Dubrovnik is a living fairy tale that shouldn’t be missed. It feels like a small town today, but 500 years ago, Dubrovnik was a major maritime power, with the third-biggest navy in the Mediterranean. Still jutting confidently into the sea and ringed by thick medieval walls, Dubrovnik deserves its nickname: the Pearl of the Adriatic. Within the ramparts, the traffic-free Old Town is a fun jumble of quiet, cobbled back lanes; low-impact museums; narrow, steep alleys; and kid-friendly squares. After all these centuries, the buildings still hint at old-time wealth, and the central promenade remains the place to see and be seen. If I had to pick just one place to visit in Croatia, this would be it.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Stradun Stroll Charming walk through Dubrovnik’s vibrant Old Town, ideal for coffee, ice cream, and people-watching.
▲▲▲ Town Walls Scenic mile-long walk along top of 15th-century fortifications encircling the city.
▲▲▲ Mount Srđ Napoleonic fortress above Dubrovnik with spectacular views and a modest museum to the recent war.
▲ Franciscan Monastery Museum Tranquil cloister, medieval pharmacy-turned-museum, and a century-old pharmacy still serving residents today.
▲ Rector’s Palace Sparse antiques collection in the former home of rectors who ruled Dubrovnik in the Middle Ages.
▲ Cathedral Eighteenth-century Roman Baroque cathedral and treasury filled with unusual relics, such as a swatch of Jesus’ swaddling clothes.
▲ Dominican Monastery Museum Another relaxing cloister with precious paintings, altarpieces, and manuscripts.
▲ Synagogue Museum Europe’s second-oldest synagogue and Croatia’s only Jewish museum, with 13th-century Torahs and Holocaust-era artifacts.
▲ War Photo Limited Thought-provoking photographic look at contemporary warfare.
▲ Serbian Orthodox Church and Icon Museum Active church serving Dubrovnik’s Serbian Orthodox community and museum with traditional religious icons.
▲ Rupe Granary and Ethnographic Museum Good folk museum with tools, jewelry, clothing, and painted eggs above immense underground grain stores.
Maritime Museum Contracts, maps, paintings, and models from Dubrovnik’s days as a maritime power and shipbuilding center.
Aquarium Tanks of local sea life housed in huge, shady old fort.