The Jewel of the Dalmatia - Dubrovnik delivers heritage, history and coastal charm in abundance

Destinations like Dubrovnik don’t come along very often. Unfolding beside the clear waters of the Adriatic, the city appears like an image from the past, unchanged since medieval times. Simply put, it’s a unique, inimitable destination, and one which promises to be among the highlights of your Adriatic journey.

Days, perhaps weeks, could be spent unravelling Dubrovnik’s rich history. From its beautifully preserved medieval walls to its cobblestoned thoroughfares, the city is a veritable treasure trove of heritage wonders. And yet there’s more to discover here than remnants of the past – be it celebrated local wine or some of the finest seafood on the Dalmatian Coast.

To help inspire your visit to this wonderful city as part of a luxury Adriatic cruise with Emerald Yacht Cruises, we’ve put together an in-depth guide to Dubrovnik, from its must-see sights to its food and drink highlights.

Must-see Sights

With its ancient walls, red-tiled roofs and labyrinth of medieval streets, Dubrovnik is one of the most fascinating destinations in southern Europe. Discover some of the city’s classic must-sees below.

Dubrovnik Walls

old town
Dubrovnik’s ancient walls have come to define the city, gifting it one of the most distinctive skylines of the continent. First built in the 10th century, the walls were fortified on a colossal scale in 1453, with some sections measuring six metres thick – small wonder they’ve survived sieges, wars and the swells of the Adriatic in such remarkable condition. Completely encircling Dubrovnik Old Town, the walls feature a series of defensive towers, including Bokar Bastion, St John’s Fortress, Revelin Fortress and Minceta Tower, as well as the 16th-century Pile Gate – the main thoroughfare into the city. A guided tour of the walls reveals their history, while affording spectacular views over the city and the Adriatic.


dubrovnik night
The Stradun, or Placa, is the main street running through the heart of Dubrovnik Old Town, and it’s from here that you can access many of the city’s foremost heritage highlights. Its paving stones laid in 1468, the Stradun runs from Pile Gate to Ploce Gate, dissecting the medieval town and leading to some of its most esteemed historic treasures, including the Onofrio Fountain and Orlando Column. Many of the buildings which line the Stradun were built in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 1667, a natural disaster which claimed dozens of Dubrovnik’s medieval buildings.

Onofrio's Fountain

dubrovnik fountain
Located on the Stradun in the heart of medieval Dubrovnik, Onofrio’s Fountain is among the city’s greatest icons. While described as a fountain, this unique stone monolith actually forms part of Dubrovnik’s ancient aqueduct system, and was, at one time in history, responsible for collecting and storing water from the Dubrovacka River. Built between 1438 and 1440, the fountain features 16 sides, each with an elaborate façade and faucet, which was used by locals as a means of collecting water. This is the largest of two fountains designed and built by Italian architect Onofrio della Cava in Dubrovnik, both of which were partially damaged during the earthquake of 1667, before being hastily restored by locals.ii

Dubrovnik Cable Car

dubrovnik cable car
Dubrovnik is a place you’ll want to see from every angle, and happily you can thanks to the city’s excellent cable car. Built in 1969, this is the only cable car in the Adriatic, and affords spectacular views over the city, the sea and the surrounding islands. The cable car takes you from the shadow of the city walls to the summit of Srd Hill, where the imposing Imperial Fortress has watched over Dubrovnik and the Adriatic seaboard since the early 19th century. On a clear day, you’ll enjoy a 37-mile panorama of the turquoise sea and its myriad of emerald isles, as well as a unique view of Dubrovnik and its iconic red-tiled roofs.

Cultural Highlights

City walls and heritage sites may draw the crowds to Dubrovnik, but there’s more to the city than its beautiful medieval architecture. Below, we take a look at a handful of the cultural encounters you can explore as part of your visit.

