Back in 2007, I ventured off on my first cruise — two weeks in the Mediterranean! While most of my friends ventured off on 3 day booze cruises to Mexico, I was flying halfway around the world spending two weeks exploring parts of Greece, Italy, Croatia, and Turkey.
After departing Venice, Italy our first port was Dubrovnik. Prior to this trip, Croatia had not been necessarily high on my list of dream destinations. Now? I am ready to go back and have been itching to do so for the last four years. One day on a cruise ship is definitely not enough to see Dubrovnik, let alone more of Croatia’s countryside.
The Old City of Dubrovnik is known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated right on the Dalmation coastline. When you are coming down into the city, be sure to stop at one of the lookout points as they provide some striking views of the historic fort walls. Dubrovnik is definitely on more travelers’ radars and the region is becoming an increasingly popular tourist spot. Although it is becoming known as a vacation hot spit, Dubrovnik was once considered one of the most powerful cities in the Adriatic.
Dubrovnik has seen its share of turmoil over the centuries. It was severely damaged by a large earthquake in 1667 but managed to preserve its churchs which have elements of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences. Another earthquake rocked the area in 1979 and it was also damaged again in the early 1990’s during war. About two months after I visited in 2007, the highly publicized wildfires hit Croatia, but fortunately Old Dubrovnik was spared from any damage.
Dubrovnik is noted for the signature red tile roofs and the fortress walls that dot the coastline. The main street is the Stradun, a polished limestone pedestrian only thoroughfare. The area is well preserved as the city enforces strict rules about upkeep of homes and the signage to shops is limited to a discreet name on the lantern above the door. The only evidence of the recent war is a few mismatched tiles. The city will continue to evolve and emerge as a thriving tourist destination as cruise lines continue to add Dubrovnik to their ports of call.
If your travel plans allow, give yourself several days to explore Dubrovnik and the surrounding areas of Mali and Mali Ston. Completely worth it. They are deserving of their own post as most of my Dubrovnik time was devoted to the areas outside of the Old City.