The 42,000 inhabitants of the best-known city in south Dalmatia live today where, in 300 BC, the first Illyrian colonies settled due to the region’s geographic and strategically beneficial location on a high plateau and protected harbor. Until the city and its surroundings became the independent city-state of the Ragusa Republic from the 14th to 19th centuries, the region was conquered by the Romans, Slavs, Byzantines, Bosnians, Venetians, Hungarians and Ottomans, and was annexed into Yugoslavia as well as, shortly, by the French and Habsburgs. After the difficult civil war destruction of the historical buildings, as well as many lives, in the 1990s, the city now looks like new again and has established itself as a destination for skippers from around the globe.
The Dubrovnik region is made up of the Pelješac peninsula, the islands of Kor?ula and Mljet, and the Elaphite Islands in the northwest. Gole?, Crkvine, Daksa, Jakljan, Mišnjak, Ruda, Kosme?, Sveti Andrija, Olipa and Tajan as well as Lopud, Šipan and Kolo?ep belong to the Elaphite Islands, and only the last three are inhabited. Legend has it that the island of Lokrum, which is also part of Dubrovnik, was a resting place for Richard the Lionhearted on his return from the Crusades in the 12th century.
The island Lopud, which is now car-free, with the Šunj Bay, lush vegetation, many villas and numerous Roman and Slavic ruins, is a popular destination for beaches and excursions. In Dubrovnik itself there are also of course impressive historical sites. The imposing city walls and fortifications from the 7th to the 14th centuries, the Sponza and Rector’s Palaces with their cultural museums and the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral from 1713 are all memorable things to see in your time in Dubrovnik. A newer site, from the 1930s, is the Villa Šeherezada, which was later used as the official guesthouse for the Yugoslav government and today is rented out as a luxury residence.
With its picturesque setting and immaculately restored buildings, Dubrovnik is a popular destination throughout the year, and especially in the summer. The many visitors have prompted the emergence of a large selection of gastronomic delights and tourist sites and places for accommodation. There tend to be many people about on the central squares and streets, such as the main street and Stradun promenade, Ivan Gundulic Square, the harbor between the Revelin fortress and Sveti Ivan, on the big and small Onofrio springs, at Luza Square, at Pile and Ploce Gates, as well as around the city hall with its small arts theater. All of these places are beautiful to visit, and Stradun is the street on which to be seen.
In the Mediterranean marshy areas of Pod Gredom, Prud, Orepak, Mrkan, Bobara and Supetar, in the sea reserve of the Bay of Mali Ston, and in the Neretva Delta you will find even more peace and quiet than normal in a relaxing Mediterranean location. The geomorphologic caves of Nakovana, Podbrezje, Sipun by Cavtat, Raca on Lastovo, Vela Luka and Gromacka are also interesting to see. On the islands Kolocep, Osjak, in Orebic, Korcula, and by Predolac and Sibanica, you can find forests of acacia, eucalyptus, pine, and cypress trees, as well as lovely walking paths.
Further excursion recommendations are the artist colony Trsteno with its arboretum, the oldest of its kind in Croatia; the small southern town Cilipi with its folklore concerts and cultural history museum; and the Dubrovnik Konavle-Tal garden, on the border with Montenegro, where wine, fruit, olives and vegetables thrive, and where you can still see ancient Roman aqueducts. The small city of Ston is well known for its oysters, and the small, romantic town of Opuzen sits on the Neretva River – on which you can travel – between Mündung and Metkovi?. Opuzen is known for its grilled eel and Plo?e, famous for the regional fish stew, has the second largest Adriatic port, after Rijeka.
The two largest marinas and the region of Dubrovnik are those marked with the blue flags of excellence for being voted the best of their category for four years. These marinas are ACI-Marina “Miho Pracat” on the Rijeka Dubrovacka fjord, with 450 landing spots at sea and 110 at land; and the ACI-Marina in Korcula, on the island of the same name, with 320 sitting berths at sea and 15 on land. There is also the Marina Lumbarda, on the island and still under construction, which will have 115 berths when finished.
The small Marina Porat at the Port of Gruz has more than 35 moorings, and in almost all of the tourist resorts, as well as in Dubrovnik’s old harbor and the “U Batala Marina”, there are some anchorages and moorings available for guests. The Central Port Office of Dubrovnik is located right next to the aforementioned ACI-Marina. There are further berths in Orebi?, on the Peljesac peninsula, and in the Bay of Okuklje at the island Mljet.
Divers also appreciate Dubrovnik and the surrounding areas for the extremely rewarding dives in the region. A very well known dive is the ‘museum’ on the sea floor by Cavtat; it is one of the ten largest archaeological sites for ancient amphorae in the Mediterranean. The 200 square meter site is protected with a metal fence, through which one can still see thousands of amphorae incredibly well, resting in the remains of a sunken ship with numerous kinds of sea life swimming about. The local diving club “Epidaurum” organizes excursions to the site, and for a fee of about 100 Kuna, one can obtain a year-long permit for recreational and scuba diving from the Dubrovnik Diving Club at Ivana Zajca 35. The Club for Underwater Activities and Sport Fishing Neretva in Metkovic is also a good place for divers to start. However, unless otherwise stated, daily, weekendly, weekly and monthly permits for recreational and sport fishing can be obtained at the Fishery Management office of the municipal area of Dubrovnik at Marko Marojice 4.
For those who might shy away from the long sail to the Adriatic and Dubrovnik in their own boat whether because of time constraints or other reasons, the many offers for sailboats, motorboats or Catamarans available at YACHTICO.com are a perfect alternative for a dream sailing holiday in south Dalmatia. Currently, there are about 150 different boats available, built between 2000 and 2013 with lengths between two and 122 meters. It is also possible to hire a boat as a package with a skipper or hobby captain or a weekly sum between 500 and about 6000 Euros. The offered models are built by well-known manufacturers and have at least two and up to more than 11 berths, and in some cases come with a skipper and/or crew. Boats can also be booked with specially selected luxuries, such as a teak deck or special types of sails.