A guide of things to do in Dubrovnik in Croatia

A guide of things to do in Dubrovnik in Croatia

THINGS TO DO IN DUBROVNIK

Croatia seems to be the ‘in’ destination at the moment. Before we booked I spoke to lots of people who had been, were going or who are planning to go. My advice is GO! We had a fantastic time and really enjoyed our holiday there. 

This post looks at things to do in Dubrovnik. This seems to be the city destination of the moment – I am sure Game of Thrones has influenced this slightly but I think word of mouth about all it has to offer is making it one of the post popular destinations in Europe at the moment. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site (designated in 1979)

(Warning – this post is photograph heavy but Dubrovnik is so breathtakingly beautiful I had to include them! Enjoy things to do in Dubrovnik)

Where is Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik is in the very tip of the southernmost part of Croatia. It is close to both the Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina borders (hence we were able to add 2 lovely day trips to our itinerary!)

This ‘pearl of the Adriatic’ as some call it was a trading port throughout history and a major Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. The city walls have protected it from attacks throughout history (the Venetians were apparently jealous of Dubrovnik’s success). The last attack on Dubrovnik came in 1991/2 when Serbian forces bombarded the city during a seven month siege.

What to see/do in the old city of Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik is a lovely city to wander in – there are little passageways and narrow streets to explore. It is totally pedestrianized (not sure a car would fit through the Pile gate!) As you walk up to the city on your right you get a great view of Fort Lovrijenac opposite.

Outside the walls of the city of Dubrovnik - things to do in Dubrovnik

 

Once you enter through the Pile gate (if you catch a bus it will drop you right outside the gate) directly in front of you is the Stradun (the main street), to the right is the Big Onofrio Fountain. (Built in 1438 by Onofrio della Cava) and at the end of the Stradun is the bell tower which is 31 metres high.

where-the-buses-drop-you-off

This is a great picture to show you where the buses stop – walk over the bridge and you are at the Pile gate

 

One thing that struck me as I entered the city was the colours – everything in creams and tearracotta and oranges – it is a beautiful sight.

the-stradun

The Stradun

stradun-as-viewed-from-the-walls

Large onofrio fountain

the large Onofrio fountain – fill up your empty bottles here

My best advice is to wander and take in the atmosphere (admittedly on days the cruise ships are in port this can be a little more difficult) as there are literally thousands of people in the city. It may be worth checking on-line which ships are due in on what days so you can try to avoid the city on those days – to be honest it was crowded every day we went but it was August.

little Onofrio fountain

Little Onofrio fountain – fill up your water bottles here too!!

bell-tower

The architecture of Dubrivnik is Gothic and Romanesque. A lot of the Renaissance architecture was destroyed in a terrible earthquake in 1667 which killed thousands of inhabitants.

bell-tower

 

Lots of passageways!

Dubrovnik

shame..shame…shame…familiar from Got?

 

Walk the walls of Dubrovnik

What you can’t miss whilst walking around are the walls that surround the city. The walls are made from limestone and are 2kms long and between 4 to 6 metres thick! After the earthquake in 1667 the walls were still standing.

 

Dubrovnik

So you really must try to walk the city walls! That’s probably the number one activity most visitors have on their to do lists. We walked them on a day when it was a little cooler (after a thunder shower) so it was bearable. It is quite a strenuous walk as there are lots of steps so be sure to take a hat, wear flat, comfortable shoes and take plenty of water with you. It also gets very busy so I would advise to go early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Dubrovnik

the walls!

To purchase a ticket once you enter the city though the Pile gate turn right and there is the ticket office. It costs 120 Kuna each (adult price).  You must pay in cash or with a credit card – Euros are NOT accepted. Opening times change throughout the year so be sure to check before you go. Remember to keep your ticket too as there is a checkpoint half way through (you can descend the walls at this point too if needed)

Dubrovnik

Access to the walls near the Pile gate

The views are amazing . It took us a little over 2 hours to complete the walk but we did stop for a photography break a number of times! This must be one of the top things to do in Dubrovnik and one everyone wants to do!

 

brooding sky over Dubrovnik

The sky was amazing the day we walked the walls

Dubrovnik

it-was-hot walking the walls

harbour-and-lokrum

view-of-dubrovnik

view-of-lokrum

top-of-the-tower

That’s my husband waving – I let him climb up there on his own!

 

busy-harbour in Dubrovnik

 

Getting out of the city proved to be more difficult! The Pile gate isn’t very big and thousands of people trying to get in or out at the same time made it feel quite unsafe. Ensure if you have to be somewhere that you leave plenty of time to get out (summer months only I imagine)

difficult-to-get-in-and-out of the city at times

Things to do if you are based in Dubrovnik?

