Visiting Dubrovnik with a Dog, Part 2 – Dalmatia – Croatia

Last week, I introduced you to Dubrovnik and took you on the first part of a walking tour. We checked out the city walls, Brsalje Square, the Pile Gates, Onofrio’s Fountain, the Church of our Saviour, and the Franciscan Monastery. Whew. I promised to come back and fetch you in the monastery gardens so we could continue our tour. Did you enjoy your time in the garden? Did you rest? Because we are off again!

6. Stradun Side Streets

The Stradun (or Placa) is the main street of Dubrovnik. I mentioned it last week as one of the highlights of Dubrovnik. Well, now we’re going to take a closer look.

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It gets busy fast! (Note the big dog on the right – we chatted with this trio. Europeans that travel with their dog!)

The Stradun is a 300-metre pedestrian promenade that connects the two gates to the old city. The buildings along the way are all similar in style because it all had to be re-built after an earthquake in the 17th-century. Many of the buildings have arches that frame the doors and windows. A sill in each arch was used as a counter over which business was conducted.

If you’re up for a detour, wander the side streets a bit and discover what’s behind the grand Stradun. If you head up Žudioska Street, you can visit the second-oldest synagogue in Europe (and oldest Sephardic synagogue). It still has its original 17th-century furnishings. Dogs aren’t allowed inside so you’ll have to do a hand off. This is no big deal since there are lots of nice shops and coffee places for the biped with the dog to explore while the other biped visits the synagogue.

Synagogue of Dubrovnik

The oldest Sephardic synagogue in Europe.

7. Sponza Palace

Back on the Stradun, as you head toward Luža Square and the Clock Tower, look left and note the graceful Renaissance arches of the Sponza Palace. The palace used to be Dubrovnik’s customs house. Today it houses the state archives with documents dating back to the 12th-century. There’s also a space set aside for the Memorial Room of the Dubrovnik Defenders. Multimedia images show the destruction suffered in Dubrovnik when the city was under siege during the War for Independence (1991–1992). The exhibition also includes photos of the young people who died during the seige. Sadly, I was not allowed inside so the bipeds gave this a miss.

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Those Renaissance arches!

8. Orlando’s Column and Onofrio’s Small Fountain

Orlando’s Column will be in front of you as you exit the Sponza Palace, and the Clock Tower will be to your left. Note the statue’s forearm, which was Old Ragusa’s standard of measurement (512mm/20 in.). The Clock Tower features a pair of bronze men who move up to strike the bell on the hour. The Town Hall is to the right of the Clock Tower and Onofrio’s Small Fountain is in front of that.

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The tower by night!

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The pretty fountain!

Turn left in front of Orlando’s Column and walk through the passageway between the Sponza Palace and the Town Hall.

9. Dominican Monastery, the Old Harbour, and the Ploče Gate

The Dominican Monastery is a complex that includes a large church, cloisters, and a museum. The original 14th-century church was destroyed in the 1667 quake, and this one was rebuilt late in the 17th century. There are some interesting paintings inside, and the church doubles as a concert venue during the Summer Festival. The cloisters are a must-see, with courtyard gardens and interesting stonework. Dogs are not allowed, so you can risk the stealth mode (ahem …) or do a hand off. We chose the hand off option and that is how we discovered the most wonderful little restaurant named Rizario where we later had lunch! We enjoyed amazing local dishes such as freshly deep fried anchovies and black risotto!

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Turn left to go to the monastery! Note the restaurant on the left on the steps!

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Black risotto!!

When you exit the monastery, turn left onto Svetog Dominika. Continue on to explore the old harbour, Ploče Gate, and Revelin Fortress, then retrace your steps and return to Luža Square.

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Ploce gate on the left!

10. Gradska Kavana and the Rector’s Palace

As you return from the Dominican Monastery, the Town Hall and Gradska Kavana (Town Café) will be on your left. You can break for a cold drink or coffee and sit at tables facing the square or go inside to the Gradska Taverna and grab a spot on the terrace overlooking the old harbour.

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Enjoying a break!

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Waiting for dad to get back on the bench of the Rector’s palace.

The Venetian-Gothic Rector’s Palace (not pet friendly) is adjacent to the Gradska Kavana complex. The palace is fronted by pillars made of marble from Korčula (we visited that town, so stay tuned!) and topped with interesting carvings. The interior is used for summer concerts. We did not go inside the Rector’s Palace, partly because it wasn’t pet friendly and so another hand off would have been required, but also because the bipeds … well, they just didn’t feel like it. It happens, Dear Reader. It was sunny and warm and we all just wanted to be outside.

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Always look UP!

11. Dubrovnik Cathedral

From the Rector’s Palace, turn left and you’ll see Dubrovnik Cathedral. The current cathedral was built in the late 17th-century in the Baroque style, but the cathedral’s foundations stretch back to the 7th-century. The cathedral is full of light and space with the exception of the minimalist gray marble altar. Its blocky style is incongruent with the Baroque surroundings; however, the artwork behind the altar makes up for any disappointment you might feel about the altar. In fact, the cathedral is renowned for its collection of art, gold and silver objects, and priceless relics, including the skull of St. Blaise and what is reputed to be a piece of the True Cross. Be sure to stop in The Treasury and take a look at the precious objects, which are only a portion of the treasures held by the cathedral before the earthquake of 1667.

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The treasury!

When you exit the cathedral, walk around to the rear and up Androvićeva towards the market, the Jesuit Steps, and the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola …

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The market (look at the back you can get a glimpse of the steps!)

