FIRST, the bad news: Dubrovnik is no longer anyone’s best-kept secret. Some 17 years after the end of Croatia’s war of independence, the city’s medieval walled Old Town is gridlocked with tourists during the summer. Yet go in the fall and you’ll quickly see what the fuss is about. Jutting out on a peninsular chunk of the Dalmatian coastline, the former Republic of Ragusa is a Venetian Gothic marvel. Columned porticoes and loggias rim marble-paved Renaissance squares buffed to a sheen by centuries of foot traffic.
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