Some 20km south of Dubrovnik, and 3km off the main coastal highway, CAVTAT is a dainty coastal town offering a picturesque harbour, plenty of traditional stone architecture and lush subtropical vegetation. It began life in the third century BC as Epidaurum, a colony founded by Greeks from the island of Vis. There’s nothing left to see of the antique town: Epidaurum was evacuated in favour of Dubrovnik after a thorough ransacking by the Slavs in the seventh century, and the pretty fishing village of Cavtat subsequently grew up in its place. Discovered by Austro-Hungarian holiday-makers at the beginning of the twentieth century, Cavtat was a favourite haunt of the wealthy until a rash of high-rise hotel building in the 1980s changed the place’s profile. Happily, the package hotels are set apart from the palm-dotted seafront of the original village, ranged across the neck of a sweet-smelling wooded peninsula. Much of Cavtat’s former charm survives in the old part of town, which straddles the ridge behind the waterfront.

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