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It’s unnervingly easy to fall in love with Dubrovnik. Often described as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the well-preserved medieval architecture of the old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the lapping blue waters in the sun-splashed harbour, are deeply romantic. Most day visitors will make a beeline for the cobbled old town, where the historic buildings are. Yet should you hang around you’ll find that in the balmy evenings the area changes: chic yacht owners mix with trendy backpackers and party animals to see the night through.
Old Town - Virtually all of Dubrovnik’s must-see sights are clustered within the walls of the old town. This is one of the best-preserved medieval structures in the world. The Bokar and Minčeta Forts overlook the gates, while in the main square you’ll find architectural gems such as Orlando’s Column, the Rector’s Palace and the City Cathedral. Get off the main sightseeing routes and you can lose yourself in the network of narrow cobbled streets where old women gossip while hanging laundry on their balconies, aromatic herbs dry in the sunshine and local tavern owners doze under the shade of umbrellas.
Lapad - This charming peninsula, easily reached by bus from the old town, has a handsome gravelly beach, good swimming and many lively seafood restaurants lining the shore. Busy, but not frustratingly so, you’ll be sure to find a secluded sunbathing spot among the rocks.
Ploče - Unless you choose to take a taxi, the climb up to Ploče can leave you breathless, and if it doesn’t, then the views certainly will. The desirability of this fashionable area is down to the unsurpassed panoramas over the old town.
Gruž - Slightly outside of the centre, Gruž sits above the harbour, affording excellent views of daytrippers spilling down the gangways of their cruise ships. Old summer palaces dot the coastline here, while the city’s largest and best market is open every day, selling fresh fruits, herbs and seafood.
If you’re a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones then you’ll no doubt be familiar already with the ancient walls around Dubrovnik, as many of the scenes set in King’s Landing are filmed here. Take a private small group tour to learn about the city's maritime heritage, while admiring superb views over the rooftops and out across the Adriatic where yachts bob on the clear turquoise waters. Busy with sightseers and shoppers during the daylight hours, in the evenings the strada comes alive for al fresco dining, parties and people watching.
Fancy some exercise? Small group kayaking tours leave from the beaches around Dubrovnik and head out to the islands off the coast, where you can hike, explore caves, or take a dip in the Adriatic to cool off. Held at the end of July, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is the highlight of the social calendar, with a diverse programme of opera, classical music and theatre events held in the city’s many parks, gardens and palaces.