Like many travelers, you dream of taking a European vacation, but there’s only one problem: there’s no way to pack all the places you want to see in one getaway. Or is there? Carnival® has you covered with its many cruises around Europe. Taking a cruise to Dubrovnik, Croatia allows you to enjoy a special city and its rich history. To get you started on vacation planning, here are nine memorable things to do in Dubrovnik.
1. Explore Old Town and Other Popular Sights
When you’re wondering what to do in Dubrovnik, remember that it has earned a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for attractions like its historic Old Town. This pedestrian-only zone is an area surrounded by centuries-old stone walls.
It features charming cobblestone streets and red-tile rooftops with an array of churches, museums and town squares.
You can take a stroll down Stradun, a wide thoroughfare which cuts through the center of Old Town, and see the old-world charm as well as shops, galleries, outdoor cafés and coffee bars.
2. Walk the City Walls
The walls that enclose Old Town were built in the 13th century and once provided protection from invaders. They now serve as a popular tourist attraction.
You can walk the entire perimeter which usually takes about two hours. Along the way, you’ll see historic forts strategically placed in all directions as well as towers, gates and spectacular views of the city and sea.
3. Visit the Franciscan Monastery
History buffs looking for things to do in Dubrovnik always enjoy visiting the Franciscan monastery.
It was built along the northwest edge of the Dubrovnik wall system in the 14th century, but many parts were rebuilt in the 17th century following a devastating earthquake.
While there, you can see beautiful triple arches and ornate columns with carvings of faces and other decorations. The internal courtyard features a peaceful garden with a well-manicured lawn, trimmed hedges, trees and seasonal blooms. Today, the monastery operates as a museum and working pharmacy.
4. Take a Ride up Srdj Hill
For the best views of Dubrovnik and its surrounding area, you can board a cable car and take a ride up Srdj Hill. Along the way, you’ll take in stunning views of Old Town, the Adriatic Sea and the array of beautiful islands dotting the southern Dalmatian coast.
When you get to the top, have a snack and a beverage on one of two viewing terraces. And if you enjoy hiking, you can ride the cable car up the hill and walk Mount Srdj back down. In roughly 30 minutes, you’ll arrive just outside the city walls.
5. Take a Drink From Onofrio’s Fountain
When you enter Old Town Dubrovnik through its imposing Pile Gate, one of the first things you’ll see is Onofrio’s Fountain. Built in the 15th century to provide drinking water to the townspeople via the aqueduct system, this fountain features a domed top and 16 carved heads.
Nowadays, tourists and locals gather here to rest, mingle or people-watch and use the fountain as a source of refreshment. Fill up your water bottle, have a seat on the surrounding steps and experience the action in the square. Sometimes, you might even catch a live musical performance.
6. Stop by the Dubrovnik Cathedral
When you’re on a panoramic tour of Dubrovnik, be sure to stop at the Dubrovnik Cathedral, or the Church of the Assumption. Built in 1713, atop the foundations of two former churches, the cathedral is another much-visited attraction in Old Town. This Roman Catholic cathedral features exquisite, baroque architecture and fine artwork.
A number of unique details include a violet marble altar, a paneled painting of The Assumption of Mary at the main altar, and a treasury containing ornate gold and silver reliquaries (decorative containers which hold physical remains).
In this case, the reliquaries are thought to hold the remains of the skull, arms and legs of St. Blaise who was bishop and physician in historical Armenia.
7. Get a Look at Lokrum Island
When locals want to cool off in warm weather, many forego the small beaches around Dubrovnik and head to Lokrum Island instead.
About a half mile from shore, this picturesque isle offers rocky beaches and outcroppings, perfect for soaking up rays and taking a dip on a hot day.
A hike around Lokrum Island reveals a small, saltwater lake and forests filled with oak, ash, pine and olive trees. There is also a Benedictine monastery as well as opportunities for a little shopping and dining.
In the months of July and August, you can board a ferry every 30-minutes for the quick 10-minute ride to Lokrum Island.
8. Go Shopping at Gundulićeva Poljana
In the southeastern corner of Old Town during the summertime you can find an outdoor market that fills Gundulićeva Poljana (one of the main squares) six days a week.
Here you can shop for treats like fresh fruits and veggies, jam, honey, lavender, herbs, spices or grappa, a type of brandy crafted by locals.
9. Check out the Rector’s Palace
Situated at the end of Stradun, the Rector’s Palace (aka the Dubrovnik Museum) is another must-see landmark packed with rich history.
The Rector’s Palace features a beautiful atrium, as well as a museum space on the second floor where you can find treasures like antique furniture, artwork spanning from the 15th to the 19th century, a unique collection of clocks, and various medieval weapons.
When you’re planning a trip, you can’t go wrong with a European cruise! For a getaway that blends history, culture and plenty of unique experiences, take a cruise to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Visit these nine attractions on your own, or take advantage of many exciting shore excursions for a vacation you won’t forget.