The Walled City: A Walk Around Dubrovnik’s City Walls and Fort Lovrijenac

Date: November 19, 2019
Vagabonding Day: 50
Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

After island-hopping along Croatia’s coast, Daniel and I wrapped up our tour of Croatia with a visit to the city of Dubrovnik. We’d visited several grand fortified cities during our trip to Croatia so far but nothing quite like this. The entire city is encircled by a spectacular stone wall with a maximum height of 82 feet (25 meters), complete with a moat and drawbridges.

Dubrovnik’s Historic Old Town as Viewed from Fort Lovrijenac.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Dubrovnik has seen a sharp increase in tourism recently thanks to the television series Game of Thrones. The fictional city of King’s Landing was filmed in the city of Dubrovnik and many scenes were shot there. Apparently the city is so crowded with tourists in the summertime that it’s challenging to simply walk down the street. There were still lots of tourists when we visited in November but it wasn’t bad.

Welcome to Dubrovnik! Photo by Daniel.

Walking around the city’s walls is one of the top tourist attractions in Dubrovnik. Visitors can climb to the top of the stone walls and actually walk on top of them all the way around the entire city. It’s not super cheap – 200 Kuna ($30 USD) per person – but it’s totally worth it. We bought the 7-day city pass which included entrance to the city walls as well as some other museums and bus passes which helped to defray the cost.

Dubrovnik’s City Walls

Distance: 1.2 miles (2 kilometers)
Elevation Gain: 80 feet (24 meters)
Average Time: 1-2 hours (unless you’re slow like us and take a bazillion photos… then it’s more like 3 hours)

We started our trek around Dubrovnik’s city walls at the Pile Gate entrance. After procuring our tickets, we climbed a set of stairs to the top of the fortifications. All visitors to the city walls are directed to walk in a counter-clockwise direction. So we started walking southwest towards the Bokar Fortress (Tvrđava Bokar).

Climbing to the top of Dubrovnik’s City Walls.

View of Dubrovnik from the city walls above Pile Gate.

Located at the top of a steep cliff on the western corner of Dubrovnik’s city walls, Bokar Fortress has fabulous views of Fort Lovrijenac across the Pile Bay. Sadly, Bokar Fortress was not open to visitors during our visit so we had to content ourselves with looking at it from afar. Daniel had researched all of the Game of Thrones shooting locations and filled me in on the thrilling scenes which were shot there.

Bokar Fortress as viewed from Pile Bay.

Photo taken near Bokar Fortress with Fort Lovrijenac in the background.

Pile Bay viewed from the city walls.

The path then heads southwest to where the walls perch high atop a cliff above the Adriatic Sea. My stomach lurched as I peeked over to see the ocean waves crashing a dizzying depth far below. The city walls are shortest along this part of the route as the height of the cliff is sufficiently tall to repel any invading forces.

Daniel stops for a photo.

Walking along the city walls next to the Adriatic Sea.

Here’s Daniel!

Here’s Katy! Photo by Daniel.

Rocky beach just outside of the city’s walls. We discovered this beach through a small door in the walls one evening and stayed for the sunset.

The sunset beach.

This kitty joined us for sunset at the beach.

On the other side of the walls, we could see into the backyards of city residents. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to constantly be on display to a stream of tourists who are gawking at your drying laundry. A few homes had stairs leading to the city walls, and some enterprising citizens were selling beverages and snacks. The Church of St. Ignatius was also visible from the walls as we passed by.

Backyard of a Dubrovnik resident as viewed from the city walls.

Socks!

Church of St. Ignatius as viewed from the city walls.

Steps leading up to the Church of St. Ignatius. These were used in Game of Thrones as the location for Cersei’s infamous walk of shame.

The steps were damaged in numerous places during the Siege of Dubrovnik and have since been patched up.

We also saw some houses which appear to have been demolished and were under reconstruction. The city of Dubrovnik is in surprisingly good shape considering the damage it underwent during the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991-1992. Many buildings in Old Town were damaged or destroyed during the Croatian War of Independence when it was bombarded by Yugoslav and Montenegrin forces. Most homes and buildings have been repaired or rebuilt so that it’s hard to tell the area underwent such destruction less than 30 years ago.

Dubrovnik construction site.

More construction.

My failed attempt to take a magnificent photo of a pigeon. Photo by Daniel.

Eventually the path turns away from the Adriatic Sea and loops around Fort St. Ivana to a protected bay full of small boats. We also had a good view of Dubrovnik’s Clock Tower from this vantage point. Dating from the 15th century, the clock tower features two bronze bell strikers popularly called zelenci or “green twins” due to the green patina that they have accrued over time.

The Old Town Port of Dubrovnik.

The clock tower.

A close-up of the Green Twins.

Posing for a photo in front of the Dominican Monastery. Photo by Daniel.

As we rounded the northeast corner of the city walls, we found ourselves facing Minčeta Tower – the tallest point along Dubrovnik’s defense system. We climbed the stairs to the top of the fort and were treated to incredible views of Old Town and beyond.

Daniel precariously balances on the edge of the city walls to take a photo… Ha! Not really. It’s an optical illusion.

Minčeta Tower.

Two thumbs up for Minčeta Tower!

View from the top of Minčeta Tower. Photo by Daniel.

View from the top of Minčeta Tower. Photo by Daniel.

Looking through one of the windows in Minčeta Tower.

We ended our walk back at Pile Gate and descended the steps to find city workers decorating a Christmas Tree right by the entrance. The entire city is gearing up for the Christmas season with festive decorations and lights. It’s a shame we’ll miss it.

Descending back to Pile Gate where Christmas decorating is underway.

Christmas tree!

Fort Lovrijenac

Fort Lovrijenac is strategically positioned across Pile Bay on a rocky outcrop that rises dramatically from the Adriatic Sea. Located about a 10-minute walk to the west of the city walls from Pile Gate, the fort provides amazing views of the city of Dubrovnik and beyond. We spent a couple of hours exploring the fort and Pile Bay on our first day in Dubrovnik, squealing with delight as we rounded each new corner.

Admission to the fort is included in the ticket price for the city walls walk.

Walking along Pile Bay to Fort Lovrijenac. Photo by Daniel.

Walking along Pile Bay to Fort Lovrijenac. Photo by Daniel.

The stairs leading up to Fort Lovrijenac.

Inside Fort Lovrijenac.

View of Dubrovnik from Fort Lovrijenac.

Selfie time! Woop Woop!

Daniel snuck this picture while I was taking in the view.

Selfie with Fort Lovrijenac in the background.

One thought on “The Walled City: A Walk Around Dubrovnik’s City Walls and Fort Lovrijenac

  1. Pingback: A Fresh Perspective on Dubrovnik: Hiking Mount Srđ | a rambling unicorn

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