Dubrovnik or the Pearl of the Adriatic is one of the most if not THE most popular destination in Croatia. The traffic free old town, walled ramparts with magnificent views and the stunning blue waters of the Adriatic sea, adds to the beauty and charm of this city. Dubrovnik’s hay days were in the 15th and 16th centuries, where it flourished as a major maritime power. Although Dubrovnik has been a popular city for tourists for years now, this popularity has only increased in the more near past due to the HBO tv show The Game of Thrones which was filmed here. This post covers the 15 best things to do in Dubrovnik. It also includes a guide with tips for a great stay in Dubrovnik.
15 Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik
1. Walk the Walls
If you only had time to do one thing from this 15 Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik list, the Walls should definitely be your top pick.
There are 3 entrances to the Walls.
- Near Ploce Gate
- Just inside Pile Gate next to the St. Salvation Church
- Near St. John’s Fort near the old port
I used the entrance near the Pile Gate as it was the closest to me. This area of the Walls are usually the most congested so I wanted to get it out of the way first.
A few notes about walking the Walls
- The walk is one way (counterclockwise)
- You can only visit once with your ticket (You can’t exit and enter again even on the same day)
- It costs 250 kunas
- They have opening and closing hours and the closing hours differ by month or time of year (closes before sunset)
- Keep your ticket with you. You have to scan it or show it to guards around the walls a couple of times to pass
- You can also use that same ticket for Fort Lovrijenac (more below)
- There are a couple of refreshment shops if you like to grab something to drink (towards the Lokrum Island side)
Tip – Climb the Walls as soon as they open to 1. beat the heat or any type of sun exposure (there’s barely any shade) and 2. to avoid the crowds.
2. Walk Along the Stradun
The Stradun is the main drag of the Old Town. It’s lined with shops and restaurants and busy throughout the day and night. My favorite times to enjoy the Stradun were very late at night or early morning when there were less people. The Stradun is best photographed from the top of the Walls!
3. Wander Through the Old Town
I really enjoyed wandering through Old Town. There’s something really special about Dubrovnik that is hard to put in to words. You can sense and feel the history of this city as you walk through.
4. Visit the Old Harbor
The old harbor is charming and quite picturesque. You can see it from the Walls or by walking through Ploče gate.
5. Relax at Banje Beach
Banje beach is a pretty popular place just outside the walled city to catch some rays or cool off in the water. The water here is many shades of blue and is absolutely gorgeous. Continue a few feet beyond the staircase (to the beach) for some amazing views of Old Town and the Old Port with the water in the foreground.
Tip – bring water shoes. Beaches in Dubrovnik (and most of Croatia) are rocky.
6. Visit Fort Lovrijenac
Fort Lovrijenac or Lawrence is Dubrovnik’s oldest fort! The entrance is covered by the ticket for the Walls. Climb this fort for an epic view of the Walls and city from the outside.
7. See Dubrovnik from Top
Visit Mount Srd for the best views of Dubrovnik from up top. This is also considered a prime spot to watch the sunset. The popular way to get up here is by cable car. But be aware that the cable car may not run if there is heavy wind and/or rain. You can also drive up here if you have a car. I visited as I was leaving Dubrovnik after I picked up my car from the parking spot I had kept it at (see below for more on this). The drive up can be a little twisty and the road is narrow but it’s worth it!
The best uninterrupted view is not from the cable car station or the cross near by but on the way there if driving. If you take the cable car, then keep walking to the road on the left when you are facing the city.
There is a good restaurant on top of the mountain called Panorama. You usually need to reserve ahead but I went a little past peak lunch time and was able to get a table.
8. Enter Through the Pile Gate
Pile Gate is one of the main entrances in to the Old Town and makes quite the first impression day or night. It’s busy all day and night as the crowds keep going in and out of the city. But it’s a grand and fitting entrance to this beautiful city.
9. Visit the Game of Thrones Filming Locations
There are a few filming locations that you ca see on your own. Although the places themselves are easy to spot as you wander through the town or visit Fort Lovrijenac, you may need to really remember the scenes well to really see the location as the filming spot. This is because most of these locations were used as a base with animations or computer graphics then added on top.
10. Take a Game of Thrones Tour
If you are a huge Game of Thrones fan then why not take a tour and see all the filming locations and hear all the inside scoop. These tours can take anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours. See some options with great reviews below!
11. Franciscan Monastery Museum
This monastery houses one of the world’s oldest continually operating pharmacies!