The old city is lovely but I think a day or two exploring is probably enough. There are lots of things you can do if you are based in Dubrovnik and want to explore more. I will be writing more detailed posts on each of these options but I thought I would include them as they could be useful when planning your itinerary!

  • Visit the Elafiti islands

These islands are an archipelago of 13 islands which are situated near Dubrovnik. Three of the islands are inhabited – Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. We hired a boat and skipper for the day to take us around the islands.

elafiti-islands

  • Visit Arboretum Trsteno – The arboretum was established in 1948 and incorporates gardens and a villa which we designed and built during the Renaissance. We had a lovely walk around the arboretum and the views are magnificent. The location has also been used in Game of Thrones.

arboretum-trsteno

  • Visit Mostar in neighbouring Bosnia Herzegovina.

We decided we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit both Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro as they are so close to Dubrovnik. We used a company called Cheap Dubrovnik Tours to hire a car and driver/guide for the 2 day trips who were absolutely fantastic!

mostar

  • Visit  Kotor and Kotor Bay in neighbouring Montenegro – again another great day trip from Dubrovnik. Read all about “A Day Trip To Kotor!”

kotor-bay

There are also 2 things that we didn’t manage to do when we were in Dubrovnik but I really wish we had!

  1. Catch the cable car – for the great views and for the museum at the top. I feel I didn’t learn enough about the history of Dubrovnik and the recent events of the siege and the effect on the people of Dubrovnik.
  2. Visit Lokrum – I am so sad we didn’t go to Lokrum. It is only a short boat ride from Dubrovnik to this beautiful island. I would definitely make sure I visit if I return to Dubrovnik as a number of locals recommended it.

Where to stay?

I was advised not to stay in the old city and I think this is very sensible. The old city gets crowded (understatement). As I mentioned above the cruise ships dock and there can be literally thousands of people trying to get in and out of the city though the Pile Gate. It is a very narrow entrance which as I said previously felt very unsafe at one point when we wanted to leave.

view-from-babin-kuk

It also gets very hot and a bit of relaxation by the pool of an afternoon was very welcome. And look at that view!!!

pool view from Babin Kuk

We chose to stay on the Lapad peninsular which is a large residential suburb of Dubrovnik. It takes approximately 15 minutes to get to the Pile gate of the old city by bus from Lapad. Bus tickets are cheap and apart from the occasional crowded bus we found this a great way to get around.

walk-down-to-harbour from our hotel

We stayed at  Villa Antea Apartments which we found perfect for our needs for the week. They feature well equipped apartments, a lovely infinity pool, close to transport and near bars and restaurants for the evenings.

sunset over the Elafiti Islands

The restaurants and bars in Lapad are great too.  There is a pedestrianized strip to stroll down to enjoy a drink and a meal in the evening.

lapad

Where to eat and drink?

During our visits to the old city we only had a drink/ice cream and one pizza. Generally  we made breakfast in our apartment every day before heading out to explore so tended to wait until evening to have a meal. We didn’t find Croatia cheap but the drop in the value of pound didn’t help. (Note that although in the EU Croatia has not adopted the Euro and has its own currency the Kuna –  though most places accept both currencies)

What a view to enjoy while you eat your meal

We did eat out in Lapad and our favourite destination was the Cave bar at the Hotel More. We also had a fabulous meal there overlooking the Adriatic with an amazing view of the sunset.

 

Beautiful sunset from the cave bar

meal-for-two

I would highly recommend you have at least a drink there – go and see the cave! Apparently when constructing the hotel they discovered the cave which was then incorporated into the bar.

sign for the Cave bar

Got to go to the cave bar!

Inside the cave bar hotel more

The inside of the cave bar

cocktails at the cave bar

the cocktails are here!

cave-bar

There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the pedestrianized strip to choose from. The choice ranges from Italian and seafood to fast food outlets selling chips and burgers as well as plenty of bars offering cocktails. And with views like enjoy it makes it all perfect for a relaxing holiday!

sunset over the Adriatic


UNESCO World Heritage Site

unesco world heritage site

The Old City of Dubrovnik was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979. For more information about the listing visit the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Read more about Croatia

  1. One day, one boat, three islands – a day sailing the Elafiti Islands
  2. Visiting Arboretum Trsteno
  3. A day in Bosnia Herzegovina
  4. A day in Montenegro
  5. Exploring Split
  6. Sibenik and Trogir (UNESCO World Heritage sites)
  7. Visiting KrKa Waterfalls
  8. Top tips for Croatia
  9. The ultimate itinerary for Croatia – 7 to 15 day options

PIN FOR LATER

Staying in Dubrovnik? My gude will tell you all you need to know

A GUIDE TO VISITING DUBROVNIK


58 Comments

    • November 3, 2016 / 9:03 am

      Thanks Tanja – your country is truly spectacular!

  1. November 2, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    Dubrovnik has been on my bucket list for ages and if we had found cheap flights, we would have totally gone there this autumn. Next year then!

