Croatia or known as Hrvatska is located in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeastern Europe and geographically bordering countries of Bosnia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Hungary. It is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and according to some sources, it is the only city-state to rival Venice during Middle Ages.
Dubrovnik is one of the Southern cities of Croatia which is very accessible by bus from Montenegro. It is one of the locations of HBO’s famous television series “ Game of Thrones as the King’s Landing“. I am a fan of GOT and looking forward for its seventh season to be released this coming July 2017. It is based on the book of George R.R Martin’s- A Song of Fire and Ice which is an epic fantasy. The shows theme/setting is medieval. The location scouts are really good in finding countries with old towns, villages, with historical architectures and Dubrovnik fits the spot for its distinctive walls.
Dubrovnik is very compact and cluster of houses you can see from the hillside with scattered Mediterranean Cypress trees around. If you are travelling from Kotor Montenegro to Dubrovnik, buses starts at 7am (but not all the time) the last would be 7pm. No need to book in advance, there are many buses departing every day. Travel time is almost two hours and forty five minutes including the border checking. Currency in Montenegro is Euro and for Croatia, it is Croatian Kuna or HRK. The prices of the buses ranges from 114HRK (17$) up to 22USD. You can check more about bus schedules here.
It is nice to stay few days in Dubrovnik before heading to other Croatian cities.These are the things to do, or sights to see that might interest you:
The City Gates
There are two city gates, the Pile Gate and the Ploce Gate. Pile Gate is the main gate to access the old town and this is where the bus will drop you. Once you enter this gate, you need to go down few stairs to the inner gate which leads you to the main street, the Stradun. The bus from Montenegro will stop at the main bus station in Gruz which is 2-4 kilometres away. There is a luggage storage ,money changer and grocery shops at the bus station. You can buy the bus ticket going to the old town from a magazine kiosk just outside the bus station or from the bus driver and you can take 1A or 1B. I took the 1B bus ticket cost from 1.50-2€.
Stradun of Dubrovnik
Stradun or Placa is the main street in Old town Dubrovnik. The limestone pavement were polished like glass. This street is just few meters to the other end, on the way to the fort. Stradun is the busiest and widest street in old town, prices of souvenirs and foods are more expensive here than the inner cafes and shops. You can find also bank and an ATM shops on this street.
Onofrio Fountain and the Church of Holy Savior
As soon as you will enter the Pile and Inner Gate, on your way to Stradun, you will find on your right the large fountain of Onofrio and on your left, the Saint Saviour Church. Onofrio fountain named after Onofrio Della Cava, he is responsible for providing Dubrovnik a potable water during 14th century. The Holy Saviour Church is a exmaple of renaissance architecture its original form from 15th century. Behind the church, you can find the Franciscan Monastery and Pharmacy.
Franciscan Monastery and Pharmacy
Franciscan Monastery is a large 13th century complex from Stradun to the walls. from the top of the wall, you will be able to see the square the compound. The monastery is so large that it has an upper and lower cloisters. The cloisters in the lower part represents, animals, plants and humans of Romanesque-Gothic Style. The paintings represents the life of Franciscan orders. Entrance fee is 30HRK. One should spare some time to visit this simple yet knowledgeable place. To know more about the Franciscan Monasteries , please click here.
The Square of Loggia
The Square of Loggia is formerly a market place and where you can find buildings and statues built in 14th century. The Saint Blaise Church, Orlando’s Column, Sponza Palace and the City Bell Tower. The column on the center has a knight carved on it known as Orlando or Roland which according to a legend, saved Dubrovnik during the Arabs invasion. This column served many purposes during the middle ages, from celebration announcements, proclamations, trials and punishments.
The present bell tower was constructed during the 19th century to replaced the leaning tower after an earthquake that happened on the 16th century. The original tower was built on the 14th century with wooden and bronze hitting the bell.
Saint Blasius is the Patront Saint of Dubrovnik. The church was built on the 17th century in the Honour of the Patron Saint Blasius by Venetian architect Marino Gropelli. This is one of the favorite wedding venues in Dubrovnik.
