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Referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is located on the very southern tip of Croatia. The historical name of the city though is Ragusa, according to the first written testimonies from the 10th century. Dubrovnik was the second most important harbor for Venetians (after Venice), and its maritime reputation is still evident today. Dubrovnik’s historical significance was confirmed when it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
As a small city of only 43,000 inhabitants, there are a surprising number of things to do in Dubrovnik. Thanks to its historical prominence, cultural attractions, and stunning natural beauty, the city attracts over 1 million visitors per year. Whether you are visiting for 2-3 days or a much longer period, we recommend adding these 22 highlights to your list of things to do in Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik, with its stone walls and cobbled narrow streets, is characteristic of the intertwined and maintained baroque, gothic, and renaissance style. The Old Town of Dubrovnik is the world's most well-preserved medieval city. Its construction was completed in the 13th century. The fortress city is full of churches, palaces, and monasteries that were built in different centuries. The Old Town is a car-free zone, a fact that boosts the romantic and fairytale-like attitude of Dubrovnik.
Walking along the Dubrovnik City Walls is an essential activity on your Dubrovnik trip. The Old Town is surrounded by the city walls, which are about 1.24 miles/2 km long, distinctive for their six fortresses. Although it takes about one hour to walk through the city walls, it is definitely worth the effort. The entry ticket costs 68 Croatia Kuna(HRK) (10USD/9EUR). Using the same ticket, you can also enter the Fort Lovrijenac.
The Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress offers a stunning view of the city walls. It is built on a 37-meter high sheer rock, situated outside the western wall. The fortress and theater establishment may seem familiar as it was used as a filming location in Season 2 and 3 of Game of Thrones. One interesting historical fact is that Venetians in the 11th century attempted to build a fortress on the same site that the Fort Lovrijenac stands today. If they'd win, they would have kept their authority in the region. But they didn't succeed and lost their power to the people of Dubrovnik who outsmarted them, building the fort within three months.
Thanks to the world-renowned series, it is now available to take a Game of Thrones Tour. This Game of Thrones experience, which guides you through all the series' filming locations, is simultaneously a great opportunity to visit some of the most stunning places of interest in Dubrovnik. The tour includes visits to Fort Lovrijenac, mountain Srđj, island Lokrum, and more.
Within a 15-minute boat ride, departing every 15 minutes during summer, you can get to the Lokrum island, where a green paradise awaits. The botanical garden of Lokrum will thrill you with its palm trees, eucalyptus, and hundreds of other species of plants. The Benedictine Monastery is another medieval masterpiece to be found in Lokrum. Legend says that Richard the Lion-Heart shipwrecked there in 1192 on his way from crusades.
Another fascinating way to reach Lokrum is by sea kayak. The city kayak tour accompanied, by an English instructor, will get you to explore Lokrum, sea caves, the secluded beach of Betina that can only be reached by sea. Adding to that, you will enjoy Dubrovnik and its imposing walls from a different perspective. The price is around 230HRK (34USD/30EUR).
For chilled hours under the sun, take the bus (No 2 or 6) to the organized Uvala Lapad Beach. The pebbly beach is the perfect place for swimming, lounging, and getting an enviable suntan.
Travel back in the 16th century as you sail in a Croatian galleon. For a more exclusive experience, reserve a private half-day boat ride. Even though it's pricey, 1737HRK (260USD/230EUR), the tour includes snorkeling equipment, pick up and drop off of your choice, underwater go pro camera, and other gadgets. Enjoy the sandy beaches and hidden gems of the Dalmatian sea like you'd never imagine.
Moving from the sea to the hills, the Buggy Safari is the perfect off-road excursion. The Buggy Safari allows you to be awed by the Dubrovnik panoramic views. Drive these four-seater wheelers and come closer to nature. A highlight of the ride is the Srđj hill, wherefrom you can also take the Cable Car Tour that heads to the Old Town.
Depending on the price, you have different options on special offers ranging on average from 150 - 300HRK (22 - 45USD/ 20 - 40EUROS). A typical cable tour includes stops to Pile Gate, Old Town, Stradun, and Mount Srđ. Its duration varies from one to four hours.
If you're looking to combine activities, the Countryside Bike Tour that includes exquisite wine testing is the best deal. The bike tour lasts four and a half hours. The tour heads off from the village of Gruda, 20 miles (33km) south of Dubrovnik, and concludes to an award-winning winery. Although it requires good stamina, the multiple stops in bucolic villages, unspoiled countryside, and to a mountain stream for a refreshing dive, will satisfy even the most demanding.
Time to head back to the historic city center and walk along the Stradun or also unofficially known as the Placa, the main street of Dubrovnik. The pedestrianized street is the busiest in the city. Here, there are many gift shops and ice cream shops to enjoy a generous cone of ice-cream as you stroll along this historic esplanade.
