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The Walls Of Dubrovnik: 11 Things To Know Before Your Visit

Ancient walls of Dubrovnik protect the Old Town along the Adriatic Sea.

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The walls of Dubrovnik are located in Croatia, in southern Europe. The city sits on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, almost at the southernmost tip of Croatia. Stretching for an impressive 1,940 meters (6,360 feet) around the Old Town, the Dubrovnik’s walls are like a giant stone hug protecting the city. That’s about as long as 21 football fields lined up!

Today, I’ll explain everything you need to know about exploring the walls of Dubrovnik. You’ll learn its history, get tips on the best times to visit, have expectations about what you’ll see during your walk, and take some insider advice to make your experience unforgettable.

1. How Did the Walls of Dubrovnik Evolve from Wooden Defenses to Stone Fortifications?

The story of Dubrovnik’s walls goes way back to the 7th century. When the first people settled here, they built simple wooden fences to keep themselves safe. But as time went on, these wooden defenses weren’t strong enough.

In the 8th century, folks started using limestone instead of wood. This was a big change that made the walls stronger and longer-lasting. By the 13th century, stone walls wrapped around the whole city. This was a huge job that took many years and lots of hard work. The people of Dubrovnik (which was called Ragusa back then) kept making their defenses better over time.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, they added towers, fortresses, and made the walls thicker. They did this because the Ottoman Turks were getting too close for comfort, and the Venetians were always looking to grab more land.

One of the most impressive parts they added was the Minčeta Tower. This big round fort looks like something from a fairy tale. They finished building it in 1464, and today, if you climb to the top, you can see amazing views of the city and sea.

Here’s a quick timeline of how the walls grew:

CenturyWhat Happened
7thFirst wooden walls built
8thStone walls start replacing wood
13thWhole city surrounded by stone walls
14th-15thTowers and fortresses added
15thMinčeta Tower completed
Timeline of How the Walls of Dubrovnik Grew

The walls kept changing and growing over the years. They had to be strong to protect the city from enemies and nature too. Even when a big earthquake hit in 1667, the walls stood strong. They’ve seen wars, pirates, and lots of history, and they’re still standing today for us to explore!

2. Why Are the Walls of Dubrovnik a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Popular Tourist Attraction?

The Croatian flag over Dubrovnik's fortifications shows the city's defensive architecture.

The walls of Dubrovnik show us how people lived long ago. In 1979, a group called UNESCO said these walls were super important and added them to something called the World Heritage List. This means they’re protected and will be taken care of so people in the future can see them too.

So, what makes these walls so special? First, they’re in really good shape. Even though they’ve been through earthquakes, wars, and hundreds of years of wind and rain, they’re still standing strong.

Second, they show us how smart people were at building things in the Middle Ages. The walls are up to 6 meters (20 feet) thick in some places and as tall as 25 meters (82 feet). That’s as high as a 7-story building!

But it’s not just about how big and strong they are. When you walk on the walls during your Croatia itinerary, you can see amazing views of the Old Town, with its red-tiled roofs and the bright blue Adriatic Sea. It’s easy to see why Dubrovnik is called the “Pearl of the Adriatic” when you’re up there.

In recent years, the walls have become even more famous because they were used to film scenes for the popular TV show Game of Thrones. Fans of the show can spot places they’ve seen on TV as they walk around, which makes the experience even more exciting.

Here are some reasons why people love visiting the walls:

  • Amazing views of the city and sea
  • Rich history spanning over 1,000 years
  • Well-preserved medieval architecture
  • Game of Thrones filming locations
  • UNESCO World Heritage status
  • Unique perspective on Dubrovnik’s layout
  • Great photo opportunities

3. How Long Does It Take to Walk the Walls of Dubrovnik and What’s the Best Time to Visit?

Walking all the way around the walls of Dubrovnik usually takes about 1 to 2 hours. The exact time depends on how often you stop to take photos (and you’ll want to stop a lot!) and how busy it is. The walls are about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long, so it’s not a super long walk, but there are some stairs and uneven parts.

