Activities in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is like a real-life fairy tale city, with its majestic walls, stunning architecture, and enchanting sea views.
Explore Activities in Dubrovnik
The Story of Dubrovnik
Legend has it that in the year 614, a group of brave refugees from Epidaurus (present-day Cavtat) fled their town in fear of the devastating Avars and sought refuge on a small islet called Laus, which in Greek means rock. According to ancient historians, the Greeks founded Epidaurum as early as the 7th century BC, and it quickly became a renowned center of trade during the Roman Empire. However, archaeological findings suggest that an even older Epidaurum was destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century, with some parts believed to have sunk beneath the sea. These sunken ruins are now being excavated and studied by experts.
Despite these trials and tribulations, the settlers on the islet of Laus persevered and worked hard to build a new home for themselves. Dubrovnik has been a tough cookie since the 9th century when it survived a 15-month siege by the Saracens. After Byzantine rule, Dubrovnik was recognized as a strong competitor by Venice and Byzantium. Dubrovnik showed its diplomatic skills by recognizing the authority of these two powers in turns. Dubrovnik reached its peak in maritime affairs and expanded under the sovereignty of the Croatian-Hungarian state until 1526. The aristocracy held all the governing positions, but wealthy citizens formed brotherhoods like the respected Antunini and the Jewish Lazarini. Freedom was the most important value, guarded and fought for by the citizens. Dubrovnik sailors were trading all over the world, and even when paying a tribute to the Ottoman Empire, Dubrovnik still stood proud.
In the olden days, Dubrovnik was just a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Lord Byron couldn’t resist calling it ‘the Pearl of the Adriatic’ during his grand tour. Later, Dubrovnik dazzled famous writers like Bernard Shaw and Agatha Christie with its perfectly preserved baroque charm.
But it wasn’t until the second Yugoslav period after 1945 that Dubrovnik really took off as a popular tourist destination. Millions of people from all over the world flocked to see the medieval splendor. Dubrovnik’s importance in the tourism industry was recognized when it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. And to protect its reputation, the authorities demilitarized the city as they felt that military presence could put a damper on the tourism industry. The income from tourism even allowed for major developments in the city’s infrastructure, like the airport.
Dubrovnik’s historical borderland status made it vulnerable to the break-up of Yugoslavia, and in the early 90s, the aggression caused by the war posed a serious existential threat to the city. Over two-thirds of the town’s historic buildings were hit by artillery, with the cobbled streets and medieval walls suffering hundreds of direct hits for the first time in history. Fires caused severe damage to historic palaces such as Sponza and Rector’s Palace, St Blaise’s church, the Franciscan monastery, and the Amerling and Onofrio fountain. The reconstruction cost totaled around $10 million.
Thanks to the successful reconstruction effort organized by an international organization led by UNESCO, Dubrovnik has regained its former splendor and stands proud today.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is not only famous for its stunning architecture and breathtaking views but also for its gastronomy. The local cuisine reflects the city’s Mediterranean location and rich history, blending influences from the surrounding countries like Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
One of the most famous dishes of Dubrovnik is the “Rožata,” a caramel custard dessert made with eggs, milk, sugar, and caramel sauce. It is served chilled and is a popular dessert during the hot summer months.
Seafood is also a staple in Dubrovnik’s gastronomy, with fresh catches of fish, squid, octopus, and shrimp readily available. Grilled fish served with a side of boiled potatoes and Swiss chard is a classic dish, while black risotto made with cuttlefish ink and seafood stew with tomatoes and white wine are also popular options.
Meat lovers will enjoy the “Pašticada,” a slow-cooked beef dish marinated in red wine, garlic, and herbs, and served with gnocchi or homemade pasta. Another popular meat dish is the “Lamb peka,” which is cooked in a traditional bell-shaped clay pot with potatoes and vegetables.
For appetizers, locals love to enjoy a plate of “Pršut” (cured ham) and “Sirene” (local cheese) accompanied by olives and homemade bread. To wash it down, try some of the local wines such as “Dingač” or “Postup,” both produced in nearby Peljesac peninsula.
Dubrovnik is not only famous for its picturesque Old Town and stunning coastline, but also for the beautiful nature that surrounds it. The city is located on the southern tip of Croatia and is surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, rugged mountains, and lush green forests.
One of the most famous natural attractions near Dubrovnik is the island of Lokrum, located just a short ferry ride away. Lokrum is a nature reserve filled with exotic plants, tranquil beaches, and hidden coves. Visitors can explore the island’s botanical gardens, swim in the clear blue sea, or hike to the top of the island’s hill for stunning views of Dubrovnik.
Another natural wonder near Dubrovnik is the Konavle region, located to the south of the city. This area is known for its scenic countryside, vineyards, and traditional villages. Visitors can take a leisurely drive through the winding roads of Konavle, stopping to taste locally produced wines and olive oils, or to enjoy a traditional meal at one of the region’s rustic restaurants.
For those who love hiking and outdoor activities, the nearby mountains of Srd and Biokovo offer endless possibilities. Srd Mountain, located just behind Dubrovnik’s Old Town, can be reached by a short cable car ride, offering stunning views of the city and surrounding islands. Biokovo Mountain, located further up the coast, is a true natural wonder, with rugged peaks, deep canyons, and scenic hiking trails.
In addition to these natural attractions, the Dubrovnik region is home to several beautiful beaches, hidden bays, and pristine parks, making it a true paradise for nature lovers. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, the natural wonders surrounding Dubrovnik are sure to leave you in awe.