Walking Dubrovnik's Walls
To get a better understanding of the city and for some incredible views, be sure to walk the walls of the Dubrovnik old town. For a modest fee, anyone can climb the ancient stairs and circumnavigate the town, seeing life from the rooftops. The current walls were constructed between the 12th – 17th centuries and were amongst the most impressive of the Middle Ages. Their incredible width made sure that no one ever took the town by force. When you visit be sure to walk the walls early in the day in order to avoid the crowds and of course the heat.
By Matt Long
Dubrovnik City Walls
Dubrovnik's city walls reached their full extent of 2.1 kilometers between the 11th and 13th centuries. Made entirely of stone, they are an immense system of forts, bastions and walkways intended to protect the city. That you can still safely walk along them is a powerful tribute to the skill and architectural mastery of the city’s creators. The views are an inspiring panorama of red-tiled rooftops, pine- and cypress-shaded hills and the shimmering Adriatic.
By Anja Mutic, AFAR Local Expert
Dubrovnik City Walls
The city walls, the symbol of Dubrovnik, reached their full extent of 1.3 miles between the 11th and 13th centuries, essentially shaping Dubrovnik into its present-day look. Made entirely of stone, these walls—an immense system of forts, bastions, and walkways—were intended to protect the city from war and epidemics. Conquering them today requires just a walk to witness inspiring panoramas of red-tiled rooftops, pine- and cypress-shaded hills, and the blue Adriatic in the foreground. Their continued existence is a tribute to the impressive skill and architectural mastery of the city’s creators. For easiest access, enter the walls by the Maritime Museum in the fortress of St. John, or on the east side of the city, from the road to Ploče Gate by St. Luke’s church. With three entrance/exit points, you can choose how much and which part of the walls to see. Just don’t, under any circumstances, forget your camera.
By Anja Mutic, AFAR Local Expert
Life in Dubrovnik
The defensive stone walls that surround Dubrovnik and tower over a sapphire sea have protected the citizens inside since they were built around the 8th century as a Byzantine fortress. Today they are a source of pride for Croatia's southernmost city, dubbed "The Pearl of the Adriatic." The walls have been the target of several sieges during their storied history, including as recently as 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence when Dubrovnik was shelled relentlessly by the Yugoslav People's Army. The old city and most of the walls are now protected by UNESCO, though some of the physical and mental wounds of the past remain visible. Walking the walls (about $17 per person) is the city's top tourist attraction and offers otherwise invisible views into windows of schools, onto courtyards with drying laundry, and into the heart of daily life in Dubrovnik. I visited Dubrovnik in early April, before the cruise ships filled the streets with waddling passengers.It had rained (a rarity) for two days and on day three, my friend and I took advantage of the sun. So did a few others, including this local girl. While others oohed and awed and snapped photos of the honey-hued ramparts on which we stood, I watched this little girl pedal passed what, to her, are just pieces of home. The walls, I realized, were a living monument in every sense of the word. She looked so small. I watched her ride farther and farther away until she became one of the stones.
By Kimberley Lovato, AFAR Local Expert
Of the cities I've seen world-wide the last 12 years on the road, Dubrovnik, Croatia is an absolute 'Top Five' for me. It is beautiful, historical, magical at night and one of the more walkable towns on earth. The cost to access the walled walk (around 1.5 miles in total) is around 70 Kuna (around $12 dollars) and well worth the entrance fee. You'll have a chance to see the town from a unique perspective that will leave you wanting more. Civil war history is modern here (early 1990's). When they started rebuilding the rooftops, they made it a point to use a different color of red for the new tiles. They did this in an effort for us in present day life, to see just how much had been destroyed in war. The contrast of the two colors is ever apparent and most certainly something that teaches us about resilience. If Dubrovnik is your jumping off point to the islands of the gorgeous Dalmatian Coast, be sure to spend at least two days and two nights in this enchanting town, to do it justice.
By Bronwen Gregory, AFAR Local Expert
Cruising in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, where I recently spent a few days, has a love/hate relationship with the cruise industry. In more tourist-starved days, the local tourism sector welcomed anyone would "brave" coming here, even cruisers who spent very little money during visits (since they don't need a hotel and they generally get their meals on the ship). But now that Dubrovnik is crammed with visitors, the city has begun regulating the amount of cruise ships that can dock at its port. Starting next year they'll cut the number of ships coming by about half.
By David Farley, AFAR Contributor
When in Dubrovnik you have to walk atop the city walls. Try to go all the way around, its well worth it and you will get a great workout. Every corner you turn offers fantastic views.
