The view from Mount Srd in the Croatia Travel Guide

Best Things To See and Do In Dubrovnik

UNESCO listed old town Dubrovnik is a must-see, one of the finest, most well-preserved, medieval towns in the world. It’s so picturesque, it’s the top visited spot in Croatia and has been used as a set for the Game of Thrones and several movies. This post covers the highlights, the best things to see and do in Dubrovnik, and how to get there.

About Dubrovnik

Built between the 11th and 17th centuries, Dubrovnik once rivaled Venice in trade. With its strategic port location, it continued to prosper, until devastated by an earthquake in the 17th century. Rebuilt, it was again severely damaged, this time by civil war in the 1990’s. Under a coordinated effort with UNESCO, it was rebuilt yet again, one of the reasons it’s so pristine today.

Some consider it the most beautiful city in the world and refer to it as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. Its beauty, history, sunny climate, and friendly locals make it an outstanding travel destination.

Dubrovnik | Chensiyuan

One of the drawbacks to being a top destination, however, is crowds, and Dubrovnik gets a lot of them. Especially when the cruise ships unload. It’s good to know in advance, but still worth the visit. Just try to time Old Town to early mornings and afternoons to avoid them.

Best Things To Do In Dubrovnik

Walk The City Walls

Comprised of numerous modifications and additions from the 7th to the 17th century, the city walls encircling most of Dubrovnik Old Town are among the largest and most complete in Europe.

Walking the City Walls are one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik City Walls

Although walking the walls is expensive, around 250 HRK (as of November 2022), it’s the best way to view this impressive medieval city and one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik. It’s also a great way to get away from the tourist-thronged streets!

Seeing the views from the City Walls are one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik

Walking the loop takes about 2 hours, stopping to enjoy the stunning views and take photos. It’s about 6,300’ (1,940 m) around with 6 fortresses; Lovrijenac (St. Lawrence), Bokar, Revelin, Minceta Tower, St, John (St. Ivan), and St. Lucas.

How To Get auto The City Walls: The entrance for the city walls is just inside Pile Gate. When you descend to Stradun, the main street, look to your left for the steps up. There is another entrance at Ploce Gate.

Sites In Old Town Dubrovnik

Thankfully, the damage from the 17th century earthquake and civil war shelling left some Renaissance and Gothic buildings, as well as points of interest, intact. Some of the key sites include:

  • Pile Gate: Main gate to the Old Town and Stradun, the Main Street of Old Town. It sits beyond the stone bridge, which once was a wooden drawbridge that closed at night.
  • Stradun (or Placa): The limestone pedestrian main street of Old Town Dubrovnik. It’s lined with many historic buildings and is often used for special events.
Stradun | Piet Theisohn
  • Big Onofrio’s Fountain: This 15th century fountain has 16 carved masks and 16 water taps. Located on Stradun, just inside Pile Gate.
  • Rector’s Palace: This 15th century Gothic Palace was once the center of government and the residence of the rector. Located in Luza Square.
  • Sponza Palace: This 16th century palace on Luza Square is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance. It’s served a variety of public functions and now holds the city’s archives. Also located in Liza Square.
Seeing Sponza Palace is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik
Sponza Palace | Dan
  • Clock Tower: This 15th century landmark is in Luza Square.
  • Dubrovnik Old Port: This medieval Port is protected by the Porporela and Kase break walls.
Seeing the Old Harbor is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik Harbor

Top Cathedrals In Dubrovnik

  • Saint Blaise Church – An 18th century Baroque church, named after Saint Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, protecting it from a Venetian attack in the 10th century.
  • Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Several churches have been built on this site, with the last partly funded by King Richard the Lion Heart after surviving a shipwreck near Lokrum island after returning from the Third Crusade.
Dubrovnik Cathedral
Saint Blaise
  • Church of Saint Ignatius – A 17th century Baroque church with frescoes of Saint Ignatius.
  • Church of Saint Dominic – A 14th century Gothic church near Ploce Gate that merges with the city walls.
  • Franciscan Monastery and Museum – This monastery also houses a library and the oldest working pharmacy in Europe.

Game of Thrones Sites in Dubrovnik

Although there are many areas within Dubrovnik, and on its city walls, used for filming the Game Of Thrones, there are a few spots that stand out. Keep in mind many were digitally enhanced with computer-generated imagery (CGI), so take some need imagination. This is also why Game Of Thrones Tours are common here.

Museums In Dubrovnik

The Old Town itself is a museum, but if you want more, there are several.

