Located by the Adriatic Sea, the city of Dubrovnik is one of the best-known Croatian tourist sites and also an important sea port. Once upon a time, this city was the capital of the maritime Republic of Ragusa, a republic that existed from the 14th century to the early 19th century, reaching its peak during the 15th and 16th centuries.
To protect the city, a 2 km long wall was built around it, plus turrets and towers. The thickness of the city wall varies from four to six meters, with the thickest parts being the ones that faces the land and the thinnest parts facing the sea. The walls of Dubrovnik have been used as a filming location for the fictional city of King’s Landing in the HBO television series Game of Thrones.
During the siege of Dubrovnik in the early 1990s, the city suffered significant damage from shelling, but extensive repair and restoration works carried out in the 1990s and early 2000s has helped the city back to its former glory.
Dubrovnik Airport (IATA: DBV, ICAO: LDDU), also known as Čilipi Airport, is an international airport located near Čilipi, roughly 20 km southeast of Dubrovnik’s city center. It has the longest runway of any airport in Croatia, making it suitable for heavy long-haul aircrafts. During the summer season, it is a very busy airport, as holiday-makers from other parts of Europe arrive here on their journey to the Adriatic Sea.
Buses connect the airport with Dubrovnik’s old main bus station in Gruž.
At the time of writing, the Croatian AI highway does not reach Dubrovnik, even though plans to extend it are fairly long on their way.
From Split, you can take the A1 highway as far as to Vrgorac and then continue via Staševica, Opuzen and Neum to Dubrovnik. Please keep in mind that you need to pass through Bosnia-Hercegovina at and thus leave the European Union for a while. The traffic ques at the border can be quite long during the busy holiday season.
Another option is to take the coastal road (Jadranska magistrala or D8) from Split to Dubrovnik. This will take some time and is not recommended if you are in a hurry. It is a beautiful drive through, with the coastal road running through many quaint little Croatian villages along the way.
There is no railway to Dubrovnik. There used to be railway connecting Dubrovnik to Mostar and Sarajevo, but it was canceled in 1975.
Old City of Dubrovnik
The Old City of Dubrovnik was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1979.
Among other things, the old city center includes the 16th century Sponza Palace, the Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace and the St. Saviour Church. The Rector’s Palace is the building you see on the reverse of the Croatian 50 kuna banknote issued in 1993 and 2002.
St. Saviour Church is a small votive one-naved church constructed in 1520-1528. The nave has a Gothic cross-ribbed vault, and the lateral church windows are also Gothic with pointed arches. The facade features some Renaissance elements.
Next to St. Saviour Church is a Franciscan Monastery filled with books and documents. There are approximately 30,000 volumes here, 22 incunabula, and 1,500 handwritten documents.
Dubrovnik has several beaches, including the popular Banje and Copacabana. Banje is the main public beach and it is home to the Eeastwest Beach Club. Dubrovnik’s Copacabana, named after the famous beach in Rio de Janeiro, is a stony beach located on the Lapad peninsula.
Lokrum is an island located just off the coast from Dubrovnik. Despite being small, this island features a castle, a thousand-year-old Benedictine monastery, and a botanical garden. The botanical garden was started here by archduke Maximilian in the 19th century, and he also brought peacocks and peahens to the island. The descendants of these peafowls are still roaming Lokrum today.
Korčula is the second-most populated of the Croatian islands, but no bridge connects it to the mainland so you need go by boat. There is a fairly large ferry going between Korčula and Dubrovnik, Zadar and Rijeka.
On Korčula, old rituals such as the Moreška, a weapon dance, have survived and are still performed today. The Moreška involves two groups of dancers fighting over the fate of a young veiled woman. Originally, the Moreška was a display of the battles between Moors and Christians, recalling the Reconquista.