Five Dubrovnik jewels
As you approach old city ramparts on the southernmost part of Croatia, you get feeling that you enter the fairytale; which you do in many ways. Dubrovnik is probably destination where most of the photos are taken, and famous place, under the UNESCO protection, knowns as Jewel of Adriatic, which city confirms without a doubt by its romantic charm. Most tourist guides write about enjoyable walk across the city ramparts in this Venetian, Gothic miracle, or about entering those ramparts and walk across the Stradun, which is surrounded by XVII century housing, Onofrio's fountain and Franciscan monastery.
All thing mentioned above are great, and worth seeing, and experiencing. Furthermore, there are also few great sites inside and outside of the city which are worth mentioning.
City ramparts....from the pirate perspective
While many tourists are walking across the city ramparts on the route around the Old town, I was hoping that I'd see rampart's great fame from above, while kayaking, in the same manner as numerous sailors and attackers throughout city's rich history. Ramparts built between XII and XVII century, now under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites protection, which had function of defending the city, are sited near sharp rocks by the Adriatic coast, and are 2km long, and 27m high. During the rowing around ramparts, guide told me about incredible history of variety of garrisons and fortresses, which were a part of ancient defensive structure around sea City-State known as Republic of Ragusa.
While enjoying shiny sea, I saw Muro tower built in XIV century (earlier known as St. John's Fortress), which used to protect city entrance from the sea from Ottoman invasion. I've recognized impressive structure which the Ravelin fortress is, the defensive structure which is detached from ramparts main area, and is built on the opposite side of Ploce doors, so it provided additional protection from Ottoman attacks, because those doors were often remarked as weakest point of defensive system. When I got tired of rowing, we anchored near Buza coffee bar, favorite local destination, which is located by sharp rocks outside city ramparts. Because of those things, this place became my second Dubrovnik jewel.
Coffee bar Buza, drinks on the edge
On the opposite side of Dubrovnik's imposing ramparts is coffee bar Buza, right by the seaside, it's providing a tranquil corner opposed to city rush which is just few meters away. You can access the bar through narrow entrance through south part of old ramparts. It's not easy to find, so best route is from the cathedral to the south across the stairs where you'll find small entrance which leads to Buza. You will arrive to step-rocks on which ancient Dubrovnik was built, and there you can catch place in the shade, buy cocktail and enjoy beautiful view on Adriatic overview and brave rock jumpers.
Lokrum, island that serves as Dubrovnik's yard
Just 15 minutes long ride with sea cab boat from Old town will get you to small island Lokrum, protected natural park with some of the extraordinarily attractive sights, can be used as perfect half day trip, and location where you can escape the sun and Stradun rush. This green jewel on the opposite side of Dubrovnik has a little salty lake where you can float just like in the Dead sea, nudist beach on the southeast side of the island, and many lonesome places where you can enjoy in beautiful nature of Lokrum island, which is emphasized by its lone inhabitants, peacocks. Between enjoying the view of peacocks and tropical plants, find time to visit Benedictine monastery built in XII century.
After you experienced Dubrovnik from the coast and inside, your next site should be panoramic view of Dubrovnik, which can be accessed via ropeway to the Srd mountain. Ropeway itself is fascinating because it was built about 40 years ago, and it leads visitors to emperor fortress built in 1809., in the days of Napoleon, and nowadays there's a museum dedicated to Croatian War of Independence. Up there, there are two viewpoints, ideal for taking photos, and, on bright days, you can see up to 50 km distance forward. After you're done with enjoying the moment, come to restaurant for a lunch. To access city ropeway, go north from the city ramparts toward the fire station!