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The Pearl of the Adriatic

            The first thing that cruise passengers notice about Dubrovnik, Croatia, is probably its gorgeous setting on the Adriatic Sea. In front of the city, deep blue water meets a rocky coastline dotted with sandy beaches. In the Old City, stone walls and terra cotta rooftops glow in the sunlight, and the foothills of the Dinaric Alps are a perfect backdrop for the city called the "Pearl of the Adriatic.”


            Once a mighty trading port, Dubrovnik is now best known as a destination for cruise passengers and other visitors who want to learn more about the culture and history of the area, or simply admire its beauty.


            In the walled Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the streets of smooth marble or uneven cobblestones can be slippery, so it’s best to wear sturdy shoes. After you pass through the Pile Gate, you can visit the Franciscan Monastery and an adjoining pharmacy, which has been in operation since 1391. There’s also a beautiful Dominican Monastery, the Rector’s Palace (now a museum with many paintings and artifacts), Europe’s second-oldest Sephardic synagogue, and a cathedral. For excellent views of Dubrovnik, find one of the three places where stairs ascend to the top of the Old City’s walls. You can walk all the way around, a trip of 1.5 miles.


Or, if you’d like to spend some time enjoying the sun and sea, one of Dubrovnik’s best beaches, Banje, is just steps from the Old Town. The area also has secluded caves and craggy islands to explore. Mljet, the largest island in the Dubrovnik archipelago, is home to Mljet National Park. You can ride a bike along the park’s well-marked paths or rent a kayak to row around two beautiful lakes.

Your day in Dubrovnik is likely to give you a good appetite, and there are many sidewalk cafes and gelaterias to accommodate you. In this part of Croatia, fresh seafood abounds, and you can have it gilled, baked or fried in many delicious ways.


            Through the centuries, Dubrovnik has been a survivor. In 1667, a catastrophic earthquake nearly leveled the city, destroying most of its Renaissance architecture. In 1991 and 1992, the city was bombarded by Serbian and Montenegrin forces during the War for Croatian Independence. Nearly 600 buildings in the Old City sustained some amount of damage, and you may still see signs of restoration.

Fortunately, hostilities in all parts of Croatia ended in 1995, and today Dubrovnik is more than ready to welcome visitors. Talk with a Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert about visiting Dubrovnik on a cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean.