With a long and glorious history built largely on the fortunes of its port, Dubrovnik once rivalled Venice as the premier maritime city on the Medieval Adriatic. An earthquake in 1667 levelled much of it but there are still a number of surviving Renaissance flourishes, including an impressive cathedral, while the baroque Old Town is a World Heritage site of glorious autumn colours, particularly vibrant when basking in the plentiful summer sun.
Long, sandy beaches attract hordes during the high season but there are plenty of opportunities to escape, from the plethora of islands that linger offshore to the winding trails that meander through inland forests and over rocky peninsulas. A boat trip across the harbour makes for a refreshing and invigorating afternoon; relax afterwards on a peaceful terrace with a glass of Croatian wine, or imbibe of the giddy atmosphere of evenings which start with superb Dalmation cuisine and ends with a party in the small hours of the morning.
Where to stay
Hotel Kazbek, housed in a stunning 16th century castle, has an authentic, intimate atmosphere unrivalled elsewhere in the city. Karmen apartments are a great option for those planning longer trips who prefer a little self-catering.
Where to eat
Poklisar is a great seafood restaurant serving fresh, local catch and the crowds that pack its open air terrace are a testament to the quality of the food and service. For a more intimate atmosphere with comparably excellent Dalmatian cuisine, head to Rozarij, also in the Old Town.
What to see
The World Heritage Old Town is so perfect in places that you’ll wonder if you’ve strolled onto a Hollywood set; the views from the ancient city walls are pretty good too. Lopud Island is a great place to escape the crowds; tranquillity with its very own beach.