On our recent trip to Croatia, one of my favourite experiences of the whole holiday was walking the Dubrovnik Old Town City Walls.
History of the Walls
Let’s start with a bit of history. Dubrovnik old town is completely surrounded with defensive walls and forts, and the walls run uninterrupted for 1,940 meters and reach a maximum height of 25 meters. They are undoubtedly Dubrovnik’s most famous feature, and were were initially built when there was a danger of foreign attacks on the Dubrovnik Republic (1300-1800). The current shape dates all the way back to between the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the 1667 earthquake. Dubrovnik, over time, has been attacked by the Saracens, the Italians, Austrians, Ottomans, and of course Napoleon – as well as being bombed most recently in 1991 by the Yugoslav army.
It’s hard to believe that so much war has besieged this incredible city when you see it today – now a tourist haven with the walls serving a much less sinister purpose. It’s hard to imagine that in most local’s lifetimes they’ve seen it at war, bombed and part destroyed.
The other benefit of getting on at Ploče Gate is that you will get to walk the best section of the walk first, without the crowds. It’s in this section that you get to look out over the stunning red roofs of the old town, and climb the tallest part of the wall at Minčeta Tower.
After Minčeta Tower the second side of the wall takes you past Pile Gate for some great shots of the Old Town (and be prepared for the crowds to be joining at this point as it’s the main entrance), and then the look out points to Fort Lovrijenac which are truly magical.
The next side of the walls faces out to the sea, with views of Lokrum Island. There’s also a lovely little bar on the route where you can pause for a drink and shade from the heat – although it’s not cheap. This was probably my least favourite section of wall.
The final side of the wall takes you around the harbour, with views out to St John’s Fortress and the boats leaving the bay. It also provides some pretty views out over the many churches of the city.