1986, 1999 and 2003 (and on a 2004 cruise, AND on a day trip from Budva in 2005). Dubrovnik is magical. If I won the lottery this is the first place I would book a holiday to go on. In 1986 we were privileged to stay at the Hotel Belvedere, a fabulous Hotel which, during the war for independence, was badly damaged by continuous shelling (1991). We knew when we entered the Old City that we had come to a special place. It is stunning. To watch the destruction of much of the City during the war (on TV) was heart rending but the Croatians have restored it lovingly and it has lost none of it's charm. It is necessary to see the extent of the damage that was done to realise just what the restoration entailed (a video, "War in Dubrovnik", gives some idea of this). We had to go back, and did. More than once. Not being able to stay at the Belvedere (it is still in a ruinous state (2005), although steps are being taken to try and get it back to it's former glory), we stayed at the Excelsior, Argentina and Villa Orsula. You have to (in my opinion) stay at one of these to get the full impact of the view of the Old City (and Lokrum) from the Hotel. Apart from Lokrum (the island just a short trip from the harbour) and Cavtat (a lovely resort along the coast - go by boat) we have never taken any trips. We never felt the need to! THE number one destination.
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