Boutique Hotels in Dubrovnik
With its sublime location, overlooking the calm blue waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most magnificent walled cities. Now a Unesco world heritage site and Croatia’s most up-market destination, it was once the capital of the wealthy sea-faring Republic of Ragusa (1358-1808).
During its Golden Age in the 16th century, it had one of the largest merchant naval fleets in the world, with consulates in more than 50 foreign ports. Brave sailors, hard-bargaining merchants and shrewd diplomats, the people of Dubrovnik became extremely rich, leading sophisticated lifestyles and valuing refinement and the arts.
Today, visitors come here for leisure, not to trade. The main draw is the charming pedestrian-only old town, packed with aristocratic palazzi and elegant Baroque churches, contained within sturdy medieval fortifications.
Add to this the beaches, pristine sea, informal eateries serving top-notch seafood, chic five-star hotels and adventure sports facilities, and your holiday is made. Which is why people like Beyoncé, Roman Abramovich, Sir Roger Moore and Bob Geldof have recently been spotted here.
What's more, Dubrovnik's Old Town has been a popular filming location in recent years. The Game of Thrones television series and the Star Wars: Episode VIII film were both shot here, while the Robin Hood: Origins film has also been in the making here this year.
The downside of this is that the majority of locals have sold up their properties for use in tourism and moved to the modern suburb of Lapad, so that the old town is little more than an empty museum in winter. The number of people permanently residing in the historic centre has dropped from 5,000 (in 1991) to 500 (2014), while the number of visitors has increased exponentially – there's even talk of limiting the number of people that can enter the Old Town at any one time by issuing tickets for entry during peak season. And prices for virtually everything are almost double what they would be anywhere else in Croatia. But that doesn’t seem to be deterring the ever increasing number of holidaymakers.