The problem with popular tourist destinations like Dubrovnik is that at times itâ€™s hard to separate the real city from the tourist show. So while you get to see the ramparts and the art around the city, you barely get a glimpse of the people who make this place tick.
A great place to see the real people of Dubrovnik is the morning market on the GunduliÄ‡eva Square, bang opposite the Rectorâ€™s Palace. Of course, they put on a little show, it’s an integral part of the city, but between the market promotions and offers of the ‘best figs in all Croatia’, you’ll see the real smiles, you’ll eavesdrop on real conversations.
The market place is dominated by the statue of poet Ivan GunduliÄ‡. If you come early youâ€™ll see pigeons playing around him, but later during the day when all the stalls are set up, it looks like he is floating on umbrellas.
The market operates six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, with the first stalls opening around 7:00 am â€“ the perfect opportunity to shop for fresh breakfast ingredients. It shuts at 3:00 pm, when the cheery vendors are replaced by the cleaning crew.
Most of the stalls are manned by older folk, all armed with warm smiles and broken English. Even if you arenâ€™t buying much, strike a conversation over the produce and youâ€™re guaranteed to get a story out of it.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, figs, eggs, honey, olive oil, aromatic oils, liqueurs, wines, flowers, souvenirs and friendly conversations â€“ itâ€™s all available here.
If you’re on the lookout for souvenirs, I recommend finding them at the market. Chances are you’ll get a better price here for the same articles found in the boutiques on the main street. You’ll also get to see local artisans creating the very souvenirs, like the lady in the photo above.
Tips for Things to Do in Dubrovnik
Find more tips on things to do in the city in our Best of Dubrovnik Tips post.
More Tips for Things to Do in Croatia
We’ve lots more tips on what to do in Croatia on Europe a la Carte.