The ancient walls surrounding Dubrovnik enclose a labyrinth of magical streets, fascinating architecture and all sorts of gastronomic discoveries, all of which combine to make Dubrovnik a truly unique destination. But the magnificent city walls and the public access to them, is what really makes Dubrovnik different. Here's what I suggest you keep an eye out for while walking Dubrovnik's city walls.
Magnificent Old Town views
Starting from near Ploce Gate in the north east corner of the old town, the first challenge is a steep stone staircase. (Beware - There are lots of steep and uneven steps). However, as soon as you get to the top the steps were immediately worth it. With one look to your left the whole of Dubrovnik’s Old Town lies before you. The bright orange rooftops stretching out to a glittering Adriatic under a blue sky (if you’re lucky) is a magnificent sight.
|Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia|
Admire the walls
It is only once atop Dubrovnik’s city walls that you really appreciate their true size. Having climbed to an initial height of roughly 25m, you can look down around you and understand the width of the city walls. These ancient fortifications are between four and six metres thick, feature four gates, and stretch roughly 2km around Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
|view from Dubrovnik city walls, Croatia|
Explore Dubrovnik’s History
Dubrovnik has existed for centuries, in various forms and with several names. The current city walls date from the 12th to 17th centuries. They have survived earthquakes and protected citizens from attacks by invaders. The towers built along the city walls were constructed to enhance the city’s defences. The largest is the Minceta Tower; it is the first tower on the walk, and is considered a symbol of Dubrovnik’s resistance to invasion. The Minceta Tower is at the north west corner of the Old Town.
|Minceta Tower, Dubrovnik City Walls, Croatia|
Enjoy glimpses of every day life in Dubrovnik
It's not all grand views though, as you walk along the top of the walls taking in the views, scenes of every day life will play out before you. Watch housewives cleaning their homes, and cooking, children playing, and older folk sitting in the shade watching passersby. I enjoyed watching this man and cat play a game of ‘catch my toe’ beneath a plank of wood.
|Cat play in Dubrovnik, Croatia|
One house that backed up near the city walls proudly displayed this line of washing too!
|Laundry day in Dubrovnik, Croatia|
Discover the best swimming spots
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is not the place to go if you’re looking for a sandy beach (there are several nearby though). The residents of the Old Town, and visitors staying there, do fancy a swim occasionally though, and there are some great spots where you can swim from the rocks on the sea side of Dubrovnik’s city walls.
|Swim off the rocks of Dubrovnik, Croatia|
Have the view all to yourself
Another advantage of walking Dubrovnik’s city walls is the access to several wall-top cafes and restaurants with spectacular views over the Adriatic or the Old Town. It is well worth planning the timing of your walk so that you can take advantage of these lovely spots that are usually fairly quiet, compared to street level in the Old Town anyway.
|Restaurant on top of the Dubrovnik city walls, Croatia|
See Dubrovnik from every angle
Since the city walls encircle Dubrovnik’s Old Town, walking along the top of them really does offer fantastic views, but it is not just one view. As you proceed around the walls you can really enjoy seeing Dubrovnik from every angle. Photographers will love that they can capture Dubrovnik’s rooftops towards the sea, towards the land, and of course from above. You can also capture views inside and outside the walls.
|Dubrovnik Harbour, Croatia|
- Entry costs roughly US $20 and last entry to the walls is at 7pm
- Main entry point to the walls is near Ploce Gate, in the north east corner of the Old Town
- Wear good and comfortable shoes – ancient stones and steps can be uneven and 2km could seem a long way if your shoes rub
- Wear a hat and/or sun cream – in summer it gets especially hot and there is little shade available on top of the walls
- Take water – a few locals casually sell bottled drinks along the walls, but who knows if you can rely on them being there
- Don't forget your camera!