Picturesque charm in old town Dubrovnik

Currently one of the trendiest places to visit in the Mediterranean, Croatia is also widely regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. Although the nation’s recent tourism boom may seem to be a modern trend, Croatia was in fact a popular tourist destination prior to the outbreak of war in the early 1990s and its current popularity is therefore more of a revival than a novelty to its citizens.

Croatia takes up a stunning portion of Adriatic coastline, part of which belongs to the city of Dubrovnik. A popular tourist destination, Dubrovnik is a favourite with many well-known celebrities and has been frequented in recent years by Hollywood names such as Tom Cruise, Sharon Stone and Steven Spielberg.

The city is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world and has retained its charm and appeal, despite around 68 per cent of buildings in its historic old town, Stari Grad, being hit by shells during the civil war in 1991 and 1992. The old town itself has been pedestrianised, so expect to spend your days ambling up and down cobbled streets and strolling through marble-paved squares.

One of the key features that you cannot miss when you visit Dubrovnik is the medieval city walls, or Gradske Zidine. The walls are among the best preserved in the world and were key to Dubrovnik’s elevation to Unesco
World Heritage status. Towering 25 metres above ground level and with no less than 16 towers, the walls stretch for two kilometres and offer unrivalled and spectacular views across the city.

Once you have your bearings, the Gradski Muzej (city museum) provides an excellent way to discover the history of Dubrovnik. Housed in the Rector’s Palace, the museum is best visited between mid-July and mid-August, when it can be combined with a visit to one of the concerts held in the central courtyard during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

This represents one of the key entries on the tourism calendar, with cultural events taking place throughout the city. The festival has been taking place since 1950 and has become an important part of city tradition. The combination of music, theatre and folklore makes for a fascinating cultural treat and an increasing number of top artistes take part every year.

The festival opens with a dramatic, firework-laden ceremony, which gives way to several weeks of theatre, concerts and dance shows, many of which take place on outdoor stages. Although it started as a celebration of
Croatian artistes, the festival has grown to become an international feast of entertainment and is well worth fitting into your holiday schedule.

Other features of interest in Dubrovnik include the main religious centres, the Katedrala and Crkva Sv Vlaha, and the monastery complex, which has a fascinating museum housing a number of important relics and paintings.

Dubrovnik has its own airport which is served by flights from most European cities, although many of the flights travel via the capital, Zagreb. Although the airport is some 17 kilometres away from the city itself, a Croatian Airlines bus meets all arrivals and transports passengers to the main bus station. Buses also travel back to the airport an hour and a half before all flight departures.

The city also benefits from a number of new and renovated hotels which offer a range of accommodation, suitable for visitors on any kind of a budget. Croatia as a whole has benefited enormously from the resent resurgence in interest and, as a result, an increasing number of low-cost airlines have set up cheap flights from airports across the UK.

You only have to look at pictures of Dubrovnik to understand why it has been dubbed the Pearl of the Adriatic but, as with all beautiful cities, it has to be experienced in the flesh to appreciate the extent of its appeal. So why not take a look at the range of cheap holidays that Global Holidays has to offer and jet off this summer to witness Croatia’s charm firsthand.

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