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 activities 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.
How many days do you need in Dubrovnik?
Table of Contents
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 Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
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 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: 35EUR 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 15EUR.
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: 10EUR
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. Go on a Food Tour
One of the best ways to get to know local cuisine in a destination is by joining a food tour. It’s a great way to find out what local dishes you love and also discover some off-the-beaten-path restaurants. Most food tours take you to the local hotspots – not the places popular with tourists.
This Dubrovnik food and drink tour is a great way to get to know the city and its local cuisine.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Cost: starting at $50.40
9. 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: 27EUR return or 15EUR 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).
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.
This 2-hour cruise and walking tour takes you throughout “King’s Landing” (aka all the spots where Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik). You can even board the same ship as Daenerys Targaryen!
General Admission: Included in the entrance fee of the City Walls (35EUR)
11. Lokrum Island
If you can, 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. You can also take the adventurous option and paddle out to the island on a sea kayak.
Cost: Ferry tickets are 7EUR each way. You can see the schedule here.
12. 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.
13. Enjoy some Croatian wine at D’Vino
For a relaxed meal paired with a flight of delicious Croatian wines, head to 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.
14. Dinner at LAJK
LAJK, located just inside the city walls, is one of our favorite restaurants in Dubrovnik. 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.
15. Visit the Monasteries
The Franciscan Monastery is the most popular, located right next to the entrance to the city walls. It was built in the 14th century and then destroyed by an earthquake in 1667. Part of it did survive, which is what you can visit today.
Inside you’ll find a library with over 20,000 books and one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, which has been operating since 1317.
The Dominican Monastery is not as popular of an attraction, located on the other side of Old Town, but is still a peaceful place to visit and relax when you need a break.
Day Trips from Dubrovnik
While there are plenty of things to see in Dubrovnik, the city also makes a great base for exploring other parts of Croatia too – and even other countries!
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.
16. 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.
This full-day tour visits several of the islands and includes lunch and unlimited soft drinks and wine.
Price: Varies based on the tour operator. The one above starts at $44 per person.
Related Article: Dubrovnik cable car a ride up Mount Srd
17. Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
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.
18. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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.
19. Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Trebinje is a small, charming town just across the border and an hour from Dubrovnik. You’ll find lots of reminders of the Ottoman times in the quaint Old Town and the region is very famous for wine as well.
Since it’s so close, you can even visit on a half-day tour!
Korčula is located on the Pelješac peninsula of Croatia and is the rumored birthplace of Marco Polo. It has a beautiful old town and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Day trips to Korčula are usually combined with a visit to Ston, for a full-day adventure.
For a day trip destination, you can reach by bus, consider Trsteno. It’s famous for being the oldest arboretum in Europe, which was also featured in many different Game of Thrones scenes.
Beyond that, it’s just a quaint little town that offers a nice reprieve from the busyness of Dubrovnik.
Tips for Visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia
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.
When is the Best Time to Visit Dubrovnik?
The best time to visit Dubrovnik is during the shoulder season – March to May and September to October. Avoid the summer months (June to August) if you can.
Not only has Croatia become one of the most popular destinations in Europe, Dubrovnik is a popular stop for cruise ships and summer is peak cruise season. If you visit during this time, the Old Town and City Walls will be absolutely packed and not nearly as enjoyable.
How to Get Around Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a fairly compact city, especially the Old Town. You can actually walk from one end to the other in about 10 minutes, so almost everything on this list of things to do in Dubrovnik can be reached on foot.
If you are venturing further outside Old Town (or opted to stay further away to save $$$), the city has a great public bus system. You can buy tickets from the driver for about 2 euro and reach the Old Town from pretty much anywhere in the city.
How to Get to Dubrovnik
The Dubrovnik (DBV) Airport is just 15km from the city center. However, it’s the smallest of the 3 main airports in Croatia and not always the cheapest.
International visitors will likely find better flight options into Zagreb (ZAG) or Split (SPU) and can then make their way to Dubrovnik via shuttle, bus, or ferry.
If you are visiting Dubrovnik from another Croatian city, the bus will be your best option. You can reach Dubrovnik from Zagreb in about 10 hours or from Split in about 4 hours.
Croatia is a great country for road-tripping! Dubrovnik is easily connected via highway to the rest of the country. Just look up parking in advance and make sure your hotel offers it!
About the Author
We’re Cindy and Simon, the two minds 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.
You might also like:
- Ultimate Guide to Eurail Pass Train Travel in Europe
- When is the Best Time to Visit Europe?
- Travel Insurance for Europe Vacation: Do I Need It?
- Best Places to Fly a Drone in Europe
- Viking River Cruises in Europe-What to Expect
- 10 Best Things to Do in Montenegro
- 5 of the Best Places to Visit in Italy
- Ultimate 10 Day Italy Itinerary