Game of Thrones

dubrovnik walls
Those familiar with the hit HBO drama Game of Thrones may feel they’ve seen Dubrovnik somewhere before. That’s because it provides the backdrop for King’s Landing, one of the primary locations in the series. With its imposing walls and labyrinth of medieval streets, it’s easy to see why the show’s creators chose Dubrovnik as the setting for the Westeros capital. The people of Dubrovnik are proud of their city’s Game of Thrones connection, and there are now several tours exploring the various locations from the show. For those interested in Croatia’s ties to Game of Thrones, our sister brand, Emerald Waterways, published a guide to the show’s filming locations on the Dalmatian Coast, which you can read right here.

Local festivals and events

traditional instrument
The people of Dubrovnik have cultivated a unique culture since ancient times, and this is evident in the huge number of unique festivals and events which take place in the city throughout the year. Whichever month you visit, there’s a chance you’ll encounter a showcase of culture and tradition, be it the Festival of St Blaise, a celebration of the city’s patron saint; Dubrovnik Festiwine, hailing local Dalmatian wine; Aklapela, which celebrates the local folk music of ‘klapa’; or the beloved Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which sees a programme of traditional music, dance, theatre and opera performances taking place at open-air venues around the city.

Lokrum Island

city of dubrovnik
Day-tripping to nearby isles is very much a part of the local culture in Dubrovnik, and there’s one island in particular that holds enduring appeal: Lokrum. Despite being just a 10-minute boat ride from Dubrovnik, Lokrum has remained entirely uninhabited, meaning it’s a very popular destination for those looking to escape the bustle of the city. The island’s lush, untouched landscape can be attributed to Austrian Archduke Maximillian, who, having purchased the island in 1858, transformed it into a botanical garden and nature reserve. Ideal for a peaceful afternoon stroll in nature, Lokrum is also famed for its crystal-clear swim spots – so be sure to pack your bathing suit if you plan to visit.

A glimpse into Dubrovnik's past

Countless wars may have tested Dubrovnik, but its imposing walls have stood firm through the ages. From its early origins to its role in the infamous Yugoslav Wars, discover the history of Dubrovnik in our interactive timeline below.

Local Gastronomy

With the bountiful seafood larder of the Adriatic on its doorstep, Dubrovnik is heralded as one of Croatia’s foremost destinations for foodies. Add to that a reputation for excellent local wine, and you’ll be well catered for on your visit to the Dalmatian capital.

Squid ink risotto (crni rižot)

Seafood dishes are a mainstay of local cuisine in Dubrovnik, and of the most popular plates to enjoy here and elsewhere on Dalmatia’s Adriatic seaboard is crni rižot, or squid ink risotto. Characterised by its distinctive black colouring, the dish comprises of garlic, white wine, onion, and, of course, squid ink, which contributes to its colour and flavour. Many restaurants add other seafood to the mix too, including mussels and clams. Washed down with a glass of local white wine, it’s a true taste of Dalmatia.

Dirty Maccaroni (šporki makaruli)

dirty macarroni
If one dish could reflect Dubrovnik’s history as a Venetian city-state, it would be šporki makaruli, or dirty macaroni. Granted, this is an odd name for a plate of food, but in essence Dubrovnik’s dirty macaroni is a pasta dish, comprising of a rich tomato ragu and a generous helping of parmesan cheese. A great example of Croatians borrowing from their neighbours across the Adriatic, šporki makaruli is peasant fare at its finest, and delicious enjoyed alongside a fresh salad and loaf of bread.

Pošip Wine

local wine
Of all the different wines cultivated around Dubrovnik, pošip is easily the most popular, and arguably the best pairing for the city’s famous seafood plates. Pošip wine is produced on the nearby island of Korčula, and despite its light body and clear colour, is noted for its distinct honey flavour. You’ll be able to sample pošip in most wine bars and restaurants throughout Dubrovnik.
Beautiful Dubrovnik promises to be one of the highlights of your cruise through the Adriatic with Emerald Yacht Cruises. For more information on this and other luxury yacht cruise itineraries throughout the Mediterranean, visit the homepage or call our team on 0808 296 4493.