Port of Dubrovnik
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The medieval-era Old Town is a walled city, and from above -- you can walk the 1.3-mile stretch some 80 feet above ground level for spectacular views -- it is reminiscent of Venice, just on a smaller scale (and with marble alleyways instead of canals). Like the Italian city, which lies just to the northwest, Old Town Dubrovnik is free of vehicular traffic and dotted with Renaissance churches and fountains, with a rich history as a trading port. In lieu of canals, you'll find narrow, cobblestone streets where pedestrians stroll from shop to shop, dine and drink at al fresco cafes and soak up the sun.
Dubrovnik is nestled in the southwestern corner of Croatia, a boomerang-shaped country directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy's east coast, under which lies Bosnia and Herzegovina. The atmosphere is light and welcoming, due in no small part to the city's gorgeous setting on the Dalmatian Coast, which can be appreciated on one of the many boat tours offered from the Old Town harbor. Nearby beaches are also accessible; tours further inland include country bike rides and wine-tasting.
The port is a mainstay on Eastern Mediterranean cruise itineraries, sprinkled among greatest-hits stops like Athens, Venice and so many Greek Isles. Most Eastern Mediterranean cruises set sail from spring through fall, though winter cruising is gaining popularity.
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Where You're Docked
There are two possible docks, though most (bigger) ships wind up in Gruz Harbor, a suburb of Dubrovnik. Smaller vessels may be permitted to anchor in Old Harbor, right in the heart of the old city.
Good to Know
The Old Town can be quite crowded when there are cruise ships in town, but don't let it deter you from visiting -- people-watching is part of the fun. Locals warn of pickpockets. (We didn't hear of any on our visit, however.) This is a walking destination, and the smooth marble streets of the old town can be slick, particularly if it rains. Wear comfortable shoes.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The local currency is the Kuna. (Check XE.com for the latest exchange rate.) Merchants and restaurateurs will grudgingly accept euros, but almost none will take U.S. dollars, though we were able to use them to buy lovely painted glass candle holders from a street vendor. Your best bet is to use a credit card wherever possible for the best exchange rate, though you'll probably want to change a small amount of money (for attraction admissions and inexpensive purchases) into Kune.
There are plenty of ATM machines and exchange bureaus, both at the port and in town.
Croatian, though just about everybody speaks fairly fluent English. German is common, as well.
Around town, you may see women crocheting doilies and such; these are for sale. Dubrovnik also seems to be a magnet for artists (of varying abilities) -- there are numerous scenic-style works, from watercolors to oils.