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Sunsail’s Top 5 Things To Do in Dubrovnik

Affectionately dubbed “Pearl of the Adriatic” by Lord Byron, Dubrovnik’s glistening marble- carved alleyways, ancient citadels, and crystal-clear waters are bound to beguile you. With its Riviera extending from the picturesque inlet of the River Neretva to the tip of Ostra in the south of Croatia, you’ll soon find Dubrovnik is rich in UNESCO-worthy sites, historic gems, and renaissance villas, while also offering plenty of breath-taking landscapes and National Parks for those wishing to take their adventure to the water. Read on to find out Sunsail’s top tips for the ultimate summer trip in Dubrovnik, on and off the water!


1. Visit during Dubrovnik’s Summer Festival

If there’s one tip we could give, it is to visit during one of Dubrovnik’s hottest cultural festivals of the year, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Revel in pleasant monthly temperatures of 22°C and join the locals in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival starting on 10th July 2019!

Holding an eclectic mix of classical music, theatrical folklore, and dance performances at various open-air locations dotted around Dubrovnik Old Town, including their acclaimed outdoor cinema, this year’s line-up is set to dazzle both locals and travellers alike. Undoubtedly, this is one of the prime times to visit, as the whole city is bubbling with cultural activities. However, this also means that the prices of Airbnbs and hotels spike during this time, which makes a bareboat yacht charter an even more appealing alternative after a day of sight-seeing, live performances, and dining out.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

2. Wander the Dubrovnik city walls

You can’t visit Dubrovnik without wandering through its intricately spectacular system of forts, bastions, and iconic stone towers. With fortification dating back to as early as the Middle Ages, the Dubrovnik City Walls stand as a testament to Dubrovnik’s nickname – “the unconquerable city”, as the walls have never been breached. Even the inscription above the main gate of Lovrijenac reads “Liberty Should Not Be Sold At Any price”.

Withstanding several earthquakes and bombardment by British, Austrian, and Yugoslavian forces, the walls today play a very different role, acting as a cultural backdrop to outdoor performances like the annual re-enactment of Shakespeare’s Hamlet while also making it the perfect spot for locals and tourists to grab an icecream and soak in the magnificent 360° views. From nuns unwinding hoses inside the convent to watching the stream of red kayaks enter the sheltered waters underneath Tvrđava Bokar, the Dubrovnik walls offer a unique birds-eye view into the everyday lives of Croatians.


3. Kayak around Dubrovnik’s coastline at Sunset and paddle further afield

The azure blue, millpond-esque waters of the Adriatic Sea offer the perfect paddling ground for kayaking, and you don’t have to be limited to kayaking around the mysterious island of Lokrum either. Sunsail holidays offer optional extras such as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on your yacht charter, so you can take them around the Elaphiti Islands to use at your own leisure and, most importantly, on your own schedule.

Once you’ve had your fill of exploring the mesmerising blue cave of Lokrum, had a picnic on the hidden beach of Betina, and skirted around the towering citadel-studded coastline at Sunset, we’d recommend anchoring in Koločep Island to take your kayak out for a spin on its crystalline waters to discover a myriad of secret coves and blue caves. For thrill seekers, cruise over to Šipan, the largest of the Elafiti Islands, for an active afternoon of cliff-jumping, kayaking, and paddle boarding.


4. Snorkel in Šipan and soak up the history

After you’ve seen the vibrant peacocks and blue caves of Lokrum just 10 minutes off the coast of Dubrovnik, head towards the turquoise blue shores of Šipan. A 45-minute journey on the water takes you to the picturesque harbour of Suđurađ on the east coast Šipan, where you’ll find translucent bays filled with sea urchins, fish, and coral shells that are great for an afternoon of snorkelling.

Known for its famous local wine made from Plavac Mali grapes, this island is dotted with quaint fishing villages and fortified castles to explore. Amid its cypress trees, olive groves, and sun-kissed vineyards, Šipan was once a firm favourite with the Dubrovnik aristocracy, which built a number of forts and housing in the mid -15th Century and was even inhabited by the Romans. While you’re there, visit Sipanska Luka to see relics from the former glory days of Ragusa (Dubrovnik Republic) and a scattering of ancient Roman ruins. We’d recommend, in particular, seeing the striking Magistrates Palace and the remains of St. Peter’s Church.

Mljet, Croatia

5. Head to Lopud for the beaches

Noted for its handful of blissfully white sandy beaches, Lopud is said to be one of the most eye-catching settlements of all the Elaphiti’s. Approximately 1 hour away from Dubrovnik by boat, the developed island of Lopud is blessed by exotic gardens and dotted with ruined fortresses. A beautiful 30-m high bell tower of a Franciscan monastery can also be spotted as soon as you cruise into the quay at Lopud Harbour.

The best way to spend your time in car-free Lopud would be to stumble on clusters of ruins, monasteries, and 17th-century churches, then stop for lunch at Obala, for local white fish marinated with citrus fruits and carpaccio octopus that overlooks Lopud’s waterfront. But no trip to Lopud is complete without heading to one of Croatia’s most prime beach spots, Šunj Beach. Located on the south side of the island, Šunj’s warm, crystalline, shallow waters make it a perfect way for families and couples to spend an afternoon winding down surrounded by lush forests that give it a more secluded feel.

If you’re an art lover with a bit of extra time on the island, it’s worth visiting “Your Black Horizon Art Pavilion”. Based in a quaint orchard of cypress and olive trees, this contemporary art pavilion was originally presented at the Venice Biennale in 2005 and showcases a striking light installation that changes colour to keep in time with Lopud’s horizon over the course of the day.


Ian Pedersen

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