Dubrovnik is a ~1300 year old city on the southern end of Croatia - and probably the most popular tourist destination of the tiny country. The city is famous for its old town and for its massive harbour that lures in thousands of sailors and cruise ships passengers on a daily basis. With a population far smaller than Split (40.000 vs. 180.000) it seems like a much bigger city, spreading out and up the coast line.
Like many Croatian coastal cities, Dubrovnik is engulfed by sprawling hills. The hills provide a beautiful backdrop to the city - and for us, a place to stay. We rented an apartment on the hills above Gruz harbour. The location was a bit hard to find without a GPS (though I don't know if it had helped) as the city is built more like a maze. But it was worth looking for.... The views over the harbour and Lapad was stunning, if you stay there make sure you book a room with a sea view.
The real sight though is the old city centre. Surrounded by a bulky stone wall, the old town is full of beautiful old buildings. Many people still live within the walls but what you'll mostly find are shops, restaurants and pubs in the most interesting setting.
There's plenty of things to do and see for the whole day (or several)! A tour around the city walls is a must, make sure you have enough time & energy for it, it's a couple hour journey (surely takes less if you can stop yourself from taking pictures every 2 minutes).
On a clear day the views from the top the Mt Srđ are well worth the fun ride up with the cable car. We did both our sightseeing "excursions" (walk around the walls and the cable car up to Mt Srđ) during one afternoon - it was hot, but the red evening sun lit the city and the sea so beautifully.
If you're a foodie you'll love Dubrovnik! For breakfast try some local sweet pastries or burek (meat pie with a chewy crust - heavenly) and fresh fruits. During the day we tried to eat something light or shared a pizza, delicious all over the coast! Typically we got some appetizers for the afternoon (local cheeses, salami and ham) from the grocery store and enjoyed them on our terrace with some Croatian wine or beer. In the evenings we tried some of our favourite cuisines in the old town. The meals are a bit pricier than elsewhere on the coast and the restaurants are packed (make reservations during the high season!) but we enjoyed every moment of our dinners.
A side-trip from Dubrovnik: Cavtat
There are lots and lots of tours organised in and around Dubrovnik - you name it, they have it; sunset kayaking trips, mountain cycling and wine tasting, river rafting, cruises to islands near and far.... In the end we didn't go for any of the tours here (though actually they sounded really fun!) but in stead drove south to Cavtat, a small village on the coast. It's impossible not to like all these stunning towns that line the coast of Croatia!