Hidden in plain sight, this luxury boutique hotel is the only 5-star accommodation within the Old City walls. The 17th century Baroque structure has been a hotel since 1885 and is located on Gundulic Square. From the outside, you wouldn't know it's a hotel at all, since the historic building features no exter signage. Its 17 rooms and 2 suites are named after different figures from Dubrovnik's history and feature themed décor to match.
The Rector's Palace used to be the seat of government during the time of the Dubrovnik Republic, and was home to the offices of state, a gunpowder store and a dungeon. Although a well-loved monument for visitors to the city, most people walk straight past the small dungeon space near the main entrance – an important part of the building's purpose and history. Look carefully at the walls of the dungeon doorway and you'll see an intricate carving of a dragon on display.
Standing guard over the entire walled city of Dubrovnik the Minčeta Fortress is the highest point of the city's fortifications. The proud and imposing fortress was built in 1462, with six metre thick walls and an elaborate defensive system that included various cannon ports, the very sight of Minčeta alone was enough to deter invaders. It is a symbol of an “unconquerable city." As it is the most prominent point of the city walls, yes there are quite a few steps and it offers an unbroken panorama.
Legend says that Richard the Lionheart was returning from the Crusades in 1192 when a storm left him shipwrecked on Lokrum Island just in front of Dubrovnik. Grateful to God for saving him, he declared that he would build a church on the island to show his thanks. The leaders of Dubrovnik convinced him to build the church on the mainland instead. The result was the erection of the Romanesque Dubrovnik Cathedral sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries.
Situated in a narrow, shaded passageway off the main thoroughfare of Stradun Street, this trendy yet understated café-bar is said to serve the best coffee in Dubrovnik. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, fresh fruit smoothies and cocktails are also on the menu, plus all the usual wines, beers and soft drinks you'd expect. The WiFi is free, the baristas and bartenders are friendly, and the place is open from breakfast 'til late.
This tiny pebble beach is in the suburb of Pile and is mostly used by locals. Situated just outside the West Gate entrance to the Old City, it's only a stone's throw away from Dubrovnik's main bus and taxi ranks, yet this serene hidden spot is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. There is a friendly little café-bar named La Mizerija built into the rocks just above the water, so grab a drink or snack while you take in the spectacular views of the coastline and clear blue Adriatic waters that await.
This residential area, situated just outside the West Gate of the Old City, is missed by millions of tourists every year. It features winding little alleyways and quaint architecture, all in the style of Dubrovnik's Old City, but is much calmer than the bustling tourist centre itself. After saying hello to the many cats that frequent the stone walkways, drop into the Church of Saint George – a humble but fascinating place of worship restored in the 17th century after the devastating earthquake of 1667.
Taking its name from the famous Biblical death-eschewer Lazarus, Dubrovnik's lazareti is one of the world's oldest quarantine houses. During its 16th and 17th century heyday, this complex was the city's first line of defence against bothersome foreign diseases. The many sailors and passengers embarking at this teeming merchant port would be detained for observation until deemed sufficiently pox-less and plague-free. Today, the 10-building complex houses the city's cultural heartbeat with live music and a nightclub.
The Dubrovnik Aquarium and Maritime Museum is a celebration of nature and the sea housed in St. John's medieval fortress. It's a space filled with objects, paintings and documents related to maritime trade and tradition. The aquarium features 27 basins of Adriatic fish and fauna, while the museum tells the story of the historic Dubrovnik Republic's rise as a maritime power and its trade in the Adriatic, Mediterranean and beyond.
Literally translated into English, “rupe" means hole, and when you enter the solid stone building you can see how it got its name. The storage of grain was paramount for the success of the Republic of Dubrovnik and the rupe building contains 15 deep holes for wheat, corn and barley. Today only three of the original holes remain intact. The building is used as the home of the Ethnographic Museum, which showcases the life of the citizens of the Dubrovnik Republic through the centuries.
Dubrovnik's foundations can be traced to the seventh century, when it was first settled by a group of itinerant refugees from the city of Epidaurum. Surviving Venetian occupation in the 13th century, and, later, enduring Austro-Hungarian rule, Dubrovnik became a cradle of culture, literature and civilization throughout the Renaissance. Though strongly influenced by Italy and the Ottoman Empire, the city always retained vestiges of autonomy: for example by abolishing slave trade on its shores in the 15th century, at the height of its wealth and diplomatic powers.
Its historic highlights include the city gates, which date back to the 11th century, the Franciscan Monastery and the Town Hall, and Dubrovnik is peppered with superb examples of Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Its history has, for the most part, been prosperous thanks to its favourable position for sea trade and access to superior natural shipbuilding resources. Over the centuries, the hardy little city of Dubrovnik or Ragusa, has prevailed against occupation, besiegement and natural disaster to emerge with its culture not only intact, but preserved for future generations as one of the world's most impressive walled cities, gaining recognition as a World Heritage Site in 1979.
Flickr users: Thank you very much to Jennifer Boyer, Charlie Dave, James Diggans, Speez, Will Bakker, Emma Dunn, Lauren Razavi, James G. Milles, Grahamc99 and Son of Groucho for making your Dubrovnik Images available to us.