The Hidden Jewel of Croatia: Dubrovnik
By: Ipek Birgul Kozanoglu
Being an avid Game of Thrones fan since the show started, I had the privilege of spending a week in King’s Landing this July. I knew that Game of Thrones was shot in many different places with film sets all round the world, but I didn’t know the hidden jewel of Croatia, Dubrovnik, was King’s Landing’s main filming location. I was mesmerised the minute I entered this beautiful town because of its perfectly preserved medievalism. The town is divided into the Old Town and the New City. The Old Town is surrounded by city walls and entered through Pile Gate, which gives the feeling of walking into a medieval castle. What I loved most about the Old Town was how limestone-paved streets and live jazz would welcome you round every corner. Dubrovnik is an authentic place unlike any other, and I believe that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Here’s a list of must-see places that I visited during my stay:
1. The City Walls
Walking on the city walls (above) is the best way to see the beauty of the Old Town, especially its rooftops, which are hidden by the walls. It was a magical experience for me to see the city from up above.
Residing just outside the western entrance of the Old Town, this fortress can be seen from the city walls. The fortress offers amazing views of the Old Town from the outside.
3. Backstreets of Stradun
If you want to escape the crowds of the main street, follow the stairs that lead to the residential streets of the town. There are stairs round every corner in this part of town, which lead from one house to another.
4. Cliff Bars
While strolling round the backstreets of the Old Town, it is impossible to miss the signs directing tourists to various ‘Cliff Bars’. There are several bars located on the cliffs, which provide a great place to sit, relax and watch the sunset while sipping your favourite drink. Or, if you want something a bit more exciting, you can choose to watch the most daring of divers jump off the cliffs into the blue sea!
5. Old Pharmacy Museum
Pay a visit to one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. It is situated next to the Franciscan Monastery, which can be seen when you enter the Old Town. You not only get to discover a 700-year history of medicine, but you can also relax in a beautiful cloister surrounded by orange trees.
6. Onofrio’s Large Fountain
Constructed in 1438 by an Italian architect, this fountain is not just a feast for the eyes, but also a great place to sit and eat your ice cream while admiring the architecture of the Old Town.
7. Banje Beach
It gets fairly hot during the day with swarms of tourists and the heat of the limestone under the blazing sun. It’s better, therefore, to spend the morning beside the crystal clear sea, and to take a dip into the Adriatic.
8. Rector’s Palace
This beautiful 15th-century palace was once home to the rector of the town. It currently serves as the city’s museum. Pay a visit and marvel at the beautiful 15th-century Italian architecture.
9. Old Port
Pay a visit to the harbour situated in the Old Town for a feast of cheap and delicious seafood, as well as to sample the stunning views of the old cruise ship.
If you would like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the town for a while, the island of Lokrum only takes 10 minutes to reach by boat. The main inhabitants of the island are peacocks and rabbits! If you are a Game of Thrones fan like me, it’s also a good idea to visit the GOT exhibition, where you have the chance to sit on the Iron Throne!
Food Tip // Ice-cream
The best way to cool down in the summer heat is definitely ice-cream. The good news is that there are plenty of ice cream parlours in Dubrovnik to choose from! Try the ice cream place which is situated right outside the west entrance of the Old Town. The flavours change each day. I ate their ice cream for a week, and I did not regret any of the calories I gained during the process!