Like something out of a picture-perfect fairy tale, the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a walled medieval city, with drawbridges (used in the 1991-92 war) and 18-ft-/6-m-high gates guarding the main entrances. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it's also very much a living, breathing city.
From the crenulated ramparts and watchtowers, there are some perfect vistas of the city and the Adriatic Sea. Because the Old Town is blissfully free of traffic, the main streets (Placa or Stradun), squares and alleyways are perfect for exploring the city on foot.
Most of the inhabitants of Dubrovnik live outside of the Old Town's city walls. However, inside those walls, the streets and alleyways are crammed with tiny shops, bars, cafes and restaurants that spill out onto the street at every conceivable point.
The serious damage from the Serbia-Croatian War has been completely repaired. Locals are still keen to point out the shrapnel and bullet damage that has been retained as a reminder of those dark days, which still come up frequently in conversation.
Dubrovnik has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe because of its warm climate, proximity to the sea and its rich historic and cultural heritage. In addition, many Game of Thrones fans visit the city to see the original locations that were used in the popular TV show. Its increased popularity also means that the city is facing the challenge of accommodating more visitors, especially during the busy summer season. Therefore, the number of visitors in the old town at any one time is limited to 8,000 people in order to protect historic buildings.
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