The enchanting holiday resort of Cavtat in the far south of Dalmatia offers perfect bathing conditions and unique diving grounds. With historical sights, numerous treasures of past times and a wonderful natural paradise are also hidden on land.
About 20km south of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Dubrovnik, on the coast of Croatia, lies the picturesque Cavtat, one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Dalmatia. With its proximity to Dubrovnik airport (only 5km away), Cavtat is easy to reach by land, sea and air.
As the "taillight" towards the south, the Croatian coast seemingly once again offers everything it has to offer in terms of beauty. The old town of Cavtat stretches northwest of the local harbour over the wooded peninsula of Rat and invites you to discover numerous cultural and historical sights in its winding alleys.
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Cavtat is known above all as the perfect destination for seaside holidays in Croatia. The peninsula of the old town is surrounded by shallow pebble and rocky bays over a length of around 7km.
- Due to its excellent infrastructure and proximity to the harbour, the town beach Ispod Gospe is particularly popular as a family beach.
- Not far away is the turquoise-blue pebble bay Tiha, which invites you to sunbathe and relax, shielded from the streets by trees.
- There is even more forest on Kamen mali beach on the Rat peninsula, where the clear water in the rocky coves also invites snorkelling.
- On the rocky beach Kljucice, concreted areas make it more convenient to set up camp.
- The nudist beach of Cavtat is located on the Sustjepan peninsula.
Tip: By the way, nude bathing is also possible on the offshore island of Supetar, which is known as Cavtat's little nudist paradise.
The more than 30 Elafiti islands near Dubrovnik also offer bathing pleasure at its best. Especially the three largest, Sipan, Kolocep and the busier island of Lopud, entice with dense vegetation, secluded rocky coves and picturesque harbours.
Diving and snorkelling in Cavtat
Underwater, Cavtat also has a number of attractions in store for divers and snorkellers. As one of the largest amphora sites in the Mediterranean, there are clay legacies of antiquity to be discovered along the coast of Cavtat, in addition to a fascinating underwater world. Since there are hardly any sandbanks around the village, divers and snorkellers in Cavtat enjoy optimal visibility under water.
Sights of Cavtat
The mixture of a mild climate, lush vegetation, pretty holiday homes and an old town worth seeing with buildings from the time when Dubrovnik was still a republic makes Cavtat a popular holiday destination for holidaymakers in the south of Croatia. In numerous restaurants, bars and cafés, cool drinks and regional specialities provide culinary delights after extensive sightseeing.
The medieval centre, which stretches along the picturesque marina between the two peninsulas of Sustjepan and Rat, is best explored on foot. An overview map is available at the Cavtat tourist information centre (Zidine 6), which also serves as a perfect starting point for a tour of Cavtat.
St. Nicholas Church
The church of St. Nicholas from 1732 is enthroned almost directly on the waterfront. The baroque interior is adorned with paintings by local painters Vlaho Bukovac and Carmelo Reggio Palermitano from Dubrovnik. Right next to the parish courtyard, the Pinakothek of the Parish Church has been housed since 1952, with valuable sculptures, paintings and reliefs.
Rector's Palace and City Museum
The next sight along the waterfront is the Rector's Palace, which today functions as a museum. Over 35,000 exhibits from the collection of the then world-famous scholar Baltazar Bogišić from the 19th or 20th century can be seen here.
The exhibition includes precious books, valuable historical documents, prints and graphics, as well as weapons and coins of the Republic of Dubrovnik. The highlights of the collection include the Lapidarium with finds from antiquity and the painting "Cavtater Carnival" by Vlaho Bukovac.
Franciscan Monastery and Church of Maria Schnee
Past the landing stages is the Franciscan monastery with the church of Maria Schnee. The Renaissance church dates from the 15th century, and Gothic elements can also be found at the monastery. Worth seeing are the magnificent winged altar of the side chapel, created in 1510 by master painter Vicko Lovrin Dobričević, and the masterful Renaissance cloister of the monastery.
Cemetery at Rochusberg and mausoleum of the Račić family
At the tip of the old town peninsula, surrounded by a secluded grove, lies the final resting place of the Račić family in the Cavtat cemetery. Carved in white marble, the tomb, decorated with angels, symbolises the three phases of life: birth, destiny and death.
The mausoleum is considered one of the most important masterpieces of the Croatian architect and sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The view of the Elafitian Islands and Dubrovnik from Rochus Hill is also worth seeing!
House of the artist Vlaho Bukovac
Crossing the Prijeko back towards the town centre, passing nice villas and flats, you reach the birthplace of Vlaho Bukovac, probably Cavtat's most famous son. The house in the middle of the old town was painted by the artist himself at the age of 17 and today combines studio, museum and gallery under one roof. Not only works by Bukovac are presented, but also those of other Croatian artists.
Šipun Cave in the north-west of the Rat Peninsula was declared a natural monument in 1963 because it houses the most different organisms in a cave in Croatia, with 60 different species. Besides the amazing biodiversity, there is a small lake and even icicles to discover in Šipun Cave.
Events in Cavtat
During the summer months of July and August, numerous cultural events take place in Cavtat. Concerts, theatre performances, traditional folklore and sporting competitions ensure that there is always something going on in Cavtat. August 5, the Feast of the Virgin Mary Snow, is a bank holiday in Croatia, accompanied by parades through the enchanting town.
History of Cavtat
The ancient Greeks and Romans already settled in Cavtat. At that time, the town was still called Epidauros, or Epidaurum from 228 BC. In the 7th century it was completely destroyed and its inhabitants fled north - where they founded Dubrovnik.
Cavtat was not rebuilt until the 15th century, by which time it was already the property of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Proud town houses and Renaissance palaces were built over the ancient walls, tombs and fortifications.
Archaeological finds bear witness to the Illyrians, Greeks and Romans, including one of the largest amphora finds in the Mediterranean. Ancient wall remains, stairs, friezes and passages can still be found throughout the Rat peninsula. In some places, in the middle of the woods, one comes across the remains of paved paths that once led to temples that have long since disappeared.