Unlike some destinations that are flush with foreign visitors, Dubrovnik is absolutely ready to accommodate the traffic. There are plenty of comfortable places to stay inside or right outside of old town, ranging from cheap hostels to high-end hotels. The place has so many densely concentrated tourist attractions, it’s easy to forget that it is a functioning city with regular residents. There are loads of swank sidewalk cafes and nice restaurants, but we also had no trouble getting regular groceries for the time we stayed. If you’re staying for a few days, the “Dubrovnik Card” is a no-brainer. This is the kind of offering that tells you a city takes tourism seriously. The card comes with a packet that includes bus transit and a few tokens for a special bus line as well as entrance to tons of museums and attractions around town. It’s more than you could pack into a few days.
Inside the city walls of old town Dubrovnik, it feels like a theme park: largely free of litter and graffiti, construction mostly tucked away out of sight, every street lined with cute shops and restaurants. I’m not sure about living in this city, but for an extended visit it’s absolutely great. The city is nice enough that the crowds of tourists there aren’t particularly bothersome. Each morning, as we shuffled over the drawbridge and through Pile Gate past the city walls, the first thing you’re hit with is a couple of costumed buskers playing medieval renditions of pop songs on guitar…. totally cheesy, but the acoustics inside those city walls still make it sound pretty amazing as you’re entering the city. They clearly know presentation and how to market what they’ve got here. I do have to say that having spent a few leisurely days here, I really feel sorry for the crowds of tourists hitting this city from cruise-ships and on fast paced group tours. You see them getting herded through like cattle, frantically trying to take really terrible last second snapshots with point and shoots. This is a town that is worth a couple days relaxing in, and that’s just what we did.
The first day really didn’t have much itinerary. We saw a few museums and caught the sunset near our apartment by Fort Lovrjenac. The second day we finished up several more museums around town and took the cablecar up to Fort Imperial to watch the sunset. Inside Fort Imperial there is a museum to the 1991-1995 Balkan war, with a focus on the attack on Dubrovnik in 1991. This was a really interesting museum and definitely shouldn’t be missed. On our last full day we caught a ferry to Lokrum Island and spent most of the day there. There are gardens, Fort Royal, hiking trails, a very salty “dead sea” inland for swimming, and some rocky beaches. We had a picnic there on the beach (sidenote: there are tons of fearless and aggressive peacocks on the island that will try to shake you down for food. We had to chase one off with rocks after he decided he that our ciabatta bread was insufficient). Anyhow, Lokrum Island was a pretty nice way to spend most of the day. Back in Dubrovnik, we walked the city walls for a few hours and caught the sunset there.
Tomorrow we pick up our rental car and our itinerary becomes a bit more fluid. Our first stops after leaving Dubrovnic tomorrow are Medugorje and Mostar in Bosnia.