As for the best time to visit, here are some tips:

  • Early Morning: This is a great time to go. The walls open at 8 AM, and if you get there right when they open, you’ll beat the heat and the big crowds from cruise ships. The light is also really pretty for photos at this time.
  • Late Afternoon: If you’re not an early bird, try to go around 4 PM. There are fewer people then, and you might see a beautiful sunset.
  • Off-Season: If you can, visit in April, May, or September. The weather is still nice, but there aren’t as many tourists. The temperature is usually around 70°F (21°C) and there are hardly any crowds!

Try to avoid going in the middle of the day in summer if you can. It gets really hot, and that’s when it’s most crowded. If you do go in summer, bring lots of water and sunscreen.

Here’s a handy table with opening hours and ticket prices:

SeasonOpening HoursTicket Price
Summer (June-July)8 AM – 7:30 PM€35
Summer (August)8 AM – 6:30 PM€35
Spring/Fall8 AM – 5:30 PM€35
Winter9 AM – 3 PM€35
Times to Visit the Walls of Dubrovnik

Remember that these prices and times can change, so it’s always good to check before you go.

Here are some tips for a comfortable walk:

  • Wear comfy shoes with good grip
  • Bring water and snacks
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen
  • Bring a camera or make sure your phone is charged
  • Take breaks if you need to – there are some cafes on the walls

4. What Are the Main Entrances and Landmarks Along the Walls of Dubrovnik?

Ornate arched doorway in Dubrovnik's stone walls.

As you walk around the walls of Dubrovnik, you’ll see lots of interesting places. Here are some of the main gates and landmarks to look out for:

  • Pile Gate: This is the main way into the Old Town and where most people start their wall walk. It’s a big, fancy entrance with a stone bridge and a statue of St. Blaise, who’s like the town’s protector.
  • Ploče Gate: On the east side of the walls, this is another big entrance. It’s protected by the impressive Revelin Fortress.
  • Minčeta Tower: This round fort is the highest point of the walls. You get amazing views from here, and it was even used in Game of Thrones!
  • Bokar Fortress: This round tower protects the west entrance of the city. It’s another place where they filmed Game of Thrones.
  • St. John Fortress: At the southeast corner of the walls, this fortress used to protect the old city port. Now it has a museum about ships and the sea inside.
  • Lovrijenac Fortress: This fort isn’t part of the main walls, but you can visit it with your wall ticket. It sits on a big rock looking over the sea and was really important for keeping the city safe.

While you’re walking the walls of Dubrovnik, you’ll also see lots of smaller towers and strong points. Each one has its own story and helped protect the city in its own way.

Here’s a fun fact for each spot:

PlaceFun Fact
Pile GateThe drawbridge was raised every night to keep the city safe
Ploče GateIt has a statue of St. Blaise holding a model of the city
Minčeta TowerIt took over 10 years to build
Bokar FortressIt’s nicknamed the “keeper of the city”
St. John FortressIt used to have a big chain across the harbor to stop enemy ships
Lovrijenac FortressThe walls facing the sea are 12 meters thick!
Main Entrances and Landmarks Along the Walls of Dubrovnik

The Old City Port sits right against the southeastern section of the walls. From this part of the fortifications, you’ll have a great view of the harbor below. In the early mornings, you might even see local fishermen heading out to sea.

5. How Has the History of Dubrovnik Shaped Its Famous Walls?

The walls of Dubrovnik have a long and exciting history that goes back over a thousand years. They’ve seen the city through good times and bad, times of peace and times of war. Let’s take a walk through time to see how the walls changed:

  • 7th-8th centuries: The first walls were made of wood to protect the new town.
  • 9th century: People started using stone instead of wood. The city, called Ragusa then, began to grow.
  • 14th century: The walls got stronger with 15 square forts. Dubrovnik was becoming an important sea trading city.
  • 15th-16th centuries: This was when the walls really got big and strong. The Ottoman Empire was a threat, so the city built more defenses. They built the Minčeta Tower, Bokar Fortress, and Revelin Fortress during this time.
  • 1667: A big earthquake hit Dubrovnik. The walls stayed mostly okay, showing how well they were built.
  • 19th century: The walls weren’t needed for defense anymore, but people kept them as a historic monument.
  • 1991-1992: During the Croatian War of Independence, the walls helped protect the Old Town when the city was under attack for months.

