July 23, 2024

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Complete Guide To Croatia’s Medieval Seaside City

Complete Guide To Croatia’s Medieval Seaside City

Nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is the perfect city break and beach holiday in one. With a stunning turquoise coastline and terracotta-topped buildings, this picturesque city on the southernmost tip of Croatia offers breathtaking views, gorgeous architecture, delicious cuisine, and so many unique and fun things to do.


From exploring the Adriatic Sea and the Walls of Dubrovnik to strolling through Old Town and visiting historic forts, a 15th century palace, a Baroque cathedral and a lively square—Dubrovnik is truly a dazzling city and definitely worth a visit.

Founded in the 7th century, Dubrovnik is a city with a very storied history. And while Dubrovnik has always been a popular vacation destination, its popularity has grown in recent years due to the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. The Old Town is, in fact, the main filming location for King’s Landing.

Here is our ultimate guide and list of things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Top Things to Do

Aerial view of Dubrovnik's Old Town
biletskiyevgeniy.com vi Adobe Stock

Aerial view of Dubrovnik’s Old Town

From the Old Town to the Beaches, there are so many things to do in Dubrovnik!

1 Walk The Walls Of Dubrovnik

City Walls in the Old Town of Dubrovnik in Croatia
Viliam via Adobe Stock

City Walls in the Old Town of Dubrovnik in Croatia

The stone walls encircle most of the old city. They run over 6,000 feet in length and reach a max height of a little over 80 feet tall. Constructed over 500 years, mainly between the 12th and 17th centuries, the Walls of Dubrovnik are one of the main attractions in Dubrovnik’s Old Town.

Tickets can be purchased from any City Wall entrance. Guided tours are also available. The walk takes approximately 2 hours, and the views are incredible. There are some steep hills and steps along the way, but there are also cafés to refuel and benches to take a breather.

  • Cost: Starting at $25 per person

2 Explore The Old Town

View of the Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Image by Ivan Ivankovic from Pixabay 

View of the Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia

The entire pedestrianized Old Town is a UNESCO site. It’s stunning and filled with fountains, art, restaurants, historical landmarks, and beautiful architecture. Stroll along the narrow stone streets and take in the sights.

There is so much to see here—museums, monasteries, the Rector’s Palace, churches, the Dubrovnik Cathedral, and lots of small stores and cute cafes. The Stradun is the main street, and many of Dubrovnik’s main attractions are nearby.

When it’s time for a pit stop, take a break at a small café for a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. Old Town is a wonderful place to people-watch.

3 Take The Cable Car To Mount Srd

Aerial view of the Old Town and a cable car from Mount Srd in Dubrovnik, Croatia
napa74 via Adobe Stock

Aerial view of the Old Town and a cable car from Mount Srd in Dubrovnik, Croatia

For spectacular aerial views over Dubrovnik, take the cable car up to Mount Srd. At the top, the tourists will find the Panorama Restaurant & Bar. Make a reservation in advance to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and a glass of wine with one of the best views in Croatia.

At the top of Mount Srd, tourists can also visit an amphitheater, a pearl shop, and a coin blacksmithing shop. Tourists can visit a museum showcasing original documents, art, and photographs from the Homeland War, go on a Buggy Safari, or hike (1,300 meters) from Fort Imperial to Fort Strinčjera.

  • Cost: Starting at $29 per adult for a roundtrip ride

4 Catch A Ferry To Lokrum

Aerial view of Lokrum Island in Dubrovnik, Croatia
xbrchx via Adobe Stock

Aerial view of Lokrum Island in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Visiting Lokrum Island is one of the most popular things to do in Dubrovnik. The ferry ride from Dubrovnik Harbor to the island is short, about 15 minutes, and definitely worth the trip! The Botanical Garden in Lokrum is gorgeous.

Tourists can also check out the Benedictine Monastery (built in medieval times), and there are tons of trails, swimming spots, dramatic rocky shores, and even a few peacocks and wild rabbits.

5 Visit Fort Lovrijenac

Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Image by zrnozob from Pixabay 

Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fort Lovrijenac (also known as St. Lawrence’s Fortress and Dubrovnik Castle) is often called Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar. It’s an ancient hilltop fortress with stunning views of Dubrovnik.

