Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Dubrovnik (Croatia)
Facing the serene setting of cobalt blue sea, Dubrovnik is a very worthwhile city protected by its old town walls with its architectural treasures. You will undoubtedly want to return once you visit this masterpiece on the Adriatic Coast. Two days are enough to explore all the major attractions in this walled city. But Dubrovnik should be considered as a base to explore the serene surroundings on day trips. This way, you can spend some more time in the old town in the evening.
What to Do In Dubrovnik?
You can first start to visit some of the significant Dubrovnik attractions in this walled city. You will only need your own feet to visit all the Dubrovnik attractions. Initially, it may seem a complicated maze to get around, but trust us, it is fun to explore. You can hop on the buses which run between the central bus station and old town.
With quiet pebbly beaches, historical old town, small islands, and vineyards in Konavle Valley, there are so many things to do in Dubrovnik. It is one of the best known and most visited cities in Croatia.
Sometimes huge crowds and high prices in peak season annoy, but it is still an inspiring and lovely place to visit. Besides, the weather is also favorable than in other cities in Croatia. In this post, we will try to go beyond things to see in Dubrovnik. When you have planned to get there, you may check back this post to learn new Dubrovnik activities and other details.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Dubrovnik
- 2 Practical information and Dubrovnik travel tips
- 3 Where to stay in Dubrovnik?
- 4 Short in time? Go sightseeing in Dubrovnik on tour!
- 5 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in Dubrovnik
Visit Dubrovnik’s Old Town
The old town of Dubrovnik is located in the city walls. Despite being the most popular things to see in Dubrovnik, the city walls are one of several attractions in the old city. It is entirely built of white stones and polished with ages. The old town houses the Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque churches, castles, and monasteries. You may walk around the main street, Placa (Stradun) in Dubrovnik.
Here are some of the main places to visit in Dubrovnik old town:
Rector’s Palace is the most prominent public building in the city as it was once siege of the government.
The Sponza Palace, a former customs building, houses the town’s archive today and also stores the most prominent documents about the history of Dubrovnik as it was built in 1520. You can get away in the back streets of the city or skip the crowd and relax enjoying the sunset on the beach and take small boats in old port.
Don’t forget to visit Dubrovnik churches, museums, and the oldest pharmacy operating in Europe. You can also walk around Dubrovnik yourself, or you can also check a guided tour to learn more.
Read more about Dubrovnik:
Enjoy the beach
You may not hear the most about beaches in the town. When it comes to Dubrovnik tourist attractions, we often think of its eclectic bars, historic town, its high prices, and museums. Dubrovnik is the southernmost town with plenty of sunny days to enjoy in Croatia all the year round. Swimming at one of several beaches here is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
Here are some of the best beaches to enjoy swimming in Dubrovnik:
Rocky Beach is something you can’t imagine as a beach. It is a rocky coast ideal for cliff jumping, which may have or lack metal ladders to get around the sea. Well, you may visit some pebble beaches across the city and even sandy beaches. But most of them are merely rocky areas to get in and out.
Banje Beach is another most famous beach in the city, especially amidst the tourists. It is placed on a serene location. Located off Ploce Gate, it is the closest beach to old town. From the road to the beach, it has over 100 stairs, and most of them are going up after a day at the beach. The beach has gravel and small pebbles. You may need swimming shoes if you are not accustomed to this type of beach.
Betina Cave Beach, as the name suggests, is a small cave beach. Interestingly, it is a real gem like its name. You can get there only from the sea. Even during hot summers, the cave makes this beach cool and comfortable. It gets sunlight for just a few hours in a day. It has beautiful and curved pebbles. Book a kayaking tour which stops there for relaxation and swimming to explore this beach. However, kayaking tours have somehow affected its charm a bit as it has made this beach a lot busier than it should be.
Read more about other Croatian cities:
- Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Split (Croatia)
- Top 10 Best Day Trips from Split (Croatia)
Visit the nearby islands
The evergreen Lokrum Island is located only a few hundred meters from the mainland Dubrovnik. It is a serene getaway from the mainland’s crowd and noise. Here, visitors can explore the remnants of the pre-historic Benedictine Monastery, capture the beautiful botanical gardens along with its habitat rabbits and peacocks and relax in one of the swimming spots of the island. Lokrum Island doubles as a city of Quarth filmed in Game of Thrones with Benedictine Monastery which served as a shooting location.
