A charming old city on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of hidden gems. The tranquil and cultural World Heritage Site of Dubrovnik’s old town is a joy to explore and there are always unexpected finds, such as discovering Europe’s first pharmacy, that dates back to 1317, or a little further out of town you will find the oldest arboretum in the world. Intrepid’s Carla Wilson always loves letting her groups in on a special Dubrovnik secret that is worth the effort…
“Intrepid leaders love to show travellers around their favourite cities and Dubrovnik is at the top of my list. After arriving and checking into our private rooms just outside the city walls, I always take my group for a walk to point out the main sights. We pass the Dominican Monastery, the Franciscan Church and other important monuments. We fill up our water bottles at the Onofrio Fountain, which has been springing water to Dubrovnik residents since the 15th century. Then we climb the stairs and walk around the entire city walls.
I love hearing my group gasp at the spectacle, knowing I have something entirely more spectacular in store for them. We take over an hour to walk around the walls, with time of course for photo stops. This is one of the best ways to become orientated in Dubrovnik, but the best is still to come.
When I tell the group I am going to take them up the huge hill behind the town, I remind them that any great discovery involves a little bit of effort. Most stare at the steep mountainside and look for excuses, but with a little encouragement everyone makes it to the top. Previously there was a cable car, but it was destroyed in the war in 1992 and now only those in the know, and those with a little determination, get to see what I think is the best view in Europe.
After seeing Dubrovnik from the heights of the city walls, this view puts it all into perspective. The tiny town perches to the coastline with nothing but the dark blue sea and Lokrum Island in the distance. We take a picnic of wine and chocolate and sit atop the hill for as long as we wish. This is probably one of my favourite days and I’m thrilled it is a favourite with my travellers as well!”
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* photo by Colin Young – Intrepid Photography Competition