Sponza Palace serves as a bank, treasury, armory throughout the years. Built on the 15th century with Gothic Renaissance style.
The Rector’s Palace
Located behind the Saint Blaise Church, near the Dubrovnik Cathedral. Building was of renaissance and baroque style and was built during the 12th century. It is a secular building and at present the home of Dubrovnik’s Museum and History Department.
The Dominican Monastery
The Dominican Monastery is located near the inner Ploce Gate and the tower can be seen from the fort. According to the history, the Dominicans established their monastery during the 12th century but building the present monastery completed on the 14th century. The monastery become a part of the wall for defence purposes as it is located on the sensitive area of the Dubrovnik.
The Dubrovnik Cathedral
According to Dubrovnik City information, a legend on how this church was built. “Richard the Lionheart was returning from the Crusades in 1192 when he was shipwrecked in a storm, and cast aground on Lokrum Island in front of Dubrovnik. In order to thank God for his life, he vowed to build a great church on the spot where his life was saved. When he had layed-up his intentions to the shrewd Dubrovnik leaders, they convinced him it would be much better to build the church in Dubrovnik instead.
Saint Ignatius Church
I find this church more beautiful due to its ceiling, wall paintings and it’s location with a grand Baroque or medieval staircase. Its is very near to Dubrovnik Cathedral, less than 5 minutes walk. It is a complex of Baroque style – a church and a Jesuit College built between 15th and 16th century.
The Church of the Holy Annunciation
Also known as the Serbian Orthodox built during the 18th century and was renovated year 2009.
Visit Pablo Picasso’s Exhibition
If you are a fan of paintings and crafts made by Pablo Picasso, then you have come to the right place.
The Gundulic Square
Named after Dubrovnik poet Ivan Gundulic. The statue was built on the 16th century. This square serves as a market in the morning and cafe/ restaurants the rest of the day.
Church of Annunciation of Mary
located in-front of Dominican Monastery, on your way to Ploce gate.
The Old Town Market
Located in Gundulic Square. You can buy incese, jams, fruits, vegetable, handmade soaps, arts and crafts.
If you are tired of walking, then its time for you to sit and just relax around the fort and let your thoughts wander. This is a good place to view the sunset.There are restaurants around the fort famous for seafood delicacies.
Dubrovnik Cable Car
This is a must, the best view of the old town from the Fortress with Cable Car. Ticket cost 12USD/one way or 20USD/return. There are facilities on the fortress such as souvenirs shops, cafes and a viewing area.
The Old City Walls
Dubrovnik City Walls are the most important symbol or feature of Dubrovnik. This white stone walls are very distinctive and the main reason why Dubrovnik is the Pearl of the the Adriatic. This is the only walls that remained its medieval features, fortresses, monasteries and the only one in the world with this type of walled Old town, this is why it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage. Within the Old Town or Old City walls, you can find The Bokar Tower, Connected to the Lovrjenac Fort, Revelin Fort and the Gates.
Get lost around the maze-cobblestone, narrow streets of Dubrovnik.
Restaurants, Foods and Cafes
Dubrovnik is not cheap in terms of dining in especially within the main streets of Stradun. There are many restaurants on the inner streets of Old town that offers affordable prices compared to a very touristy streets. A pasta and a beer would cost from 25$ to 45$ in a middle class restaurants along Stradun.
This is my weakness, buying souvenirs. Bargain at the market place for some souvenirs or buy on the inner streets. Sometimes it is cheaper of 5-10$, than the shops on the main streets.
According to one local that I have met, there is a tradition in Croatia that when they get married they need to plant one cypress tree. Sources online refers Cypress as the the drama tree or the tree of mourning. Whatever it symbolizes, it adds to the beauty of the Dubrovnik.
If you want to read more about Dubrovnik, you can check here.
The weather during month of October is very pleasant. Summer is gone and the weather tends to be cool. Sunny with the cool breeze from the sea.