Pile Gate

The grand entrance to Dubrovnik's old town, complete with drawbridge and Renaissance arch.

TravelCurious Tip

Try to visit before 10am if you want to beat the crowds.

As the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s historic old town, the Pile Gate is a dramatic initiation to the city for the first time visitor. As you approach, its imposing grey bulk still seems utterly solid and impregnable, even now, almost 500 years after it was constructed.

Keeping out the Raiders

Built in 1537, the Pile Gate was one of the two gates in the city walls leading out towards the mainland. At the time, Dubrovnik was a wealthy, powerful city-state which would have been a ripe target for armies of all colours and stripes, and so its rulers demanded strong fortifications with which they could repel invaders while also allowing the regular passage of traders in and out of the city.

Heavy Defence

To this end, the massive stone Pile Gate was added to an already formidable set of city walls. As you approach it from the outside, you cross a solidly built double-arch bridge, which actually predates the gate by several decades, spanning the broad defensive moat which would once have been filled with water. After that, you will find yourself standing on a wooden drawbridge. During Dubrovnik’s days as a city-state, this was raised every night in a flamboyant ceremony during which the keys would be handed to the rector of the city. Passing inside the main gate, you will reach a smaller wooden gate which dates from 1460. Beyond that you’re through the gate complex, bringing you out onto the famous Stradun, the beautiful main avenue of Dubrovnik’s old town.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Dubrovnik
Iconic limestone-paved Stradun is the main thoroughfare through Dubrovnik's old town.
Onofrio's Fountains
These lovely 15th century fountains were once vital water sources for the townspeople.
The Synagogue and Jewish Museum
The world's oldest operating Sephardic Synagogue, with a museum telling the story of the Jews of Dubrovnik.
Orlando Column
A 600-year-old column carved in honour of the legendary knight Orlando, who saved Dubrovnik from a siege by Arab pirates in the 8th century.
St Saviour Church
A plain but fascinating church, one of the few Renaissance survivors of the terrible 1667 earthquake.
Lovrijenac Fort
Known as 'Dubrovnik's Gibraltar,' this stunning fort is also used as a theatre.

Related Tours

Dubrovnik Old Town & City Walls: Private Half-Day Walking Tour

Explore the beautifully historic Old Town of Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic, with its golden architecture glowing in the sunshine, and enjoy a stroll around the city walls, built in the 16th century, stretching for two kilometres offering magnificent views of the shimmering sea and terracotta rooftops.

On your private tour, you will:

  • Explore the charming Old Town of Dubrovnik, a beautiful coastal city situated on the Adriatic;
  • Learn about its rich and varied history as a powerful city-state up until 1802, and the terrible siege of 1991 during the Yugoslavian Civil War;
  • Wander along its tranquil honey-coloured cobbled streets, admiring the beautiful architecture of its churches, public buildings, and monuments;
  • See the Old Town Market and Main Street, soaking up the atmosphere;
  • Admire the Gothic and Renaissance Churches like St Saviour Chuch, built in the 1520s after the city survived a major earthquake;
  • Visit the tranquil Franciscan Monastery, the lovely Church of St Blaise and the Jesuit Stairs;
  • Wander down to the harbour, famed for its fortification towers and stunning views over the sea and the Old Town;
  • Walk around the City Walls, a truly breathtaking experience with panoramic views out to the ocean, and back to the city;
  • Choose where you end the tour: either on the city walls or back in the Old Town, your guide will be happy to give you options!

Your tour begins at Stradun, Dubrovnik's famous city square, boasting many beautiful old buildings, including the Rector’s Palace, a 14th-century Baroque masterpiece, which served not only as a residence but also as an armoury, powder magazine, watch house, and prison.

You will also have the pleasure of visiting Onofrio's Fountain, where you will be able to admire the magnificent Sponza Palace. From here you will head onwards to the Franciscan Monastery and Old Pharmacy - the third oldest in the world!

After walking across the main square you will come across the Baroque Cathedral of the Assumption, rebuilt in the 18th century following an earthquake, and now a popular venue for weddings and celebrations. Other highlights, not to be missed, include Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Church of St. Blaise.

Here you will learn all about the fascinating legend of Richard the Lionheart who, returning from the Crusades in 1192, was shipwrecked in a storm, and cast aground on Lokrum Island in front of Dubrovnik. When Richard tried to convince the leaders of Dubrovnik to build a church on the island, Richard was instead persuaded to build the cathedral in Dubrovnik proper.

You will also hear about the infamous medieval orphanage, communal granaries, and the scandals of the chequered lives of the local aristocrats.

After touring the idyllic Old Town, you will traverse the beautiful City Walls, a 2km stone wall that has protected the city for centuries, tickets included. During your walk along the city walls, you will be able to take in the panoramic views of the city below – as your guide points out landmarks of interest, including the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed!

End your tour on the walls, or at a bar back in the Old Town the choice is yours.

Please note: This tour includes tickets to access the city walls which are also valid for entering Fort Lovrijenac (St. Lawrence Fortress) which you are free to explore at your own leisure within 3 days of your tour. 



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