A Few Hours in Dubrovnik

by Gray Cargill on September 23, 2015

Post image for A Few Hours in Dubrovnik

Last May, during my cruise on Norwegian Jade, I got to visit Croatia for the first time, and I absolutely fell in love with it. What a beautiful country! Our first stop in Croatia was Dubrovnik, one of two very popular cruise ports (the other being Split) on the coast.

We arrived in the mid-afternoon and only had a few hours there. It wasn’t long enough to thoroughly explore the city, but I had to make do. I focused my limited time on The Old Town of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage site with cobblestone streets surrounded by high stone walls overlooking the orange rooftops of the city and the Adriatic Sea.


Dubrovnik’s picturesque cliffside location is part of its appeal to tourists.

First, I’d advise that if you are arriving by cruise ship and considering purchasing the Dubrovnik (tourist discount) Card online before your trip (which means you’ll have to print your receipt and bring it to the tourist office in Dubrovnik to make the exchange for the actual card), you should make sure you’re not going to be arriving after 2pm on a Sunday, when the tourist offices near the cruise port are closed. Yeah, I did that. Live and learn.

A cab from the cruise port will cost you about 10 Euros.There is also a bus that you can catch from near the port into the city, but because I made the error with the Dubrovnik Card, I didn’t do that. I didn’t have the Kunas (local currency) on me I would have needed for the bus. Some people actually made the walk from the cruise port to the Old Town and back, but I didn’t want to waste precious time getting there and back.


Palm trees! LOVE!

Accompanying me into Dubrovnik were two new friends I met on the cruise, Karen and Ann. Outside the city walls, they stopped at the Exchange Office to exchange Euros for Kunas. I got my Kunas inside the city at an ATM. Outside the city were various tour operators hawking their tours. A guy named Goran was selling sunset tours outside the city for just 20 Euros and it sounded lovely, but I wanted to have dinner on board the ship and didn’t think I’d be able to wait to eat until 7:30, when the tour was scheduled to end. (Karen and Ann did go on this tour and they said it was fantastic.)

The first thing we did after getting our Kunas in the Old Town was walk the Stradun, the main shopping street that runs through the Old Town from the Pile Gate to the dock and marina on the other side.


The Stradun

The Stradun

If you don’t stop for shopping, it really doesn’t take very long to walk from one end to the other (5 minutes or so), but is interesting for people-watching. It also gave me a good first look at the beautiful architecture of this medieval city. You’d never know on first glance that Dubrovnik had suffered heavy bombing during a war within the past 25 years. (Unless, like me, you remember seeing it on the TV news at the time.) They’ve done an amazing job restoring the historic buildings.

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower

When we reached the harbor, Karen and Ann stopped at an ice cream stand for a cold treat while I took photos and enjoyed the view.


I loved looking out on the boats in the harbor here.

It was a little cooler by the water than inside the city walls. After that, we headed back to Pile Gate to buy tickets to walk the wall. We weren’t sure there would be bathrooms up on the wall (there were), so we found a public bathroom near Pile Gate that cost 7 Kunas and used it before we began our climb.

Old Town Wall, Dubrovnik

Walking the wall is a popular activity for visitors to Dubrovnik

Tickets to walk the wall cost 100 kunas, or 20 Euros. I can’t remember whether someone told us this or I read it ahead of time, but supposedly there are over 500 steps up on the wall (going up or down in various places). I thought my legs might be shaking afterwards (the way they did after climbing the Campanile in Florence), but they didn’t. It’s definitely a good workout, but as long as you’re in reasonably good health, it’s doable. I saw some elderly people up there, as well as a young couple who each carried a toddler in a backpack on their back. If they could do it, I figured I could!

St. Lawrence Fortress

View of St. Lawrence Fortress (Fort Lovrijenac) from the Old Town Wall.

We stopped a lot to take photos, because every time you walked another 50 feet, the view became even more stunning.




Tower and Harbor

Tower and Harbor


Orange rooftops

A sea of orange rooftops



Our major disappointment was not finding the entrance to Buza, the cliffside bar, but we were all under the impression from what we’d read online that the entrance to it was from the top of the wall, when actually, it’s from down in the city. Damn. (I should have read this first.)

