She’s right. South of Split, follow the meandering road that hugs the dramatic Dalmatian coast, where teal-colored coves reveal farms for oysters that are so good, Roman emperors and the Habsburgs in Vienna used to place delivery orders. Stop in Ston: Its medieval walls – the longest in Europe – mark the beginning of what was once the Dubrovnik Republic, a wealthy and powerful independent city-state. Feast on some of those prized oysters before the one-hour drive to the “Gem of the Adriatic,” as Lord Byron reportedly described Dubrovnik. Then check into Villa Dubrovnik
, a cozy and classy seaside property with views of the walled Old Town.
The city of 40,000 people has recently stepped up its offerings, making it better for tourists and locals. In 2017 the town’s first craft brewery, Dubrovnik Beer Company
, opened; Dubrovnik’s first serious cocktail bar, The Bar by Azur
, is shaking up drinks in Old Town; and the first third-wave coffee spot in the city, Cogito
, started brewing artisan Joe in 2014. Most recently, the city earned its first Michelin star in the restaurant 360
, located on the city walls, where the views are as much a feast for the eyes as the Dalmatian fare is for the palate. Plus, there are classic Dubrovnik activities that every first (or even second) timer should do: Walk the 80-foot walls that circle the Old Town; take the cable car up to Mount Srd to get a jaw-dropping view of the town and the shimmering Adriatic Sea; and do what the locals call a djir
, a promenade on Stradun, the main street in Old Town, where for generations locals have been parading up and down, gossiping and meeting new and old friends.
After a tour of Croatia, experiencing its many faces in all their glory, you’re certain to have become one of those new friends too.