You can’t help but be impressed by the old walled city of Dubrovnik.
You wouldn’t know it, but the city fell victim to extensive shelling during the 1991-92 battle for independence and was significantly damaged. Its restoration is a credit to the Croatians.
The one downside to visiting Dubrovnik is the number of tourists. We are running into peak season now and are seeing an increase in people (just like us) touring, but this is magnified three-fold when you add in cruise ship tourists. Dubrovnik is a very popular cruise port, with up to 10 or more ships a day.
They (the cruise ship tourist) swarm upon a destination; like a flock of sheep obediently following its shepherd. In this case the shepherd is easily identifiable from the coloured flag they hold up high, marching onward.
So, to avoid the swarms we have a few tactics of our own. Firstly, wait until they leave and enjoy the city in the evening. The added benefit of this is that it will also be cooler. We’ve found accommodation for the night at Astrid Apartments, just up the hill overlooking the old town.
It’s €70 a night, which is a little over our budget, but we’ve quickly worked out that this is an expensive city. It has air-conditioning (it’s really hot) and parking.
About 6pm we stroll down to the renaissance gate of the old city. The Adriatic backdrop glistens with the afternoon sun (remember, it doesn’t get dark until well after 8pm). Already the city is relaxing from the crowds of the day. It’s still busy, but these visitors, like us, are in less of a hurry to explore the marble streets and discover nooks and alleys behind the Stradun, which is the impressive main street that runs the length of the town featuring baroque architecture.
We find Dalmatino, a restaurant tucked away in a side alley and enjoy a sumptuous dinner.
A highlight of the city is the surrounding walls, which have protected it for more than five centuries. They are recognised as one of the finest examples in the world.
A ‘must do’ is to walk the walls and this is when our second tactic to avoiding the crowds comes in: be up early before the day trippers arrive. The next morning, we are one of the first on the wall at 8am. Walking the 2kms of wall, provides wonderful views of the city and sea.
For all those Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik is used as one of the set locations.