Dubrovnik, Croatia

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on April 10, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Bruges, destination, Dubrovnik, Europe, Istanbul, Kiev, Kosice, Krakow, Ljubljana, RaeJean Stokes, Sarajevo, Tallinn, vacation package.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

A former hot-spot for vacationing Europeans in the '80s, Dubrovnik is beginning to shine again after the wars that tore apart the Balkans in the '90s. While still visibly scarred in places, Dubrovnik truly remains, as George Bernard Shaw put it, "heaven on earth."

The sea along the Adriatic coast has some of the most perfectly blue water in the world. Children make sport of jumping from rock outcroppings, propelling themselves from perilous heights, and topless sunbathing is the norm—not the exception.

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The city itself is set directly beside the water. Thick, 13th-century walls surround it, wide enough that you can walk them in their entirety. The two-kilometer walk is more than worth the $2 admission charge. Red roofs grace the tops of stone buildings, cobblestone streets wind into tiny alleyways, and white laundry swings in the breeze. Wafting through it all is the scent of the sea.

Some of the most popular (and cheapest) places to stay in Dubrovnik are private homes. There are tons of rooms to be found in the city center, but they also tend to be small and pricey. Walk 10 minutes from the center, and you'll save a bundle.

Dubrovnik Online is a good place to start your accommodations search, though you can also arrive without a place to stay and be assured of finding a room. Many rentals require a deposit via wire transfer, but this shouldn't make you nervous. The tourist industry keeps the area afloat, and most properties are well managed. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per night, depending on location, for a quality one-bedroom unit.

From New York, airfares average between $700 and $1,200 before taxes and fees, depending on the season. Summer offers the best weather but also the highest prices, so if you're looking for a deal, consider visiting in the spring or fall. Dubrovnik does have an airport, albeit a small one; most international flights terminate in the capital of Zagreb. From there it's easy to arrange a transfer by air, land, or sea to Dubrovnik. The $30 ferry along the coast is an excellent way to soak up the scenery. Croatia's daily bus services also journey along the coastal highway.

For more information on Dubrovnik, visit the official tourist site.

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