Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik, Ulica Pera Čingrije, Dubrovnik, Croatia
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Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town.
With its sublime location, overlooking the calm blue waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities. Now a Unesco world heritage site and Croatia’s most up-market destination, it was once the capital of the wealthy sea-faring Republic of Ragusa (1358-1808).
Forget stressful everyday life, explore, rest, bathe, walk, read, listen to music, idle...
With a pleasant Mediterranean climate, 260 sunny days per year and protected nature, Dubrovnik offers you the opportunity to explore historical sites, museums and galleries, and to learn about the wisdom of our ancestors. Enhance your holiday with a tour of the city and its surroundings, tasting exquisite gastronomic specialities or attending sports events that will invigorate both your body and soul.
During its Golden Age in the 16th century, it had one of the largest merchant naval fleets in the world, with consulates in more than 50 foreign ports. Brave sailors, hard-bargaining merchants and shrewd diplomats, the people of Dubrovnik became extremely rich, leading sophisticated lifestyles and valuing refinement and the arts.
Today, visitors come here for leisure, not to trade. The main draw is the charming pedestrian-only old town, packed with aristocratic palazzi and elegant Baroque churches, contained within sturdy medieval fortifications.
Add to this the beaches, pristine sea, informal eateries serving top-notch seafood, chic five-star hotels and adventure sports facilities, and your holiday is made. Which is why people like Beyoncé, Roman Abramovich, Sir Roger Moore and Bob Geldof have recently been spotted here.
Most of the top attractions are concentrated in the car-free old town, within the medieval walls. Two monumental arched gates, Pile (to the west) and Ploče (to the east), serve as entrances to the old town, and they are joined by the main thoroughfare, Stradun (aka Placa). Off each side of Stradun lies a grid of narrow alleys (some involving steep stone steps), harbouring countless cafés, restaurants and apartments to rent.
Immediately east of the old town, in the Ploče neighbourhood, a string of half-a-dozen luxury hotels line the coast, while 2km west of town, opposite Gruž Port, Lapad peninsular is where you’ll find the main concentration of big modern mid-range hotels, plus several beaches.
What's more, Dubrovnik's Old Town has been a popular filming location in recent years. The Game of Thrones television series and the Star Wars: Episode VIII film were both shot here, while the Robin Hood: Origins film has also been in the making here this year.
Dubrovnik is a stunningly intact walled city on the Adriatic Sea coast of the extreme south of Croatia. Although its population barely exceeds 40,000, it's one of the most prominent tourist resorts of the Mediterranean and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The city of Dubrovnik (Latin: Ragusa) was built on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. Furthermore, Dubrovnik was one of the centres of the development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars.
Today Dubrovnik is the proudest feather in Croatia's tourist cap, an elite destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik used to be an independent republic, surviving mostly on trade. It managed to survive many centuries, with constant threats to its territory, particularly from the mighty Ottoman Empire and Venice. As early as 19th century, it was discovered by celebrities as a place to be seen. George Bernard Shaw once said that "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it". Royalty, presidents and diplomats have all favoured the city. The late Pope John Paul II was a fan of Dubrovnik and was even made an honorary citizen.
Dubrovnik is steeped in stunning architecture and sculptural detail, and boasts spectacular churches, monasteries, museums, and fountains. A multitude of typical towns and excursions include: The Elaphiti Islands, the attractive town of Cavtat,the Konavle valley, Mljet Island, Kor?ula Island, Ston and Peljesac Peninsula. The neighbouring towns of Kotor and Perast in Montenegro or Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina also make for intrigiuing day trips.
Dubrovnik was heavily bombed during the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995. Almost all of the damage has been repaired; however, if you look closely around the old town, mortar damage in the cobblestone streets and bullet marks in the stone houses are visible.
What to see in Dubrovnik:
Roland's Column, (in front of the Bell Tower). A slender stone flag staff of the legendary knight. Also known as Orlando's Column. Ever since its foundation in 1950, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is officially opened by raising a flag carrying the city's motto Libertus on Orlando's staff.