Buza Bar

In the evening, if you want a spot with a view away from the crowds, look for the Buza Bar. The perfect hip, hole-in-the-wall location for a cool breeze, spectacular view, and a drink. Drinks are pricey, but the view is worth it.

You can also cliff dive here, or relax in the sun on a beach chair during the day.

Having a drink in Buza Bar and enjoying the view is one of the top things to do in Dubrovnik
Buza Bar | Colleen Elizabeth

How To Get To The Buza Bar: Buza Bar is located outside the city walls in the coastal side. It’s not easy to find (part of its charm), so use the link above for directions.

Kayaking

Kayaks can be rented at Bokar Fortress to paddle in the bay. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, this means you’ll be paddling in King’s Landing Harbor.

Bokar Fortress

Cable Car Up Mount Srd

Another one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is to take the cable car up to Mount Srd. Especially to catch the sunset.

It’s not only great for the breathtaking views of Dubrovnik, there are also restaurants overlooking the city with romantic, alfresco dining, like Panoramic Restaurant, and other things to do, like visit Fort Imperial, a fort built during the Napoleonic Wars, and the Homeland War Museum, a museum on the Croatian War of Independence.

The Cable Car up Mount Srd is featured in the Croatia Travel Guide and one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik

In peak season (July and August) the cable runs until 11 PM, so you can make an evening of it. Check here for times and prices.

The Cable Car up Mount Srd is featured in the Croatia Travel Guide and one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik
Sunset from Mount Srd

How To Get To The Cable Car or Mount Srd: the cable car is a 10 minute walk from Old Town Dubrovnik’s Pile Gate.

Lokrum Island

Lush, Lokrum Island is a short ferry ride from Dubrovnik Harbor (Porporela). This island has beaches and gardens, with rabbits and peacocks roaming freely. There’s also a botanical garden, a monastery, and the Iron Throne from the Game of Thrones can also be visited here for a selfie.

There are no houses or hotels here, so this can only be done as a day trip. There are, however, a few restaurants/cafes.

How To Get To Lokrum Island: Ferries run regularly during high season from Dubrovnik Harbor (Porporela) to Lorkum Harbor (Portoc Bay). See Croatiaferry.com for ferry schedules and pricing.

You can also get to the island on you own, or via tour by sea kayak.

Lapad

Lapad is a suburb about 1-2 miles (3 km) from Dubrovnik Old Town, and where my hostel was. It’s full of accommodation, beaches, rocky swim spots, bars and restaurants, but tucked away in greenery, so it doesn’t feel overly touristy.


Sunset beach (above) is at the end of a strip of restaurants. And if you wander further along the coast, you can find magnificent private spots to swim. I chose this one…

Swimming on Lapad in one of the top things to do in Dubrovnik.

If you walk to the beaches here, wear water shoes if possible, as there are spiny sea urchins on the coast.

How To Get To Dubrovnik From Lapad: Although only 3 km away, it’s a 15 minute taxi ride or 30 minute bus ride, via line 4 or 6. Get off at Pile bus stop, near Pile Gate. Note that during special events, buses can fill up fast.

Want More Of Croatia?

Dubrovnik is definitely a highlight and one of the top spots to visit in Croatia, but there’s a lot more to see and do here. I’ve visited Croatia twice and still want to go back for more!

Other spectacular cities to visit include Split, which is a beautiful bay in itself, but also boasts the worlds best Roman palace remains, Emperor Diocletian’s, and Plitvice Lakes National Park, a stunning spectacle of nature with 16 multi-hued lakes and 90 waterfalls.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

You can also choose to island hop along the Dalmatian coast, stopping at one of the 79 islands and 500 islets to explore their variety. Hvar, Korcula, Vis, Brac, and Mljet are the more popular ones.

There’s also, Croatia’s capital, and its charming Old Town and lively Tkalciceva street. Or Zadar’s ancient Roman ruins and 16th century Venetian Walls, perched on the Adriatic. And all the places to explore in the islands nearby.

For all the top destinations in Croatia, how to get around, safety, scams, and more, see my Croatia Travel Guide.

Dubrovnik is also close to Montenegro, which is a short bus ride south. Montenegro means ‘black mountain’ and the mountains here for a beautiful backdrop to the same crystal clear waters of Croatia. It’s also less crowded. Bosnia and Herzegovina is also just a bus ride away, with beautiful Stari Most Bridge of Mostar and solemn, but interesting Sarajevo.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Gorgeous Unknown

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading