Dubrovnik: a city and beach break rolled into one

Looking out over the old town of Dubrovnik near our boutique hotels in Croatia

Looking out over the calm blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik is a charming coastal city, surrounded by magnificent walls. Not only is it lined with beautiful beaches and pristine waters, but venturing into the city itself is a fascinating experience, taking you back through centuries of history.

Its heritage is world-renowned – so much so that it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and continues to attract thousands of tourists to its streets and shores every week. Together, its beauty, heritage and culture have helped to shape Dubrovnik into one of Croatia’s most upmarket destinations.

Not only is Dubrovnik a fantastic spot for history and culture: it also boasts some very fine boutique accommodation options.

Once the capital of the wealthy maritime Republic of Ragusa, between 1358 and 1808, the city realised its Golden Age during the 16th century, with reminders of this making up the extremely pretty old town. During this period, it had one of the world’s largest merchant naval fleets, bringing not only trade but artistic refinement and sophistication to the city.

Located on the Lapad Peninsula, there is a wide variety of beaches in Dubrovnik and in the surrounding area. Banje beach is the most centrally located, while if you’re in the old town, you can enjoy a quick dip from Buza or Porporela, where the old town’s pier is located. For true paradise, however, you should take the trip out to the Elaphite archipelago of islands, offering truly unspoilt pebble beaches.

Outside of the beaches, many of the sights are contained in the old town. Charming palazzi, which wouldn’t look out of place in Tuscany, include the 16th century Sponza Palace, which survived a devastating earthquake in 1667, and the Rector’s Palace, which dates back as far as 1200, and was once the residence of the Rector, a figurehead of the Republic of Ragusa. The elegant Baroque church of St Blaise is also worth a visit, as is the stunning cathedral, where the amazing discovery of not one but two cathedrals buried underneath was made.

One of the best ways to see this spectacular city in all its beauty is via the cable car, offering wonderful views out over the old town as well as over the surrounding coastline, and taking you to the peak of Mount Srd, which looms in the backdrop of this already dramatic city.

If you’re planning on visiting this truly incredible city, we can highly recommend a stay at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, situated less than ten minutes away. It’s one of our top boutique hotels in Croatia, offering a host of active things to do for families, and a beautiful beach as well as an award-winning spa make it perfect for couples too. While there are plenty of great places to eat in Dubrovnik’s old town offering local and Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll also be spoilt for choice at Sun Gardens, where there are ten delightful restaurants catering for anything you fancy.

One of our boutique hotels in Croatia Sun Gardens Dubrovnik

Image: Tambako the Jaguar, available under Creative Commons

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.