Old Town Dubrovnik
"Welcome to King's Landing!" said every millennial visitor to Dubrovnik, Croatia ever. As a Game of Thrones fan myself, I definitely enjoyed exploring the Old Town of Dubrovnik and recognizing the scene settings from the show that made it famous.
More importantly, though, I was excited to spend some time by the stunning Dalmatian coast. I debated between even going to Dubrovnik because I knew it was super touristy and I wanted to prioritize beach time over Instagram photos for once.
To answer your question, though, I definitely think Dubrovnik is worth a visit. In fact, I could have spent our entire trip there! I'll share all my tips below for how to avoid those overwhelming crowds even in peak season (hello August) and truly enjoy the Old Town.
Outfit Details: AFRM Pink Polka Dot Dress (also on sale here!), Jeffrey Campbell Raffia Sandals, Shiraleah Woven Tote Bag, Tory Burch Aviator Sunglasses, Loft Earrings, Kendra Scott Bracelet (similar here)
Other than the Game of Thrones relation, I didn't know anything about Old Town Dubrovnik. I was impressed to learn that the city walls that surround the Old Town are considered one of the greatest fortresses from the Middle Ages since they were never breached during this time.
I literally felt like I was in a medieval castle complete with towers and a moat on the non-sea side. Dubrovnik has been a significant Adriatic seaport for ages, changing hands from the Romans to the Venetians, existing as a free state in the Ottoman Empire and scheming with Ancona to prevent a Venetian takeover of Adriatic trade. Even after the more recent history involving the breakup of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik continued to experience disputed control by the surrounding countries until about 1995. Yep, just read all of that on Wikipedia, but still- very interesting.
Okay, but what about these crowds? The first trick to enjoying the Old Town is to get your bearings. We went into the city at sunset on our first night to walk around and find where to enter the city walls (there are signs that point the way) and scope out the best restaurants.
As night fell, music began to play in the square as everyone settled into their meals. We decided on this great sushi place Bota Šare tucked into a side street right near the entrance to the city walls. Seriously, the sushi was so fresh and amazing, and the ambience was so romantic.
The second trick is (yep, you guessed it) to get up early! The walls open at 8:00 AM, so we were inside the city by 7:30 AM. It is a small city and we were definitely some of the first tourists out and about at this time. The shops and restaurants were just starting to receive their morning shipments and open for business.
By the time we started walking the walls, there were maybe only twenty other people with us. Still, that's more than enough people to delay you because there are many sections that only one person can walk through at a time.
It's also important to go early, because the summer heat can get very intense, even in the late morning. There are shops on the walls serving snacks and refreshments, like water, fresh squeezed orange juice and watermelon juice.
The walls have three different entrances (that I saw) and you walk in one direction all the way around. The first entrance, and the one with the least amount of stairs, is past the Old Port if walking from Ploce gate, then to the left down a side street (follow the signs). The second entrance is back by Ploce gate but has many more stairs.
The third is all the way on the other side of the city by Pile Gate. This entrance also has many stairs, but if you're just looking for that iconic view of the Dubrovnik West Harbour, then this is your shortcut. You can also exit at the second and third entrance if needed.
My final tip, and the best one for avoiding the crowds, is to plan your visit to the Old Town around the cruise ship arrival schedule. I didn't plan ahead for this, but we lucked out in visiting on a non-cruise day and I think this definitely made the difference.
I hope you get the chance to visit Dubrovnik as it truly is a stunning coastal city. I'll be sharing more from our visit soon, including where we stayed and things to do.