Discover the medieval city of Dubrovnik

Sitting proudly on the calm blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent fortified cities and a UNESCO world heritage site and Croatia’s most upmarket destination. During its Golden Age in the 16th century, it had one of the largest merchant naval fleets in the world, with consulates in over 50 foreign ports. Read on to find out more…

When to visit:The best time to visit is in May-June or September-October to enjoy warm, sunny days with slightly less crowds. During the peak season between July-August, Dubrovnik is busy and hotel prices can be expensive. The low season between November-April can be pleasant but the weather less reliable.

Getting there:
Fly to Dubrovnik with British Airways (0844 493 0 787, from Gatwick); Croatia Airlines (0870 4100 310, from Gatwick); Flybe (0871 700 2000, from Birmingham and Exeter) and Thomsonfly (0870 1900 737, from Manchester and Luton).

Things to do:
Lokrum Island

If you’re in Dubrovnik for the summer, take an afternoon off sightseeing to visit the tiny island of Lokrum, served by taxi-boats (journey time 10 min) from the old harbour. There’s a small botanical garden with peacocks, a tiny saltwater lake and two bar-restaurants.

For a day filled with fun adventures, Dubrovnik has a range of activities to choose from including mountain biking, horseback riding, kayaking and hiking. The excitement of participating in an outdoor activity combined with the outstanding scenery of Dubrovnik makes this unforgettable experience!

The part of the Adriatic Sea belonging to Croatia is regarded as one of the top diving areas in the world, attracting numerous underwater enthusiasts every year. The most popular are dives on the shipwrecks in the Cavtat area and the archipelago of reefs and rocks between the Mljet and Lastovo islands. This area is rich in fish and it is possible to take pictures of some species that are rare in other parts of the Adriatic.

In the far south of Croatia lies the little fishing village and seaside resort of Cavtat. Built on the site of an old Roman site, Cavtat curves around a horseshoe shaped harbour. It is only 17 km from Dubrovnik and can either be explored on a day trip, or serve as a base for exploring Dubrovnik. Cavtat has numerous hotels and good facilities for travellers. It is also a very pleasant spot with numerous beaches in the area and some historic and cultural attractions.

Elafiti islands
The car-free Elaphiti Islands are scattered to the north of Dubrovnik. The islands of Sipan, Lopud, and Kolocep are the only inhabited islands in this archipelago and life is still very slow paced and resources for travellers are scant. In the high season some simple restaurants open but apart from that visitors are on their own. Regular water taxis from Dubrovnik service these islands. The Elaphiti Islands are for the most part forested or farmed but they are known for having beautiful beaches and coves. There are a few old sights on some of the islands, including churches and monasteries.

City Walls
The city walls of Dubrovnik are one of the city’s best known features. Built in the 10th century and modified in the 13th to 14th centuries the walls, some up to 6m / 19ft thick, provided a solid defence against invaders. The total length of Dubrovnik’s city walls is 1949m / 6390ft and they make a great spot for a casual stroll. Tremendous views can be had from Dubrovnik’s city walls out over the Adriatic and inwards over the old town centre.

Onofrio’s Fountain
Located in a small square near the Pila Gate and Franciscan Monastery, the large fountain was built in 1438 by the famous Italian architect from Naples, Onofrio della Cava. After sustaining severe damage in a 1667 earthquake, the fountain was repaired and features 16 masked faces, known as ‘maskeroni’, which supplied water via an aqueduct. This construction was a masterpiece of that time and well worth a visit.

Finally, don’t forget your holiday insurance!
If after reading this blog you like the sound of Dubrovnik, make sure you take out cheap holiday insurance as soon as you book your trip. Buying direct from the travel insurance provider is certainly cheaper than from your travel agent.

You can purchase great value travel insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 3-day break in Europe, it will cost you just £5.32* – a small price to pay to really relax and enjoy your holiday all the more!

* Premium £5.32 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 55 taking out a Standard Single-trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 3 days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (December 2009) and are subject to change.