This morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an overview walking tour of the historic center of Dubrovnik, a protected as a UNESCO Heritage site. Guests of Villa Dubrovnik are invited to use the hotel’s private motorboat to transfer to Old Town and you won’t want to miss this entrance into the historic district!
You will first see the old Harbor Front of the city overlooking the Adriatic and the islands off the coast. As you continue into town, you will come to Dubrovnik’s main square - the Loggia Loza, situated at the eastern extremity of the Stradun – the centuries-old promenade which runs through the walled city from East to West. Interestingly, the Stradun was once a marshy canal separating the Ragusa (Dubrovnik) Island from the mainland, which was later filled in and paved. The Loggia square is at the heart of Dubrovnik, and is surrounded by its most important and historic buildings.
Your guide will show you the Church of St. Blaise with its distinctive baroque façade. On the main altar stands a statue of Dubrovnik’s patron saint made of gold plated silver and holding a model of the city from the middle ages.
Next, visit the Rector’s Palace. The Rector was the highest authority in the city and his palace now houses the Museum of Dubrovnik. Over 15,000 works or art are on display documenting the economic and cultural history of the city. Next door to the Rector’s Palace is the ancient town hall which today houses the National Theater of Dubrovnik.
Later, your guide will also take you into the Dubrovnik Cathedral to visit its treasury, famous for its ancient relics including a fragment of the ‘true cross’ on which it is believed that Jesus was crucified. The treasury also houses a collection of gold and silver artifacts and sacred objects. It is said that the English king, Richard the Lionheart, was shipwrecked nearby on his return from the Third Crusade, which prompted him to build the original cathedral on this spot to thank God for his salvation.
This afternoon, visit Dubrovnik’s Sephardic Synagogue. The synagogue was established in the 15th century, survived earthquakes and wars, and is still in service today. Its simple Gothic exterior is a remarkable contrast with the Baroque interiors featuring arches, spiraled columns, and a delicately carved wooden ark. The ark, together with precious ritual objects and 13th and 14th century Torah scrolls brought from Spain after the expulsion, were saved during the Second World War by a local family which used underground passages to smuggle them out of the synagogue. Some of these ritual objects are now displayed in a small museum under the temple.
You can also visit the museum in the Franciscan monastery of the “Order of Minor Friars,” which includes one of the three oldest pharmacies in Europe, which is still serving customers today. Part of the Franciscans’ mission was to take care of the health of the local residents, so they opened the pharmacy in 1317 and it has been in operation ever since. The monastery contains numerous medieval pharmacists’ tools and medical books, which belonged to the English kings’ physicians, as well as 10th century manuscripts.
To cap off your day, your guide will take you for a walk atop the fortress walls surrounding the Old Town. Just over a mile long, this stroll usually takes about an hour and will help you get your bearings and enjoy the sweeping views of historic Dubrovnik and the sea.
Enjoy an evening at leisure. You can stay in the city to enjoy the shops and cafes or return to your hotel and indulge in the spa.
Note: All touring today is on foot on cobblestones. Please wear appropriate footwear.
Exeter Services: Half-Day Guide (6 Hours)
Hotel: Villa Dubrovnik