A sea of terracotta roofs, first light on ancient buildings and near deserted streets. That is our impression of an early morning in the old town of Dubrovnik. Of course there are the delivery trucks making the most of the limited time they are allowed in the old city, but we manage to overlook them.
After the crowds that confronted us on our arrival yesterday we are working on our theory that the early Aussie captures the best photos. It worked well for us in Plitvice Lakes so why not here. And judging by the lack of crowds we are bang on the money.
The City Walls
Yesterday we purchased a One Day Dubrovnik Card, to gain free or subsidised entry into the main sights. So armed with our cards we head to the entrance of the City Walls. We aren’t the only ones to have this idea, but the walls are big enough for all us early risers. The walls work on a one way system, which is fortunate because parts are quite narrow and the stairs especially can be treacherous in places. The walk around is just under 2kms with lots of up and down. But the views are staggering and totally worth a bit of huffing and puffing. The best views are on the high inland section, in my opinion. We finish the wall just before 10am as the crowds are starting build. Yup, we feel a tad smug!
Next we are off to Fort Lovrijenac just outside the walls of the old town. My favourite fact about this fort is that the walls on the landward side are 6 metres wide, 4 metres towards the sea but only 60cm towards the city. This was to ensure that the commander of the fort could never overthrow the government in the town because “the destruction of Lovrijenac’s thin walls by cannon fire would quickly bring him to his senses”. Nothing like a bit of trust hey?
As we walked around this wonderful old fort there were numerous tour parties trotting around with their guides. Talking about the colourful history of the fort? No, something much more exciting, the fortress was the setting for the Game of Thrones series. But as we’ve never even seen one episode, all the fascinating snippets fall on deaf ears.
Franciscan Monastery Museum
Next it is a restorative cup of Croatian coffee before we battle our way through the tourists back into the old town. Then we are off to the beautiful Franciscan Monastery Museum just inside the gate. This is the first time we have actually seen or read about the destruction caused by the homeland war the 1990s. I started reading about how they weathered the destruction whilst in the building and I had to stop it was so heartbreaking. To look at the building today you would have no idea, apart from this one reminder.
St. Savior Church
As we leave here we notice a few people disappearing into a nondescript doorway and of course we have to follow. We have just stumbled upon St. Savior Church and the inside is quite spectacular, by far my favourite of the churches in Dubrovnik’s old town.
By the time we emerge from here the ground is thick with tour parties and we sneak our way along the wonderful wide main street called Stradun. We call into a few more Museums but the sheer volume of tour groups defeat us two little country bumpkins and we decide it is time to buy some goodies from one of the excellent bakeries and retire to our apartment to regroup.
My tips for seeing Dubrovnik
Buy yourself a Dubrovnik Card. They come in either one, three or seven day passes. Our one day pass was 180kn (about AUS$38) on line or 200kn if you bought it from the tourist information. This pass is excellent value because just to walk the city walls costs 150kn.
Go early! I am always saying this but the tour crowds are unbelievable especially if you want to go up on the wall.
If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will be spoilt for choice with tours to go on!
Whilst we stayed in the old town I would not, on reflection, recommend it. Why? Well it is hideously expensive, double the price of much better AirBnBs we have have stayed in and not nearly as well appointed. And to get our stunning view we had to climb up six flights of stairs, not fun with suitcases. I would stay in the new town overlooking the old town so you would enjoy the view without being in the thick of it.