You may have heard the ancient city of Dubrovnik referred to as the Pearl of the Adriatic. Standing on the top of the cliff looking down, I felt I had discovered a fantastical place that wasn’t quite of this world. That feeling never left throughout my three days in Dubrovnik.
When I first entered the Old Town through the Gothic Pila Gate, I found that the noises of the outside world silenced themselves. Spread out before me was a labyrinth of marbled streets, renaissance churches, steep inclines and small cafes with deck chairs. The concept of a schedule vanished. I passed one half of my day simply soaking in the vibrancy of the town, wandering into and out of the small shops selling hand-blown glassware and delicate silk scarves. The second half consisted of escaping the heat of the sun in the sanctuaries of the old town’s churches, the highlight of which was the Baroque St. Blaise’s cathedral. I finished up the day in a small restaurant by the sea enjoying small delicately fried fish, eager to catch another glimpse of the glorious sunset over the Adriatic that I’d experienced the night before.
The following morning I walked the 2km distance that constitutes the upper pathway of Dubrovnik’s stone fortifications. The walls have been in existence since the city’s founding in the 7th Century. They are considered to be amongst the most impressive defensive systems of the Middle Ages. I had chosen to explore the walls early to avoid the sun and the crowds: I had a great view of the sea on one side of me and the jigsaw puzzle of terracotta tiles of Dubrovnik, interrupted only by the turrets of churches, on the other. A visit to the Franciscan monastery and its old pharmacy museum concluded the day’s exploration. The old pharmacy is surrounded by cloisters and a beautiful inner courtyard decorated with orange trees. It still stocks potions from the 15th century in a variegated display of glass jars and different sized vessels.
On my last day, I explored the charming island of Lokrum, riddled with tame peacocks, hidden pathways and small beaches. Here I could finally unwind in the cool embrace of the sea. Returning to Dubrovnik by ferry in the late afternoon, I drank in the impressive ramparts with my eyes… I wanted to remember the sheer majesty of this city.
Explore Dubrovnik on Tucan Travel’s Balkans in two weeks Adventure Tour.