Elafiti Islands is yet another major attraction located off the Dubrovnik coast. This small group of islands has various islands, but only Lopud, Kolocep, and Sipan islands are inhabited. All of these islands are tiny, with just a few settlements in each. Both Kolocep and Lopud are free of cars. Elafiti Islands are a great treat to visit if you want to skip the crowd and noise of the city for a day.
If you are a fan of the sandy beach, Sunj Beach is one of the rare gems in this area. If you love hiking or are looking for a great place to eat out with your lover, Villa Ruza of Kolocep offers excellent seafood at the seafood terrace.
Read more about Croatia’s capital city:
Go on a Cable Car ride
From the crest of Mt. Srd, which looms around 412m off the city, you can get the best view of the city. They built a cable car in 1969 serving the summit until midnight during the peak months of summer. You will surely want to capture the views of walls and towers of the city in daytime, along with the evergreen offshore island against the Adriatic Sea and the baked clay tiles of the houses of the town.
You can even gaze out to the west at night to explore the sunset behind this city. You can fly towards the Mount Srd located 778m up the downtown Dubrovnik through a cable car. It takes only 5 minutes to complete the ride. You can get breathtaking views above the top over the old town. You can also have a drink at café/bistro or a bite when exploring the sights.
Read about one of Croatia’s famous national park:
Join a Game of Thrones Tour
Dubrovnik has been an exciting shooting location since Season 2 of Game of Thrones. If you are a GoT fan, you must visit this Croatian city. After all, Dubrovnik is the capital of Seven Kingdoms, King’s Landing. The Old Town is loaded of filming spots, and it also has several other locations across the city.
Taking a Game of Thrones tour is one of the best Dubrovnik tourist attractions. This city is shown as Kings Landing in the TV series, and it has a lot of fantastic locations to visit across the town. You can spot them on your own or explore the organized GoT tour.
You can visit other locations filmed in HBO series GoT with the walking tour of Dubrovnik. On these tours, even guides have been extras on sets, and they can tell a few insights behind the scenes. It is highly recommended to book Dubrovnik’s Game of Thrones tour in advance. You may expect to pay up to 45 Euros per person, but it also offers a beautiful cruise.
Explore Museums in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is loaded with serene history, which can be seen in every aspect of the old town. But this town also has a lot of worth-visiting and exciting museums. The Ethnographic museum named Rupe is one of the best museums in the city. It is located at the back streets of the old town in the ancient granary. The museum exhibits around 5000 pieces showing the customs, social life, and traditions of locals in its history.
The Dominican Monastery also features significant artworks from historic Dubrovnik. This monastery features exciting architecture, including a cloister showing impressive stonework and landscaped garden.
The Gornji Ugao tower was primarily a cannon foundry. It is stretched over 600 sq. m. and it has preserved all aspects of production. The museum is fascinating and Divo, the guide, really makes a visit memorable. The town has several other museums, but you must visit these three.
Dubrovnik City Walls
Stroll around the fortifications to have the most popular Dubrovnik itinerary. It must also be the first in your bucket list if you are getting there as you can get appreciation and bearings of the scale of this serene gem and admire the skills of designers and architects who created it. From the high-season masses, you can always get the breathing space here. You can definitely learn about the history in its elevated promenade.
As you visit the Old Town along the Pile Gate, you can explore the ticket office and the main entrance of the City Walls. You can take your time or afternoon and set your own pace. You can avail audio guides in English at the main entrance, but a lot of visitors are amazed by random views of red-tiled roofs, or even better, the serene blue Adriatic Sea, which is interspersed with white stones jutting on it down under the several angles. You may also visit a few cafes there which have pit stops at the end of the harbor where you can also capture the eye-catching backdrop in an open terrace.
Read more about architecture in Europe:
Spend a Day Sea Kayaking!
Sea kayaking is the official holiday activity for visitors in Dubrovnik and is organized for absolute beginners as a day jaunt with lunch thrown in the Lokrum Island. You only have to get ready, learn a couple of paddling techniques in protected, shallow waters, and you are free to explore the Adriatic. Sea kayaks are very comfortable as compared to traditional kayaks.
With additional cargo space, they are long enough, and kayaks can move quickly and smoothly in a single line. Veteran kayakers have covered Australia and Ireland at once. The calm waters of the Pile Gate and the serene car-free Lokrum Island are a doddle for lesser mortals under expert guidance. Sunset paddles are also offered by some companies with cheese and wine included. Even children from 8 to 16 years are allowed but under an adult’s supervision.
Lokrum Island is merely the tip of an iceberg. The complete paradise of islands is awaiting you off the Dubrovnik city, starting with serene nature reserves of Elaphite Islands. At the marina, a lot of charter agencies would offer a motorboat to the visitors for the day or weight anchor for those who are on a sailing trip.