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YOOOHOOO!! Steps!

… or turn left and walk past the Rector’s Palace to return to Luža Square.

12. St. Blaise Church

As you return to Luža Square, you’ll find this 18th-century Baroque church that is a tribute to Dubrovnik’s patron saint. Inside, the altar is the main draw, with its statue of the saint holding a model of the city of Dubrovnik as it was before the 1667 quake. Outside, the church’s wide steps are a popular resting and meeting place for tourists. The bipeds did the hand off thing so they could visit the church. I had great fun on the steps chasing the pigeons and cats!

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Sorry for the glare. Glass panels … grrrr…

From here, you’re off on your own. I highly recommend that you wander about and get lost in the small streets of Dubrovnik. You’ll come across loads of cats and coffee shops—the cats for your canine companion and the coffee shops for you! One coffee shop we really enjoyed is cut out of the rampart wall and faces the sea. You can sit and enjoy a drink and snack there with your canine and watch the crazy young humans jump from the cliff edge into the sea.

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CRAZY humans!! CRAZY!!

Still inside the wall, at a section that juts out into the sea into the marina, is a maritime museum and aquarium. Pets are not allowed inside but should you be interested, the aquarium all sorts of sea creatures, fish, and even seahorses. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the Mediterranean Sea.

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Wall is on the right – the marina at the back!

Follow the marina around the tower and you’ll see where the locals go for a swim. You’ll also find fishermen and those who sell the boat tours and taxi boat tickets.

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Where the locals swim!

Dubrovnik is often put down as too crowded, too hot, and too small for all the hype. We did not feel that way. We enjoyed remarkably good food and beautiful sights. When a massive storm hit the city, we watched in dismay as the steps that led to our apartment became torrential waterfalls. The only thing left to do was find a little restaurant, have dinner early, and wait for the rain to stop. And that is what we did. And then, true to Dubrovnik style, the sun cleared, the sky turned pink, and the town took our breath away … again.

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Steps become waterfalls!

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Money shot of the year!

In review: Visiting Dubrovnik with a Dog is a must. An amazing town. Note that pets are not allowed inside the churches and museums so a hand off will be needed. Pets are, however, allowed on every patio and inside many restaurants. Stores in general welcomed pets unless specifically indicating otherwise with a sticker on the door. Visit Dubrovnik early in the day (I do mean early—as in before 9:00 a.m.) or in the afternoon (after 4:30 p.m.). September temperatures were perfect and we could tell that July and August would be brutally hot. Bring water for your pup, and keep in mind the thousands of steps. You will not regret visiting Dubrovnik. It is known as the Pearl of the Dalmatian Coast and the reputation is well deserved.

35 Comments on “Visiting Dubrovnik with a Dog, Part 2 – Dalmatia – Croatia

  1. Dubrovnik looks amazingly beautiful! How wonderful it must be to see all those sights with your dog, looks like you had a great time. The churches are so exquisite and that water looks magical! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my, your photos are just stunning! I especially love the one of your pup in the fountain. Seeing how you incorporate your dog into your travels makes me want to do the same. The photography is breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a stunning place! I had a “must see” list that I worked my way through and I think Dubrovnik was on it at one point, no idea what happened. I do know it’s going back to the top of the list.

  4. The color of the water is intense – especially the spot where the locals swim. Love that you found the little cafe with the black risotto by chance. I haven’t tried black risotto but I’m definitely now intrigued.

  5. Man I wish I was there! What a wonderful place!

    I love Europe, and Eastern Europe, if has a wealth of wonderful achitecture * sigh * not that I’m jealous or anything….. 😉

    • we love Europe too. Big fans of what was once Bohemia … Baroque is our favourite architecture style. But for art – BIG fans of the Renaissance.

  6. Being a big Game of Thrones fan, I find Dubrovnik amazing. I’m fascinated by these eastern European cities. And it’s awesome that restaurants let dogs inside. I wish more American cities did.

    • Yeah … Game of thrones fan here too! :) And we find that in Europe dining with a pet (indoors or out) has never really been a problem. North America travel is always a bit disappointing in that regard.

  7. Wow! What an amazing city, filled with stunning architecture and rich history. It’s great to find a place where dogs are so welcome in dining establishments, as I find that’s a prohibitive aspect of travel with dogs in many instances. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Not in Europe! :) So far Europe as a whole has been very good to us. It’s always tough to return to North America after.

  8. Cats and coffee shops…that sounds like so much fun. I love the square and that water! You’re right, crazy humans for jumping!

  9. You always find the most interesting places to visit! This looks like a lovely little town.

    • Dubrovnik is crazy busy during the day due to cruise ships. So we would leave during the day and return after 5:00 once they were all gone and have the place to ourselves. That’s the way to enjoy it.

  10. Absolutely beautiful! This sounds like an amazing trip. It would be fun to see all of the old buildings and churches. :)

  11. I have a thing for old world architecture so I love all the photos. I find older cities have such a unique charm and story all of their own. How fantastic that you get to share it with your dog! Even given the chance, I” not sure I would bring my dogs to travel like that! He must be a very good boy.

  12. I love all the exotic places you visit! It’s wonderful how Europeans travel so freely w/ their dogs. The clock tower & fountain are beautiful. The whole city looks beautiful actually!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  13. Definitely on my list to visit. Maybe next October on the way to Cannes. Thanks for the tour- it looks so beautiful. Kilo won’t be making the trip with me but glad you got to enjoy it.

  14. Pingback: Visiting Zagreb, Croatia with a Dog

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