Travel Story Jewel in Croatia’s coastal crown a medieval marvel

Discovering a history lover’s paradise in the ancient city of Dubrovnik.

Full of excitement, we alight the bus in Dubrovnik and bypass the taxi options in favour of what we hope is a short stroll to the famous old town. After all, it doesn’t seem to be too far on the map. 

After about 20 minutes lugging our heavy suitcases uphill under the beating sun, full of regret for not packing lighter, my travel companion and I give up and hail a cab. 

A bit hot and bothered, we round the last hill as the looming stone of the medieval walled city comes into view. 

Mind-blowingly epic is the only way to describe the impressive vista.

Dubrovnik is one of the biggest walled cities in Europe. 

Set on Croatia’s breathtaking Adriatic coast, the port city is busy and bustling — about 7000 people are thought to visit a day during the high season. 

As we cross the wooden drawbridge and enter the much cooler UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, I find myself humming the Game of Thrones theme song under my breath. 

Many fans of the show visit Dubrovnik for this reason, the city being the inspiration for King’s Landing and the setting of the infamous “Walk of Shame” scene.

Like most accommodation in the city, ours is up about five flights of small stone stairs. We are not the first pair to be seen struggling with our luggage, exchanging sympathetic looks with others who have no doubt run the gauntlet days earlier, nor do I doubt we will be the last.

A history lover’s paradise, there is plenty to see in Dubrovnik. 

Our brilliant walking tour guide, Marco, informs us that the city is home to the second oldest synagogue in Europe, which is still in use, and shows us what he claims to be the site of the first documented orphanage in Europe, complete with a rotating door, which allowed women to drop off the illegitimate children of the nobility anonymously. 

The moon sphere on the impressive clock tower is still accurate, with many locals using it to decide when to head out fishing. 

Dubrovnik Pharmacy, Europe’s longest-operating pharmacy located inside a Franciscan Monastery founded in 1317, is well worth a look. 

Set next to a museum housing Christian relics alongside traditional pharmacy products, it is renowned for its topical creams and lotions, some of which remain true to their traditional recipes and make excellent gifts.

Venturing outside the walls, there are various nooks and crannies offering access into the sea for a quick dip, or a spot of relaxing in the sun. 

This is a perfect prefix to an evening spent sampling the incredible seafood on offer at the various restaurants, while watching the sun set over this most majestic city. 

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