5 Things you Must See in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, the sailing capital of Europe, and the Game of Thrones megafan ultimate vacation spot. I was able to squeeze a few days into this coastal dreamboat during a month long trip across southern Europe. Since I cliff dove off Buza Bar in the heat of late August, I haven't been able to get Dubrovnik off my mind.
For hundreds of years, the Dalmatian Coast has been a vacation destination for Europeans. George Bernard Shaw was enamored, and wrote, “Those who are looking for paradise on Earth, should come and see Dubrovnik.” Since I've been as entranced by Dubrovnik as Shaw, I wanted to share the most interesting things to see and do in this fortress city in 72 hours or less.
It may be one of the busiest places in Dubrovnik, but it cannot be missed. The bar itself is built on the outside of the Old City walls nestled on the cliffs. You can order beverages and food and bask in the Adriatic sunshine on the rocks of the sea, and even though the crowd size may turn some people away, it has a community oriented atmosphere where everyone is there to enjoy the view, instead of overcrowding tourists. The best part about Buza Bar is the thrill of cliff diving. Some start at 5-foot jumps into the sea, to hundreds of feet off rocky cliff faces. The water gets extremely choppy later in the day with the boats coming into the harbor, so this is for the real thrill-seeker.
Old City Walls
For a small admission fee, you can walk the entirety of the 1300-year-old fortress walls. These old city walls boast the best views of the fortress and sea. If you are planning to go in the heat of summer, I would not recommend this activity, as temperatures can get well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun will beat down on you without forgiveness. But if the high temperatures don’t bother you, by all means, do not miss out on this!
Game of Thrones Tour
Many years ago I would've strayed from walking tours, citing an extremely tight travel budget. However, over the course of this European holiday, I took several tours that changed my opinion. If your reason for coming to the city is take in all the fan knowledge you can, then this tour is a must. Not only does this tour tell you all the behind-the-scenes information you desire, but they also mix in thousands of years of city history, so it is like getting two tours out of one. And if you're like me, multitasking is a must when you're only exploring a city for a few days.
**Note: This tour varies in quality widely on the tour guide, as does any tour. I happened to have a fantastic guide, but I have friends who had less informative guides and thought it was a waste of time and money.
If you make your way up several stair cases and tiny alleyways, hidden at the top of the walls, is one of the most famous restaurants in the entire city. All the seating is outdoors, with less than 40 tables in the restaurant, so prepare for a wait, as they do not accept reservations. However, it's one of the best and most affordable meals you will enjoy in Dubrovnik. If you're lucky, you'll also enjoy a view all the way down to the water.
The icing on the cake for this restaurant is that it is named after the statue and water feature just outside. There is not much information out there in regards to the statue (i.e. when it was built, who constructed it), but just know that it is a lewd statue of a woman and worth a good giggle.
Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia up until the 1990s, when the area fell into a brutal post-communist civil war. The scars of that battle are still widely evident throughout Dubrovnik, with entire buildings leveled and the rubble left behind as a reminder. Just walking around the city, you'll see ruins and bomb pockmarks everywhere. It's a harrowing reminder of the past, and great to take in as you're wandering if you don't have the funds to spare on guided tours, excursions, or cruises.