For those of us that watch the Game of Thrones TV series, we’ve been captivated by the shooting locations of this epic fantasy saga. Hence my excitement when I learnt that we were arriving in Dubrovnik, the film set for ‘King’s Landing’. But apart from the impressive sight of the 7th century Old Town and the stunning location on the Adriatic Sea, it was a dreamy day in Dubrovnik that will stay with me forever.
Dubrovnik is located in Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea, and as far as scenery goes, this would have to be one of the most spectacular cities in Eastern Europe. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667 and massive shelling by the Yugoslav People’s Army after the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, the city survived and is now restored to its former glory.
On our early morning arrival into Dubrovnik Port we were taken by shuttle bus into the city centre near the Old Town walls. Immediately we were struck by the beauty of the high-rising cliffs and a stunning ancient city wall overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Without delay we made our way to the entrance to the Old Town and began to amble down the Stradun, the main street of the Old Town, made entirely of white marble. Fortunately the crowds weren’t too bad due to our early start.
Once we entered the Old Town at Pile Gate we found ourselves in a square looking at the ornate Onofrio Fountain.
Here there were street musicians and a man with several colourful parrots that you could have your photo taken with.
Whilst we walked through the romantic city lanes we not only saw the most beautiful late-Renaissance houses, but felt a somewhat mystic dreamy atmosphere rising from the ancient stone walls.
If you’re a die-hard Game of Thrones fan you can grab a map and tour the shooting locations around Dubrovnik or join a guided tour.
Although the Old Town dates back to the 7th century, the walls weren’t built until the 12th century as a defence mechanism against a myriad of enemies who attempted to conquer Dubrovnik. There are many fine examples of Gothic and Romanesque architecture in the buildings that are within the Old Town walls.
We discovered Stradun was brimming with numerous souvenir shops, galleries, coffee bars and restaurants.
However once you get to the other end, Stradun finishes in a lovely square surrounded by some of the most important historical sights of Dubrovnik. We saw the City Cathedral, the Church of St. Blaise, the Sponza Palace (the city archive), the Rector’s Palace, the Bell Towers and Orlando’s Column.
Once you have your fill of the dreamy atmosphere of the Old Town narrow streets and ancient buildings you can climb the stairs up to the top of the walls. We paid our admission fee of around 150 Croatian Kunas ($30 AUD) and walked in an anti-clockwise direction.
We were immediately awestruck by the magnificent 360 degree panoramic views that we were afforded, both back over the terracotta tiled roof buildings, the Old Port, Lokrum Island and out to the turquoise seas of the Adriatic.
The 2K walk can take around 2 hours to complete, but there are a couple of cafes and toilets along the way.
The monumental walls that encircle the old town of Dubrovnik are of various thicknesses and are punctuated by the towers of Fort Minceta, Fort Bokar and St John Fort.
The height also varies according to the configuration of the terrain; in some places it reaches 25 metres, so it’s not for the faint hearted!
Now it you’re not forted out completely I would suggest you make the effort to walk up the hundreds of stairs to Fort Lovrijenac, built upon a 37 metre high sheer rock overlooking the sea.
This triangular shaped fort is located adjacent to the Old Town and was constructed between 1018 to 1038, defended with 10 large cannons.
These days the three terraces of the fort are used for theatre productions during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Standing on the top terrace with the most gorgeous views out to sea, I could imagine the suitability of this location as the stage for a Shakespeare production such as “Hamlet”. What a memorable experience this would be!
An interesting fact about Fort Lovrijenac is that it also doubles as Red Keep in King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones.
After leaving the confines of the Old Town and Fort Lovrijenac, we walked back towards the port and watched sea kayakers set off on a sea adventure in a small bay.
Once we walked around the headland of Fort Lovrijenac we discovered some walking paths and gardens that took us down past a small church and graveyard to a swimming area.
There are water taxis available out to Lokrum Island where the Dubrovnik Botanical Gardens are situated. The island is an uninhabited isle on Dubrovnik‘s doorstep, lush with pines, palms and cypress trees and dotted with diverse ruins and remnants.
Otherwise you can head to Dubrovnik‘s city beach, Banje, which is a short walk from the Ploče Gate in the Old Town. It’s an ideal beach for kids, with showers, deckchairs for hire, plus jet skis and inflatables.
If you want an even broader bird’s eye view of Dubrovnik you can scale the steep incline to Mount Srd. You can either catch a cab or jump on the orange Cablecar. At the cablecar station, the Panorama restaurant offers the same view, along with seafood platters, cocktails and fine local wines. Not a bad place to have a bite of lunch and relish the magnificent views!
Sadly our dreamy day in Dubrovnik came to a close and we hadn’t even got to the famous “hole-in-the-wall” Buza Bars that I’d heard so much about. These secret bars are hidden on the outside of the city walls in the Old Town and I would have liked nothing more than sitting back and enjoying a cold glass of Croatian wine watching the sunset over the Adriatic Sea. Oh well, maybe next time!!
Have you been to Dubrovnik and walked the ancient Old Town walls?
Kathy Shade is a 50 something year old who is married with 2 children who has spent most of her life being a housewife, mother and working as an Accounts Administrator in the public school system. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Her friends would describe her as being a 'have a chat' with an outgoing personality and zest for life. Kathy also has a great love of shopping and is known for her bargain hunting prowess!