Dubrovnik is arguably one of the prettiest towns you will visit in Croatia but be warned it is overrun with tourists in July and August at which time the old town can be a very sweaty and aggravating place indeed! Given a choice I would recommend an early or late season flotilla or bareboat charter if this is all you have come to see but quite honestly it is worth the hassle anytime of the year.
Dubrovnik; a definite DO NOT MISS for any sailing holiday!
After the smoke cleared in the early nineties Dubrovnik was in a pretty sad way, as some interesting panels dotted around the town explain, but the ongoing restoration of the old town has brought it back to life.
With its fantastic curtain walls, quirky sloping streets and endless views of terracotta tiled roofs contrasting with electric blue water, it is no wonder it is so popular with everyone that comes here.
It has also been snapped up as a backdrop for the popular TV series Game of Thrones and, yes, there are plenty of opportunities to join one of the many tours that cover the areas where scenes were shot!
As you might expect for a tourist mecca, the old town of Dubrovnik is bursting with restaurants, bars and cafes to suit every taste and whether you want to watch the shoals of tourists navigating the central street of Placa or dive off into relative quiet of the back alleys I recommend you make the effort to have at least one coffee here; it is a people watchers paradise! For all your other everyday requirements, supermarkets, chemists etc. it is a better option to shop closer to Gruz Harbour.
As for sights, there are too many to list in full, but highlights include; a walk around the fortified walls (100 kuna per person 2015), the splendid Pile Gate, the Onofrio Fountain, the third oldest functioning pharmacy in Europe, a delightful Franciscan monastery and of course various churches, museums and assorted clock towers and columns. A top tip is just to explore at will. There are hidden treasures at every turn. For more incentives to visit Dubrovnik visit the photo gallery.
If you have had your fill of the old town or you just fancy a change of pace, there are tour operators offering trips to areas outside the city limits and also to Montenegro. Sometimes a peaceful excursion into the mountains is just the ticket on a hot August day and as sailors we often miss the interior of the countries we visit so it might pay to see what is on offer.
As for beaches… yes you may need to cool down after a walk on the wall… you can join the hoards cavorting off the rocks outside the walls or there are several beautiful coves and beaches within a short walk of the main town.
When it comes to yachting facilities, however, it can come as a bit of a disappointment to some (me included!) that you can’t moor up in the harbour of the old town. Instead yachts are consigned to the harbour at Gruz (within walking distance of the old town), or the ACI Marina which is a bus or taxi ride of approximately 6 km.
Don’t despair though, the buses are efficient, frequent and easy to navigate. Both Gruz and the ACI marina are main yachting bases for charter companies in this sailing area so have all the usual facilities needed for a successful yacht charter.
It is possible to anchor outside the old harbour but the constant wash from passing trip boats can be a bit wearisome. Another option is to take a short sail down the coast to Cavtat (a delightfully laidback little tourist village) and either anchor in Tiha Bay or drop on to the main town quay and take the bus or trip boat to Dubrovnik from there.