Once a sleepy seaside town, Dubrovnik recently emerged as Croatia’s top tourist attraction. Not only is it beautiful, but there are endless things to do in Dubrovnik during a visit.
Its beauty was showcased to the world when it was chosen to portray the mythical city of Kings Landing in HBO’s immensely popular TV series, Game of Thrones and the ever-popular Star Wars.
Movie tours are easily one of the top things to do in Dubrovnik. With its new-found fame, Dubrovnik’s old town now attracts millions of additional visitors every year.
It’s not hard to see why Dubrovnik’s popularity has skyrocketed. With its dazzling views over the Adriatic sea, an old town that you’ll want to get lost in, and plenty of delicious food and wine, Dubrovnik has absolutely earned its nickname, the Pearl of the Adriatic.
We spent a week in Dubrovnik and fell in love with it immediately. There is so much to do and see in this town of just 28,000 people, and it’s a great base for day tours along the coast, and across into Montenegro and Bosnia.
Of course, not everyone has a week to spare, but to truly appreciate what Dubrovnik has to offer, we recommend spending at least four days there.
This will let you take in the major sights, with enough time left over to kick back, relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Croatia (Travel Guide)
21 Unmissable Things to do in Dubrovnik
It’s your first day in Dubrovnik, so let’s start with a day spent exploring the old town, which is said to be Europe’s best-preserved medieval town.
Be sure to set your alarm early so as to beat the crowds, especially during the summertime. Fortunately, the old town is quite compact and all of its sights are within an easy walking distance of its magnificent main gate.
1. The Old City Walls
The city’s most recognizable landmark is its old city walls. The Dubrovnik Old Town is completely surrounded by these massive stone barriers, with their corner fortresses.
They span almost two kilometers and have been kept in excellent condition over the years. From atop these impressive walls, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views across a canopy of red roof-tops, and past them to the sparkling blue Adriatic sea.
Start your climb at the Ploce Gate entrance, to get the steepest steps out of the way before the midday heat strikes, particularly in summer. As you near the Pile Gate you’ll have a great view over the Stradun, the old town’s crowded main street.
But the best part of your walk will be on the seaward side, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular panorama of the Adriatic sea and the nearby island of Lokrum.
With so many photos stops to make along the way, you can easily spend two or three hours walking on top of the walls.
You can stroll down the Stradun and walk the wall of Dubrovnik but it’s much more meaningful if you know what you’re looking at. This is why an informative and fun walking tour is a must for any visitor to the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic.’
General Admission: 150 HRK which includes entrance to Fort Lovrijenac
2. The Old Town
After visiting the walls, spend some time wandering around the old town’s maze of backstreets and alleyways.
They seem to go on forever and it’s fun to get a little bit lost in them. You’ll eventually find your way back to the main street (Stradun). Make sure you don’t forget your camera; the old town is a photographer’s paradise.
Some of the old town’s main sights are the Onofrio’s fountain, the Pile Gate, the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Sponza Palace, the Clock Tower, the Franciscan Monastery and the Church of St. Blaise.
They are many restaurants and cafes inside the old town where you can stop for lunch. Some offer quick meals of pizzas or sandwiches, while others serve fine seafood, and more traditional Croatian style menus.
We loved Konoba Ribar where they make unpretentious and traditional food, sold at local prices. You’ll find this quaint, family-run eatery nestled in a laneway in a quieter part of town, set right up against the city walls.
It’s a great place to drink a cold local beer, enjoy good food and watch the world go by.
First-timers, even third timers, should not miss this info-packed Dubrovnik Old Town Walking Tour. Stroll the limestone-covered streets of Old Town, or Stari Grad, with a knowledgeable guide learning the secrets behind the palaces and plazas, cloisters and cathedrals.
Start the tour in the morning, the best time of day to walk the streets of the city. Go from the clock tower to the Assumption Cathedral, traversing the entire Old Town while learning about the history of the place.
3. The Rector Palace
Across from the Church of St. Blaise is the Rector Palace. Built-in the late fifteenth century for the rector who governed Dubrovnik, the palace is an outstanding example of Gothic-Rennaisance architecture.
It housed the Rector’s office, his private chambers, public halls, administrative offices, and even a dungeon.
Nowadays the palace is home to the Cultural History Museum of Dubrovnik. Most of its halls have period styled furniture to help recreate the original atmosphere.
Inside you’ll also find numerous portraits and coats of arms of various noble families, paintings, old coins, important state documents, and the original keys to the city gates.
General Admission: The exterior architectural details can be appreciated free of charge including the atrium. Entrance to the museum costs 80 HRK.
4. The War Photo Limited
This museum is located just off Stradun and is home to a collection of exhibits by world-renowned photojournalists. Their moving photos detail the past conflicts in the Balkan region, together with several other global conflicts.
You can pick up a helpful booklet at the entrance, that adds some background information and context to the photographs.
