Famous, charming, attractive, admired by anyone with eyes and photographed by anyone with a camera - Dubrovnik is the celebrity of the Mediterranean.
Why hire a car at Dubrovnik Airport?
Public transport can get you between the major towns and cities, but if you want to stray from the well-worn path, options are limited. Hiring a car makes the gems of Croatia accessible and is the only way to get the best out of this beautiful country.
That all important first mile - driving out of Dubrovnik Airport:
Croatians drive on the right-hand side of the road. To reach the city, head out of the airport on the 8 motorway and 20 minutes of coastal road later, you're there.
"Lord Byron called us 'The Pearl of the Adriatic' and today we're the still the jewel in Croatia's crown, a walled city perched dramatically above the sea."
The coastline is indeed dramatic and the medieval walls impressive, but Dubrovnik is also a city with a vibrant artistic tradition, and you'll find plenty of culture along with cool bars, cafes and shops.
Nearby Italy has strongly influenced the city, particularly in the abundance of cafes and gelaterias. Popular with visitors, yes, but great care is taken to stave off too much commerciality.
A welcoming, hospitable and indeed enterprising lot, many Croatians have opened up their homes to tourists and rent out rooms.
Typically Mediterranean, with dry, hot summers and soggy, wet winters. In spring and autumn, the climate is still pleasant and there are far fewer crowds.
Very Italian, with lots of pasta, risotto and fish dishes. Try prsut, delicious air-dried Dalmatian ham, and also the local cheeses.
From the world of film (John Malkovich) to the world of football (Roman Abramovich), Dubrovnik is an A-list hotspot.
Nearly 70% of the city's buildings suffered rocket and grenade damage during the Balkan Wars.
"Those who are looking for paradise on earth should visit Dubrovnik." - George Bernard Shaw.
The car rental desks are located right outside the arrivals hall. Land. Get your bags. Get your car. Get on with your holiday.
Croatian wines and olive oil are available, but look out for locally handmade jewellery for a souvenir that will last you a lifetime and support small businesses in Dubrovnik.
ATM's are available in the arrivals hall, as is a bureau de change. It may be worth withdrawing enough for your first few days; outside the airport and the walls of the Old Town, cash machines can be costly.
A selection of drinks and sandwiches are available in the snack bar situated in the terminal building.
When strolling about the Old Town, don't assume all tables and chairs are waiting for thirsty tourists. Dubrovnik is a historic town and it welcomes visitors, but it's also home to many residents and some of the outdoor seating belongs to them. If there's no canopy, menu, or waiter outside, move along.
We compare prices from leading suppliers
Described as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic' and listed by UNESCO, the United Nations body for cultural excellence, as a World Heritage Site, the Old Town is undoubtedly something special. Park your hire car in town and take the 2km stroll along the city walls to see for yourself what makes it so spectacular.
Just beyond the walls of the city sits the Lovrijenac Fort. Once responsible for protecting the city from naughty, invading Venetians, the fort is now open to the public and used as a theatre during their annual Summer Festival.
If you're looking for more than an urban experience, drive along the coast towards the Montenegro border to Molunat. This collection of bays and islands shows a different side of Dubrovnik. A popular spot for diving and fishing, this is the place to go to for a day of laid back living.
A stunning baroque-style edifice on Pred Dvorom Street, this immense cathedral was rebuilt by Roman architects in 1667 following an earthquake, which destroyed the original.
The nearest car park is the Pucic Palace car park in Old Puca. Or you can use the street parking in Hrvatska.
Easily the finest way to see Dubrovnik. As you walk along these medieval walls, built to protect the city, the stunning view will take your breath away.
The walls surround the city, so there are no designated parking areas. Just enter by the Pile Gate and walk around it.
This 16th-century building at the eastern end of the Placa is a Gothic-Renaissance fusion, and having formerly been used for storage, it now houses Dubrovnik's archives.
You can park either in Luza or Old Puca.
Once the home and office of Dubrovnik's rector, now nestled upstairs in the 15th-century palace is the city's museum. Here you'll discover a remarkable collection of furniture, paintings and artifacts.
If the car park is full, you can use street parking in Pred Dvorom.
Not just a monastery, this place also houses the Old Pharmacy, the third oldest pharmacy in Europe. It dates from 1317 and is the only one still working.
You can park in Placa Atradua.
Overlooking the city is the limestone Mount Srd which stands at a towering 412m, and behind which lies neighbouring country Bosnia and Herzegovina. The peak offers impressive views.
Head north-west on Brsalje toward Mileticeva and take route 8/E65. The journey should take around 15 minutes and you can drive all the way up into the mountains.
As Dubrovnik's largest beach, Lapad attracts many visitors and caters for them with a restaurant, cafes, lifeguards, changing areas and showers.
Head north-west on Brsalje toward Mileticeva, continue on Branitelja Dubrovnika and the Put Republike, following signs for Lapad Beach. Traffic depending, you can be there in just ten minutes.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site makes for a gorgeous retreat. In total, there are 16 lakes, and their endlessly changing colours are fascinating.
It's a good half a day's drive to get to the park, so it's definitely worth considering an overnight stop in a nearby hotel. To get to Plitvice, take route 8/E65 out of Dubrovnik, then turn right at Route 513. Stay on Route 513 and follow signs for the A1, which will take you right up to Plitvice.
The highlight of this quaint village is the arboretum, which sprung up in the 15th century and boasts some rare and exceptional foliage and plants.
Head north-west, turn left toward route 8/E65, then turn right at route 8/E65 and continue to follow route 8 to Trsteno. The journey should take no more than 45 minutes.
" You can easily stroll through the Old Town Stari Grad in a day, leaving the rest of your trip to explore the beautiful nearby beaches, islands and villages by car. The winding coastal road towards Split is extremely scenic if you fancy venturing further afield. But you should always keep an eye on your fuel gauge, because there aren't that many petrol stations in Croatia so it's better to be safe than sorry. "