I long considered whether I should even bother writing an entry on Dubrovnik or not. It is one of those places that has been so covered on IGO and other sites that I wondered what I could even add to the discussion. I mean I spent all of two nights there, what did I really know about the city anyway? Then I thought about it, and decided "Why not?" But I decided that I should try and approach it from a different angle than other journals. I shouldn't try and cover the city in one entry, that'd be impossible. If you want a thorough review of Dubrovnik and all its sites, then I refer you to one of the excellently written journals by guides Owen Lipsett or Mutt, whose opinions I have complete faith in. No, I've decided that I am going to write this entry to share my brief thoughts and experiences in Dubrovnik and to advocate one thing, that you go against the grain and visit Dubrovnik as an overnight trip from Montenegro, rather than the other way around. Blasphemy, I know, but that's my opinion on the matter.
The whole point behind me writing this entire journal was to advocate Montenegro as tourist destination in itself, a place travelers should want to make the prime destination, rather than always thinking of it as a compliment to Croatia. So, in this entry I am going to continue that trend and advocate that you can actually think of Dubrovnik as an extension of Montenegro.
The fact is that Dubrovnik lies at Croatia's extreme southern tip, not even 30km from the Montenegrin border. It is farther away from the rest of Croatia than it is to Montenegro. It actually makes a bit more sense to include Dubrovnik as a part of your Montenegrin trip than to include Montenegro as a part of your Croatian trip. Croatia has plenty to offer, that I can attest to, so take your two weeks for the rest of Croatia. See Split, Hvar, Zagreb and the others and then reserve a special second trip just for Montenegro and Dubrovnik. It's easy enough to do.
If you are coming straight from Europe, I even suggest flying in and out of Dubrovnik, seeing the city for two nights and then renting a car and heading off into Montenegro for the rest of the trip. It'd be a fine trip. I happened to be coming from the other direction, only because I was on a two month Balkan odyssey that started in Macedonia. After seeing a good chunk of Montenegro I decided it was time to head north to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik (or Ragusa as it used to be known) is one of those cities I had dreamt about seeing for years. Being a history nerd I was fascinated by the old Ragusan Republic, a progressive independent state that played the Ottomans and Venetians off each other. A city of learning and sophistication that abolished slavery in the 15th century. The whole drive up I could barely contain my excitement. It's just to bad an over-zealous Croatian border guard had to dampen that. Apparently a single young man driving in car with Macedonian plates is "suspicious." They decided to basically tear apart the car, convinced that I was smuggling drugs. Good thing I wasn't.
Dubrovnik is one of those cities, that everyone talks about, that everyone wants to go to, and is completely flooded by tourists, but for good reason. It is absolutely fantastic. It's beautiful, amazing, and unlike anything else you've seen. It is one of those few places, like Prague, where no matter how many tourists there are around, your experience just can't be ruined. It is that spectacular.
From the towering walls, to the glistening marble, to the fountains, Dubrovnik is special. The Adriatic sparkles, the sun bounces off marble statues, and the red tile roofs stick out majestically. Around every corner lies something amazing, something beautiful, or something spectacular. For me the tourists just melted into the background as I lost myself in the history, the architecture and the grandeur.
Dubrovnik is special, without a doubt, and it warrants every bit of time you want to give it. I just urge you not to forget about its southern neighbor, a land where hospitality flourishes in lush mountains of green. A place where the height of the people is as legendary as their bravery. Montenegro, my real "pearl of the Adriatic" (sorry Mutt!).