Walking the walls of Dubrovnik
Our trip to Croatia over the Christmas holidays was incredibly special – it’s definitely in the top 3 of my “list of favourite places”. (So far the others are Japan and Istanbul.) Walking along the city walls was without a doubt the highlight of the trip, which is why I’m going to post these pictures from our jaunt around the town. First of all, it’s not a short jaunt. We’ve walked the city walls in places like York and Winchester, so we thought we knew what to expect. Even in Istanbul, the short sections that you can actually access are not very extensive. But we weren’t prepared for Dubrovnik. There are only 2 or 3 access points, and once you are ON the wall, you can’t get OFF.
Wikipedia says that the wall runs for 1,940 metres, but I could easily believe it was double that, simply for the amount of stairs! Dubrovnik is perched on the side of a mountain, and the amount of ups and downs makes for a strenuous “jaunt!”
But it was gorgeous. Absolutely, stunningly, jaw-droppingly perfect.
- Take water. In the summer months there is one café, approximately halfway around, that sells snacks and drinks, but in the winter you are on your own. And because the sun can be quite bright (even in December), you’ll be thirsty before you get to the first tower.
- But not too much water. There is only one set of toilets on the wall – about halfway around (conveniently near the café), and they charge for admittance. So don’t drink too much, or you’ll find yourself hurrying around the last bits just to get down again!
- Wear comfy shoes. I already mentioned the steps, but I re-iterate. There are a lot of steps. We probably went up and down the equivalent of 8-10 storeys on well-worn stone steps, some with handrails, but some without.
- Ask if you can leave at the halfway point and come back. The signage is very confusing, particularly during the off-season. It seemed to use that once you enter the walls, you have to complete the full circuit before you can leave, and your ticket is only good for one entry. However, I’ve found reference in various guidebooks that you can leave the wall and come back later – although there are only 2 or 3 places you can do this, it would have been nice to break the day.
- Don’t stop too often. In the beginning we stopped every 20 feet to take pictures because it’s JUST SO BEAUTIFUL, before realising that we would be on the wall for days if we didn’t pick up the pace. Don’t worry – it just gets better and better – you won’t miss anything.
- Don’t forget that people live next to the walls. It was fairly empty during our circumnavigation, but I can only imagine that in the summer months it’s crawling with tourists. And there were people hanging out on their balconies, doing laundry, washing the dog … all the regular activities of life, mere metres from where we were being obnoxiously touristy.
So, all that being said, here are some of our snaps. Enjoy!