Today, the walls stand as a reminder of Dubrovnik’s history of being independent and strong. They’ve protected the city from enemies, earthquakes, and modern war. When you walk on these walls, you’re literally stepping through hundreds of years of history!

6. What Unique Views and Experiences Can You Expect While Walking the Walls of Dubrovnik?

Aerial view of Dubrovnik's walled Old Town jutting into the blue Adriatic Sea.

Walking the walls of Dubrovnik is like stepping into a postcard because the views are simply amazing, and every turn shows you something new. Here’s what you can expect to see and do:

  • Old Town Panorama: From up on the walls, you can see all of the Old Town. It’s like a sea of orange rooftops with church towers poking up here and there. It’s really pretty!
  • Adriatic Sea Views: On one side, you’ll see the bright blue Adriatic Sea stretching out as far as you can see. On a clear day, you can see for miles and miles.
  • Lokrum Island: Look out for this small, green island just off the coast. People like to take day trips there.
  • Mount Srđ: To the north, you’ll see this big mountain behind the city. There’s a cable car that goes to the top for even more amazing views.
  • Hidden Gardens: As you walk, you’ll get peeks into private courtyards and gardens of the houses below. It’s like a secret look into how people in Dubrovnik live.
  • Cliff Bars: Keep an eye out for the famous “hole in the wall” bars. These tiny bars are built into the cliffs outside the walls and have great views of the sunset.
  • Game of Thrones Spots: If you watch the show, you’ll recognize several places where they filmed, like the “Red Keep” and where they shot the “Walk of Shame” scene.

Remember, the walls go all the way around the Old Town, so you’ll get to see the city from every angle. Take your time, stop often, and enjoy the views. It’s something you’ll remember forever!

Here’s a fun game you can play as you walk the walls of Dubrovnik:

Thing to SpotPoints
Church spire1 point
Ship in the harbor2 points
Cat sunbathing3 points
Croatian flag4 points
Someone taking a selfie5 points
Simple Game to Play During Your Walk Around the Dubrovnik Walls

See how many points you can get by the end of your walk! It’s a fun way to notice all the little details around you.

7. How Can Game of Thrones Fans Enjoy the Walls of Dubrovnik?

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, walking the walls of Dubrovnik is like stepping right into King’s Landing! The city was a big filming spot for the show, and many important scenes were shot right on these walls. Here’s how you can make the most of it:

  • Fort Lovrijenac: This fortress, which you can visit with your wall ticket, was used as the Red Keep in the show. It’s where lots of scenes with the Lannisters were filmed.
  • Minčeta Tower: Remember the House of the Undying in Qarth? That’s this tower!
  • Pile Gate: This main entrance to the city was used in several scenes, including the big riot scene.
  • West Harbor: Look down from the walls to spot the place where Myrcella was sent off to Dorne.
  • Bokar Fortress: This round tower on the sea-facing side of the walls featured in scenes with Varys and Tyrion.
  • St. Dominic Street: While not on the walls, you can spot this street from above. It’s where Cersei did her Walk of Shame.

For the ultimate Game of Thrones experience, you might want to take a themed tour. These are often led by guides who worked as extras on the show and have lots of behind-the-scenes stories to share!

8. What’s the Best Way to Buy Tickets and Avoid Crowds When Visiting the Walls of Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik Card options for tourists visiting the city's famous walls and attractions.

Visiting the walls of Dubrovnik is very popular, but with a bit of planning, you can avoid the biggest crowds. Here are some tips:

  • Buy tickets online: You can skip the line if you buy your tickets in advance through the official website. This is especially helpful during busy times.
  • Consider the Dubrovnik Card: If you’re planning to visit other attractions, this card includes wall entry plus access to several museums and public transport.
  • Start early: The walls open at 8 AM in summer. Being there right when they open means fewer people and cooler temperatures.
  • Or go late: If you’re not an early bird, try going in the late afternoon. The crowds thin out and you might catch a beautiful sunset.
  • Avoid cruise ship days: If possible, check the cruise ship schedule and plan your visit on a day when fewer ships are in port.
  • Visit in shoulder season: April, May, and September offer great weather with fewer tourists.
  • Enter at Ploče Gate: While most people start at Pile Gate, entering from Ploče Gate on the eastern side can mean a less crowded start to your walk.

