Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a fascinating part of the city, with a collection of historical streets, structures and squares enclosed by medieval ramparts. Wander through the maze of narrow lanes and alleys and discover important churches, fortifications and monuments, as well as appealing cafés, restaurants and galleries.
During the Middle Ages, Dubrovnik was an important maritime power. Exquisite examples of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture are evidence of its former power and wealth. Despite a catastrophic earthquake in 1667 and extensive damage inflicted on the district during the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s, today the Old Town looks almost immaculate. Inspect the façades and walls closely and you may spot a few bullet marks.
Enter the Old Town through the main entrance, Pile Gate, to see two prominent forts: Minčeta Fort to the north and Bokar Fort to the south. Minčeta Fort protected the city from land invasions, while Bokar Fort was designed to guard against sea attacks.
Look for Onofrio’s Fountain, a circular 15th-century fountain with 16 carved faces spouting water through their mouths. This fountain is now a popular meeting point. While here, be sure to see the nearby Franciscan Monastery, home to notable late-Romanesque cloisters and a historic pharmacy that has been operating since 1317.
Stroll down the pedestrianized main street of Stradun and note the polished stone paving blocks shimmering under the sun. At the far end of Stradun, you’ll find even more famous landmarks including Sponza Palace, a glorious mix of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles, and the Baroque-style Dubrovnik Cathedral, which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake.
Venture down the cobble lanes that branch off from Stradun to arrive at hidden squares lined with charming cafés, art galleries and restaurants. Return later in the evening to enjoy a Croatian meal or meet new friends at a bar.
Dubrovnik’s Old Town occupies a small area and is best explored on foot. Use the round fortified towers as landmarks to help you navigate.