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Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Dubrovnik in Photos: Croatia's Picture-Perfect Coastal Town

Croatia’s sweetheart seaport city, Dubrovnik, is known by many names: “Pearl of the Adriatic,” “Village of Oak,” “Thesaurum Mundi – Treasure of the World.” It might also be dubbed “Survivor,” as Dubrovnik has been stunningly rebuilt since it was besieged and bombarded during the 1990s Yugoslav Wars. The town’s also quite a star, renamed “King’s Landing” in the popular TV fantasy series, “Game of Thrones.

For more than 1,000 years, Dubrovnik's prosperity has been anchored in maritime trade. Photo credit: Laneya McCullough
For more than 1,000 years, Dubrovnik’s prosperity has been anchored in maritime trade. Photo credit: Laneya McCullough

Perched on a peninsula jutting into the shimmering Adriatic Sea along the Dalmatian Coast in the Balkans, Dubrovnik is a walled medieval city of white houses, red-tiled roofs, and a pedestrian-only cobblestone Old Town. Year after year, UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik makes the must-see lists of places to visit and explore. The views from its hills, walls and streets illustrate why Dubrovnik is such a dazzling destination.

Views from Dubrovnik’s Hills


First known as Ragusa, a 7th-century coastal settlement with walls built around it to protect from invaders, it grew into a prosperous city-state rivaling Venice. Later, the settlement was renamed Dubrovnik – from dubrava, or “oak tree.” Destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik was rebuilt in a baroque style, replete with narrow stone streets.

Dubrovnik's Old Town from 1,350-foot Srđ Hill, site of the city's deadliest battle in the 1990s siege. Photo credit: Chris Lira
Dubrovnik’s Old Town from 1,350-foot Srđ Hill, site of the city’s deadliest battle in the 1990s Siege of Dubrovnik. Photo credit: Chris Lira

Dozens of well-worn stone stairways lead to scenic overlooks on the Old Town and Adriatic Sea. Faster and less strenuous is a three-minute cable car ride to Srd Hill for the best bird’s-eye views, where it’s said on a clear day you can see 37 miles away.

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Views from Dubrovnik’s Walls


Along with Dubrovnik’s hilltop views, its rugged stone seawalls and landwalls – and the views from those walls – draw visitors into the history of this rock fortress town. Today’s existing walls are up to 20 feet thick and 80 feet high, for centuries protecting Dubrovnik from enemy attack. The mile-long wall walkway encircles the Old Town, with turrets, towers, red-tiled roofs, and Adriatic Sea views. 

Sections of Dubrovnik's ancient walls are a dizzying 80 feet tall. Photo credit: Lisa Peterson
Although Dubrovnik's wall walk is 1.2 miles, it's possible to hike it in shorter sections. Photo credit: Paul Schwartz
Some of Dubrovnik's 40,000 residents live in ancient stone homes bordering the walls, with Adriatic Sea views. Photo credit: Lisa Peterson
Hikers along the wall walkway are surrounded by Dubrovnik's famous terracotta red-tiled roofs. Photo credit: Lisa Peterson
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  • Sections of Dubrovnik's ancient walls are a dizzying 80 feet tall. Photo credit: Lisa Peterson Sections of Dubrovnik’s ancient walls are a dizzying 80 feet tall Lisa Peterson
  • Although Dubrovnik's wall walk is 1.2 miles, it's possible to hike it in shorter sections. Photo credit: Paul Schwartz Although Dubrovnik’s wall walk is 1.2 miles, it’s possible to hike it in shorter sections Paul Schwartz
  • Some of Dubrovnik's 40,000 residents live in ancient stone homes bordering the walls, with Adriatic Sea views. Photo credit: Lisa Peterson Some of Dubrovnik’s 40,000 residents live in ancient stone homes bordering the walls, with Adriatic Sea views Lisa Peterson
  • Hikers along the wall walkway are surrounded by Dubrovnik's famous terracotta red-tiled roofs. Photo credit: Lisa Peterson Hikers along the wall walkway are surrounded by Dubrovnik’s famous terracotta red-tiled roofs Lisa Peterson
  • Dubbed Dubbed “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar,” the three-sided Fort Lovrijenac is a popular setting in the TV fantasy series, Game of Thrones Lisa Peterson

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In Harm’s Way

High above the car-free streets and looking out from these ancient walls, visitors may find it hard to visualize the now-repaired destruction of this beloved city. Dubrovnik’s 1979 designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and historical significance theoretically protected the city from wars and hostile attacks. 

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In reality, during the 1991-92 “Siege of Dubrovnik” in the 1990s Yugoslav Wars, the city was surrounded and hit by heavy Serb shelling and Yugoslav naval bombardment for eight months. More than half of Dubrovnik’s historic buildings and homes were damaged, killing hundreds and making refugees of thousands. 

Newer tiles (yellow-orange) attempt to blend in with older, original terracotta red tiles that distinguish Dubrovnik's renowned roofs. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
Newer tiles (yellow-orange) mesh with older, original terracotta red tiles that distinguish Dubrovnik’s renowned roofs. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Dubrovnik was so painstakingly rebuilt through a restoration program and world-wide donations that it may be difficult to discern what is original, and what is new or repaired – save for the telltale roof tiles that don’t perfectly match the original red ones. (The tile factory shut down in the 1950s.) 

View from Dubrovnik’s Streets


Dubrovnik remains – as author George Bernard Shaw once gushed – the “pearl of the Adriatic,” adding “those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik.” And they do. Today, Dubrovnik is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. Even the late Pope John Paul II loved this seaport city so much that he was made an honorary citizen. 

Stradun is Dubrovnik's main street – wide by the Old Town's standards – with bell towers at each end of the quarter-mile pedestrian walkway. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Stradun is Dubrovnik’s main street – wide by the Old Town’s standards – with bell towers at each end of the quarter-mile pedestrian walkway. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Dazzling Dubrovnik

Street-level views of Dubrovnik are equally as intriguing as views from the the city’s hills and walls – including ancient Onofrio Fountain and religious sites such as the city’s beloved St. Blaise Cathedral and Assumption Cathedral.

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An oasis in the town center, the Franciscan Monastery complex includes one of the world’s oldest working pharmacies as well as Dubrovnik’s oldest garden, which dates from the 14th century. The Old Town’s labyrinth of narrow and often steep streets are lined with shops, cafés, clubs, and homes. At Pile Gate and Ploce Gate, the drawbridges visitors walk today were once wooden gates that lifted above the moat to protect the town from invaders. 

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Beaches and swimming holes are favorite spots to cool off and relax, while seafood restaurants and cafés feature local dishes such as ocean fish, shellfish, squid, kebabs, and zeljanica (filled phyllo-pastry pies) along with Dalmatian wines. Of its dozens of festivals, Dubrovnik’s most famous – and longest – is the season-spanning Summer Festival, with 45 days of theatre, ballet, and music. 

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Learn More About Dubrovnik, Croatia and the Balkans

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Travel with MIR to Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Beyond

MIR has over two decades of Balkans travel experience with on-the-ground support, guides, and tour managers that clients rave about. MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

It’s easy to add a visit to Dubrovnik before or after one of our Balkans tours, or to incorporate it into any private independent trip to the Balkans. MIR specializes in personalized private journeys, and we’d love to take your ideas and weave them into a trip tailored especially for you.

Here are four ways to explore Dubrovnik and beyond with MIR: