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The best walking tours in Dubrovnik, from a Game of Thrones adventure to an authentic food trail

Each week, our holiday hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the work so you don’t have to. This week: the best city tours in Dubrovnik.

It is the jewel of a city on the edge of the Adriatic, offering everything from cathedrals to cable cars and fortresses to movie sets. Dubrovnik is also a top choice for a mini-vacation in the fall, thanks to its blue skies, mild temperatures and plenty of low-cost direct flights.

Experts from the Croatian Tourist Office (croatia.hr) say that walking tours are the best way to discover Dubrovnik’s secrets and navigate the maze of narrow alleys.

Dubrovnik is a gem of a city on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, and experts at the Croatian tourist office say that walking tours are the best way to discover its secrets

A great option for first-time visitors is Discover Dubrovnik, which runs twice a day at 12 noon and 4:30 pm in the fall. Starting point is the sixteen-sided Great Onofrio’s Fountain, one of the world’s best disguised water reservoirs.

You’ll then pass the red-roofed buildings of the city’s gleaming marble-paved main streets on a 90-minute exploration of Dubrovnik’s past. It’s a heady mix of art, earthquakes, invasions and UNESCO-approved reconstructions.

Hear about everything from a Titian in the cathedral to city fortresses with drawbridges and 40-foot-thick walls.

The Discover Dubrovnik tour offers a 90-minute exploration of the city's past.  Above you can see the imposing city walls of Dubrovnik

The Discover Dubrovnik tour offers a 90-minute exploration of the city’s past. Above you can see the imposing city walls of Dubrovnik

The Discover Dubrovnik tour starts at the sixteen-sided Large Onofrio's Fountain, above, one of the world's best disguised water reservoirs

The Discover Dubrovnik tour starts at the sixteen-sided Large Onofrio’s Fountain, above, one of the world’s best disguised water reservoirs

Recent guests say guidebooks offer plenty of recommendations for places to eat and drink after the tour, including some cliff bars overlooking the sea. Tour tickets cost £15 through guides or online. (dubrovnik-walking-tours.com)

Dubrovnik’s most recent claim to fame is as the setting for Game Of Thrones on TV. Entire streets, palaces and city gates were reimagined as the fictional King’s Landing and used as more than a dozen key filming locations, from the Red Keep to the Battle of Blackwater. Dozens of companies offer GoT-themed walking tours, but guides on the two-hour Dubrovnik Game Of Thrones Tour may offer more insider information than others — as many of them worked as extras on set.

Expect to see photos and screenshots as you see locations from the early scenes in series one all the way to the show’s spectacular climax.

Dozens of companies offer Game of Thrones-themed walking tours that take tourists to filming locations such as Rector's Palace (pictured)

Dozens of companies offer Game of Thrones-themed walking tours that take tourists to filming locations such as Rector’s Palace (pictured)

In the fall, the tour takes place twice a day at 11 AM and 4 PM and also starts at Onofrio’s Fountain. Tickets cost €18. (dubrovnik-walking-tours.com)

The perfect afternoon tour for foodies comes from a family business founded by two sisters who love food and history, with culinary input from their mothers and grandmothers.

Their Dubrovnik On A Plate experience takes you through the heart of the Old Town, stopping at several cafes, restaurants, bars, and food markets for tastings. The leisurely, three-hour tour ends at approximately 6:00 PM, at which point many guests say they’ve eaten enough to skip dinner.

Dubrovnik On A Plate, a foodie walking tour, stops at several cafes, restaurants, bars and food markets in the heart of the old town

Dubrovnik On A Plate, a foodie walking tour, stops at several cafes, restaurants, bars and food markets in the heart of the Old Town

The sisters who run Dubrovnik On A Plate also lead a cooking class where you can learn how to prepare dishes like Dalmatian peka (above, file photo)

The sisters who run Dubrovnik On A Plate also lead a cooking class where you can learn how to prepare dishes like Dalmatian peka (above, file photo)

The sisters also offer a ‘Pick, Cook, Eat’ cooking class in the countryside. You will be driven to a family home surrounded by fields, welcomed with Croatian wine and asked to pick wild herbs before preparing dishes such as Dalmatian peka (lamb or veal baked under an iron bell). Homemade bread and local desserts are also included.

Food tours cost from £95 each, cooking classes from £125 (dubrovnikfoodstory.com).

Recent visitors also rave about a unique, early evening Singing Tour & Dubrovnik Old Town Walking Tour led by a guide who sings in local choirs and teaches traditional songs. The evenings begin with a bottle of wine under the plane trees of the waterside terrace of a restaurant, where you will learn about the city’s history, churches, theaters and musical traditions. As you explore quiet streets and corners, hear your guide sing and be encouraged to join a choir.

The private small-group tour costs £150 for up to four guests (toursbylocals.com).

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