Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is certainly a treasure of picturesque and stunning scenery in the country of Croatia. The entire city is a wonderful sight to see, but its walled Old Town remains as the city’s crowning glory. There is no better way to explore this old fortress than to follow the direction of your own two feet.
You can begin your exploration from several other gates of the Old Town, but my personal favorite is from the ever-busy Pile Gate. Upon entry, it immediately sweeps you off your feet to a dizzying but exciting array of intriguing sights to see.
The grand Stradun welcomes you right after you step inside the Pile Gate. It is the major cobbled stone promenade that connects all thoroughfares throughout the walled city. Although you can access the Stradun from other parts of the Old Town, the view from the Pile Gate is arguably the grandest. On one side is the impressive polygonal fountain known as Onofrio’s Large Fountain.
You can also check out the Franciscan monastery nearby and treat yourself to a few bottles of hand cream and lotion from one of the oldest working pharmacies in the world. It is believed to have been operating since 1391.
Follow the Stradun to the other end and you’ll find yourself in one of the busiest sections of the fortress town, the Orlando Column. It is a favorite hang-out place for both tourists and locals alike and makes a perfect pit stop to watch the flurry of activities in the area. You can easily find an open-air café from where you can take in the sights while you rest your weary legs.
Right in front of the Orlando Column is the Bell Tower with its charming bronze statues tasked with striking the enormous bell to mark the next hour. If you want to see the original bronze statues – yes, the ones on the Bell Tower are just replicas- head to Sponza Palace’s atrium and take a look.
The Sponza Palace proudly stands nearby. It is one of the few renaissance buildings in Dubrovnik that stood its ground during the terrible earthquake of 1667. The palace is now home to the national archives and other valuable exhibitions relevant to the city’s history.
Not far away is another building dating back to the renaissance period, the church of St. Blaise whose baroque architecture is a definite must-see. Further along, is the Rector’s Palace that dates back to 1441. It is now a city museum that is home to some of the most valuable collections of historical exhibits in the city.
Take a detour at the narrow street fronting the palace and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the Gunduliceva Poljana. It is a charming little square that houses an 18th century Jesuit Monastery and a busy morning market if you happen to visit at the right time of the day.
Follow the opposite road and you’ll easily find the town port, a good starting point if you wish to take a view of the impeccably preserved city walls. Take a walk along the old Town’s walls and you won’t regret the stunning views of Dubrovnik from the top.
Follow the whole stretch and you’ll soon find the wall’s strategically placed fortresses one after another. These are the Bokar Bastion, St. John’s Fortress, Revelin Fortress, and Minceta Tower.
To learn more about what there is to do/see/experience in Croatia, be sure to join us Tuesday, April 27th at 8 PM ET as we take a virtual vacation to Culinary Croatia! Or if you’re ready, Croatia is open and accepting travelers from the US. We can help get you there! Contact us today for the perfect Croatia itinerary!