Approaching Dubrovnik from any direction and the first thought that might pop into your mind is – wow, this is like a place for kings, queens and their entourage. But even if you are less into gaming with thrones this coastal Croatian city will simply impress you.

Not at least for the hefty money-making machine Dubrovnik has turned into. Want to walk the city walls for some nice views? 27 euros. Park your car in relative short walking distance, if only for 4 hours? 43 euros. That beats the hell out of known expensive cities like Stockholm or Copenhagen, and Dubrovnik is not even a nation’s capital.

Unless, of course, you are a “throny”. Because fans of the popular American TV series Games of Thrones (GoT) know Dubrovnik better as King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. Since I’m not the biggest fan of rape and manslaughter as institutionalized entertainment my visit is mainly because I want to experience this a beautiful piece of UNESCO World Heritage.

Parallel to its alter ego in the TV series the problems of real-Earth Dubrovnik have grown through the years. Climbing from the dungeons of the 1990s Balkans War – when Yugoslavian National Army shelled much of Dubrovnik during an eight-month siege – the city began to florish again after hostilities ended in 1995. But the influx of tourists has grown that much out of proportions for its relatively small size lately, that one understands there plans to stop the max number of people that wants to get in.

Starting this Summer day very early, my friend and I are ahead of the largest stream of visitors flocking the city walls. Downside: we are that much early we will need to take it easy in order for the orange roofs of the old town to “warm” up as the rising sun is still spreading to blueish light. Taking it slow is not a problem, since the day’s temperatures are already tropical. A juice and cappuccino at Restaurant Salvatore on the Bastion of Margaret the Virgin (Sveta Margarita) is just a great thing, before continuing the wall walk towards the harbour. Here small boats carrying more tourists are leaving and coming in a stream too.

Enjoying all this attention the most is the city itself. Never mind the pressure of all the strangers – me included. Dubrovnik still throws her entire beauty at you. Looking out over her rooftops, climbing and descending on its many stairs, strolling through its streets, one cannot feel any other way as being part of something with royal class. Taking position on top of the Minčeta tower for a final portrait photo with all the beauty Dubrovnik has to offer, I really feel like a king on my throne. |

Dubrovnik, Croatia