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Port Review: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Joanna Hall


When it comes to cruising, there are many destinations which possess a certain “wow” factor on arrival. Dubrovnik, also called the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ is one. This fascinating city, a jewel encased by medieval walls, and perched high above the Adriatic on stone cliffs, is protected by UNESCO, and has a colourful history spanning 14 centuries. A dilemma for many cruise ship passengers is choosing what to see and do on a single day, but top of the list for most is an exploration of the Old Town on foot. Its pedestrian-only cobbled streets are teeming with energy, and packed with outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants, offering a glimpse of local daily life as well as photo opportunities.


Location: On the coast of Croatia.

Language: Croatian, German, although English is widely spoken.

Currency: Kuna.

Docking/anchoring: Most ships dock at the end of the waterfront marina in Gruz Harbour.

Transport: It’s around a 2.5 kilometre walk to the Old Town, although most ships provide shuttles, and some will operate tenders to the Old Harbour in the centre of town. There are taxis available outside the cruise terminal, and you an also use local buses.

Don’t Miss

Walking the Wall: This is the wall which encircles the Old Town and its streets. There are three access gates; on Stradun by the Pile gate, by fort Saint John’s, and at the Custom’s House gate.

The Minceta Fortress: Its magnificent crown has dominated the city for centuries, and is one of the many “must sees”. Others include the Fort of St. John, which was the main defence for the city port, and on the western side of the city, under the fortress, is the Franciscan monastery and its famous cloister. 

The Fortress of Revelin: Built in the shape of an irregular rectangle, and located outside the walls in the eastern part of the city, it is surrounded by the ocean and three moats,  and has stood guard over Dubrovnik port for centuries. And there’s also the Sponza Palace, which had a significant role in the city’s trading history.

Photo Ops

There are so many from the city itself, and in particular from on top of the city walls, however, Banje Beach, near the Old Town, offers spectacular views back to the walls, the city, and the island of Lokrum. It’s also a fun place to cool off if it’s hot and people watch.


Dubrovnik isn’t really known for shopping or bargains, but if you want something local, opt for crocheted items such as mats and table cloths made by local women.

Eating and Drinking

If you enjoy coffee and people watching you’ll love Dubrovnik. It has many street-side cafes with tables and chairs so you can relax while taking in the local scene. Croatia’s cuisine is largely traditional Mediterranean, with a strong emphasis on local seafood, and you’ll also find plenty of gelaterias. A local dish to try if you’re hungry is a pie topped with local cured ham.


If you don’t fancy walking the Old Town, or you’ve been to Dubrovnik before, there are plenty of other attractions. A popular excursion is taking a leisurely cruise along the Riviera, ideally heading for the beach resort and harbour of Cavtat. The Dalmatian province is also famous for fine wine, so another option is a drive through Croatia’s scenic countryside to some local vineyards for a tasting session. And finally, the nearby island of Lokrum is a place to escape the heat; it also has a nature reserve abundant with subtropical plants.

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