The collection is both deeply moving and quite sobering, but it helps you understand and appreciate the recent history of Dubrovnik and the surrounding regions. Your time there is an hour well spent.
General Admission: 50 HRK
5. Drinks at Buza Bar
After a long day spent wandering around the old town, there’s no better place to sit and enjoy a cold drink than the Buza Bar.
Hidden away on the seaside of the city walls, this hole-in-the-wall bar is rather hard to locate (we walked back and forth a bit before we eventually found it).
But once you’re there you won’t want to leave. Well at least, not until after sunset! Once seated at the Buza bar, you can linger for hours, sipping a cold beer while enjoying mesmerizing views of the Adriatic sea and Lokrum.
There are even ladders to climb down into the sea, should you fancy a quick dip; so remember to take your bathing suit.
6. Explore the Old Town by Night
I bet that you’ll feel pretty tired after this long and exhausting day, but as lovely as the old town is by day, by night it’s just magical. So harness whatever energy you have left, for a relaxing nighttime stroll.
As soon as the sun sets, the old town’s well-polished streets are beautifully lit up, and as you walk them, you’ll feel like you’re suddenly part of an old movie.
The ambiance changes completely after dark, and the sound of music and laughter emanates from every corner. Be sure to pick up a delicious Croatian Gelato to enjoy during your stroll.
7. Sea Kayaking Half-Day Tour
In the morning, sign up for a half-day sea kayaking tour with Adventure Dalmatia. Your tour begins beneath the ancient Fort Lovrjenac, in the small port of Pile.
As you paddle away from Pile Bay, your guide will lead you out behind Lokrum, where you’ll explore some of the island’s sea caves, and learn about its interesting history while enjoying one of the most adventurous things to do in Dubrovnik.
After circuiting Lokrum you’ll head across the bay until you reach a hidden cave beach called Betina. After thirty minutes of snorkeling and cliff jumping at Betina, it’s time to paddle back toward the city walls.
Passing beneath the city walls as you head back to Pile Bay lets you fully appreciate their scale, and provides a unique angle for photographs. But be careful not to drop your camera.
Take advantage of the great weather and the beautiful Adriatic Sea by booking this small group kayak and snorkeling excursion. Paddle along the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, to Betina, a cave beach.
Here you can lounge on the shore or snorkel, exploring the world beneath the surface of the water. No previous kayaking or snorkeling experience is necessary.
Cost: 230,00 HRK including kayak, mask, snorkel, insurance, instructor/tour guide, snacks, and water.
8. Mt Srd
After your kayaking tour, ride the cable car up to the top of Mt Srd for an incredible panorama of the old town, and beyond to the Adriatic sea.
It takes just four minutes to reach 405 meters above sea level, and on a clear day, you can see as far as sixty kilometers away, with views over Lokrum, the nearby Elafiti Islands and a large stretch of the Dubrovnik coastline.
Get more for your money with a Dubrovnik Super Saver that combines a cable car trip up to Mt Srđ and a walking tour of the Old Town and the city walls.
Ascend up the craggy Mt Srđ in the spacious comfortable cable car affording incredible views of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic.
Then descend to the Old Town and begin an information-packed walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.
General Admission: 140 HRK return or 85 HRK one way (If you have the time and energy you can hike to the top instead, or if you’re less energetic you can walk back down to the town).
9. Lunch at Panorama Restaurant and Bar
After a tough morning of kayaking, you’ll likely be starving. Panorama Restaurant and Bar is right next to the cable car station and offers fine dining in an unforgettable setting.
It was named “The restaurant with the best view on the Adriatic coast” and I can totally believe that.
Of course, that view comes with a hefty price tag. But the food is surprisingly good, the local wines are divine, and the service is really friendly. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two enjoying the view.
10. Fort Lovrijenac
Fort Lovrijenac is located outside the western walls of the city and is built on a thirty-seven-meter high sheer rock that overlooks the Adriatic sea.
You have to climb a lot of steps to reach the fort, but once there you’ll have great views of the Adriatic Sea, the city walls, and the surrounding mountains.
Besides the striking views, there isn’t much else to see inside the fort. However, Fort Lovrijenac was used as the Red Keep in Game of Thrones, and many scenes were shot there.
So if you’re a big fan of the show, you’ll have fun trying to spot where different scenes were shot.
Sail into the incredible, fantastical world of Game of Thrones with this action-packed 2-hour cruise and walking tour, taking you throughout ‘King’s Landing’ and all the spots where the legendary HBO TV show has been filmed.
Board the same ship that Daenerys Targaryen sailed and then walk with your guide through Dubrovnik’s Old Town to discover where other famous scenes were set.
General Admission: Included in the entrance fee of the City Walls.
11. Dinner at Restaurant Horizon
With the friendliest service we had in Dubrovnik, this restaurant was our favorite and we went back there twice. The restaurant is located just outside the city walls, on the steps heading back up the hill.
The food is Croatian and Mediterranean style, delicious, and beautifully presented. They also have an extensive list of Croatian wines.
