Things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a gorgeous coastal town in Croatia, filled with history and beautiful architecture. It’s well known for it’s feature as King’s Landing in the Game of Thrones series but it has so much more to offer it’s visitors. From historical walking tours to outdoor sports it really has something for everyone. In this post you will find the best things to do in Dubrovnik to make the most of your trip.
Old Town – Bustling streets steeped in history
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is considered the main hub of activity and is contained by the huge city walls that were built to protect it. Throughout the summer months it is very busy during the day as there are cruise ships that stop off in the area for day visits. However, if you escape the main street and into the back alleys it’s much quieter, and in my eyes this is where you find the gems. It’s also very expensive on the main street so if you want to save some money you will find some great places to eat for a reasonable price.
See here for Recommended food and drink in Old Town [Post Coming Soon!]
Within the Old Town there a number of fascinating attractions to keep you busy. You can enter peaceful church buildings, walk through the Marina and visit museums to learn about the city’s history.
Things to do in Dubrovnik Old Town
Walking the Walls – Get to know the Old Town from all all angles
This was without a doubt my favourite part of Old Town. We got up bright and early and headed over to walk the walls before the midday sun – this was necessary for me and my pasty complexion! It wasn’t busy that early, so we walked straight in and bought our tickets. It was the perfect way to get to know the Old Town by walking the 2km round trip. There are places to stop for a drink or a bite to eat as you go around, and they have seating and umbrellas to catch a break from the heat.
We entered at Pile Gate which meant the Gornji Ugao Tower was the last stop on the walk for us and as it’s the highest point it was a great way to finish off the tour. You see everything from Fort Lovrijenac to Lokrum Island so it really gives you a great sense of direction for the rest of your trip.
Gornji Ugao Tower Museum
This hidden gem is a must see for anyone remotely interested in the Town’s history. For a very cheap entrance fee you can see below the Gornji Ugao Tower to an Archaeological dig which unearths the rich historical uses of the walls and towers. You are guided around the museum (included in the entrance fee) which really brings it all to life. The people that work there really know their stuff and being a small group tour you can ask questions and discuss what you come across. This area is all covered over so again it’s a great place to get out of the heat for a while.
Cable Car up to Mount Srd
This is another busy attraction so if you want to make the most of it you could go first thing in the morning or late at night after dinner. You can also choose to go just 1 way and walk back down the Mountain if you want to save on cost. The views you get from the cable car are fantastic as it takes you up Mount Srd and you can see the entire Old Town and beyond.
Old Town Marina
The Marina is buzzing during the day with boat trips coming in and out and beautiful views out to Lokrum Island. We found walking around the Marina at night was magical with the moon light glittering over the sea. There is a peninsula that extends out from the Marina and gives you gorgeous views across the sea. A peaceful way to finish off an evening of roaming around the city.
A great spot to watch the sunset. Also called “Hole in the Wall” which will make sense when you find it. This takes you out to a small cliff on the outside of the walls. If you want to watch the sunset and get a cold beer then get there at least an hour before. You can also climb up onto the cliff beside the bar for the more adventurous. It is a hypnotising view across the endless sea, and well worth a visit.
Things to do outside the city walls
Fort Lovrijenac – For panoramic views and a slice of history
If you head out of Pile Gate from Old Town and walk up the street a short way, you’ll see signs for Fort Lovrijenac. If you walked straight up the steps to the Fort it would probably only take around 10 minutes. However, the bay below the Fort is stunning and we ended up spending time walking down the jetty and sitting on the surrounding walls to enjoy the views. Once you head up to the Fort you’ll see an incredible structure built up on the vantage point. It’s very clear the function this fort had in protecting the city.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones you’ll recognise it as the Red Keep at King’s Landing. It was strange to see it in person having seen it so many times on the show and it really is as beautiful in the flesh. You can climb right to the top and see over Old Town on the left and Gradac Park on the right. There are toilets in the Fort, but no food or drink options, and we spent around 2-3 hours exploring this area to really make the most of it. If you already bought tickets for walking the walls, the entrance fee to the fort is included so there’s no excuse not to visit.