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      I would definitely try to get there Van – its an interesting and beautiful city.

  2. Linda Tallett
    November 2, 2016 / 9:02 pm

    Great post Tracy! Not a country I’ve thought of visiting but it does sound lovely. Looking forward to reading more about Croatia.

    • November 5, 2016 / 5:01 pm

      Thanks Linda – its somewhere Doug had been wanting to visit for a while. I am glad he talked me into it as it is a beautiful and safe country to visit.

  3. November 3, 2016 / 1:49 am

    Dubrovnik looks like such a dream! I’ve been wanting to go for so long and every time I see a post it just makes my wanderlust stronger! These seem like some great ideas for a visit to this amazing city! And totally recognize the shame GOTs scene ! 😀
    Lauren recently posted…One Day at Summerfest in MilwaukeeMy Profile

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      It is definitely a place to visit i am so glad my husband talked me into visiting. We loved Croatia it is a beautiful country with lots to see and do.

  4. November 3, 2016 / 10:37 am

    I really loved Dubrovnik. My husband and me also stayed for a week a couple of years ago, it’s still one of my favourite cities ever!!
    Esther recently posted…Stockholm: schaatsen en skiplezierMy Profile

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Its a great place to visit – I think it will remain one of my favourite cities too. I did love Split ever so slightly more though…post coming soon about our stay there. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post ?

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:56 pm

      I wouldn’t advise going in peak summer Jurga though apparently there is a move to limit numbers in the city itself. The crowds were terrible when the cruise ships came into port but you can find out what days they are in to avoid the old city at those times.

  5. November 4, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    Oh I just LOVE walled cities! I would walk this one in a heartbeat. You’ve put together a very thorough post here – and it sounds like you had a good time in Croatia. I really like the photos that are looking down onto the city streets – good job! #FlyAwayFriday

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:42 pm

      Thanks for reading my post – glad you enjoyed it and my pictures. Croatia is a wonderful place to visit! I have so much to write about as we had a really fabulous time exploring the country.

  6. November 4, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    I made a ‘buck list’ of dream destinations yesterday. Dubrovnik was in the top 10! It looks absolutely beautiful ! Your pictures are incredible! Thanks for sharing! #FlyAwayFriday

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:41 pm

      It is a fantastic place to visit! Glad you enjoyed it and my pictures.

  7. November 5, 2016 / 1:57 am

    Wow! One week in Dubrovnik! Sounds like a lot of time but I am sure it is not enough to visit all the nice places in the area. And more when you have other countries so nearby. I would love to read more about your experiences in Croatia. After my trip to Eastern Europe, I hope Slovenia and Croatia are next. #FlyAwayFriday
    Ruth recently posted…What and Where to Eat in BudapestMy Profile

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:54 pm

      Thanks for the comment – it was a pretty jam packed holiday but we really enjoyed it. Croatia is fabulous. My focus this month on my blog is about Croatia so there will be lots more posts coming. We also visited Slovenia from Zagreb at the end of our holiday and are a couple of posts about Ljubjana and Lake Bled on my blog too.

      Its a while since i have been to Hungary so will check out your recent post about Budapest with interest.

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:50 pm

      Its a really great place to visit I highly recommend it.

  8. November 5, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Dubrovnik is such an amazing city and you’ve covered it really well, especially all the day trip options. I didn’t know about the cave hotel though, that’s pretty neat. When I visited it was bright blue skies every day, but I actually quite like your photos with the moody sky. Definitely somewhere I could keep going back to, love it. #FlyAwayFriday
    David recently posted…Warmest of Welcomes in Strumica, MacedoniaMy Profile

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:49 pm

      Thanks for you lovely comments. We were really lucky with the weather as it was blue skies every day too but the day we decided to walk the walls it was stormy which made it cool enough to do the walk. It also meant quite different photographs – was really happy with how they turned out too.

      The cave bar is a great place to sit and relax after a busy day and enjoy those magnificent sunsets.

  9. November 5, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    Loved Dubrovnik! Although it is so small I´ve still found some new ideas from your post! Thanks for sharing #FlyAwayFriday
    Anna recently posted…10 Must Stops to Explore LisbonMy Profile

    • November 5, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      Thanks for popping by – will have to cath up on your recent post as we are considering a visit to Lisbon soon!

  10. November 6, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    Ah, Croatia. It’s quickly making it to the top of my bucket-list. That pool looks divine. Thank you so much for sharing! #flyawayfriday

    • November 6, 2016 / 6:59 pm

      Thank you for visiting my site. Croatia is definitely worth a visit or two or three or four…I hope you get to visit as I am sure you will agree.

