We took an early morning bus (6:45 am) from the town of Korčula to Dubrovnik. The bus takes the 7 am ferry to Orebić on the mainland (about a 15 minute crossing).
The bus then drives along the Pelješac peninsula through the walled town of Ston and on to Dubrovnik’s main bus station. The whole ride, including a break, was about 2.5 hours, and cost about $18 per person.
From the bus station we caught a bus (#8) that took us right to our apartment, which was next to the Minčeta Tower, part of old Dubrovnik’s wall fortifications. The apartment was in a perfect location to visit the old city, other than a lot of stairs down to the Pile Gate. What struck us first about Dubrovnik is the size and massiveness of the walls surrounding the old town. The walls are up to 80 feet high in some places. One of the best activities in Dubrovnik is to buy a ticket (about $14) and walk around the entire length of the city walls. The views are excellent, and you meet interesting people along the walk (over a mile in length).
We really loved Dubrovnik for many reasons—it’s stunning setting along the Adriatic coast, there are many things to do in the old town and there are a variety of tours that can be arranged from the old city to neighboring locations and other countries (Bosnia and Montenegro for example—see our blog on a day trip to Montenegro). Dubrovnik is also a popular cruise ship destination. There were two ships in port during our stay in late October. It was enjoyable walking around in the evening after the cruise passengers have set sail.
We took a tour boat out to Lokrum island, which is just 700 meters from Dubrovnik. The boats operate about every hour. Once on Lokrum we hiked to an old Benedictine abbey and then to a fort (1800’s) at the north end of the island that offered a great view of the old city (below left). There are boats that go to other nearby islands and towns.
The Franciscan and Dominican monasteries in Dubrovnik are worth visiting, in addition to the Cathedral and Jesuit church. We enjoyed walking through the narrow streets, up many stairs, and taking in the beauty of the old city. The several gate entrances to the city are fascinating in themselves. Wander off the main street and try some of the many restaurants and gelato shops on the inland (east) side of the old town.
You might remember that Dubrovnik was heavily shelled in the early 1990’s as Croatia sought its independence from Yugoslavia. The recovery was pretty quick, and it is hard to see any damage, except an occasional shell hole in a wall. The picture below tells one person’s story during that time. In the Rector’s Palace there is an exhibit on the Yugoslavian civil war. It is hard to believe that such a peaceful and beautiful place was being blown to bits less than 20 years ago.
If you can visit just one place in Croatia, make it Dubrovnik.