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Dubrovnik - Croatia

Dubrovnik from Mount Srd Dubrovnik HarbourCity Wall, DubrovnikRooftops, DubrovnikSuspension Bridge, DubrovnikSunset - Lapad, Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is Croatia's crown jewel, a truly special destination at the very southern tip of the country. It's suffered in the past during the fight for Croatian independence, but has been well restored - only the different coloured roof tiles hint at the devestation inflicted by the Yugoslav army in 1991.

Dubrovnik's old town is heavily fortified with the 2km curtain wall 6m thick and 25m high in places. These walls are open for the public to walk, with views over the rooftops of the town and to the nearby islands across the turquoise waters.

The city's main Strada is a wide throughfare with pavement cafes, while the rest of the city is a narrow maze of streets. Seemingly every outside space is used for cafes, with tables hidden down the narrowest alleyways. The town comes to life in the evenings with cultural shows and many outside bars.

From the outside, Dubrovnik's fortifications are daunting - there are just three gates in the thick walls. The best views of the city are from the top of Mount Srd, reached by cable car from just outside the city walls. Here the city floats below you as you look into the old town, with the offshore islands just beyond.

Lokrum island is the easiest to visit on a day trip with boats running regularly from the harbour in the old town. This shady island is the former home of a monastry with peaceful gardens and rocky beaches.

Dubrovnik is a stunning location to spend a few days. The combination of turquoise sea, rose coloured roof tiles and grey stone walls is enchanting. Unfortunately everyone else thinks so - the city is a major stop on the cruise ship itinery. It's worth visting early in the morning or later in the evening once most cruise ship passengers have left - on a busy day there can be 8000 extra visitors during the day. The Port Authority of Dubrovnik has all arrivals and departures on its website which can help plan your visit to avoid the crowds: http://www.portdubrovnik.hr/

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