Stradun connects the west gate, the Pile Gate, with Ploče, the east entrance of the city. The Pile Gate, built in the 15th century, is the main entrance to the Old Town. Back in the day, a wooden drawbridge would be pulled up to close the gate and protect the city from invaders. The wooden material of the drawbridge was changed to a stoned a long time ago. Before you enter the gate, look up at the statue of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint. After entering, walk down the steps that lead to Stradun.
When Richard the Lion-Heart shipwrecked in Lotrum, he promised to the people of Dubrovnik that he would build a church as a votive. The outcome of its promise is this notable grand baroque Cathedral. The treasury of the Cathedral showcases the influences that Dubrovnik has from Byzantium, Venice, and the Orient. The dome emerges through the skyline, making the Cathedral one of the most characteristic sights of Dubrovnik.
The Franciscan Monastery is a complex of cloisters and churches. It also has a library that holds an extensive collection of more than 20,000 books and authentic manuscripts. However, the pharmacy is its top attraction. The pharmacy dates back to 1317, and it's the third oldest pharmacy in the world. At that time, Franciscan friars, who worked in the pharmacy, would offer their services to the people of the area. The pharmacy, which is partly and cautiously reconstructed, is still open today.
The Gothic-Renaissance palace was the seat of Dubrovnik's Rector for four centuries, from 14th to the 19th century. Today, it's open as a museum where visitors are introduced to a rich collection of historical objects, artifacts, and weaponry. Surprisingly, the most spectacular of all is the internal courtyard. The ticket costs 100HRK (15USD/13EUR).
TIP: Buy the Dubrovnik Card and give your wallet a rest! There are three options: the 7-day Dubrovnik Card (315HRK/47USD/42EUR), the 3-day Dubrovnik Card (270HRK/40USD/35EUR), and the 1-day Dubrovnik Card (225KN/34USD/29EUR). In the price are included free transport, free guidebook, discounts to restaurants, and many sights such as museums and exhibitions.
Dubrovnik is the foodie pearl of the Dalmatian coast. After so many hours of sightseeing, you will undoubtedly feel a rumble in your stomach. Why not savoring a lavish food and drink walking tour accompanied by a local expert? Try out fresh seafood, excellent wine, and the local Dalmatian specialty Peka, a meat and vegetable dish drizzled with olive oil and herbs cooked in a metallic pot inside a fireplace.
Cruise in the calm evening waters of the Dalmatian coast to experience the majestic Dubrovnik in the golden hour. An essential for the cruise is to bring your camera with you to capture these breathtaking views. If you are more of a mountain type, don't think twice and hike the Mountain Srđ for a panoramic golden hour gaze-out.
In Gundulić Square, you will find the open-air market of the Old Town. Taste local delicacies, fresh fruit, and vegetables. This is the best way to see what the locals' everyday life is like. Make sure to wake up early because the market closes in the afternoon. While you are in Dubrovnik, seize the opportunity to visit some hidden gems away from the crowds and the city.
The Trsteno botanical garden, located in the homonymous city just 10miles/16km north of Dubrovnik, is the perfect escape from the busy touristic areas of Dubrovnik and the summer heat as well. Back in the 15th century, at the request of the noble family Gozze, ship captains brought plant seeds and plants from their travels to erect the beautiful and serene Trsteno botanical garden. Walking through the Arboretum, you will be mesmerized by the scents of the aromatic flowers. Neptune's grand fountain graces the gardens, and the old-olive press denotes the existence of human activity in this same area centuries ago.
About an hour drive northern to Dubrovnik, the fabled town of Ston is waiting for you to discover it. Ston is known worldwide for three distinctive features: the City Walls, salt-producing, and probably the most delicious and delectable oysters. Ston City Walls are the second-longest in the world, after the Great Wall of China. The walls extend to almost 2 miles/3 km dividing the Ston from its smaller counterpart Mali Ston. The defensive walls offer great views over the Pelješac Peninsula. For more than 4000 years, the inhabitants of the area have been producing salt. To this day, the salt is collected in the traditional way. During July-September, there is even a Gathering Salt Summer Camp for tourists who want to experience the salt labor techniques. The reason why most visitors make it to Ston is the famous oysters. You can try the fresh and mouthwatering oysters at one of the local restaurants. If you are wondering why these oysters are so much better than the ones you have tried so far, it is because of the blended nutrients in Mali Ston Bay.
Since you made it to this side of the world, it would be a pity not to visit Mostar. If you don't mind a roughly two-hours drive, then picturesque Mostar will reward you. Mostar's number one landmark and UNESCO World Heritage site is the marvelous Stari Mostar bridge that dominates river Neretva. Stari Mostar, which is 29 meters high and 4 meters wide, sees every year thousands of dauntless divers jumping from it. Mostar also constitutes a cultural and religious intersection. Apart from Stari Mostar, your guide will lead you to the Mosque of Mostar, Dervish House, and the Kravice Falls.
While Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, there are still many other cities and stunning natural sites to visit in Croatia. Rent a car or hop on the bus to travel around this wonderfully diverse country. For more recommendations on other amazing places to visit in Croatia, read our guide on Where to go in Croatia?Back to overview
We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.