Believed to be about 1,000 years old, it’s famous for its role in resisting Venetian rule. There are many steps from the base of the fort to the top, but the climb is well worth seeing the coastal views and Dubrovnik’s City Walls.

And for Game of Thrones fans, this is the filming site for the Red Keep in King’s Landing.

  • Address: Fort Lovrijenac Ul. od Tabakarije 29 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Cost: Approximately $29 per adult

Related: How To See Fort Lovrijenac In Dubrovnik For The Ultimate ‘Game Of Thrones’ Experience

6 Spend Time On The Adriatic Sea

Banje Beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia 
Photo by Hans-Jürgen Weinhardt on Unsplash

Banje Beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia 

Many of the beaches in Dubrovnik are small but beautiful. Whether tourists hope to lounge by the water with a cocktail or jump right into the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik will not disappoint. Dubrovnik’s main city beach is Banje Beach. This pebble beach is popular, so get there early to reserve a spot.

Copacabana Beach is a great spot to swim or sunbathe. There’s a restaurant and a bar here, complete with white sun loungers and cabanas.

And Sveti Jakov Beach sits below cliffs. To get there, climb down the stairs from the Sveti Jakov Church. Expect sun loungers, a restaurant and bar, and stunning views of the Old Town.

7 Visit The Rector’s Palace

View of exterior of Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dating back to the 15th century, the palace housed the elected rector who governed Dubrovnik. The building harmoniously combines a Gothic style with Baroque and Renaissance elements. It’s now the home to Dubrovnik’s Cultural History Museum.

Expect to see period furniture, coats of arms, coins, portraits, and restored rooms inside. While it doesn’t take long to explore (possibly an hour), a trip to the Rector’s Palace is a unique thing to do while visiting Dubrovnik.

Another Game of Thrones filming site—the Rector’s Palace is the location for the Spice King of Quarth’s atrium.

  • Address: Pred Dvorom 3 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Cost: Approximately $22 per person

8 Visit The Dubrovnik Cathedral And Its Treasury

Exterior of the entrance to Dubrovnik Cathedral 
Image by neufal54 from Pixabay 

Exterior of the entrance to Dubrovnik Cathedral 

The Dubrovnik Cathedral is near the Rector’s Palace. The 17th-century Baroque Roman Catholic Cathedral is famous for its exquisite alters, especially the altar of St. John of Nepomuk, which is made of violet marble.

The cathedral’s treasury is to the left of the main altar, and it’s dripping in gold and silver. It contains over 130 relics of Saints, created mainly by goldsmiths in Dubrovnik in the 11th and 17th centuries.

  • Address: Ul. kneza Damjana Jude 1, 20000, Dubrovnik
  • Cost: Free

9 Go To Gundulić Square

Evening at Gundulić Square in Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Named after Ivan Gundulić, a great poet from Dubrovnik during the Baroque period, Gundulić Square transforms every morning into a busy market where visitors can buy fresh local fruits and vegetables.

It’s located behind Dubrovnik’s Cathedral on the southern end of the Stradun. The square is a great place to go to stock up on snacks for an afternoon at the beach!

  • Address: Od Puća & Lučarica, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 20000

Related: Split vs. Dubrovnik: Which Croatian Coastal City Is The Best?

10 Go On The Game Of Thrones Tour

Staircase in Old Town used as filming site for Game of Thrones
Martin via Adobe Stock

Staircase in Old Town used as filming site for Game of Thrones

Want to explore King’s Landing? Game of Thrones tours in Dubrovnik offer many key filming sights from the hit HBO series.

Expect to see The Ploce Gate (where Cersei entered following her walk of shame), Gradac Park (the sight of the Purple Wedding), Rector’s Palace (where Daenerys Targaryen asked the Spice King of Quarth for ships for her army to sail through the Narrow Sea), and so much more!

Game of Thrones fans will love exploring film locations in Dubrovnik via guided tour or independently!