Bell Tower, (after the Plo?e entrance to the city). On top of the tower are the famous 'Zelenci' (The Green Ones), bronze statues which strike the gigantic bell every hour. They have been recently replaced with copies and the originals are in the atrium of the Sponza Palace.
Sponza Palace, (North of the Bell Tower). Gothic Renaissance palace, one of the few buildings that has maintained its form from before the catastrophic 1667 earthquake. Hosts historic archives. Memorial room of defenders.
Rector's Palace- Formerly the palace of the Major Council, now houses a museum dedicated to the city's history.
Pile Gate, at the western end of the Placa Thoroughfare (Stradun) (Old town). A convenient starting place for your stroll through the Old Town is the Pile Gate. Before entering the Old Town, Fort Lovrjenac, the first among many sites worth seeing in Dubrovnik, provides a good view of the Old Town and its wall.
Placa Stradun, (Old town). The Stradun (Placa) is the central street of the city of Dubrovnik and is the place where the old city comes to life. During the day, explore the shades of the perpendicular streets and alleys on its sides, and during the night, take walks up and down the Stradun with an ice-cream in hand. The uniform Baroque architecture of the houses in Placa, with shops on the street level and their 'knee-like' entrances, got its present-day form in the restoration of the City taking place after the disastrous earthquake in 1667, when a large number of luxurious Gothic and Renaissance palaces had been destroyed. The architectural design of Placa reveals effective solutions and the business sense of the Dubrovnik Republic in those difficult times. Today, Placa is still the shopping centre and venue of major events.
Big Onofrio´s Fountain. In the western (Pile) entrance of the old town, The fountain stairs are nowadays a favourite meeting place for local youth and where both the tourists and pigeons take rest and refresh themselves with cool water.
Old Port. The eastern part of the Old Town of Dubrovnik; some cruise ship passengers are tendered to the Old Port.
Fort Lovrijenac, (From the Pile gate, walk away from the city and then turn left down the steps next to Konoba Gallus. Follow the lane down to the waterfront and then climb the steps up to the fort). The monumental fort rises above 37 m high rock. It changed roles in the course of history. The main purpose of its construction was defense, and the main idea was to protect the freedom of Dubrovnik.
Walk on the walls around the old town, great views. It may be best to visit the walls during the early morning or the late afternoon during mid-summer months as it can become very hot. It takes roughly an hour to walk the entire wall, so make sure that you leave yourself enough time before purchasing a ticket.
Dubrovnik is surrounded by its city walls which are 2km long and famous all around the world. There are 3 entrances: on Stradun by the Pile gate, by Fort Saint John’s and at the Custom’s House gate.
Within the city walls you will see Fort Minceta and Fort Saint John’s on the south-eastern side. Also, within the city walls are Fort Lawrence at Pile and Fort Revelin at Ploce. The main entrance is by the Inner Pile Gates. Minceta Fort is one of the most beautiful cultural attractions in Dubrovnik. It's on the northwest side of the city inside the city walls and was built according to the design of renaissance builder Juraj Dalmatinac. St. Luke’s Tower can be seen by walking along the landward side of the city walls up to Ploce Gate. St. Luke’s Tower has protected the entrance to the Dubrovnik harbour throughout the history of the city.
St. John’s Fort was constructed in the 16th century and it is really worth visiting; on its ground floor you can visit the Aquarium, and on the first and second floors you can visit the Maritime Museum.
Bokar Fort is on the seaward of the city walls. It was designed by Florentine architect Michelozzi in the 15th century.
Franciscan Monastery. This beautiful monastery with Baroque Church, houses a Romanesque cloister and the third oldest pharmacy in the world.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This impressive building is in the Poljana Marin Drži?. Supposedly, the original church was built with money donated by Richard the Lionhearted who survived shipwreck on his way home from the Third Crusade. The current Roman Baroque cathedral dates from the 18th Century.
Church of Saint Blaise (Crkva Svetog Vlaha). Baroque Church dedicated to the city's patron saint.
Church of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit College, (On an elevated square close to the southern edge of the Old Town). Ornate Jesuit church, approached via a romantic baroque staircase modeled on the Spanish Steps in Rome (1738). Built between 1667 and 1725 by architect Ignazzio Pozzo, and like most Jesuit churches of the period was modeled on the Gesù in Rome, the mother church of the Jesuits.
