Trsteno arboretum

arboretum trsteno
The oldest botanical garden in the world is Croatian

Trestno is a village located about 20 km northwest of Dubrovnik, along the sea (facing the island of Lopud), and is home to a beautiful arboretum. It was apparently founded by the Gučetić (Gozze in Italian) noble family in the 15th century. Historical records mention that in 1492 an aqueduct, which is still visible today, supplied water to the area and allowed plants to grow. This botanical garden is one of the oldest in the world and the only one on the Adriatic coast. You can still see trees there that are more than 500 years old. The area is now protected and belongs to the Academy of Sciences.

Presentation of the park

When Dubrovnik was still called Ragusa, the Trsteno pavilion belonged to the De Gozze family (the Italian name remained) and was the home of important people such as writers, politicians, scientists… The village was populated by naval officers and had beautiful houses, more than 70 at that time. The Gučetić family lived in a gothic style house with a 25-hectare park, so they would ask their neighbors to bring back plants and seeds from their far-flung expeditions, which they would then plant in the arboretum. Little by little, the botanical garden grew to become one of the most beautiful parks in Dubrovnik and its surroundings over the centuries. It’s a perfect example of the Renaissance park’s spirit. The place was popular with poets and wealthy and cultured people. This summer residence welcomed the social and literary figures of the time and became a central cultural place in Dubrovnik.

The entrance to the arboretum goes past two multi-century old plane trees (400 or 500 years old). The trees are more than 60 meters high and can’t be missed. The gardens are connected in the park by a set of paths. The sunny paths lead to shady sections protected by large trees. You can discover a fountain dedicated to Neptune (formerly the Renaissance fountain) in the middle of dense vegetation. This excursion in Dubrovnik is very pleasant on hot days. There are pergolas, a terrace with a view of the sea and easy access to the sea (by a small path on the edge of the park), so you can take a dip after your stroll through the botanical garden.

Fontaine de Neptune
The Neptune Fountain

The arboretum is a delight to the eye, but also to the nose. The Mediterranean herbs grow next to the exotic flowers. The view on the sea, typical of the Croatian shores, provides a refreshing and pleasant touch of blue. The steepness of the shore, which is very common in the region, has led to adjustments to the Renaissance beauty standards. The characteristic symmetry of this period is not found in Croatian gardens, which bear little resemblance to their Italian counterparts.

The arboretum has been protected since 1962, but it was severely damaged in 1991 and 2000 by the war and a fire. For the record, the area is also known by fans of the series “Game of Thrones” as the “Tyrell Garden” of King’s Landing.

How to get to the Trsteno Arboretum

  • There are regular bus connections from Dubrovnik’s center (Gruz station). You can get there by car in about 15 minutes from the city center.
  • Visiting hours: from 7 am to 7 pm in the summer.
  • Price: paid visit, starting at 6 euros for adults.