The Best Things To Do In Dubrovnik | Croatia

Cover image for The Best Things To Do In Dubrovnik post showing a fort and cliffs against the sea

The city of Dubrovnik is often the number one destination when planning a trip to Croatia. That’s quite a feat for a country that’s famous for its spectacular national parks, beautiful beaches, and historic cities. There are so many amazing things to do in Dubrovnik that you’ll end up falling in love with the place. Whether you like fantasy dramas about dragons or not!

The great English poet, Lord Byron once referred Dubrovnik as ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’. And it’s easy to see why! Back then, in the early 19th century, visitors would arrive by boat where they would see the magnificent walled city rising up from the vivid blue Adriatic Sea.

Whilst Dubrovnik’s beauty has often attracted tourists, a certain television show has seen a dramatic surge in visitors over the past decade. The rise in tourism has seen the ancient city become an upmarket destination for the rich and famous. However, you definitely don’t need to be able to afford a luxury yacht to visit!

Many people only visit for a few hours on a day trip but we spent several days exploring the city. This is what I recommend to you as well if you really want to soak up what the city has to offer. With that in mind, I’ve listed below the best things to do in Dubrovnik to help you plan your visit.

Best Things To Do In Dubrovnik

Wander Dubrovnik Old Town

Zuzi walking down some stairs in the backstreets of Dubrovnik Old Town

When you hear people talk about the beauty of Dubrovnik, they’re almost certainly talking about Old Town. This is the part of the city where all the action is. Where the famous orange tiled roofs encircled by the ancient city wall sit on top of the bright blue Adriatic Sea.

The main entrance to Old Town is Pile Gate. Once you’re within the city walls you could spend hours wandering the cobbled streets of Old Town. Make sure you keep a lookout for the beautiful Gothic and Renaissance buildings such as St. Ignatius Church and Rector’s palace.

Stroll Down Stradun

Jeff is walking down the busy street known as the Stradun  surrounded by old buildings

A walk through Stradun (or Placa) is the perfect intro to the Old Town in Dubrovnik. After you walk through Pile Gate and pass Onofrio’s Fountain you’re on the main street leading into Old Town. The street was once a canal dividing the small island of Dubrovnik into northern and southern territories.

Today, Stradun is a white marbled street surrounded by beautiful Baroque and Renaissance buildings. You can take a slow walk down this promenade and browse through the many shops before stopping at a restaurant or coffee shop to enjoy the perfect intro to your stay in Dubrovnik.

Bask In The Sun On Dubrovnik’s Beaches

A beach in the foreground showing light turquoise water with Dubrovnik Old Town in the background

Dubrovnik isn’t all about the old town. Although that is where most of the action is. There are also a number of beaches close by where you can lay on the sand (or pebbles) and take a dip in the sea to cool off.

The closest of these beaches to the old town is Banje Beach. Its location (you can see the old town right next door almost) makes it one of the most popular and famous beaches in Dubrovnik.

Another popular beach is Uvala Lapad, also known as sunset beach. This popular beach is filled with restaurants, cafes and is a great place to enjoy some water sports.

For something a little more secluded, try Sveti Jakov. Many travellers often call Sveti Jakov the prettiest beach in Dubrovnik. The clear turquoise sea and beautiful surrounding landscape make it easy to see why.

Walk The City Walls

Jeff is standing on the stairway in Dubrovnik with the city wall behind him

A walk along the ancient city walls is possibly one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik. It’s certainly one of the most popular!

The wall that you can see today was built around the 12th to 17th centuries and spans nearly 2,000 metres around most of the old city. It’s thought that the first walls and forts were built in the 8th century and maybe even before then.

Although it’s just 2km, you’ll spend much longer on the wall than expected with all the glorious views you’ll come across (and all the photos you’ll be taking.) You can easily walk around at a steady pace in around 2 hours.

Just take plenty of water and make sure you don’t end up walking in the midday sun during summer. There is literally no shade around the entire wall.

Take A Game of Thrones Walking Tour

Image of Jeff with a model of Jon Snow in Dubrovnik

What’s a visit to Dubrovnik without taking one of the many Game of Thrones tours on offer? The show was a global phenomenon and Dubrovnik is possibly the most famous Game of Thrones filming location in the world! In the fantasy drama, the coastal city was the set of King’s Landing so it had a lot of exposure.

For those who don’t know, King’s Landing was the capital of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. Every king and queen from those seven kingdoms would, at some point, attack the capital in an attempt to overthrow the current king.

Fans of the show may easily spot all the different filming locations but a guided tour will provide a lot more entertainment and knowledge. There are something like 15 or more places in Dubrovnik used for filming so, if you’re a superfan, you won’t want to miss any of them.

Visit The Island Of Lokrum

A colourful peacock rests on a stone window on Lokrum Island

Just a fifteen-minute ferry ride away is the beautiful island of Lokrum. It’s so close, you’ll see it from the old town many times on your way around the wall!

The island is a great place to get away from the Dubrovnik crowds on a half-day or full-day trip, with return ferry tickets costing 150kn ($22/£16). There are plenty of things to do on Lokrum including taking in the breathtaking views, floating around in the salty lagoon, and chasing peacocks and rabbits (seriously, don’t chase them!)

I’m sure all you Game of Thrones fans also are excited to know that the botanical gardens were used as the location for the city of Qarth in the series.

Enjoy The Views From Mount Srđ

Jeff and Zuzi at the top of Mount Srđ point at the view of Dubrovnik Old Town below them

For the best view of Dubrovnik Old Town, you have to make your way up Mount Srđ. This is a must-see in Dubrovnik and one of the easiest ways to get there is by cable car – it only takes a few minutes! Once you’ve made your way to the top you can enjoy an absolutely specular view of the walled city jutting out into the blue sea.

Image of two orange drinks with Dubrovnik in the backdrop

While you’re at the summit, The Panorama Restaurant & Bar is an awesome place to grab a delicious cocktail or tea/coffee, whilst you enjoy one of the best views in Croatia. They also serve excellent food but make sure you book to avoid disappointment.

The cable car isn’t the only way up Mount Srđ. You can easily drive up to the summit or hike if you’re feeling active. There’s a stony path near the cable car station that leads right up to the summit that takes around 30-minute to an hour to complete. Take plenty of water and sturdy shoes!

If you’re not feeling up to it then I recommend getting the cable car up and taking a walk down. This means you won’t be dripping with sweat whilst trying to enjoy the views but you also get to take in the scenery as you descend back down the mountain!

Explore Fort Lovrijenac

Image of Fort Lovrijenac through the window of a wall in Dubrovnik Old Town

Fort Lovrijenac, or St Lawrence’s Fortress, is located just next to the old town across from the cute little bay. If you’re into spectacular views and stunning scenery, you’ll get them at the old fort, after climbing some stairs of course.

People visit the fort as it was used in Game of Thrones but there’s plenty of history here to keep the regular traveller interested. The fortress is thought to be nearly a thousand years old and is famous for resisting Venetian rule in the 11th Century as well as many other attacks.

These days the fort is often used as a stage for theatre performances. If you’re after something with a little more adrenaline then get yourself down there during Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series!

Watch Cliff Diving At Buza Bar

A hole in the wall may not be one of the first places you’d think of when visiting Dubrovnik, but this is not some small, dirty dive bar (although people do dive!) One of the coolest things to do in Dubrovnik is to walk through the ancient wall into one of the two Buža Bars.

These bars are a popular place for a drink or cocktail at any time of the day but sunsets are especially busy so get there early.

If you hang around long enough you’ll see plenty of people cliff jumping into the Adriatic. You’ll see many of them slowly making their way back too (no shame in this – I’d be the same!)

Sea Kayaking At Sunset

Zuzi is on a kayak entering a cave from the water in Dubrovnik

One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik outside Old Town is sea kayaking. There are numerous companies offering different tours on the Adriatic so it won’t take you long to find what you’re looking for.

You can just hire a kayak yourself and explore the waters surrounding Old Town or you can take the popular half-day guided tour for around 230kn ($35/£25). The guided tours are very popular as the guides are master storytellers and travellers always mention how the guides made their tours a more memorable experience.

The sun is setting behind the mountain in Dubrovnik

The most popular kayaking tour, and the one we did on our visit to Dubrovnik, is the sunset tour. You get the same half-day guided tour as before you pay a little more (a couple of dollars) for the privilege of watching the sunset from the sea! These sell out quickly so make sure you get booked on as soon as you know that the sunset tour is for you.

Take A Day Trip

View of Bay of Kotor with the bay and houses around

If, after exploring Dubrovnik for a few days, you find that you have some extra time on your hands then why not go on a day trip? Dubrovnik’s prime location means that there are plenty of options if you have an extra day or two before you have to go home.

Just around the corner from Dubrovnik is the lovely coastal town of Cavtat, easily reachable by car in 30-minutes! A little further ‘up the road’ is the island of Korčula, where you can find plenty of stunning beaches but you can also sample the great wines that are produced on the island.

Believe it or not, you can also take a day trip to a different country! Kotor, in Montenegro, is under two hours away by car and The Bay of Kotor in particular is unmissable! Another option is Bosnia and Herzegovina where you can visit the famous bridge of Mostar, just 2.5 hours drive away.

Have You Visited Dubrovnik Yet?

Zuzi looks at the camera with Dubrovnik old town behind her

With its stunning coasting and variety of activities on offer, it’s easy to see why Dubrovnik is one of the most popular summer destinations. Each year sees over 1.5 million travellers pass through those ancient walls on their summer adventures. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a daytripper, backpacker, or island hopper. You’ll find something you’ll love in this ancient city.

However, If you do plan to visit Dubrovnik then please do yourself a favour a spend a few days exploring the old town and surroundings. Don’t just rock up for a few hours on a quick day trip. We spent a few days getting to really know the place on our visit before heading off to see the rest of beautiful Croatia. And we’re so glad we did!

I hope you enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Dubrovnik. If you have any questions or suggestions then feel free to get in contact. Or just let me know in the comments below.

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