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Croatia has been on my list of places to explore for years, so I was super excited to finally arrive in Dubrovnik a few weeks ago. This picturesque coastal town at the southern part of Croatia is a must visit and the country’s most popular tourist destination. Nestled beside the beautiful blue Adriatic sea, and adorned by terracotta rooftops – this UNESCO heritage site boasts fantastic architecture, a historic city centre and is the main filming location for the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.”
Here is our guide to Dubrovnik video and our top 10 list of things to do in Dubrovnik:
1. Walk the city walls
Walking the 2km ancient city walls is a ‘must do’ and the main highlight of any trip to Dubrovnik. These walls encircle the entire old town quarter and date all the way back to the 13th century. Standing at 24 metres high – you’ll take in fantastic views of the city, harbour, Adriatic sea and Lokrum Island.
In peak season the walls can get extremely busy, so try to plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon – a good idea if you are visiting Dubrovnik with kids. A record 10,000 people bought entrance tickets in one particular day last August! (eeek!)
Access to the walls is through the main entrance on the left of Pile Gate – which is where you can buy your entrance ticket, and allow at least 2 hours to walk the entire wall. The price is 150 Kn (£17.30) and the walls are open daily from 8am – 7pm (summer) and 9am – 3pm (winter).
2. Visit Banje Beach
Banje Beach is one of the most accessible beaches in Dubrovnik old town (a 10-minute walk east of Ploče gate) and is a great spot to relax and enjoy the incredible views of the city walls and of Lokrum Island. Part of the beach requires an entrance fee but there is a public part as well. Eastwest Beach Club is located here, serving food and drink and providing sun loungers.
3. Wander down Stradun and explore the old town
The old town is just beautiful! Make sure you spend a good part of your day dedicated to wandering through the streets and exploring the tiny alleyways and squares of this perfectly preserved medieval city.
Start the day at Stradun – Dubrovnik’s main pedestrian walkway which runs through the centre of the old town, and is lined with souvenir shops and cafes. It’s a great place to stop for a drink and to people watch. Many of the city’s monuments are located on this street too, including the 15th century bell tower, located at the end in Luža Square.
Next, explore the side streets and the market, then wander down to the harbour to watch the boats go by. End the day by enjoying some fresh local seafood in one of several restaurants located within the city walls. There are many filming locations for Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik – check out the Jesuit Staircase and the Pile Gate.
4. Take the cable car to the top of Mount Srdj
The cable cars are a recent addition to the city and was one of the highlights of our 3 day Dubrovnik itinerary. There are two large carriages, each carrying up to 30 people to the summit in less than 5 minutes, and from the top, the views of the old town and many of the islands below are just incredible. Plan your visit to arrive in time for sunset for amazing golden light in your photographs, and don’t bother going up if it is a foggy day!
Facilities at the summit include a restaurant, a snack bar, souvenir shop, a museum and a memorial commemorating the Homeland War of the 1990. For the best uninterupted view of Dubrovnik’s old town, walk past the large memorial cross for that perfect instagram shot (see the photo below!). If you enjoy hiking and have plenty of time to spare during your trip, you could take the cable car up then walk back down (it takes around an hour to walk it). A round-trip ticket costs 120 KN (£14) for adults, and 50 KN (£6) for children.
Address: Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Opening hours: Everyday 9am – 10pm
5. Go wine tasting
Tasting local wines is a great way to spend an evening in Dubrovnik. One of the most popular places for visitors is D’Vino, an intimate bar hidden away down a side alley off the main street Stradun. Friendly staff serve tasting flights and pair them with savoury meat and cheese platters. Prices are approx. 50 kn per glass (£5.90)
Address: Palmotićeva 4A Dubrovnik. Opening hours: April-November, daily 10am – late.
6. Sail to Lokrum Island
Lokrum Island is a a small pine covered island, just 600m off the coast of Dubrovnik and a great way to spend half a day away from the city to relax. It is a protected natural reserve that is home to an old monastery, botanical gardens and many swimming spots including Lake Mrtvo More.
The island is open to the public from April through October and overnight stays are prohibited. Ferries depart regularly throughout the day from Dubrovnik’s old port and the journey takes around 15 minutes. A return ticket costs 100 kn (£11.80) per adult.
7. Go kayaking
An adventurous and popular way to experience Dubrovnik is to see it from the sea by doing a kayak tour. There are several agencies offering half day and full day tours which start from the beach by Pile gate. You’ll be taken around the city walls and to the island of Lokrum by an experienced guide, stopping to explore small caves.
8. Seek out the hole in the wall bars
Buza 1 is a small and simple, yet very popular bar located on the cliffs right above the sea. You can access them through a discreet hole in the city walls – hence why they are known as ‘hole in the wall’ bars (‘buza’ means ‘hole’ in Croatian). There is a helpful sign saying “cold drinks with the most beautiful view’ to point you in the right direction!
The tables are arranged facing out to the sea over different levels on the rocks and is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink whilst watching the sun go down over the adriatic sea. Warning – prices are a little on the expensive side and no toilets are available. The second Buza is about a three minute walk away.
Address: Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Opening times: April -October, daily 9am-2am; November – April, open on sunny days
9. Island hop the Elafiti Islands
Escape the summer crowds of Dubrovnik for the day and jump on a ferry to visit some of the nearby beautiful islands. The Elafiti archipelago consists of 13 islands, with only three of them being inhabited: Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan. These islands each have small quaint villages and sandy beaches which are perfect for sunbathing and swimming – and Lopud and Kolocep are both car free. We stayed at the TUI BLUE Kalamota Island resort in Kolocep which is one of the top rated all-inclusive resorts in Croatia.
You can visit each island by public ferry (departs Dubrovnik 4 times a day) – or island hop by private yacht. A fun option is to take a group tour aboard Karaka – a replica of a traditional medieval boat.
10. Go on a day trip
If you are looking for somewhere a bit quieter along the coast, then head to Cavtat, a pretty town just 20 kilometres away from Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is a great base to explore southern Dalmatia and it’s easy to hop across the border to either spend a day in Kotor, Montenegro (2 hour drive) or Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina (3 hour drive) on a full day coach trip. Many local travel agents arrange these tours.
Things to do in Dubrovnik – add to Pinterest!
Have you been to Dubrovnik? What are your tips for travellers heading there?
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