Dubrovnik should be on everyone's list of must-see cities. Europeans have long since discovered this Croatian coastal destination, but it is still unfamiliar to many Americans, who don't know that, among Prague and Krakow, it is one Eastern Europe's top-rated places to go.
Why is Dubrovnik so hot? One of the most obvious reasons is its beauty, which has captured the fancy of poets, artists and photographers, and travelers, for centuries. But Dubrovnik also attracts beach-goers, draws crowds with annual festivals, makes an excellent escape for couples, and, to top it all off, offers families plenty to do and see.
Dubrovnik's history originates in the 7th century. Then, a particular type of oak was found in abundance in the region, and it is from this tree that Dubrovnik takes its name. Its historic Italian name (which you may see or hear while in Dubrovnik) was Ragusa, which was derived from the Greek name for the place. Dubrovnik was briefly under Venetian rule; afterward, it was officially answered to the king of Croatia and Hungary.
Dubrovnik flourished during Europe's medieval period but was rocked by the famous earthquake in 1667 that killed thousands of its residents and leveled most of its buildings. This earthquake changed the shape of Dubrovnik forever, and the result of the city's reconstruction can be seen today.
Napoleon successfully entered Dubrovnik (the remains of his fortress still stand on Mount Srd) in the 19th century, after which the city became a part of the Austrian Empire. The most recent tragedy to befall Dubrovnik was in 1991, when, after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik's buildings were damaged by bombshells.
Dubrovnik's most famous attraction is its wall, which encloses the city and links to various fortification towers and fortresses. The views from the walls will impress even the most stoic of travelers; photographers will find themselves in paradise.
Dubrovnik's ground-level sights include churches and squares. A good guide book or a tour of the city is recommended to fully appreciate those monuments and structures that have become symbols of the Dubrovnik.
Restaurants in Dubrovnik:
With its long relationship with the sea, Dubrovnik has its fair share of seafood restaurants. Unfortunately, the surrounding waters have mostly been fished out - this doesn't mean the seafood on the menus isn't good, but just know that it may have been outsourced!
Croatian food, Bosnian food, and other cuisines can also be found in Dubrovnik. Some restaurants take advantage of Dubrovnik's views; others are tucked away on side streets only to be happened upon by accident. If you can, sample several restaurants while there to get an idea of the full range of flavors offered in the old town's restaurants.
Hotels in or just outside the old town can be had, but they may not suit a budget traveler. If you don't mind catching public transportation or walking, there are hotels and private rooms available farther out - but be sure to check the location before you book so that you can reach the walled city without too much hassle.
Getting to Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik can be accessed by bus, plane, car, or - during the summer season - boat. Cilipi International Airport is the closest airport with flights from Zagreb arriving daily.
Bus connections can be made with various cities in Croatia, including Zagreb, Zadar, and Split.
One of the most convenient ways to get to Dubrovnik is via organized tour or cruise. These group excursions include other destinations on the Adriatic, so consider these among your options for getting to Dubrovnik.