In 1494, a nobleman named Ivan Marinov Gučetić-Gozze erected a summer villa and laid out a beautiful garden at his estate in Trsteno, a small fishing town just outside Dubrovnik. Both the villa and its botanical gardens soon became a hub of Renaissance humanism in the Croatian city.
The garden arboretum extends across 70 acres overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and is the oldest arboretum on the Dalmatian coast. It’s home to more than 300 species of plants and trees, including many exotic types. The highlight of the collection are two rare Oriental Plane trees that are around 150 feet tall and over 500 years old.
Yet these ancient trees risk being overshadowed by the arboretum’s new claim to fame. Game of Thrones fans may recognize various places around the park as the palace gardens in King’s Landing from seasons 3 and 4 of the TV series. In particular, at the center of the grounds is a picturesque pavilion that frames a view of the sea, a favorite meeting place of the Tyrell family.
Aside from the Renaissance garden and villa, the grounds also feature a neo-romantic garden built at the end of the 19th century, an olive grove, bamboo grove, and an aqueduct that feeds a beautiful fountain. In 1736, the original Renaissance fountain was reshaped into a baroque nymphaeum centered around a statue of Neptune flanked by nymphs. The olive grove also features a mill with olive presses that have preserved from the time when they were in active use.
Know Before You Go
The arboretum is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from May to October and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. from November to April.