South-East Europe roadtrip: Stop #4 – Dubrovnik

Tourists strolling or relaxing in restaurants on the Placa Street in Dubrovnik.

After few days spent on beautiful Korčula it was time to move on. Our next stop was already planned – Dubrovnik. When we were hanging out on a beach with friends, we mentioned that were going to Dubrovnik. Our friend Marcin immediately suggested to start the sightseeing with Srđ Hill. And so we did.

Srđ Hill

It’s a 412 meter high hill, with an amazing panoramic view over Dubrovnik and Lokrum island, surrounded with calm, azure sea water. A perfect place for a good photo. Additionally, on top of the hill Srđ stronghold called “Fort Imperial” is located. It’s one of Croatia’s independence fight symbols – inside there’s a museum dedicated to the siege of Dubrovnik. After walking around and taking some photos we drove down with a curvy and steep road down to Dubrovnik.

Panoramic view of Dubrovnik and Adriatic Sea seen from Srđ Hill
Panoramic view of Dubrovnik seen from Srđ Hill

Dubrovnik

We wasted some time for searching a parking spot. When we finally managed to leave the car, we had almost 20 minutes walk to historic city center. Walking among tight settled houses, narrow alleys, long stairways, we got down almost to the seashore. Following that path, we could admire Dubrovnik’s fortifications, port and Ploče gate from afar. We entered the city center through Ploče gate, which up until XIX century, along with Pile gate on west side of the city, were only entrances to Dubrovnik from the land side. From Ploče gate, passing by Dominican monastery, St. Sebastian’s Church and University buildings, we entered port area. There we had some incredibly tasty grilled fish and sea fruits. A nice addition to that meal was the view at port and St. John’s Fortress.

A view at Cathedral in Dubrovnik and tourists walking or resting on the stairs.
Cathedral in Dubrovnik

After the dinner we went for city sightseeing. We walked on pavements made out of polished stones up to the Assumption Cathedral, continued to Rector’s Palace and Sponza Palace. Standing there, everywhere around us we’ve seen some interesting things. Behind us Sponza Palace, next to it was Gothic-Reneissance Clock Tower, and in front of us – St. Blasius Church and Luža square, where a lot of souvenir booths were standing. On the left side of the church of Dubrovnik’s patron, along Pred Dvorom street, one can see rich decorated city buildings and Cathedral’s tower. On the right side is the most representative street of the Old Town – Placa street. It was built in the place of a former canal, that was dividing north part of the city from the south one. Before the earthquake in 1667, along the canal were standing richly decorated Renaissance palaces of most wealthy citizens. After the earthquake the streets were rebuilt in the current form, with high but rather modest, limestone-built apartment houses.

Walking along Placa street we turned into some alleyways. Narrow passages between high buildings certainly give a lot of shade in hot summer days. In front of many houses we’ve seen small “gardens” (“garden” is a big word – they were just dense groups of flower pots). We found also some restaurants in some of the buildings, with tables on the street (sometimes even stairways are used as a table). We walked this maze up to Franciscan monastery and went back to Placa street. Just a while later we’ve seen St. Savior’s Church and in front of it another characteristic place – Onophrian fountain. Behind the square we could see fortifications and the old, second city entrance – Pile gate and Minčeta Tower.

A narrow alley view with at houses, steep stairway, and lots of flower pots with green plants.
Narrow alley in Dubrovnik

From that place we got back to the port. With other narrow alleys we managed to get to the fortifications guarding city from the side of the sea. Every once in a while we’ve seen a glimpse of the sea through small windows in the walls. Finally, when we’ve encountered open wooden doors leading to the outside of the walls, we just had to enter them. On the rocks below the fortification there was a small pub – just few tables and umbrellas. One could sit down and admire the sunset that was just stating. But we chose to get a bit more down and (along with some stray cats) watch people fishing.

The sunset view from those rocks was enchanting, that’s for sure – but we got a bit anxious, because we still didn’t knew what campsite we’ll sleep on that night. So we moved on with a faster pace. We chose to go to St. Ignatius Church. When we got there it was partially covered… with a film crew green screens. In alleyways there were some parts of scenography set as well, but the film crew guards didn’t allow people to take pictures. After getting back to Poland, out of curiosity we checked what was filmed in September 2014 in Dubrovnik. Turned out they were filming one of the most popular HBO TV shows lately – Game of Thrones. While we were watching the new episodes, we smiled to each other every time we’ve seen the places we’ve been to.

 

Practical tips:

  • There are three ways  to get to Srđ Hill: on foot, by car or with the cable car. First two are free (if you don’t count the fuel). You only need to keep in mind, that walking uphill is a bit exhausting and can take around 1,5 to 2 hours, and going by car requires some calm nerves and a bit of skill. The road is very curvy, steep and narrow enough, so that two cars cannot pass each other without one going into a special “bays” that are placed only in few places along the road. The easiest way is to get to the top of the hill is cable car. Prices start from 60 HRK (9 USD) for adult single ticket, 108 HRK (16 USD) for return and 160 HRK (24 USD) for Day & Night tickets – return tickets for one entrance during the day and one during the night.
  • Fort Imperial entry fee is 20 HRK (3 USD) adult and 10 HRK (1,5 USD) reduced.
  • You can go sightseeing Dubrovnik from a higher perspective. A walk on the fortification walls costs 100 HRK (15 USD) for adults.

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