On September 22nd, 2014 Dubrovnik, Croatia was the port of call from my Star Clippers Mediterranean sailing. It was our first stop and the one that I was most anticipating.
The old city of Dubrovnik is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is surrounded by approximately two kilometres of walls protecting it from intruders in all directions. From the moment I saw the city from the sun deck of my ship, I knew why people were amazed at the beauty.
We anchored off shore and tendered in to the lagoon which is hidden by a portion of the city walls. I spent an hour or so wandering the flat part of the internal city and meandering through the very crowded, tiny streets. When I was tired of the crowds, I bought a ticket ($10 US approx) and headed up, up, up to the city wall and started slowly making my way around the entire city from above.
There are over 1000 steps along the two kilometre stretch of city walls, and I decided to hike it in the hot mid-afternoon sun. Phew! Luckily there are a few small shops / cafes along the wall with water and snacks. You could likely walk the walls in about an hour if you moved along at a good pace without stopping, but what would be the point? You should plan for 2 – 3 hours, stop and take in the stunning views in every direction. It is absolutely breathtaking.
Even at the end of September, Dubrovnik is a busy spot for tourists. My small ship was able to anchor nearby and we tendered in to the city, but several cruise ships dock each day as well and send bus-loads of passengers into the old city. Upwards of 6000 people a day visit inside the city walls, usually between 10am and 4pm. Be prepared for crowded streets and chaos during the day. If you have the opportunity to stay around after 4pm, the crowds thin out and you get a better feel for the city rather than the tourism. There are some great restaurants and nightlife spots.