Gradac Park – A lovely place for a bit of quiet outside the Old Town
Another Game of Thrones set, Gradac Park is a lovely area surrounded by trees where you can sit overlooking the sea. There isn’t much to do here but we had some time to kill before heading to the airport so we had a wander up to enjoy the views.
Banje Beach – Pebble beach close to Old Town
If you want to take a dip in the sea then Banje Beach is a great option as it’s so close to Old Town. Head out of Ploče Gate and walk up the street, you’ll see signs down some steps to the beach. When you arrive, go to the left and walk through the bar, you can reach a stretch of beach that is free to use. You can pay to use the facilities at Banje like sun beds and umbrellas but we just paid a small charge to use the toilets in the bar. They have outdoor showers too so you should have everything you need.
As it is a pebble beach (and they are very sharp in areas!) you may want to wear your flip flops down to the waters edge. It’s shallow so it’s great for a quick dip but the pebbles don’t make it particularly family friendly.
Other Areas of Dubrovnik
If you are spending more than a few days in the area there are plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik outside the main city. You might want to consider some day trips or boat tours to really make the most of your trip.
Lokrum Island – Take a day trip out for some walking and relaxing
From the Marina you can get a short 15 minute boat trip over to the Island for a day visit. A return ticket costs around 80 Kuna (approx £9.50) which is reasonable and you can’t stay on the island anywhere. There are lots of points of interest on the island that are signposted but I suggest picking up a map on your way in from the tourism building. There’s a monastery, a fort and a “Dead Sea” lake on the island, as well as some restaurants to enjoy throughout the day.
I’ll tell you more about Lokrum in a separate post soon!
Gruz Port – Great location for connections to other islands
We stayed nearby Gruz Port as it was much cheaper than staying close to Old Town. It meant that we were more open to travelling around as the connections from here made it so easy. The buses run often so for a short 15 minute ride away it was well worth the savings we made. We stayed in a guesthouse apartment, where we had our own bedroom and private bathroom, but shared a living room and kitchen with 2 other guests. What won us over about this place was the balcony. We had a hard walk up the hill to the apartment but it was well worth it when you could see out across the Port to the Lapad peninsula. There were some beautiful sunsets that we enjoyed from that balcony and it gave us somewhere to relax after a long day of exploring.
Lapad Peninsula – For beautiful beaches and relaxation
Lapad is easily accessible from the Old Town by bus #4 or #6. This area is full of resorts so it’s a great place to stay if you have a family. From the bus stop you can walk down through a plethora of stores, restaurants and bars before arriving at the beach.
You can use the beach for free down near the waters edge but you will have to pay for use of the umbrellas and sun beds. It was around 280 Kuna (approx £33) for 2 sun beds, an umbrella and a table for the day. As we had planned a full day of relaxing, and I get burnt to a crisp in the sun, we reluctantly paid the fee! However, I believe if you are staying in the resort nearby these are free to use. There is a lovely, reasonably priced bar and serviced available toilets which softened the blow. This is still a pebble beach so take your flip flops again but the water was lovely for a swim.
Boat Trip to Elaphiti Islands
From Gruz Port you can get a boat trip out to the Elaphiti Islands. This includes Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. We took the Jadrolinija ferry out to Lopud. It’s about a 1 hour ride and it’s where we went for a Kayaking Tour. The islands are beautiful and have some of the best seafood restaurants. We didn’t get to see too much on the islands but we are itching to go back there.
Kayaking Adventure Tour
We took the Arches, Caves and Islands Tour from Outdoor Croatia. We travelled around 10km on the kayaks so it was pretty tough going but the views and activities were well worth it. Take sun cream, water, a hat and sunglasses to ensure you are safe out on the water. We did cliff jumping and snorkelled into a cave, as well as stopping off on Sipan for lunch. This was a full day tour so you get the 10am ferry and arrive back around 5pm so get a big breakfast before you go!
See here some highlights from our trip!
If you think I missed any must see things to do in Dubrovnik, then let me know in the comments!