Fiona Smith explores Croatia’s magnificent walled city and its neighbouring Adriatic islands
Sunlight dances on the deep blue ocean between the forested island of Lokrum and the white-stoned, red-roofed buildings that make up Dubrovnik Old Town. George Bernard Shaw asserted, ‘Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik,’ and the view afforded from the terrace at Villa Orsula, which was once home to local nobility, is appositely blissful. The boutique hotel is located just a five-minute stroll from the iconic walled city – a Unesco World Heritage site. Perfumed by the scent of wild jasmine, its grandiose architecture includes the gothic-renaissance sixteenth-century Sponza Palace, the Venetian-gothic Rector’s Palace and the baroque Church of St Blaise.
A more contemporary cultural touchstone is the television series Game of Thrones, extensively filmed round the old town. While lowering the average age of visitors, it heralded an influx of mega cruise ships, the passengers of which can choke up the cobbled streets during high season.