DUBROVNIK – more than just stone walls and a “summer fling”
Usually, when we think of Dubrovnik, the first thing that comes to our mind is its beautifully preserved 7th century stone Old City core, which has been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1979. The undisputed historical importance of the small state (Republic of Dubrovnik, 1358-1808), architectural and artistic achievements as well as God-given natural surroundings, paved the way for Dubrovnik to become one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. It is no wonder, since the city has always been a leader in many important aspects. It had its Statute already in 1272, the first pharmacy in 1317, the first quarantine in 1377. It abolished slave trading in 1418, had its first orphanage in 1432 and a water supply system in 1438.
For many years, we have considered Dubrovnik a well-kept secret, being tucked away in the far south of Croatia, but July and August crowds start to prove us wrong. The period of peak season makes it almost impossible to enjoy and entirely grasp its splendor, even more so because large proportion of visitors focuses only on visiting the Old City, not looking “beyond” the walls. But Dubrovnik is much more than stone walls. It is much more than a quick summer trip to cross on your bucket list. Discovering unbeaten paths throughout its hinterland and islands, so rich and diverse, shows another angle to look at Dubrovnik. Active lifestyle and adventure tourism seasoned with local food serve as a perfect combination for exploring the area.
And it doesn’t take too long to reach these places. Anywhere from 10 to 20 minute ride will take you either on hills above Dubrovnik (Srđ and Bosanka) where you can enjoy splendid views along nice trails or to a set of picturesque villages (Gornja sela) where you can feel the spirit of the past and experience calm and different way of life. All these tiny villages are home to the best domestic households where you can enjoy local cuisine – simple, honest and fresh, which relies on natural flavors and reminds us of our grandmothers. The sea routes will also take you to amazing Elafiti islands – Koločep, Lopud and Šipan which are often high points of visit to Dubrovnik. The relaxed, Mediterranean style of living is present here, which also reflects the style of cooking in excellent domestic households which are mostly family owned, and the family takes care of everything, from catching the fish to delivering it to your plate. Walking along these quiet oases through the untouched nature will restore your energy and prove that Dubrovnik can be a destination with many different faces.