12. Sample Croatian Wine
I wasn’t sure if I should name this section Sample Croatian Wine or visit D’Vino Wine Bar. Either way it’s one of my favorite things on this 15 best things to do in Dubrovnik list.
D’Vino is an awesome little wine bar right off the Stradun. They have over 60 wines by the glass including Croatian grown wine. This place is very popular. When I was doing research before my trip, so many sites mentioned them (including world famous travel authors). When I visited, it was easy to see why they are so popular. The wines are great and the service is so nice! I visited 2 nights in a row and there were a couple of people who were there the previous night when I went the second time!
Try their wine flight (a few options to choose from) and a meats and cheese platter. Delicious!
I recommend reserving ahead of time to ensure a table.
13. Visit Buza Bar
Buza (“hole in the wall”) is literally a hole in the wall bar (as you enter) but opens out to some amazing views! This cliff side bar is very popular for a drink and to relax. There are 2 of these both close to each other. Buza I and Buza II.
Buza II is the more popular of the 2 and you may need to go early in the evening or wait a bit to get a table. The other Buza is quieter but still has all the charm and a staircase leading to the beach down below.
14. Visit Lokrum Island
If you are looking for a quick get-away from Dubrovnik for a few hours to beat the crowds, then check out Lokrum island. This is the big island you will see on your Wall walk. You can find a boat ride to Lokrum from the Old Port. Once you get there you can swim or roam round the gardens.
15. Day Trip to Another Country
Dubrovnik is situated in an ideal location to side trip to not 1 but 2 countries – Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The city of Kotor is about 1 hour 45 minutes from Dubrovnik while Mostar in Bosnia is around 2 hours 15 minutes. Ideally, I think Mostar deserves an overnight stay (perhaps on the in or out of Dubrovnik) but if you don’t have extra time, then a one day trip works too (leave early morning!).
If you don’t have a vehicle, you can also visit these countries with a tour group.
How Long to Stay
Technically you can see the first 14 of the best things to do in Dubrovnik in 2 full days. You could certainly spend more days in Dubrovnik. All this depends on you, your pace and what kind of attractions you like to see and spend time at.
When to Go
This probably depends on what you are looking for. I had seen a picture of the Old Town in Dubrovnik during peak summer months once and I knew I never wanted to battle crowds like that but I still did want to go when it was relatively warm. With this in mind I knew May or September would be an ideal time when the weather was still nice but the summer crowds had not yet arrived or dispersed. If you do love to swim, then summer may be the best for you. The temperature is relatively tolerable in the winter time but you may have to check if places are open.
Where to Stay
Ok! I have visited 43 countries and stayed in my fair share of hotels, air bnb’s and apartments. But, I have never stayed in a more epic location than the apartment I stayed in Dubrovnik! Situated right on the Stradun, this apartment was centrally located and super convenient. Mubera is not only an amazing host but an absolutely lovely person with a big heart! She took such good care of me and was a great communicator. You can check out the apartment in the booking.com site HERE and see the ratings of other customers yourself but contact her at email@example.com and book through her directly for a 15% discount. Tell her shortgirlontour sent you!
Parking is quite a challenge in Dubrovnik. Your options to park here are 1. park close to old town but pay an exorbitant price or park a long way from old town and either walk or bus it. You don’t really need a car to see any things mentioned in this 15 best things to do in Dubrovnik list. If you are renting a car and don’t need it for a few days, the best thing to do is to give it up and rent a car when you are on your way out. This being said, sometimes it is more expensive to return your car at a place you didn’t rent it from.
My best advice is to factor parking costs in when making that decision. For me, it was significantly more expensive to return the car in Dubrovnik so I had no choice but to keep it with me even though I didn’t need it.
Ask your accomodation provider for their best advice on where to park. Mubera my lovely host arranged parking for me in a spot outside the city and offered to drive me to the spot if I needed my car.
Where to Eat
Given its proximity to the sea, Dubrovnik has quite a few seafood options. The city also has a number of Michelin star restuarants. If you are looking for Dalmatian cooking, try Dalmatino!
There are 2 good places to get Gelato from in Dubrovnik, Peppino and Boccapiena. Try both and let me know which one you liked better!
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Going to Split? Check out my post HERE!
I visited Dubrovnik as a part of a 12 day road trip around the Balkans! Check out this trip HERE or below!
Visiting other places in Croatia? Check out all my posts on Croatia HERE!
Visiting neighboring Slovenia? Check out my posts HERE!
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