Walls of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is one of the best preserved medieval, walled cities in the world. Inside the city are delightful narrow streets, churches, synagogues, and squares. However, the best way to appreciate Dubrovnik is atop its walls. The citizens relied on its high city walls for defense by land and by sea. Walking the full 2km circuit you not only get a chance to view the city from all angles, but also the beautiful Adriatic Sea, the islands that run along the shore, and the neighboring towns. This shot was taken looking South toward Cavtat, a lovely town 20 minutes outside of Dubrovnik that I recommend spending a day in or making your home base to explore the region. Here's two tips. 1. Drink plenty of water, especially in the summer. It can get very hot on the walls, which are without much shade. You can fill your water bottle at the fountain near the front gate. 2. Find out when the cruise ships dock and avoid visiting on those days to escape the crowds. Ask around or drive by the docks to see if they are in port. If they are, try to arrive very early in the morning or much later in the afternoon.
Walk Dubrovnik's Old City Walls
Dubrovnik's City Walls are the longest and most complete in Europe. They also offer a fascinating way to see the city. While making the circuit of the city, you can peer down on the narrow streets below, peek into secret courtyards, and catch a glimpse of day-to-day life. Walking along the coastal wall, you are also afforded a stunning view of the city and the rugged Croatian coast. The walk takes about two hours and there is little shade, so take some water and sunscreen.
By Alison Cornford-Matheson, AFAR Local Expert
Dubrovnik: Walk on Top of Medieval Walls
I was excited about visiting Dubrovnik because it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I wanted to take panoramic shots of the city to rival the ones I had seen on the Internet that lured me to Croatia in the first place. So I was eager to walk the walls, camera in hand. On our first day in Dubrovnik, however, I hesitated to spend the money (about $15) to gain access to the top of the city walls because it looked like a tourist nightmare. You can only walk in one direction, and it's difficult to stop because you'll probably create a traffic jam and people behind you cannot easily pass. I'm a little claustrophobic in those situations, but I wanted my panoramic photos. So I waited until the following morning, before the cruise ships docked, and I'm so glad that I did. The vantage point from the top of the wall is fabulous, and you can sneak a peek at the daily lives of the residents as you walk by apartments and schools. My best photos of the city were taken from the wall. And who can argue with this view of the Adriatic? My advice: Go as early in the day as possible. Take your time walking around the city's perimeter. Pretend you're a guard in medieval Dubrovnik and scan the Adriatic for marauding vessels. When you see the cruise ships approaching and the people disembarking, come down and enjoy coffee and breakfast and leave the walls to the tourist mobs. You can see more of my Dubrovnik images here: http://weirdandcoolstuff.wordpress.com/tag/dubrovnik/
Check the bulletin boards
Not every great performance, movie or event is published online. Look at the bulletin boards scattered all over town to find a unique way to pass an evening.
Walk the fascinating Dubrovnik City Walls
For the best experience, walk the walls early in the morning or after 6pm when the crowds have dissipated. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes and the views are extraordinary!
Walking the walls of Old Town Dubrovnik is not to be missed. The views of the sea are incredible but what I really enjoyed was the peek into the lives of the residents of the old city. Look one way and you'll see the endless beauty of the water but look the other and you'll find life happening right around you. It was really a privilege to look into the homes of families who call the old city home. Laundry hanging, friends enjoying glasses of wine together, kids playing outside with their toys. It was quite something to imagine how old those walls were and the history of what has taken place inside them.
By Jenika Kurtz
Wall walking in Dubrovnik
Perched among steep cliffs on the Adriatic Sea, the city of Dubrovnik is a living postcard. Red tiled roofs and century's old architecture greeted me as I walked from the sleepy Croatian port to the town's main thoroughfare. The Old Town is a car-free zone, which only adds to Dubrovnik's charm. Tasteful little gift shops line the main drag, and there's an enormous drinking fountain at the end of it that serves up chilly, fresh spring water to locals and travelers alike via sixteen beautifully carved spouts. Yearning to stretch my legs a bit after several hours sitting on a boat, I headed to the steps leading to the top of the ancient city walls. For a reasonable fee, a person can walk all or part of the city's perimeter, pretending they're a character from Game of Thrones. On a clear day the views of the rocky cliffs and sea are outstanding, and I also really enjoyed looking down onto the clay tile rooftops and residences below me, occasionally catching little snippets of daily life. A man repairing a boat oar, a woman hanging her laundry out to dry. It's always the seemingly mundane observances that stay with me long after my travels end.