Croatia Holiday – The Best Shopping in Dubrovnik Old Town
by Saron Lease of Croatia Gems, 3rd September 2018,
Dubrovnik old town has many small streets filled with quaint little shops for quirky gifts and hand-crafted ones. Discover the best places to go shopping in Dubrovnik, from designer boutiques to open-air markets.
1. The ‘Little Brothers’ Pharmacy’- Ljekarna Male Brace
Just inside the entrance to the Franciscan Monastery, the ‘Little Brothers’ Pharmacy’ dates back to 1317, when the monks first started concocting herbal remedies to administer to ailing believers. Today it works as a regular chemist, stocking prescription medicines and stand-by’s such as aspirin and elastoplast. But most visitors come here specifically to buy the monks’ lush natural face creams, made to closely guarded secret recipes, based on either rose, lavender or rosemary, as well as hand cream and anti-cellulite cream. It is the oldest continually running pharmacy in Europe.
2. Dubrovnik Jewellery – Dubrovnik Treasures
What once began as a hobby, led to a brother and sister duo establishing ‘Dubrovnik Treasures’ in 2009. A small boutique where jewellery is designed, handmade and treasured by many customers all over the world. Today with a very well equipped workshop, their hands are free to create amazing one of a kind works of art. Combining older more traditional techniques and newer technologies, is a testament to their true craftsmanship and attention to detail.
3. English gentleman’s accessory – Boutique Croata
Next to the Cathedral, opposite the Rector’s Palace, this is the place to buy an unlikely Croatian memento – a sumptuous silk tie. In fact, this quintessential English gentleman’s accessory originated in Croatia in the 17th century, and was popularised by Croatian mercenaries who went to fight for Louis XVIII in France. Here, they come in various colours and prints, in presentation boxes, complete with a short ‘History of the Tie’. The shop now also sells its own line of bow-ties, ladies silk scarves, tie pins and cuff links, and umbrellas.
4. Museum Shop – Dubrovnik Museums
Adjoining the Rector’s Palace, the Museum Shop stocks a tasteful selection of replicas of exhibits from Dubrovnik museums, making unusual gifts to bring home. Look out for copies of 17th-century ceramics jars and 15th-century stone reliefs, silver jewellery and key-rings bearing Renaissance floral motifs, silver cuff links depicting St Blaise (Dubrovnik’s patron saint), and fridge magnets inspired by the city. They also have a colourful range of custom-made silk scarfs, leather wallets, placemats and coasters, plus a stack of local guidebooks, history and art history books (in various languages).
5. Croatian luxurious multi-brand boutique – the Concept Store Maria
MARIA STORE is one of the most exclusive multi-brand stores in Croatia and a true luxury boutique, established in summer 2007 in Dubrovnik. Original edition of this well-thought lifestyle concept is set in the very heart of old Dubrovnik city, in a space dating back into early 16th century.
6. Chocolate Shop – Kras
On Stradun (with a side entrance off Zamanjina street), the moment you open the door into this old-fashioned sweet shop, you’ll be struck by the heavy aroma of dark chocolate. Kras (pronounced ‘krash’) have been making chocolates at their factory in Zagreb since 1911. Their best known products are Griotte (dark chocolates concealing a sour cherry liquor centre) and Bajadera (chocolate-layered hazelnut and almond nougat), both making fine gifts to take home, so long as you’re not travelling during the hottest summer months!
7. Cool Croatian designer items – Life According to Kawa
For cool Croatian designer items, visit this welcoming concept store, just outside Ploce Gate. Expect quirky products such as contemporary ties by Isola from the island of Hvar, handmade leather items by Go Retro, Calypso perfume from the island of Mljet, and KAWA’s own limited edition of Dalmatia-inspired T-shirts and mugs. For foodies, they stock Perdisacca award-winning extra virgin olive oil from Bale in Istria (in very cool bottles), smoked sea salt from Nin, gorgeous wooden bowls made from mocvara hrast (ancient oak), and beautifully illustrated Croatian cookery books.
8. Olive oil – Uje
This friendly, bright store specialises in olive oil – the owners have their own olive groves on the island of Brač. Their best-seller is Brachia virgin olive oil is sold in a stylish white ceramic flask, in the shape of an olive – you can ask to taste their oils before making a purchase. Other popular items include Zigante truffle products from Istria, jars of black olive paste and fig jam by Nona, smooth grainy olivewood chopping boards, and am aroma natural cosmetics, including pleasantly perfumed soaps, baths salts and body oils.
9. Unique store selling authentic Croatian arts, crafts and delicacies -Dubrovacka Kuca
In the medieval St Dominik’s tower, near Ploce Gate, this welcoming gallery extends over three floors, stocking paintings and quirky ceramics by recognized Croatian artists. Look out for local scenes painted in oil on wood in lovely muted natural colours by Dubrovnik-based Rudolf Pater; colourful whimsical acrylic paintings by illustrator Ana Kolega from Zadar; handmade ceramic fish with raku glaze by Ljiljana Barbaric; and ceramic cups and candle-holders decorated with floral motifs by Andrea Bassi. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful and will tell you more about specific artists.
10. Dubrovnik delicacies
Returning home from a visit or holiday, take with you Dubrovnik delicacies such as kontonjata (quince cheese), mantala (must cheese), arancini (candied orange peel), caramelized almonds, dried figs, home-made fruit- and flower liqueurs and brandies with herbs. These traditional sweet delicacies and drinks are still made according to local grandmothers’ traditional recipes. Arancini are made of chemical-free oranges, kontonjata of golden-yellow quince and mantala is a kind of must cheese. The figs, dried in the hot Dubrovnik sun, which conserves their precious ingredients and sugar, are outstandingly delicious. Liqueurs are made of sour cherries, green walnuts, nespole (a fruit) and rose petals soaked in brandy and sugar and kept in the sun. If you present your nearest and dearest with one of these delicacies, you will give them a part of Dubrovnik!
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