The Pearl of the Adriatic

Wayward English poet, Lord Byron, once referred to Dubrovnik as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”. Two centuries later, this magnificent walled city is still mesmerising foreign travellers. With its stunning location, backed by mountains and jutting out into the turquoise blue sea, and its noble Baroque architecture, it is one of the grand European cities that everyone should visit at least once, which it why it's also a popular port of call for cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean.

A former independent city republic

A republic in its own right from 1358 to 1808, Dubrovnik's old stone buildings breathe a glorious history. A wealthy sea-faring state, it was remarkably sophisticated for its time – the first pharmacy opened in 1317; an old people’s home was founded in 1347; and slave trading was abolished in 1418. The Old Town is contained within the medieval Dubrovnik City Walls and the entire complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even today, Dubrovnik is a world of its own, cruising into the 21st century at a pace way ahead of the rest of the country, with contemporary attractions such as War Photo Limited and the Dubrovnik Cable Car.

Swanky bed and board

If you decide to stay a few nights in Dubrovnik, you’ll find a fine choice of accommodation options, ranging from the luxurious Villa Dubrovnik to quaint inexpensive hideaways such as the Amoret Apartments. You’ll also get to indulge in gourmet seafood at places like Proto and sample cheap, cheerful and wholesome local fare at Škola.

Chasing the sun

Besides its renowned cultural attractions, Dubrovnik offers a host of outdoor activities for sun worshippers and fitness fiends. Opt for the EastWest beach club on Banje beach for an afternoon of scantily clad glamour with the medieval city walls clearly in view across the water, or head for Šunj beach on the island of Lopud for back-to-basics skinny dipping. To burn some calories and tighten up the torso, try Sea kayaking from Dubrovnik.