Dubrovnik has been called “The Pearl of the Adriatic” for good reason. Simply put, it’s spectacular. It’s a walled city perched above the Adriatic Sea in the far southern part of Croatia (not far from the northern border of Montenegro).
We (my Backroads group) shuttled there from the island of Korčula, driving across the Tudjman Bridge into the city in the late afternoon.
After checking into our hotel—The Grand Imperial, perfectly located just outside the Pile Gate to the Old Town—we cleaned up, then headed out to one of the most memorable bars I’ve ever visited.
The Buža Bar is located on the back side of the town wall. To enter, you cross the Old Town, then pass through an arched tunnel through the wall to an outdoor bar perched literally on tiers of rocks just above the sea. It’s made up of a couple of safety rails, tables, chairs and the bar itself – that’s it. This set up would never fly in the US, but we were really pleased that Croatia is more liberal in its approach to safety. We watched the sunset, then walked back into the old town for dinner on the patio of a restaurant called the Café Royal.
We met the next morning for a guided stroll through the Old Town, ending in a 2 km walk around the perimeter of the wall (a must-do!). A little insider note if you happen to visit: when you’re walking along the main street (the Stradun) in Old Town, avoid walking or standing in the shallow channels that parallel the street, as doing so will supposedly prevent you from ever having money or getting married! Our guide told us that you’ll never see a local breaking this rule, but it’s funny how many tourists do.
When you enter Old Town by the Pile Gate, as you walk along the Stradun, look carefully for a gargoyle head called the “maskeron” jutting from a stone wall just opposite Onofrio’s Fountain. You need to jump up on it, facing the wall and balance yourself while taking off your shirt. If you’re able to do this, you will apparently marry the first person you see when you jump down and turn around. Before you ask…no, I didn’t even attempt it, but I love the story.
After our wall walk, the Backroads Group said our good-byes, and went our separate ways. Yet another great experience – one of my favorites!
Many thanks to Marija & Erin for being such fantastic leaders and making this a truly special trip!