That Dubrovnik is a jewel of the Adriatic coastline is a hard opinion to refute. Emerging in the 15th and 16th centuries as a leader in art and literature, this tiny metropolis (just over 40,000 inhabitants) remains a place of intrigue for many a world traveler, beckoning with over three thousand years of history and incredible natural beauty.
But as with most areas that boast an uncommon mix of history, accessibility, beauty and warm, tropical weather, modern day Dubrovnik has become saturated with a prolific tourist industry that can easily prevent peak-season travelers from appreciating all that the city has to offer. So strong is the influence of sun-hat wearing, point and shoot wielding cruise-ship folk that locals in other parts of Croatia have taken to referring to Dubrovnik as “the city without a soul.” Beautiful? Of course. Financially successful? Definitely. But all this at the price of a declining local culture that goes to some length to keep the good stuff hidden from too many prying eyes.
That said, visit with the right expectations and in the right frame of mind and you just might find this ancient city full of memorable experiences. Take a walk on the stunning, UNESCO-certified walls of Old City, admiring the incredible polished stone streets and architecture before you grab a drink in any of the bustling cafes along the Stradun. For the adventurous, there is the hike up Mount Srd, cliff-jumping outside Cafe Buza, and nearby islands like Lokrum and Mljet to keep you trekking or swimming in the clear waters of the Adriatic. There’s even the popular Summer Festival for those who cannot help but visit during Dubrovnik’s peak tourist season. Is it everyone’s cup of tea? Probably not. But come prepared and informed, and the city won’t disappoint.