Set on a petite peninsula embraced by two harbours, the ancient town of Cavtat (pronounced tsav-tat) has a pretty waterfront promenade peppered with restaurants, pebbly beaches and an interesting assortment of artsy attractions.
Without Cavtat there would be no Dubrovnik, as it was refugees from Epidaurum (the Roman incarnation of Cavtat) who established the city in 614. The walls of its famous offshoot are visible in the distance and the two are well connected by both boat and bus, making Cavtat either an easy day-trip destination from Dubrovnik, or a quieter (not to mention cheaper) alternative base.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Cavtat.
The house where Cavtat’s most famous son, the painter Vlaho Bukovac (1855–1922), was born and raised has been converted into an interesting little museum devoted to his work. The early-19th-century architecture provides a fitting backdrop to his mementoes, drawings and paintings.
Peek inside this 15th-century church to view its impressive wooden altars and the accomplished Bukovac paintings of the four evangelists on either side of the sanctuary. Cavtat landmarks feature prominently in much of the art, including in the 19th-century altarpiece by Carmelo Reggi and in the Stations of the Cross that line the walls.
Built from 1920 to 1921, this octagonal white-stone tomb is the handiwork of preeminent Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. Inside, a heavenly host of angelic faces gazes down on stylised saints. It's located in the town cemetery, in the wooded area near the peak of the peninsula.
The church attached to this Franciscan Monastery (founded in 1484) is worth a look for some notable early Renaissance paintings and a wonderful Bukovac canvas depicting the Madonna and Child gazing at Cavtat at dusk. Concerts are regularly held in the cloister.
The former Rector’s Palace houses the rich library belonging to 19th-century jurist and sociologist Baltazar Bogišić (1834–1908), as well as an archaeological collection including Roman inscriptions and amphorae. However the main attraction here is a collection of paintings by Bogišić's contemporary Vlaho Bukovac, including a large canvas depicting the Cavtat Carnival.