The picturesque coastal paradise of Dubrovnik in Croatia often makes it on to lists as one of the most beautiful places on earth, and even CNN recently agreed in this article that the Dubrovnic Riviera beats the more well-known ones in France and Italy.

But are just good looks the only thing you can appreciate when you’re in Dubrovnik this summer? Check out these 5 must-see sites that can enrich your holiday with a lot of great history.

1. Dubrovnik Cathedral


The modern cathedral stands atop the ruins of previous ones that have come and gone since the 7th century. The current Baroque-style structure was constructed in 1713, completed after a devastating earthquake in 1667. The cathedral’s treasury houses some great relics, including the gold-plated arm, leg, and skull of Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Legend has it that King Richard the Lionheart contributed a large amount of money to construct one of the previous versions of the basilica, in gratitude for surviving a shipwreck on the nearby island of Lokrum on the way back from a crusade.[/perfectpullquote]

2. The City Walls


One of the most easily-recognizable and impressive structures in Dubrovnik is its defensive walls. Almost 2km long, the walls wind and weave around the city and are accentuated with grandiose forts and gates. One of the most impressive structures along the wall is Pile Gate, a magnificent gothic construction that dates back to 1537. Today, the gate and many other structures along the wall are regular stops for fans of the hit TV show Game of Thrones.

RELATED: Are you a big GoT fan who wants to know more about which places in Croatia, and the rest of the world, were used for scenes from the show? Check out this article right here!

3. Fort Lovrijenac


This stunning fort is handsomely perched atop a cliff overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and is located just outside Dubrovnik’s medieval city walls. Legend has it that the structure was speedily built to ward off an imminent attack from the Venetians.  Fans of the show Game of Thrones will know Lovrijenac as playing the role of the Red Keep in King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Above the door leading into the fort is the famous inscription “Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro” – “Freedom is not to be sold for all the gold in the world.”[/perfectpullquote]

4. Franciscan Church and Monastery


Built in the 13th century near the Pile Gate on the city walls, this monastery has been re-built several times over the centuries. Wars and natural disasters have chipped away at the structure, but it still has its 15th century doorway. Visitors can also tour its library and museum, which contain ancient manuscripts and an exhibition of liturgical artifacts.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The pharmacy at the monastery is also of great historical importance, as it dates from 1317 and is the third oldest pharmacy in the world … and it still functions![/perfectpullquote]

5. City Bell Tower


Originally built in 1444, this historic tower is an architectural highlight right on Placa Street. It was-re-built in 1929 after earthquakes from centuries earlier had weakened the structure to the point where it was tilting slowly, much like the Tower of Pisa.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The bronze statues of two soldiers that stand on either side of the bell are known as the “zelenci”  – meaning the “green ones.”[/perfectpullquote]

We know that Dubrovnik is full of rich historical sites. Are there any that you’d like to see on this list? Tell us about your Dubrovnik experiences in the comments section below.

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Socialite, philanthropist, costumed crime fighter by wait...that's bad ... Musician, writer, travel junkie, dog lover, and database of useless information. I love to learn about new cultures, experience new cuisines, meet new people, and have a few laughs along the way!