Thursday, September 5, 2013

Smooth Getaway Postcard From Croatia

If the Europe of your daydreams has walled cities, lofty castles, medieval churches and ancient palaces filled with art treasure, not Starbucks, tourist traps and traffic jams, you’ll want to see Dubrovnik, Croatia’s Old World masterpiece. The majestic ramparts encircling the city came into view as my wife and I sailed on the Adriatic Sea in the five-masted ship The Royal Clipper. It struck me that the Venetians, the Ottomans, plus many other visitors both peaceful and otherwise, had marveled at this view over the last 1000 years.

After disembarking on a small pier, we entered the city gates and again came upon a scene that hadn’t changed much (except for the dress of the tourists) in a millennium. As you step onto the city’s main thoroughfare, the Placa Stradun, from the Old Port entrance, you're at once surrounded by cathedrals, palaces, fountains and bell towers. This is the rich heritage of Europe at its grandest.

You will even see a statue of the Charlemagne-era hero Roland. When you see Roland in a European city, you know it’s a settlement of certified antiquity. Other highlights were the Franciscan Church with a Monastery containing one of the world’s oldest pharmacies and the Serbian Orthodox Church with its Museum of Icons. Many visitors climb the steep steps to walk along the ramparts of the Old City Wall. A bad foot hindered me this time, but I hope for a return visit.

As a history buff, I just couldn’t pass by monuments like the Sponza Palace, The Church of St. Blaise (Dubrovnik’s patron), the City Hall and the Rector’s Palace. Leaving the main square and entering the maze of small side streets provided different delights, like the opportunity to bargain with a jewelry merchant whose family has done business the same way for generations. If shopping for bling is not your thing, you can stop at a grocery to pick up a bottle of Zlatan Plavac, an excellent Croatian red wine.

Dining al fresco is part of the European experience and Dubrovnik raises outdoor dining to an art form. With the city walls, medieval churches, rich palaces and cobbled lanes surrounding you, you'll wish the meal could last forever. An excellent seafood place my wife and I enjoyed was Proto Restaurant. Their Primorje-Style Octopus appetizer was merely the beginning of a memorable meal of Adriatic seafood delights.

Dubrovnik’s airport, well outside the Old City, is served by major international airlines, including Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and Austrian Airlines. The Royal Clipper, a brigantine tall ship, includes Dubrovnik as a port of call on its Mediterranean cruise that starts in Rome’s port of Civitavecchia and ends in Venice ( For information on Croatian tourism, go to For information on Dubrovnik, check out

Mike Quane is a travel writer with twenty-five years experience. His work has appeared in The New York Daily News, Newsday, Grit, Endless Vacation, Parents Magazine, The Portland Press Herald, Telegraph Publications, Hong Kong Traveling Magazine, the inflight magazines of Singapore and Korean airlines plus many other places. He wrote a weekly column at This Week Publications for fifteen years and a monthly column at for over a decade.


  1. A part of the continent I really want to see. Good post, Mike!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. You won't be disappointed.

  2. I have been to Dubrovnik, Mike, and was absolutely mesmerized by it.

  3. It is very interesting and beautiful images are spectacular croatia lyn luchs
    Adriana Carmona

  4. Hello teacher Lyn
    This is an Interesting article, but here in México we also have beautiful places!!
    Though is good to travel and know others countries.
    Olivia Gómez Martínez TIC 03 from UTC.
    Good luck!!