Be sure to make a reservation, and book a table outside to enjoy the views over the old town, together with some people watching!
12. Lokrum Island
This morning, catch the first ferry across to the island of Lokrum. The ferry leaves from the old port, and you can buy your tickets at the booth right next to the boat.
Lokrum is a beautiful, forested island, which is just a short fifteen-minute boat ride away. It’s an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the old town. This small island is less than one mile wide and its only inhabitants are peacocks and rabbits.
When you arrive, check out the old Medieval Benedictine Monastery, the fort and the unique Botanic Gardens, home to five hundred species of exotic plants.
After walking around in the heat for an hour or so, you’ll be more than ready to jump into the crystal clear sea.
Lokrum’s beaches are rocky, but the water is beautifully refreshing and so clear that you can see the rocks on the seafloor. Believe me, you won’t need any convincing to take the plunge!
If you’re so inclined, Lokrum has a nudist beach called FKK. It’s also nicknamed “Sausage Beach”, because of its popularity with the male population.
After exploring the island and relaxing at the beach, you can either lunch at the nice but pricey Lacroma Restaurant on the island, or return to town for something a bit more affordable.
Lokrum Island lies just off the coast of Dubrovnik and takes around 15 minutes by boat. On this tour, take the adventurous option and paddle out to the island on a sea kayak.
On arrival, admire views of the island’s botanical gardens and Benedictine Monastery, explore the beaches and caves along the coast, and stop to swim and snorkel in the tranquil waters.
Cost: Return boat ticket and Nature Reserve ticket 120 HRK
13. Banje Beach
Back on the mainland, spend an afternoon relaxing at Banje Beach. It is the closest beach to the old town and it’s easily walkable from there.
With its beautiful, crystal clear water, this small pebble beach is perfect for swimming. Either rent a chair with an umbrella from the Beach Club, or simply lie back on your towel, and enjoy the view while you work on your tan. It’s an excellent spot to watch the harbor traffic passing by.
14. Enjoy some Croatian wine at D’Vino
Tonight why not have a more relaxed meal, together with a flight of delicious Croatian wines? You’ll find the D’Vino wine bar on the stairs inside the city walls.
It’s the coolest hangout in the old town. D’Vino has an impressive selection of fine domestic and imported wines which are nicely complemented by their tasty platters of local produce, cold meats and cheeses.
It’s an awesome place to just sit back and chill after a long day.
Day Trips from Dubrovnik
After an action-packed three days in Dubrovnik, save your last day for a day trip out of the city. There are so many tours on offer that choosing one can be quite hard.
You can head to nearby islands or cross the border into a neighboring country. Dubrovnik is right next door to Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it’s easy to take a day tour to either of them.
15. A Cruise to the Elafiti Islands
One of the most popular days trips out of Dubrovnik is to spend the day cruising around the nearby Elafiti Islands.
While there are many tour operators who can take you there. Most cruises stop at the three main islands in the archipelago — Šipan, Lopud, and Kolocep.
On each of them, you’ll have free time to explore their charming villages, swim in their clear blue water, admire their gardens and orchards, or simply enjoy a drink at one of their many seafront cafes, while soaking up the gorgeous atmosphere and fresh sea air.
The cruise includes a delicious grilled fish lunch with wine, and it’s a truly relaxing way to spend a day.
Price: 35€ per person. Transfer, lunch, and drinks are included.
Related Article: Dubrovnik cable car a ride up Mount Srd
16. A day tour to Montenegro or Bosnia Herzegovina
If you want to add a few extra stamps to your passport, then you may want to visit the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro or the town of Mostar in Bosnia.
They are two popular day trips out of Dubrovnik. Although they are both only a couple of hours away, you will need to remember to take your passport. These trips are one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik with a spare day in your itinerary.
A visit to the Bay of Kotor will provide even more breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, the Bay of Kotor and the lush valley of Župa Dubrovacka, with time left over to explore nearby towns such as Perast, Kotor, and Budva.
On the other hand, a visit to Mostar is a totally different experience. Mostar has a strong Turkish influence, with a unique culture and history; and of course, its famous bridge Stari Most.
17. Dinner at LAJK
For your last night in town, head to LAJK for a final dinner inside the city walls. This small restaurant offers cozy outdoor seating and is positioned in a back street off the main drag.
They serve delicious seafood and other Mediterranean meals, along with some great Croatian wines. It’s also great value compared to many of the restaurants in the old town.
Dubrovnik Travel Tips
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has a lot of accommodation on offer. Whether you’re after hostels: Hostel Euroadria, mid-range: Hotel Lapad or luxury hotels: Hotel Kazbek, you’ll be able to find something to suit your taste.
Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine, that gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.
About the Author
We’re Cindy and Simon, the two travel-alcoholics behind Free Two Roam. We are not currently traveling full time but we love to spend all our free time roaming the world. So why don’t you come and journey along with us? PS: We loved our time in Dubrovnik and here are our 10 Reasons Why.
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