You could also go for a sea kayak tour if you want something closer to see the walls and towers of the city at another angle. You don’t have to be a professional kayaker or an Olympian to go for a kayak tour. It has a leisurely and slow pace, with guides who speak English to teach all the basics.
Go Cliff Jumping
Cliff jumping in this city has been attractive to numerous young tourists who visit Dubrovnik in search for some adventure. The spot around the Buza Bar is ideal for cliff jumping here. However, cliff jumping has been dangerous over the past years because many tourists started diving. So, Lokrum Island is a much safer and convenient option for cliff jumping. The whole coastline is rocky, and it has a lot of sites to perform cliff diving.
Try Croatian Food!
Love eating out in Dubrovnik? This city has lots of best restaurants across Croatia. Enjoy the fresh and juicy seafood at Bar Bota which offers the best Sushi and Oyster in Croatia. The Azur offers the unique fusion of Asian and Croatian dishes, the Proto offers delicious Mediterranean food, and Locanda Peskerija offers yummy seafood and peaceful setting.
Read more about other cuisines in Europe:
- The 15 Culinary Destinations in Europe That Will Make You Hungry! (Foodie Vacations)
- 20 Different Traditional Finnish Food You Must Try in Finland
Practical information and Dubrovnik travel tips
Why should you visit Dubrovnik?
First of all, Estonia has three major cities: Tallinn, Tartu, and Pärnu – all beautiful on its own but we’ll only tackle Tallinn for this post. To start with, Tallinn’s old town is a well-preserved medieval city making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in the old town alone you’ll get the opportunity to inhale its medieval atmosphere and enjoy a fantastic time checking out some of the Baltics crown jewels.
When is the best time to visit Dubrovnik?
Winter in Dubrovnik (November to the beginning of March)
- Winter is often times the low season for Southern Europe so expect fewer crowds
- Don’t expect a lot of happening around this time of the year
- You can expect light rainfall and wetter streets at this time of the year
- The wear can go down to 5°C so come prepared! Read our post about what to wear in winter.
- There will be some nice Christmas markets in December so watch out for that!
Spring in Dubrovnik (End of March to May)
- Spring is still a low season in the whole country so there still won’t be a lot of crowds
- The weather is getting warmer, there are more sunshine and blue skies but come prepared because it can still get cold at nights!
- Nothing much is still happening around this time of the year because Croatia is a seasonal country thus the activities are a bit limited but don’t fret, there are still things to do around!
Summer in Dubrovnik (June to August)
- Summer is the peak season in Dubrovnik and you can expect a lot of tourists visiting the city
- There will be lots of crowds meaning the prices will inflate
- Weather in Dubrovnik in summer can go up to 30°C during the day but calmer at nights
- There will be tons of festivals and happening in the city so keep your eyes to these events!
Autumn in Dubrovnik (September to October)
- Autumn is when the peak season starts to slow down and all the northern tourists go back home to start their school year or maybe their summer holidays are over
- Expect fewer tourists but there would still be a handful of crowds
- Prices somewhat remain the same but some excursions could be cheaper around this time of the year
- The weather is pleasant in Autumn and it can still get warm during the day but chilly at nights
Do you need a visa for Croatia?
Even as part of EU now, Croatia is a visa-free country for citizens of the following countries: the U.K, EU countries, the U.S, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
That said, if you’re not eligible for visa-free entry to Croatia, you can, however, enter the country if you have a valid multiple entries Schengen Visa obtained from other EU countries. Be mindful though that Croatia is not part of the Schengen group of countries and if you’re planning to visit Croatia alone, you’ll still need to apply for a separate tourist visa to enter the country! You can read more about Croatia’s visa policy here.
If you’re planning to travel to other European cities and you need to apply for a tourist visa, please refer to our detailed post on how to apply for a Schengen Visa.
Where to book your flights to Dubrovnik?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik?
There are many beautiful boutique hotels in Dubrovnik and here are some of our recommendations: Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, Hotel Kompas, and The Pucic Palace. These hotels start at €80 per night and you’ll get access to some of the best hotel facilities in the city!
If you’re on a budgeted side, we recommend staying at hostels that usually starts at €7 per night. Here are few of our recommended hostels in Dubrovnik: City Walls Hostel, Villa Sunset, and Hostel Angelina. With the low prices, you can get per bunk bed, you get to meet other fellow travelers and see Dubrovnik with new like minded friends!
Short in time? Go sightseeing in Dubrovnik on tour!
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