Cliff Bar

One of the cliff bars of Dubrovnik

Karen and Ann quit walking the wall at Ploce Gate, the halfway point, to find an Internet Cafe so Karen could send photos home and then they were going to go find Goran to book the sunset tour. I kept walking the wall on my own, taking tons of photos along the way. Once I got back down into Old Town, I headed back to the marina again for a little while to cool off. Then I wandered a bit more around the city. I loved the old architecture everywhere.

Dubrovnik Cathedral

Dubrovnik Cathedral


St. Dominic’s Church

St. Dominic’s Church exterior


Eventually, I got hungry, hot and tired, and I knew it was time to return to the ship. I caught a cab outside the Old Town. The driver insisted the fare was 15 Euros, even though it had only cost us 10 coming in, but I was so tired, I didn’t want to argue. By the time we reached port, he had dropped the price to 13 Euros without my prompting him.

In hindsight, I wished I had explored the hilly sections of Old Town–I couldn’t help but be curious what I’d find up there. But the steep stairs were pretty daunting after all the walking I’d already done that day.

Street and stairs

I’ve got to go back so I can explore where all those stairs go.

In any case, my time in Dubrovnik was all too brief but definitely whet my appetite for more. I would love the opportunity to return again someday for at least a couple of days to dig deeper into the history and culture of the city and surrounding countryside. If you ever get a chance to visit Dubrovnik, take it!


You could see some ruins from the wall in certain parts of Old Town.



Mestre as a Bargain Alternative to Venice

July 29, 2015
Thumbnail image for Mestre as a Bargain Alternative to Venice

I have been dreaming of visiting Venice, Italy for years and years. In my fantasies, I always pictured myself staying in a cute little hotel in Venice, where I would wake in the morning and look out the window and see gondolas passing in the canal below. I would rise early (hey, I said it […]

Read the full article →

A Visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

June 24, 2015
Thumbnail image for A Visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Note: Photography wasn’t allowed in the Holocaust Museum at the time of my visit. All the interior photos you see here are from the Museum website. Lucky for future visitors, this policy changed this year, and photography and video are now allowed. There are some restrictions though; see their photo policy at their website. I […]

Read the full article →

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Spy?

June 10, 2015
Thumbnail image for Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Spy?

Are you a fan of spy thrillers? I am. I used to devour books like that when I was younger, and have enjoyed numerous movies and TV shows about spies. So when I was prioritizing my activities in Washington DC last October, the International Spy Museum was high on my list. It turned out to […]

Read the full article →

A Quick Recap of My Trip to Europe

May 27, 2015
Thumbnail image for A Quick Recap of My Trip to Europe

Has it really been a month since I wrote on this blog about my (at that point) upcoming trip to Europe aboard the Norwegian Jade? Hard to believe. What a month it was! I had a fabulous trip to five cities in four countries in 10 days. You’ll be reading a lot more about my […]

Read the full article →

NCL Jade Cruise Sneak Peek

April 29, 2015
Thumbnail image for NCL Jade Cruise Sneak Peek

As of the writing of this post, I am less than 2 weeks out from my trip to Venice and my cruise aboard the Norwegian Jade. I’m really excited about seeing all the ports on my itinerary, and relaxing about the ship. But the amount of hours I’ve put into preparations for this trip is […]

Read the full article →

Ford’s Theater for the DC Visitor

April 22, 2015
Thumbnail image for Ford’s Theater for the DC Visitor

Ford’s Theater, as students of American history know, is where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Boothe in 1865. Aside from the Lincoln Memorial, it’s probably the most Lincoln-centric tourist attraction in Washington, DC. I visited Ford’s Theater on a rainy Wednesday in Washington, DC. (Thank God for museums on rainy days.) Before […]

Read the full article →

A Quick Tour of Arlington National Cemetery

April 8, 2015
Thumbnail image for A Quick Tour of Arlington National Cemetery

I love walking through cemeteries. You can learn a lot about a culture by looking at how they treat their dead, and you can learn a lot by reading old headstones. Cemeteries are peaceful places to go for a meditative walk and consider the meaning of life. I personally am opting for cremation when I […]

Read the full article →

Hotel Rouge: Love at First Sight

March 25, 2015
Thumbnail image for Hotel Rouge: Love at First Sight

[Disclaimer: I’m not sure why all my photos of this place came out so terribly, but you can definitely blame the photographer and not the subject. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture how great it looks in person.] Hotel Rouge had me at “Hello.” Literally. I arrived late on a Saturday night, after […]

Read the full article →