Croatia’s cultural capital and the diamond of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik combines a glorious ancient citadel with airy sea views and brochure-ready beaches. Its ubiquitous charm draws hordes of visitors during high season, including a glittering army of celebrities, but there are still secret to be discovered within those medieval city walls.
Soak up the history
A weekend away to Dubrovnik from Glasgow Airport is nothing short of a cultural odyssey. The UNESCO-listed Old Town is ringed by weathered stone fortifications, built between the 13th and 16th centuries and rising to 25m high in some places. Take a day to explore the walls and their medieval forts by foot, stopping off to see the crumbling Pile Gate and the shell-pocked beauty of St Saviour’s Church (Od Puča 8). Then enjoy a taste of the city’s secret history by wandering down sleepy Iza Roka Street and hunting for a piece of 16th-century graffiti that warns boys against playing football in the area.
Pull up a sunlounger
Ranging from elegant crescents of icing sugar sand to hidden rocky coves, Dubrovnik’s beaches are the wonder of the Adriatic. Banje Beach is just a stone’s throw from the Old Town, but venture out a little further to Sveti Jakov and you’ll discover the locals’ favourite coastal hangout. For tropical-style strips of sand, take a Jadrolinija ferry from the port and hop off at Lopud Island with its fragrant cypress parks and white-sand bay. Saplunara Beach on the eastern side of Mljet Island is another secluded gem.
The narrow, pedestrianised streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town are scattered with top-class seafood restaurants. Tuck into exquisitely crafted Dalmatian dishes at Proto (Široka 1), where fresh oysters and garlic shrimps are served against the backdrop of a romantic first-floor terrace. Restaurant Nautika (Brsalje 3) might be costly, but you can’t put a price on those spellbinding views over the Adriatic or on the famously warm service. Working to a budget? Lokanda Peskarija (Na Ponti bb) is a bustling seafood restaurant with reliably delicious food.