  11. November 6, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    Dubrovnik is such a beautiful place and I have been a few times. I went 12years ago and then two years and it has changed so much especially the price and the tourist. You are correct, try to avoid anywhere when cruise liners arrive in port. I never knew about Elafiti islands but sounds amazing and I would love to go see them. Lovely post
    melbtravel recently posted…Whisky tasting with a deadly twistMy Profile

    • November 7, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      We loved it though it was so busy on the days the cruise ships were in port it was essential to plan exactly when to go to the old city. I also loved the fact it is so close to many other places worth a visit like Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro

  12. November 8, 2016 / 8:12 am

    Wow I’m loving that restaurant you went to with the sea view! We also made a special trip to Mostar when we were in Dubrovnik! I’d love to go back because it was soooo incredibly hot last year it was unbearable to explore past 8am! And during a less touristy time! July-August is not the right time to go thats for sure! #CityTripping
    Lolo recently posted…Schloss HohenschwangauMy Profile

    • November 8, 2016 / 9:00 am

      We were there in late August and it was scorching – we had one cooler day after some rain and that gave us a chance to walk the walls as it was too hot for me to do it before.

      Highly recommend the Cave Bar and the restaurant too!

    • November 8, 2016 / 8:57 am

      Thank you – it is a fabulous place to visit

  13. November 8, 2016 / 9:16 am

    We recently visited Dubrovnik and absolutely loved it. Although I must say looking at the amount of people in your pics, I’m so glad we visited in October rather than in summer! #citytripping
    Natalie recently posted…Autumn in London with Frieze Sculpture Park 2016My Profile

    • November 8, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Yes it was very crowded on the one day we went into the old city – I found it a bit scary when it came to leaving. So many thousands trying to get in and out through a narrow gateway was not pleasant – we waited a good half hour before leaving but it did feel unsafe.

  14. November 8, 2016 / 11:18 am

    this is on my list for next year, so a really useful post to come across 🙂 #citytripping

    • November 8, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Great! Hope you have a great time – its a fabulous place to visit!

  15. November 8, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    This is such a good guide to Dubrovnik. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit and I think your tips are really useful. I had no idea how crowded it was – that would really put me off so I may have to research when the best time of year to visit is. Great to discover you via #citytripping

    • November 8, 2016 / 5:24 pm

      Yes it was very busy on some days – the cruise ships are the issue so the best thing to do is check what days they are due in…or alternatively probably give it a miss in July/August! Thanks for reading my guide to Dubrovnik and leaving a lovely comment.

  16. November 9, 2016 / 8:32 pm

    So many people I have spoken to have come back from Dubrovnik and totally raved about it. I would love to go and explore the city – and walking the city walls looks like the best way to see it. Lovely photos. #citytripping

    • November 9, 2016 / 9:36 pm

      Hi thanks for your comment – it is a lovely city. Croatia is a fantastic destination – I highly recommend it.

  17. November 10, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Argh! I have been reading so much about Croatia recently and it is somewhere I am very keen to visit. You can see why GOT filmed there. The architecture is a sight to behold. Not sure how my girls would fair walking the city walls! Thanks for the photos….the sunset looks spectacular. Thanks for linking #citytripping
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted…5 Tips For Surviving Road Trips With KidsMy Profile

  18. November 10, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    It really is the hot destination at the moment – we get a lot of Dubrovnik posts linking up with #citytripping and the consensus definitely seems to be that it’s beautiful and really really busy, so some useful tips about staying outside the walls for example. I visited almost 20 years ago when it was less visited (not long after the end of the conflict) and remember it being so stunning. Each post makes me want to go back… if only I can find a quiet time to enjoy it! Thanks for linking up.
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…City Tripping #52 – Wander Mum’s giveawaysMy Profile

    • November 16, 2016 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you Chloe! Yes we loved it – we had a fabulous time! Lots of possibilities for next FlyAway Friday!!

    • November 17, 2016 / 6:36 pm

      Thank you Kana! Dubrovnik is a stunner of a city!

  19. November 16, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    You can definitely see the Italian influence in the beautiful buildings can’t you! And I didn’t know it was pedestrianised – how nice. I want to go now!! Great post!
    Alex recently posted…Murano And Burano – Islands Of VeniceMy Profile

    • November 17, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks Alex – definitely go! Its a fabulous city in an amazing country!

  20. October 28, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Darcee & I are trying to plan our bucket list adventures in 2018 and Croatia is top on the list. What time of year did you guys go Tracy? The old town looks amazing and I am in love with exploring all of the old architecture and walking the wall.
    Eric || The Bucket List Project recently posted…11 Things to do in LiechtensteinMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 29, 2017 / 2:37 am

      Hi Eric we were there in August and I would no recommend it – its just so busy. June maybe a better time?

  21. March 6, 2018 / 3:23 am

    Excellent tip about allowing extra time to get to where you need to be. When the city is packed it is a bit of a nightmare negotiating all the people.

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