11 Best Time To Visit Dubrovnik

Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia
Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia

  • Best month to go to Dubrovnik:
    September through October. The temperatures aren’t quite so hot, and the cruise ships have left the port.

  • High season in Dubrovnik:
    June through early October. Thousands of tourists visit Dubrovnik during these peak travel months.

May through August

With temperatures averaging in the 70s and 80s all summer, Dubrovnik is a fantastic warm weather destination. But keep in mind that this is also the most expensive time to travel to Dubrovnik, and this peak season is also a little more crowded, especially when the cruise ships come to port.

  • Summer Festivals in Dubrovnik
    : The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is in July/August, and the Le Petit Festival du Theatre is in June.

September through October

Temperatures average in the 60s and 70s, making this prime time to visit even better. Accommodation prices dip in the fall, the crowds start to disperse, and fun festivals offer fun things to do.

  • Fall Festivals in Dubrovnik
    : The Good Food Festival and the Dubrovnik Film Festivals are both in October.

November to April

Dubrovnik is cold in the winter. Expect temperatures between the 40s and 60s and a significant amount of rain (up to 16 days per month).

The holidays can be a fun time to visit Dubrovnik, but some tourist attractions, like Lokrum Island, might be closed.

  • Winter Events in Dubrovnik
    : Feast of St. Blaise is in February, and the Dubrovnik Festiwine kicks off at the end of winter and the start of spring.

12 Best Ways To Get Around Dubrovnik

Quiet street in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Shutterstock

Quiet street in Dubrovnik, Croatia

The best way to get around Dubrovnik is on foot. Buses are also available. Don’t look for subways, trams, trains, or metros—there aren’t any!

Walk

Walking is the best way to see the sights of Dubrovnik. In fact, the historic center is only available to pedestrians. The alleys and winding streets are perfect for exploring on foot. Just wear comfortable shoes!

Bus

For visitors looking to explore outside of Dubrovnik’s old town—maybe spend the day at the beach or one of Dubrovnik’s many parks—traveling by bus is a great option. Libertas Dubrovnik runs the buses in Dubrovnik. It’s pretty extensive, with easy-to-read timetables.

  • The cost is $1.17 per ticket, and tickets are available at newspaper stands, bus stops, or sometimes from the hotel front desk.
  • Multi-day passes are also available (a 3-day pass is approximately $13).

The Dubrovnik Pass offers free or discounted prices to many of Dubrovnik’s main attractions, and it includes free public transportation via bus.

Car

Tourists don’t need a car in Dubrovnik, unless they plan on leaving Dubrovnik to explore other parts of Croatia. Rentals are available at the airport, and a U.S. Driver’s License is sufficient to secure the car.

Related: 15 Instagramable Things To Do In Dubrovnik

13 Where To Eat In Dubrovnik

Outdoor dining in Old Town, Dubrovnik
Image by Filip Filipović from Pixabay 

Outdoor dining in Old Town, Dubrovnik

From upscale and fine dining to casual eateries, bakeries, and wine bars, tourists are spoilt for choice in Dubrovnik.

  • What kind of food is Dubrovnik known for?
    Simple and rustic grilled fish, black risotto, and octopus salad.

Breakfast

Gradska Kavana Arsenal

Near Dubrovnik’s main square, Luža, Gradska Kavana Arsenal is a gorgeous spot to start the day!

  • Address: Pred Dvorom 1, 20 000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Hours: Daily, 8 AM to Midnight
  • Recommended: A Croissant and a Cappuccino

Lunch

Buffet Kamanice

This casual restaurant is a great place to sample traditional Croatian cuisine at affordable prices. The portions are generous, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the blue and white décor really stands out.

  • Address: Gundulićeva Poljana 8, Dubrovnik, 20000, Croatia
  • Hours: Daily, 7 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Recommended: Black Risotto, Octopus Salad, and the Oysters (Kamanice)

Dinner

Above 5

Located on the only rooftop terrace of a small boutique hotel in the Old Town, Above 5 offers 3-course and 5-course Mediterranean meals inspired by seasonal produce. With views of rooftops, ancient city architecture, the sea, and neighboring islands, this unique restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner.

