Dubrovnik, Croatia cruise holidays
Sailing into the beautiful 12th century Croatian walled city of Dubrovnik is one of the great cruising experiences. The spectacular Old Town - with its pretty harbour, towering ramparts, creamy stone pavements and red-roofed buildings - is crammed with architectural wonders like Onofrio's Fountain - constructed in the 1430s - and the 14th century Franciscan Monastery, home to a wonderful statue of the Pita carved in 1498, and the world's oldest pharmacy (est. 1391).
The city walls are two kilometres long, up to 25 metres high and, in places, six metres thick. They have stood the test of time, surviving many wars and earthquakes. Walking along them in the morning or as the sun goes down is one of the best ways to see the city and soak up the rich sense of history, culture and the architectural beauty.
The public buildings that line the main square are suitably prestigious, among them the Sponza Palace (the old finance centre), the Rector’s Palace (the former seat of power) and the magnificent Clock Tower, whose bell is struck by warriors Maro and Baro every half hour, then again three minutes later to keep traders and locals on track. Their white Croatian limestone facades dazzle in the sun, rising up from the square’s paving stones, polished by centuries of footsteps.
TV fans will be in their element, as Dubrovnik is also the home of King's Landing from the hit series Game Of Thrones. Visit the magnificently Gothic Sponza Palace and the 18th century Baroque Church of St Blaise, Dubrovnik's patron saint. And, when you have had your fill of sightseeing, you will find pretty restaurants and cafes tucked away on Dubrovnik's narrow side streets - worth exploring as they also contain offbeat shops and art galleries. Lacework, oil paintings and ceramics are good buys but take plenty of cash with you, as some shops do not accept credit cards.