Dubrovnik is intoxicating, from its white limestone streets, baroque architecture, and the sweet, salty air of the Adriatic. Its honorary title “The Pearl of the Adriatic” is well deserved. Magical and medieval, Dubrovnik pulls you in and engulfs you within its walls.

Since the 9th century, these walls have protected the old town from invasions. Several towers once served as lookout points; today they make up the unique skyline of the city. Enter the town through one of the arched gates and prepare for lots of walking. This is a pedestrian only zone and the sheen on the limestone makes it obvious that these walkways have seen centuries of foot traffic. Museums house ancient relics or tell the stories of the history of shipbuilding and seafaring.

Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the capital of the Republic of Ragusa. The residents here were wealthy and had a love for the arts, which is evident today in the surviving palazzos and adorned churches with beautiful frescoes. Climb the Jesuit stairs where one of the most expensive Game of Thrones scenes was filmed. You will catch sight of many of the places in the popular television series as you stroll along the cobblestone streets. When you get peckish, stop to enjoy a flaky pastry filled with meat or cheese. Take a cable car up for a view of the red roofs within the old city, standing in bold contrast to the azure sea. Let time pass in a restaurant serving fresh seafood and Croatian wine.

Hop over to the island of Lokrum: the peacocks’ colors compete with the blues of the Adriatic, making it hard to decide which is more stunning. Sea urchins, starfish, and fish call these clear waters home. On land, pines and olive trees provide shade from the warm sun. The Benedictine monastery’s presence dates back to the 11th century when monks would warn the mainland of impending danger by constantly ringing the bells. The legend goes that Richard the Lionheart wanted a church built after being stranded here by storms upon his return from the First Crusade.

Get lost in the Tresteno Arboretum, the oldest garden in this part of Europe with tall hedges, bougainvilleas, Japanese trees, cactus, and bubbling fountains. It was established by a noble family who asked sailors to bring back seeds from around the globe to plant here. Take in the fragrance of the flowering plants hanging from the stone columns. Climb down a ladder to dip into a hidden bay, basking in the warm Adriatic glow.