Stand guard on Dubrovnik's city walls
Snaking around the perimeter of Dubrovnik are the city's grand medieval walls, both a sight to behold and an unbeatable outpost from which to to take in all of the Croatian capital's centurion beauties. Summer is the most popular time to take a tour of Croatia's famed landmark, which is all the more reason to reconsider the quiet beauty of winter travel.
Outward from Dubrovnik's rocky coast rolls the immense and vivid Adriatic Sea, whose surface is only immediately broken by the shuffling of boats and nearby Lopud Island. While that isle may be considered a quiet, car-free gem away from the capital, it is still Dubrovnik that's considered the Pearl of the Adriatic. The city is a stylistic wonder of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, whose famous orange terra-cotta roofs jump at the eye against the watery expanse the sloping, forested hills into which the city retreats. However, it's the medieval walls, a meandering defense dating back to the 13th century, that sets the city like a precious stone in its ring of blues and greens.
The wall courses around the city for more than a mile, and at its highest stands 82 feet above sea level. Looking outward provides beautiful views, but also insight into the relaxed recreation of a seaside town. During the summer and well into the fall of this temperate region, tourists and residents can be seen jumping into the sea from the wall's base, dining at restaurants on outcroppings and sailing along the Dalmation Coast, according to Frommer's. However, turning inward provides a microcosm of daily life, as the people below bustle about their day.
Many like to travel to Dubrovnik in the summer when the weather is hot and the water a relief. Yet, the wall can get unbearably hot; the city, crowded; and the hotel prices, exorbitant, according to U.S. News & World Report. September and October are great shoulders, when tourism dies down. November and December, by contrast, are considered low seasons, when the tourism industry all but disappears, temperatures drop to the 50s and 60s and the city averages a foot of rain per month. For the beach-goer, that may seem terrible, but those wishing to see Dubrovnik in a more sobering but no less majestic light, the timing couldn't be better. The Adriatic through sheets of rain is breathtaking and St. Nicolas' day in December lights up the city in a way that the oppressive and indiscriminate summer sun cannot.