Dubrovnik, Croatia - Stein Travel
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Dubrovnik

Despite a turbulent history during which it has been occupied and conquered by a succession of its neighbours and European colonial powers, Dubrovnik is now a town at peace, allowing visitors to make the most of its historical architecture, white pebble beaches and crystal-clear sea.

Political upheaval has seldom kept tourists away from this uniquely lovely Adriatic port city; for centuries it has drawn those seeking fine accommodations, excellent cuisine, beautiful surroundings and recreational opportunities. George Bernard Shaw is quoted as describing Dubrovnik as 'heaven on earth'.

The old town, dating from the 7th century, is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Enclosed by city walls built in the 13th century, the buildings represent a cross-section of medieval architectural styles and remain well preserved. Onofrio's Fountain, situated just inside the main entrance to the old city at Pile Gate, is one of Dubrovnik's most famous landmarks and a popular meeting place. The centre of the old town is the Stradun, its main street, which was originally a channel separating an island from the mainland, and was filled in to join two opposite towns into the merged city of Dubrovnik. There are numerous churches, monasteries and museums to explore; the old town also boasts plenty of restaurants, bars and shops; and the coastal belt is awash with marinas, coves and promenades. Most of the hotels and the best beaches are located north west of the old town at Lapad, as well as in Ploce to the north east.

Information & Facts

Climate

Dubrovnik has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The wettest months are October, November and December. Summer days can be intensely hot, but humidity is moderate and gentle breezes ensure very cool, pleasant evenings.

Getting Around

Dubrovnik has an efficient public bus system. Buses run from 5am to midnight, from Pile Gate in the Old Town. Fares are standard: 10 kn for tickets bought from the driver, and 8 kn if bought from a kiosk, known as a 'Tisak'. The old town is pedestrianised, therefore taxis do not enter this area and those with rental cars will have to park in specially designated areas outside the gates. Metered taxis are, however, available at the bus station, Gruz harbour, Pile Gate and Ploce Gate.

Language

The official language is Croatian.

Money

The official unit of currency is the Kuna (HRK). One Kuna is divided into 100 Lipa. ATMs are plentiful throughout the country and banks, authorised bureaux de change, post offices or most hotels will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques. Banks open Monday to Saturday and some banks also open on Sundays in the main cities. Major credit cards are widely accepted at the main hotels and restaurants, and may be used to draw cash from ATMs, which are widely available throughout the country.

Shopping

Shopping in Dubrovnik may not come close to other European cities, but this little Adriatic jewel offers a unique shopping experience of its own. The Stradun is a great place to start where little shops can be found lining this marble-paved street, but the best bargains can be found down the maze of pokey side streets leading off the Stradun. For those who love a good shopping mall, head to the Lapad Shopping Center in Lapad where all the usual international chain stores can be found. Or take a trip to the Old Town for the best variety of shopping. Most locals organise trips to Italy a few times a year to stock up on the latest fashion, but some local designer boutiques can be found in the Old Town where fashionistas are guaranteed to pick up original designs, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny. Many local markets boast Dubrovnik's finest bounty where interesting souvenirs can be bought such as embroidered tablecloths and linen, Dalmation wine, spirits (known as rajika), and delicious preserves and dried fruit, all beautifully packaged. The morning market at Gunduliceva Sqaure is great for souvenirs, while the morning market at Gruz is great for fresh local produce. Most shops are open Monday to Friday from9am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm, but during the tourist season, many shops keep longer hours. A VAT of 18.5% is added onto all non-essential products and services purchased in Croatia. Tourists can reclaim tax on purchases to the value of HRK501 or more on departure of Croatia. Tax back forms can be collected at points of purchase and should be filled out and stamped at the store.

Sightseeing

The city of Dubrovnik with its cobblestone streets and red-tiled roofs makes an amazing sightseeing destination for visitors from all walks of life. Steeped in a rich and fascinating history, Dubrovnik is brimming with attractions. A holiday in Dubrovnik is great in spring, summer or autumn due to its mild Mediterranean climate. Start off at the picturesque old port where the turquoise waters of the Adriatic lap gently at the surrounding rocks where the 13th century walls tower above and the boats bob gently in the harbour, where shops, restaurants, cafés and bars will keep visitors whiling away the hours in the some of the most breathtaking scenery. Head to the historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the Stradun, the biggest, longest and widest street in Dubrovnik, which dates back to the 13th century is a major focal point, as is Onofrio's Fountain while the Franciscan Monastery boasts one of the most beautiful Romanesque cloisters in Dalmatia.

For those who want to get out and admire the view of Dubrovnik from the sea, take a day trip by boat to the nearby islands of Mljet or Elafiti, while the secluded beaches, vineyards, olive groves and quaint towns adorn the island of Korcula, Dubrovnik's most popular outlying island.

Travellers keen on doing plenty of sightseeing should purchase the Dubrovnik Tourist Card which provides discounts on car rental, taxis and boat rides as well as discounts at bars, clubs and restaurants around the city. The price of the card ranges from 50 HRK to 350 HRK, and the discounts range from 10% to 30%.

Time

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

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