How to spend a day in Dubrovnik Old Town
If you are staying in Villa Leoni, Dubrovnik historic center is just a short walk from your apartment. With so many things to see and do, it might be hard to know where to start. Here’s our plan for a perfect day in Dubrovnik Old Town.
To get the best experience of Dubrovnik we strongly suggest taking a guided walking tour with certified local guides. They’ll take you to all the important stops in the city while avoiding the crowds. It might seem a mission impossible during the highest tourist season, but they are as resourceful as Tom Cruise in his latest Mission Impossible movie.
Start with Lazareti
If your starting point is Villa Leoni, before entering the historic center, check out Lazareti, a former quarantine barracks from the Dubrovnik Republic period. There are usually some art exhibitions on display, interesting handmade souvenirs to buy and some of the barracks now host music festivals and parties.
Have a stop at Ploče gate
You’ll be entering the old town through Ploče gate. Make sure to stop and admire the view of Lokrum island, old harbour and a lovely park bellow the gates. You’ll also notice locals making reparations on their boats bellow the gate. When you pass the gates, on your left side is a big terrace with old cannons. That’s one of the best places to take a photo! An no one will mind if you decide to sit on one of the cannons to take a picture with a perfect backrop of Dubrovnik, the Adriatic Sea and Lokrum island.
Admire Stairs of Dominican Monastery
On your way down, you’ll pass next to this beautiful piece of architecture. Dominican Monastery and church stood around the same time as the City Walls. The monastery was an important centre of philosophy and theology from 14th to right 20th century.
Soak in the past
This photo shows the very spot from which you can see Orlando’s Column (Orlandov Stup), the Church of Saint Blaise (Dubrovnik patron), The Rector’s Palace ( the seat of the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa), and Dubrovnik Cathedral. It’s the very heart of the Old Town called Luža Square. You’ll get right to it if you walk straight ahead after passing Dominican Monastery.
Grab an ice cream to go
The best way to have a walk in town is with an artisan ice cream in your hands. We love homemade ice creams by Gianni. It’s right next to cathedral in a small street on the left side. You can even sit there in shade and have a great cup of coffee.
Explore Dubrovnik harbour
The street of Gianni ice cream takes you to the small but beautiful old Dubrovnik harbor. You can have a nice walk outside the walls to Porporela pier. From there you’ll have an amazing view of Lokrum island. It’s also a place with many rocks, where you can even take a sun bath and swim.
Take a walk down the main street
Make sure to do this early in the morning or later in the evening since it gets pretty hot. The beautiful street Placa, also called Stradun, is pedestrian and covered with limestone. You’ll enjoy beautiful baroque houses on each side of the street. If you decide to do some shopping, we suggest making a turn into smaller streets since there are some real jewels in them with locally sourced and handmade souvenirs and gifts.
Explore side streets
As we’ve mentioned before, side streets are filled with cool local gift shops, but also offer amazing views. You’ll also find wine bars, cafes, restaurants, fast food and pizza places. Don’t be surpristed if you end up in a museum, church or gallery on your way.
Walk the city walls
You can decide between 2 and 4 kilometers walk around the city walls. It’s something not to be missed! You’ll get a whole new perspective of the city. And the best time is before the sunset. If you’re doing the walk in the sun, we strongly suggest wearing a hat, putting on suncream and having plenty of water with you. There’s also a lovely little cafe on top, where you can have a natural lemonade or freshly squeezed orange juice.
Visit Franciscan Monastery and its Old Pharmacy
Right next to the entrance to City Walls is a beautiful medieval Franciscan Monastery with a mesmerizing cloister and inner garden with orange trees. One of the oldest pharmacies in Europe is hiding in the monastery. The best part is that it still offers handmade creams and ointments prepared with ancient and secret Franciscan recipes.
Explore Dubrovnik museums
While you may feel like walking through an open-air museum in Dubrovnik Old Town, there are also actual museums in town under the umbrella Dubrovnik museums.
Admire the city and Lovrjenac Fortress from Ploče gate
The main gate on the opposite side of the city is called Ploče gate. Here you have one of the best and most exclusive restaurants in town – Nautika.
Also, if you walk to the restaurant and look below, you’ll see a pier which is the shooting location of Game of Thrones, respectively Blackwater Bay and Kings Landing’s Harbour. You’ll also see the great Lovrjenac fortress on your right side, or The Red Keep if we’re talking in GoT language.
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