Insider Tip: Tickets are valid for a single entry, so once you’re on the walls, take your time and enjoy the experience. There’s no need to rush!

9. How Has Dubrovnik Preserved Its Walls and What Restoration Efforts Have Been Made?

The walls of Dubrovnik are in such great shape today because of lots of care and hard work over the years. Here’s how the city has kept its walls looking so good:

  • Continuous maintenance: Throughout history, the people of Dubrovnik have taken pride in their walls and always worked to keep them in good condition.
  • UNESCO support: Since becoming a World Heritage site in 1979, Dubrovnik has received help and advice from UNESCO on how to preserve the walls.
  • Post-war restoration: After the 1991-1992 siege, a lot of work was done to fix damage from the fighting. Over $7 million was spent on this effort.
  • Scientific approach: Modern restoration uses special methods to make sure repairs match the original construction as closely as possible.
  • Tourism funds: Some of the money from ticket sales goes directly to taking care of the walls.
  • Local pride: People who live in Dubrovnik are very proud of their walls and help make sure they’re respected and protected.
  • Visitor management: Things like limiting the number of cruise ships and making people walk in one direction help reduce wear and tear on the walls.

These efforts mean that when you walk the walls today, you’re seeing them much as they looked centuries ago. It’s pretty amazing how well they’ve been preserved!

10. Insider Tips Can Make Your Walk on the Walls of Dubrovnik Even More Enjoyable

Look for the 'shame' bell when walking the walls of Dubrovnik in Croatia.
  • Walk counter-clockwise: This is actually required, but it’s also the best way to see the views.
  • Take breaks: There are a few cafes on the walls. Stop for a drink and enjoy the view.
  • Look for the ‘Shame’ bell: Near the Ploče Gate, there’s an old bell that was used to announce executions.
  • Spot the ‘fake’ windows: Some windows on the sea-facing walls are painted on. Can you spot them?
  • Visit the forts: Your wall ticket includes entry to Fort Lovrijenac. Don’t miss it!
  • Listen for the noon gun: At midday, a cannon is fired from Fort Lovrijenac. It’s a tradition that’s been going on for centuries.
  • Look for the old stone slides: These were used to pour hot oil on invaders. You can still see them in some spots.
  • Bring binoculars: They’re great for seeing details on distant islands or mountains.
  • Stay for sunset: If you time your visit right, you can watch the sun set over the Adriatic. It’s really beautiful!

11. How Can You Explore Beyond the Walls to Fully Experience Dubrovnik’s Rich History and Culture?

While the walls are amazing, there’s so much more to see in Dubrovnik. Here are some ways to dive deeper into the city’s history and culture:

PlaceWhat to SeeWhy It’s Special
StradunMain street of Old TownCenter of city life for centuries
Rector’s PalaceGothic-Renaissance buildingFormer seat of Dubrovnik’s government
Franciscan MonasteryOld pharmacyOne of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, still operating
Sponza PalaceRenaissance architectureHouses the city archives
Dubrovnik CathedralBaroque churchTreasury full of relics
War Photo LimitedPhoto galleryPowerful images from recent conflicts
Lokrum IslandNature and botanical gardenShort boat ride from the city
Cable CarRide up Mount SrđPanoramic views of the city and islands
Maritime MuseumIn St. John’s FortressLearn about Dubrovnik’s seafaring history
Local MarketsGundulić SquareExperience local life and taste fresh produce
Other Places to See in Dubrovnik

As obvious as it may seem, Dubrovnik is a city best explored on foot. Wander the narrow streets, peek into courtyards, and don’t be afraid to get a little lost. Sometimes, the best discoveries are made when you’re not looking for them!

Try to combine your walk on the walls of Dubrovnik with visits to other travel destinations in Croatia; you’ll get a complete picture of Dubrovnik’s incredible history and vibrant culture. From medieval times to the present day, this city has so many stories to tell. Enjoy your exploration of the “Pearl of the Adriatic”!

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