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Dubrovnik See And Do

Aquarium and Maritime Museum
Dubrovnik
Croatia

St. John's Fortress, at the southeast corner of the city walls, has stood guard over Dubrovnik's harbor since the 16th century (though parts of it date back to the mid 14th century). Today, it's home to two family-friendly museums that illustrate Croatia's love affair with the sea. The Maritime Museum is full of artifacts like scale models of famous ships, surprisingly accurate ancient maps, knives, dueling pistols, antique coins, and other booty. The Aquarium pumps more than 4,000 cubic feet of seawater through 31 tanks. Occupants include spiny lobsters, eels, sea horses, octopi, and the most popular resident: a 53-year-old loggerhead turtle. Despite the sheer amount of curiosities packed into the two museums, it only takes an hour or two to see both.

Beaches in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Croatia

Dubrovnik isn't as great a beach destination as the Dalmatian Islands that surround it. The stone ledges around Old Town pass for beaches with locals, though Banje Beach, a five-minute walk from the Ploče Gate, is a nice swimming spot with a large stretch of the tiny pebbles that are common on Croatian shores. Our favorite beaches hide out on Sumratin Bay on the Lapad peninsula, easily reached by bus No. 4 from the Pile Gate. Or for a low-key day trip, hop a ferry and tour the beaches on the nearby surrounding Elafiti Islands. You'll be surrounded by ancient ruins, a couple of monasteries, a few small towns—and not much else. To get there take Nova's Sea Bus, which leaves from Gruz port for Koločcep, Gornje Selo, Lopud, and Šipan several times a day (385-20-313-599).

Hotel Photo
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Od Sigurate 1
Dubrovnik
Croatia
Tel: 385 20 326 100
www.dubrovnik-festival.hr

For seven weeks each summer, you can soak up some culture along with the Adriatic sunshine, when world-class musical, dance, and dramatic acts (James Galway, the Leipzig String Quartet, the Croatian National Ballet) flock to outdoor stages all over Dubrovnik. Be warned: The crowds can be maddening; purchase tickets in advance.

Franciscan Monastery and Museum
Placa 2
Dubrovnik
Croatia
Tel: 385 20 321 410

Much of this Romanesque/Gothic structure (occupied by monks for more than 600 years) was rebuilt after the ruinous earthquake of 1667, but the 14th-century cloister survived. You can tour its columned courtyard with delicately carved capitals and a still-operational pharmacy from 1317. The gilded interior of the church next door has an impressive vaulted ceiling, and the accompanying museum displays old medical equipment, an early Christian sarcophagus, and cases of jewelry and crucifixes.

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Lokrum
Dubrovnik
Croatia
www.lokrum.hr

An island just ten minutes' ferry ride away, Lokrum was declared a nature reserve in 1964. Legend has it that Richard the Lion-Hearted was shipwrecked here in 1192 after the Crusades. In the 19th century, Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg erected a mansion here. Now, there's a botanical garden (open to the public since 1959) and a hilltop fortress built by the French in 1806, with great views of the city and the islands. A little interior lake, the Mrtvo More (Dead Sea), is perfect for children—and tends to remain peaceful even when the many beaches on the perimeter are packed.

Museum of Modern Art (Umjetnicka Galerija Dubrovnik)
23 Put Frana Supila
Dubrovnik
Croatia 20000
Tel: 385 20 426 590
www.ugdubrovnik.hr

This sprawling, 2,000-piece collection of modern Croatian art occupies a minor palace overlooking the seafront just outside the Ploče Gate. The stately neo-Renaissance villa, which underwent a complete renovation in 2007, is a significant draw in its own right; indeed, unless you are a Croatian art scholar, you probably won't know many of the names on display. Not that the art isn't worth a look: Highlights include Impressionist tableaux from Vlaho Bukovac, minimalist midcentury bronzes from Ivan Kožarić, and startling expressionistic portraits from Ivo Dulčić.

Rector's Palace
Pred dvorom Dvorom 1
Dubrovnik
Croatia
Tel: 385 20 321 497
www.mdc.hr/dubrovnik/eng/kulturnopovijesni/index.html

This 15th-century palace (now a museum) was once the governmental seat of the Ragusan Republic, which ruled from the 13th to the early 19th centuries. Its Gothic columns, Renaissance arcade, offices, and parlors (still loaded with a centuries-old art collection) are befitting of a wealthy medieval city-state; its arsenal and prison cells, appropriate for its enemies.

Sea Kayaking in Dubrovnik

The calm Adriatic waters surrounding Dubrovnik are ideal for sea kayaking and make it easy to traverse the islands powered by your own two hands—no experience necessary. Both Adriatic Sea Kayaking (opened by 1998's Miss Universe Croatia, Ivana Grzetic) and Adventure Dalmatia offer half-day jaunts as well as multiday journeys that cater to total novices and X Game aficionados alike. Half-day treks, which start at around $50, should be paddle-time enough to experience the islands.

Walls in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Croatia

Dubrovnik's 82-foot walls were built between the 8th and 13th centuries to keep invaders out, but these days the picturesque limestone fortifications do a better job of attracting foreigners than repelling them. The walls extend for more than a mile, so set aside an hour to walk their length and take in the view of terra-cotta roofs and the sea. The most photogenic (and romantic) view comes one to two hours before closing time, when the sunset gently illuminates the rooftops of Old Town. Plan more time if you want to stop for a coffee or cocktail (vendors set up cafés along the way) or visit the Aquarium and Maritime Museum at the wall's southeastern edge. A staircase by the Pile Gate, at the beginning of the Stradun, leads to the entrance. But you can also access the walls from the Franciscan Monastery, St. Luke's Tower, and St. John's Fortress.

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War Photo Limited
Antuninska 6
Dubrovnik
Croatia
Tel: 385 20 322 166
www.warphotoltd.com

The world's only exhibition space devoted to war photography, this venue (opened in 2003) depicts the realities of combat through the lenses of accomplished photographers, such as Ron Haviv and Antonin Kratochvil. There's a permanent exhibit on the 1990s Balkan conflict, as well as temporary shows. A multimedia room on the top floor is used for plasma displays and digital projections.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.