If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you quickly realize that you are walking the steps of King’s Landing. If you have never seen an episode, it doesn’t matter, as you can easily understand why this medieval walled city was chosen as a filming location. A green screen and studio could never replicate this texture and depth.
This small town of just over 40,000 swells to more than double its size each day with the influx of cruise ships and tourists. It is the only time during our jaunt down the coast that we are reminded that travel comes with the consequence of crowds. Thankfully, this is a fully walking city so you don’t have to fight cars and congestion. The Stradun or Main Street is wide and grand…and super slippery after centuries of wear from all of the foot traffic.
During the day, get out of the city and climb the stairs to the top of the walls. Walking the path topping the walled city allows a view down onto the rooftops which visually tells the story of the significant shelling the town endured during the seven-month siege by the Serbian forces in 1991. Centuries-old buildings are patched together with materials from just two decades ago.
The men here are fit and you quickly realize why. First, there are no cars so you must walk to cross the city. Add to that the topography. Very steep climbs are required to get from the flat center to the walled edges. It is a virtual and social Stairmaster.
Speaking of social, the locals are friendly. As for LGBT travelers, I certainly would not call Dubrovnik “gay unfriendly,” but it is certainly not the Provincetown of the Adriatic. This entire region is led by conservative traditional values, so you rarely see overtly romantic gestures from anyone! You won’t find bars with rainbow flags, but you also won’t find any “breastraunts” (hat tip Doug Guller—Ask Alisa!). Perhaps this is the ultimate in equal opportunity! No overt signs of affection…from anyone.
The city contains many wonderful restaurants and bars, but the most unique is perhaps the Buza bar located outside the walls. It took centuries to protect and fortify this city, and now we have the opportunity to literally step through time and the wall. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the streets of Dubrovnik, but if you hug the southern wall and look for a door painted green, you will find yourself outside having drinks on the rocks and feeling the spray of the ocean, if you are lucky!
Enjoy the sunset here and then exit the wall at the other end to enjoy a meal at Croatia’s finest restaurant, Nautika. Celebrity guests run the gamut from Don King to Dick Cheney and Sir Roger Moore to Austin’s own Owen Wilson. We opted for the chef’s menu, which includes the favorite lobster medallions and gnocchi.