Many travelers in Europe go straight for the tourist hotspots in the west, bypassing the jewels of the east. A coastal city in Croatia, Dubrovnik offers visitors a world of history, culture, and spectacular views that they’ll remember forever. There are endless reasons to visit this picturesque medieval city, which is brimming with things to see and do.

RELATED: 10 Hidden And Overlooked Places in Rome We’ve Uncovered For Your Next Trip

While in Dubrovnik, you’ll be surrounded by beauty, delicious local cuisine, and a range of prominent buildings that date back to centuries ago. Whether you choose to stay in the city or venture out to the surrounding islands, you won’t regret a trip to this relaxed and beautiful destination. Keep reading to find out why you should include Dubrovnik on your bucket list.

10 The City Walls Will Make You Feel Like You’ve Gone Back In Time

One of the most famous things to see in Croatia are the city walls themselves. Bordering the Old Town, the walls once served as protection to the sea-faring city, defending against invasions by advancing naval powers. Today the walls are still intact, and you can walk them, taking in a spectacular view of the city as you go.

Many tourists like to tour the walls around sunset so they can witness the phenomenal sight of the sun sinking into the Adriatic. Even without the sunset, the walls will make you feel like you’ve landed back in the Middle Ages.

9 The Beaches Are Divine

Dubrovnik is home to some of the best beaches in Europe. The city beach of Banje is located just beside the Ploče Gate to the Old Town and is one of the most popular in the city. Though it’s busy, it’s still a pleasant experience, where you can hire sun loungers and dine in seaside restaurants.

If you’re looking for a more secluded beach in Dubrovnik, you could try Sveti Jakov, which is located past the Villa Dubrovnik hotel. This beach boasts a sweeping view of the city in the distance, is less crowded, and has its own little bar.

8 It’s The Home Of The Buža Bars

Speaking of bars, while in Dubrovnik, you have to check out the iconic Buža bars. These “hole in the wall” establishments are literally located on the side of the cliffs that hold the famous city walls. Not only to the bars offer up a collection of drinks, but they also boast some of the most sublime views of the Adriatic.

You can actually head down to the ocean via metal steps below Buža I, while Buža II has its own wait staff wearing branded T-shirts. A photo from any of the Buža bars is a must while in Dubrovnik!

7 The Food And Wine Are Phenomenal

When in Dubrovnik, prepare to sample some of the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten. With the ocean right on its doorstep, the city boasts fresh seafood, as well as classic Croatian dishes. Head to a bakery or street vendor and grab a pastry known as Burek while you’re there. You won’t regret it!

Dubrovnik is also home to plenty of world-class wines that have come straight from the nearby peninsula of Pelješac. The city’s first wine bar, D’Vino, still stands in the center of the Old Town and boasts a variety of labels from Pelješac, Slavonia, and Istria.

6 There’s An Awesome Summer Festival To Check Out

Dubrovnik is an ideal location right throughout the year, but you’ll get a special surprise if you choose to visit in summer. The city is home to the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which has been taking place since 1950. Similar to the Edinburgh Festival, the celebrations include dancing, music, and costumes.

RELATED: 10 Amazing Things Everyone Should Do In The Greek Islands

The Summer Festival pays homage to Shakespeare, classical music, and theatre from the 16th century. Beginning on July 10, the festival lasts for over a month and usually concludes around August 25, just in time for autumn to begin.

5 It’s The Perfect Place For Watersports

If you’re a fan of watersports, then Dubrovnik should definitely be on your bucket list. The signature sporting activity is actually sea kayaking, which you can do independently or as part of a tour. The tours last either half a day or a full day and often take you to the surrounding secluded beaches that are only accessible from the ocean.

Children, as well as adults, can participate in sea kayaking, and those who are total beginners are given plenty of instruction and guidance before they head out. This is one of the most iconic and unforgettable experiences to have in Dubrovnik!

4 It’s A Haven For History Lovers

Aside from being a haven for watersports, Dubrovnik is an ideal location for anybody who’s interested in history. There are several points of interest in the city that are historically significant, including the Franciscan Monastery, which is home to one of the world’s oldest pharmacies. Venture inside and you’ll see the alchemic remedies from centuries ago that are still on display.

RELATED: 10 Architectural Marvels You Can Only See In Europe

While in the city, you’ll also want to check out the Rector’s Palace in the main square of the Old Town. Some of the clocks inside are still set to 5:45, which is the time that Napoleon’s army invaded the city in 1806.

3 It’s Surrounded By Exotic Islands To Check Out

Island-hopping is a must for any visit to Dubrovnik, as so much of the destination’s beauty is actually found in the nearby Elafiti Islands. The islands are easy to reach by boat, and provide the perfect opportunity for snorkeling and sunbathing away from all the crowds.

RELATED: The 10 Largest Monoliths In The World, Ranked By Size

One of the most famous islands to visit is Lokrum, which you can reach by taxi boat departing from the Old Town. There aren’t any hotels or homes on Lokrum since it is said to be cursed. It may not be a great place to stay, but with its old monastery and ruined fort, it is ideal for a visit!

2 It’s Full Of Exciting TV And Film Locations

There’s one main reason why many travelers have added Dubrovnik to their bucket lists in recent years: Game of Thrones. The Croatian city provided the setting for the fictional King’s Landing, and several scenes from the show were shot there during the show’s eight-season run. There are also plenty of tours you can take that highlight the actual filming locations, plus a real Iron Throne that you can have your picture taken in.

Aside from GoT, Star Wars: Episode VIII was filmed in Dubrovnik. Take a guided tour to find out exactly where Han Solo strolled with Chewbacca.

1 The Photo Opportunities Are Second To None

Dubrovnik is one of those cities where you’ll have to stop every few minutes because there will be something spectacular to take a photo of. But for the best pictures, take a ride on the bright orange cable car. Over the course of four minutes, you’ll get to see some breathtaking views of the Old Town set against the ocean.

Aside from the cable car, you’ll also get great photos from the city walls, the islands, the beaches, and in the heart of the Old Town. So make sure you bring your camera and your phone is always charged!

NEXT: 10 Etiquette Tips That Every American Traveling To Europe Should Know