Dominican Monastery. This is an exceptionally valuable historic complex, which, besides its religious purpose, also represents the important artistic treasury of ancient Dubrovnik.
Church of St. Sebastian, (by the Plo?e gate). 15th century church built by the Plo?e gate since St. Sebastian is the saint protector against plague.
Some museums offer a discount ticket if you visit more than one museum.
Bukovac House (Ku?a Bukovac). Includes works by Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922), one of the most famous modern Croatian painters. Part of the house is devoted to exhibitions of works by young artists.
Dubrovnik Natural History Museum (Prirodoslovni muzej).The collection of 100 year-old taxidermy specimens dates back to 1872 and may not appeal to everyone.
Synagogue and Jewish Museum. This originally Sephardic Synagogue is supposed to be the second oldest still in use synagogue in Europe today. A permanent Jewish community here was founded at the end of the 15th century following the exodus from Portugal and Spain. The Jewish Ghetto was established in 1546 on Jewish street in the old town of Dubrovnik. The Synagogue is tiny and delightful, with heavy velvet drapes and a richly painted, midnight blue ceiling.
The Sponza Palace Museum (Museum of the State Archives).
The Rector`s Palace Museum. Artifacts, paintings and furniture dating back from the time of the Dubrovnik Republic.
The Treasury of Cathedral. The Treasury has 182 reliquaries which are carried around the city during the Feast of St Blaise. Entry: 15 kn.
Maritime Museum. Considering how vital sailing and shipbuilding were to the growth of the Dubrovnik Republic, this is one of the city’s most important museums.
Home of Marin Drzic. Memorial house of Marin Drzic, one of Croatia's most famous writers.
The Etnographic Museum (Rupe Granary). Built in 1590, this is a fascinating building in itself, and the exhibits showcase the economic, cultural and spiritual development of Dubrovnik. The folk costumes and textiles give the best flavour of the region where folk culture is still celebrated.
Lapad Beach. (Lapad Peninsula) A car free, sandy beach area on the Lapad Peninsula, approximately 3.5 km from the old town, where you can relax in the shade of the numerous trees. Lapad is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of Dubrovnik and you really must visit it. If you take the headland path to the right hand side of Lapad beach, as you look at the Adriatic, you can walk along a charming little coast path with small concrete 'beaches' and ladders into the sea.
Banje Beach, (Near the Old Town). A well located pebble beach. There's a part with an entrance fee, but also a public part which is always livelier and more relaxed. Great way to beat the heat in the middle of the town. Amazing view to city walls, Old Town Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum. Beach volleyball, mini football or water polo. You can also enjoy lying on deck chair and having a drink.
Lokrum Island, (Take a ferry in Old Town port (ticket at the end of the deck)). If you want to escape from the beaches which can be crowded during summer, then take a ferry to Lokrum Island. Only 10 minutes by boat and it will cost you 80kn back and forth. You can swim in some indicated spots where you'll find ladders to get into the sea. Or just choose a nice spot on the rocks where you'll be able to swim and enjoy the peacefulness. You can also climb a fort in the northern part of the island for a great view of the city.
Stradun, Take a walk and enjoy a drink at a cafe on the main thoroughfare of the old town.
Mount Srd, For a great view of the town. There is a fortress on top which contains a small museum describing its history.
Visit the Fortress Lovrijenac. It was an essential fortification to the defense of the city from both ground and sea attacks. In order to prevent possible mutiny by the commander of the fortress, the walls facing the city are only 60 cm thick compared to those exposed to enemy fire which were 12 m thick.
Strikingly set on a 30m-high cliff on Miramare Bay, Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik gives you some of the most cinematic panoramas of the Dalmatian coast. From the moment you arrive, you’re immersed in a world of contemporary luxury and elegant service that makes you feel as if you’re on your own private ocean liner.
Yet it is just a 10-minute walk down to the mesmerising medieval city centre. Which means you have the best of both worlds. At the bottom of the cliff a pebble beach invites you to lie on a sun lounger, so there’s not far to go when you’re in the mood to lie back and soak up the hot Mediterranean sun.
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