Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia (Digital Vision/PhotoDisc)

Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia (Croation National Tourist Board)

Coastline of Dubrovnik,Croatia (Hemera/Thinkstock)

Cliffs and coastline of Dubrovnik, Croatia (Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

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What to do in Dubrovnik

In the Middle Ages, construction began on a series of stone walls to guard the fledgling port city of Dubrovnik from invaders. The impressive fortifications—1.3 miles long and, in some sections, 80 feet high and 20 feet thick—still stand and continue to serve their purpose all these centuries later. Of course, there's less of a threat from rampaging intruders, but the walls do protect Dubrovnik's Stari Grad (or Old Town) district from chain-hotel sprawl and cookie-cutter resorts. Within lies a time capsule of marble-paved boulevards, ornate churches, and Baroque houses with vivid red terracotta roofs—all framed against the shimmering Adriatic. The town was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, but thanks to the walls, preservation of the city's treasures had already begun a millennium before.

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