After spending a few weeks in Central Europe, it was great to be near the water again. We arrived in Split from Zagreb and Krka National Park, left our luggage at the hotel, and went out to enjoy this typical Adriatic and Croatian city. Next to Split, we visited Dubrovnik, where we enjoyed the old medieval city, and found a nearby beach to enjoy the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea.
The city center of Split consists of many marble alleyways, all interconnected with a few squares in between. Inside the old city walls, the old city is littered with tourists, restaurants, bars, and ancient monuments. A great place to spend a few days, and if it all gets too much, you can always relax at the waterfront.
After passing the Eastern city walls, we arrived at Peristel Square. Back in the day, this square was used by the Emperor to address the public. Nowadays, it is more like an open-air restaurant, as many people grab their dinner to go and eat on the steps of the square.
Next to the square you can find the high Bell Tower. It is part of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, and dates back to the 12th century. As it is the highest building in Split, and its main landmark.
We walked deeper into the city, taking random turns as all alleyways are equally beautiful. We ended up in Narodni Trg, or People’s Square, where we paused for a minute. As all squares, it is lined with restaurants, and street performers making music and trying to earn a small tip.
We headed for the waterfront where, apart from palm trees, restaurants, and cocktail bars, you can find many small and big yachts docked for the week. We bought some ice cream, sat down, and simply enjoyed the city.
We walked a bit away from the city center, to get a good view of the entire old city. We were not disappointed, as we got a great view of the city, lit by the setting sun, with the Bell Tower rising above everything else.
The next day, just before leaving Split, we quickly strolled through the local Green Market. Surprisingly, despite being inside the city walls, it is mostly a place where locals (and not tourists) come to stock on flowers, fruits, and vegetables. We simply bought a few fruits for on the go, and headed to the bus station.
Dubrovnik is a bit bigger than Split, and we stayed a bit out of the city center. Luckily, public transport in Dubrovnik is quite decent, especially since most buses end up at the gates to the old center anyway.
Compared to Split, the old town of Dubrovnik is also quite a bit different. It has the same amount of alleyways, but in Dubrovnik many only give access to local residences. Most restaurants and bars can be found along the main street, and in the beginning of the alleyways.
At the end of the main street you can find the Sponza Palace and Church of Saint Blaise. Saint Blaise is seen as the saint of the city, and former protector of Republic of Ragusa, a republic centered around Dubrovnik from the 14th to 19th century.
By far the biggest attraction of Dubrovnik are the city walls. For a hefty price of 17$ you can walk all around the city walls. It is definitely worth it, despite the lack of protection from the burning sun. However, you are rewarded with incredible views of the city, sea, and mountains.
In about two hours’ time, you can walk all around the city, and end up at the spot where you first entered the walls. About halfway through you’ll pass the harbor, where small fishing boats are able to dock a stones’ throw from the city center. Back in the day, this was the place for all the trading vessels from all over the world.
The highest point of the city is the Minčeta Tower. Even though we were tired and sunburned from our walk, we went the extra few steps up, to get a great panorama of the surroundings.
At this point, we had seen all of Dubrovnik, and it was time to grab lunch, a beer, and relax. Just outside the city walls, on the northeastern side, you can find Banje Beach. It consists of two parts, one part owned by a hotel or restaurant, where you have to pay to access the beach. As many locals did, we walked a bit further to the public access point. Unfortunately, alcohol was not allowed on the beach, so we had lunch first, before going for a well-deserved swim.
It was the perfect end to a short stay in Dubrovnik. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to view Dubrovnik from the mountain. Luckily, the bus that we left Dubrovnik with, did the work for us. This way, we were finally able to get a quick view of Dubrovnik from the heights of the mountain.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.