  • Address: Od Sigurate 4, Dubrovnik, 20000, Croatia
  • Hours: Daily, 12 PM to 11:30 PM
  • Recommended: The Sea Bass and the Pavlova.

Drink

D’Vino Wine Bar

With an impressive selection of over 60 Croatian wines by the glass, D’Vino Wine Bar in the heart of Old Town is the ideal place to unwind after a day of exploring.

  • Address: Palmotićeva ul. 4a, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Hours: Daily, from 10 AM

14 Where To Stay In Dubrovnik

Aerial view of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea
Image by Jacek Abramowicz from Pixabay 

Aerial view of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea

There are so many amazing places to stay in Dubrovnik. While it’s easy to find luxury accommodations, it’s also easy to find great hotels for budget travelers! And Airbnbs are also a great option for a comfortable stay in Dubrovnik.

Luxury

The Pucic Palace

Centrally located in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, The Pucic Palace is in the heart of the action and features traditional Baroque architecture, first-class hospitality, and a truly luxurious experience.

  • Address: Od Puca 1, Dubrovnik 20000
  • Amenities: Limo/town car service, private beach, restaurant, room service, coffee shop, bar/lounge, Free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs.
  • Cost: $$$

Related: 10 Hotels In Dubrovnik With Epic Croatian Views

Mid-Range

City Hotel Dubrovnik

The charming City Hotel Dubrovnik is a modern hotel with comfortable rooms and superior customer service. The on-site restaurant is a great spot to fuel up before exploring Dubrovnik!

  • Address: 4 Hrvatskog Crvenog Kriza, Dubrovnik 20000
  • Amenities: Restaurant, free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, bar/lounge, free parking,
  • Cost: $$

Budget

Berkeley Hotel & Day Spa

The 3-star Berkeley Hotel & Day Spa is located in Gruz Harbor, a five-minute walk from the Dubrovnik Ferry Port. It’s the perfect spot for budget travelers who want to be close to the city’s main sights but nestled away from the crowds.

  • Address: Ulica Andrije Hebranga 116A, Dubrovnik 20000
  • Amenities: Private beach, outdoor pool, restaurant, Free Wi-Fi, spa and wellness center, bar/lounge, flat screen TV
  • Cost: $

15 How To Spend The Perfect Day In Dubrovnik

Old Town on the water in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Image by Nick Stafford from Pixabay 

Old Town on the water in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Start the day at Gradska Kavana Arsenal. Enjoy a croissant and a delicious cappuccino while people-watching in the picturesque city. Leisurely explore the Old Town.

View the historic landmarks, pop into a few shops, and appreciate the beautiful architecture. For tourists who feel up to a longer walk, hike Dubrovnik’s City Walls. The steep hills and staircases are well worth the effort to see the views of both the clear blue water and the colorful Old Town.

To get some beach time, catch a ferry from the Dubrovnik Harbor to Lokrum Island. Take a dip in the sea, grab lunch, and stroll through the Botanical Gardens before returning to enjoy a long leisurely dinner at Above 5.

After dinner on the only rooftop terrace in Dubrovnik, stop by D’Vino Wine Bar to taste a selection of local Croatian wines. Cheers!

FAQ

Q: Was Game of Thrones filmed in Dubrovnik?

Yes! The HBO hit series was indeed filmed in Dubrovnik. And there are so many cool filming sites that tourists can visit, like the Red Keep, the setting of the Purple Wedding, and the House of the Undying. Tours of all the Game of Thrones filming spots are a great way to see it all!

Q: Which is better Split or Dubrovnik?

Split or Dubrovnik? It can be hard to determine which Croatian coastal town is better. Dubrovnik is said to be better for foodies and the Old Town is really one-of-a-kind. But Split offers cool day trip options, better nightlife, and tends to be a little bit cheaper.

Q: What’s Dubrovnik famous for?

Dubrovnik is famous for its stunning Old Town and impressive City Walls. It’s also famous for its clear blue water and terracotta rooftops, the impressive cable car offering gorgeous views, it’s storied history, and deliciously fresh cuisine. And of course, it’s the setting of many TV shows and movies.