. We did encounter a young woman dragging her luggage up from the Stradun who didn't seem to be enjoying the back street quite as much as we were.
Photo 5: The area to the south of the Stradun was originally an island named Ragusa and was inhabited by the Romans. The Stradun was once a channel that divided Ragusa from the Slavic mainland. While there is no shortage of stairs on this side of the Stradun it does seem to be a gentler terrain. Unfortunately you will have to discover this lovely back street yourself as we we were quite lost at the time we came upon it...What could be better!
On your way(if you walk from Lapad) you will see all this pallaces which belonged to Dubrovnik nobility, hidden with rich gardens.Pallaces,abolished from owners after second world war from communists, and turn into something else...post offices, boring radio stations, state owned TV, and ward, place where all citizent of Dubrovnik were borned till 1980, and death of Tito.
In fact you do not "need to do" nothing special, but if you are interested, you could sniff into this renaissance gardens, and found colourfull places, with nice smell which comes after rosemary,sage,wild oranges,lemons and magnolia - amazing, sometimes till 20 meters long tree which has central position in all medievall gardens and was meeting place for lovers,spot where, in deep shade Ivan Gundulich and other famous Dubrovnik poets, were looking for inspiration.
After early summers rains, fragrance of wild orange flowers and magnolia will bring you into old town, their nice smell could be reached for more than hundred meters!
Why Dubrovnik ward is mentioned here?
Its interesting that old citizent of Dubrovnik dont wanted for their children to be born in the hospital,and for that reason childs of Dubrovnik were borned in nice pallace, old summer villa, with great garden in front of it.Villa is placed on Pile, todays Atlas office. As you can notice,old citizent of Dubrovnik were so proud, and separete hospital(where you can meet death and deseas) from ward which was place of new life and powrefull babies cry!
Before I visited I didn't know that the city was full of stairs. If you walk down Stradun coming from Pile Gate and you look to the left at every street crossing this main pedestrian street you will see lots of side streets, all very similar and all ending up in steep stairs towards the city walls. Close to the Stradun there are mainly little shops, internet cafes and restaurants. Further up they cross the "Rip Off Street" which is full of restaurants and should be avoided. Still up from there is where the locals live so instead of signs advertising shops and restaurants you will see plants here mostly along the stairs.
Watch out! There are some hotels and pensions at the very end of the stairs. Luckily ours wasn't, I wouldn't want to carry all my luggage up there!
One hint: If you are searching for a restaurant or a shop somewhere in these side streets it's very helpful to start searching from Stradun. At every crossing there are brown signs at the corner telling you which businesses to be found in the exact side street.
Dubrovnik is very touristic and you are so lost inside the crowds of tourists, that you can hardly see the locals (who are by the way, so so friendly!)..... but you could just sit and relax in one of the squares or fountains and look at people. here are some of the nices people in the world!!
for me, to walk the streets of a city until youre all half-dead and cant feel your legs anymore, is the best way to know and feel a new place....
Dubrovnik is a difficult place to hike because all streets and allies are builts up and down and you will have to show great shape (if i could, anyone could, i promise :))
dedicate at least one day to walk around the houses in the small streets and allow yourself to go lost.... you will discover beautiful architecture, colorful plants and flowers and some really nice locals.......
Make sure you walk the walk... the views are amazing & the photo opportunities are absolutely fabulous!!! - see my pics!!!
For a short fee you can walk through the several fortresses, with the Minceta Tower, Fort Bokar and St John's Fortress providing visitors with particularly dramatic views of Dubrovnik itself – with its terracotta rooftops and elegant bell towers – as well as out over the azure waters of the Adriatic.
It only takes a few hours... There are a few stalls dotted along the route selling soft drinks, but other than that it’s just you and the view.
Lapad is a neighbourhood which we happened upon because we heard there was a shopping mall there. But we found so much more than shopping here!
There is a park with numerous cafes, lush greenery and it leads to the bay where you can overlook the ocean.
We like it so much we came back the next day!
The city was ruled by aristocracy that formed two city councils. As usual for the time, they maintained a strict system of social classes. The republic abolished the slave trade early in the 15th century and valued liberty highly. The city successfully balanced its sovereignty between the interests of Venice and the Ottoman Empire for centuries.
The economic wealth of the Republic was partially the result of the land it developed, but especially of the seafaring trade it did. With the help of skilled diplomacy, Ragusa's merchants traveled lands freely, and on the sea the city had a huge fleet of merchant ships (argosy) that traveled all over the world. From these travels they founded some settlements, from India to America, and brought parts of their culture and vegetation home with them. One of the keys to success was not conquering, but trading and sailing under a white flag with the word freedom (Latin: Libertas) prominently featured on it. That flag was adopted when slave trading was abolished in 1418.
You can feel that city was very rich during that period.
I just like to stroll around the old city, no matter which city or where, I can just walk and walk and come back again to the same place and will do the same the next day. In Dubrovnik as the main street are rather crowded it was relaxing walking the narrow streets and take some nice photos.
We walked down the Stradun ,and went to visit the Old Synagogue and Jewish Museum .(very interesting) .We also visited the Sponza Palace and the church ,which were nice.
Then the next day we took a bus (1A outside Pile gate) to Lapad peninsula where most of the tourists stay to check out the beaches there.
Since we had been to Lopud the day before we were not so impressed with the beaches over at Lapad which are mostly just slabs of concrete outside each of the hotels.
Anyway the view over the sea and of the city was stunning as usual.
Finally we walked around the port area of Gruz a bit and had a brilliant fish meal there.
The views from the walls and the walls themselves were beautiful. The evening is a great time to travel the walls because of the light and the hustle and bustle has slowed down. When the sun was setting, the most amazing light was cast down on the ancient buildings and the sea.
It is also fun to watch the city from the walls. People walking, families and friends dining al fresco, women knitting lace doilies, cats lingering, tourists taking pictures – simply watching life as it is in the walls.
Keep your ticket because it is good for an entire day.
the great thing about Dubrovnik is how small the Old Town is. It's a great place to wander around - it brings back memories, in the small snickleways (a York word there), of when we went to Salzburg, which had tons of small alleys with shops in, which ran parallel to the main shopping streets - it was actually more fun to wander around these, and see where they took you.
From Stradun, if you look up the hill, the small streets run right up there - and look ridiculously steep. You get an idea of the perspective from the higher parts of the City walls, as you look down onto the city - see photo, for a vague idea.
You could easily spend the bulk of a day wandering around there, without getting lost, and end up finding all kinds of neat local stores, rather than the more touristy ones.
It's possible to walk onto the beach through one of the arches in the old town. The waves can whip up unpredictably on the coves so be careful. I love sitting there at night and listening to the noise.. so relaxing.