15 Unique Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
The city Dubrovnik in Croatia ranks among the absolute travel highlights of the country. Also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, there are so many unique attractions in Dubrovnik! It inspires with its world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, which is surrounded by a gigantic wall and with a fascinating coastal landscape. The countless things to do in Dubrovnik guarantee an unforgettable vacation on the Adriatic, and the picturesque beaches invite you to dream and enjoy. But also the surroundings of Dubrovnik, with the small south Dalmatian coastal towns, the offshore islands and the many picture book beaches offer a lot of possibilities for excursions.
In this travel guide we provide you with all the important information about Dubrovnik in Croatia. Additionally, we show you the most amazing things to do, the best pictures and give tips where to stay.
General information about Dubrovnik
The city of Dubrovnik has a population of about 42,000 inhabitants and is located in the south of Dalmatia, about 230 kilometers from Split and 45 kilometers from Herceg Novi in Montenegro. Since 1979, the historic old town has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Dubrovnik has always been known as one of the most beautiful attractions in Croatia. Today, the city is also popular in the international jet-set and high society scene, which is also noticeable by the higher prices, the many luxurious restaurants, bars and hotels in Dubrovnik. Nevertheless, one can still find sufficient possibilities in order to enjoy a moderate vacation.
Thanks to its rich historical and cultural heritage, the city is often called “Athens of Croatia”. Dubrovnik already had its historical beginnings in the 3rd century, as an Illyrian settlement, which was called “Ragusa” in ancient times. Later, in the Middle Ages, the city developed into a flourishing port city. Many of the most famous attractions of Dubrovnik today date back to this period. During the Croatian War, Dubrovnik was severely affected, but today all material damage has been repaired.
Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik
During a vacation in Dubrovnik there are a whole lot of amazing things to do. Among the absolute highlights are the imposing old town with its mighty wall and the countless historical attractions. Also the beautiful beaches and the many islands of the region are worth a visit. We have summarized the best things to do during your trip in Dubrovnik so that so that you don’t miss anything.
Dubrovnik Old Town
One of the most important attractions of Dubrovnik is the historical old town. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and is also one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Croatia. During a city tour, it is best to just let yourself drift and explore the numerous photo spots, the beautiful alleys, the many churches and the picturesque squares on your own. Most of the buildings date back to the Middle Ages, the Baroque and the Renaissance and form an incredibly romantic ensemble.
Stradun, the Great Street, is the most important promenade in Dubrovnik and one of the highlights of the coastal city. It is located in the historical center and connects the western Pile city gate with the eastern Ploče gate. The stone baroque houses, where numerous street cafés invite to linger, are particularly beautiful here. Also countless boutiques and souvenir stores line the Stradun, perfect for all those who love shopping.
Along the Stradun you will also find many interesting attractions. Very worth seeing is the Onofrio Fountain from the 14th century at the beginning of the promenade, and at the end you will come across the Orlando statue, Sponza Palace, the church of St. Blasius and the bell tower.
Dubrovnik City Wall
Probably the most important sight is the imposing Dubrovnik city wall from the 8th century. A visit to this fortress is almost a must on every trip and one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik. This approximately 2-kilometer-long wall completely surrounds the historical old town and is therefore the best-preserved medieval fortification in Europe, perhaps even one of the most famous walls in the world.
A unique experience is a tour of the wall, during which you can enjoy a wonderful view of Dubrovnik’s fantastic old town scenery, the surrounding landscape and the deep blue sea from countless viewpoints.
Entrance fee: 200 HRK (about 29 Euros) | Opening hours: 08:00 am to 7:30 pm
Sponza Palace & Bell Tower
A beautiful place to visit in Dubrovnik is Sponza Palace from the 16th century. It is one of the few historical buildings that survived the earthquake in 1667. Today it houses the city archive, which is open to the public as a museum. Right next to it there is another highlight, the beautiful Dubrovnik city bell tower. It had been built in 1444 and many years later, in 1929, it was completely renovated. Its valuable bronze figures can still be seen in the museum of Sponza Palace!
Entrance fee: 25 HRK (about 3 Euros) | Opening hours: 08:00 am – 7:00 pm
The Lovrijenac Fortress is certainly one of the most impressive things to see in Dubrovnik. Built between the 14th and 16th century on a rock that is about 37 meters high, this castle is a real eye-catcher and also a popular viewpoint of the city. Almost 200 steps lead up to the fortress, from which you can enjoy a fantastic view of Dubrovnik and the deep blue sea. Thanks to the spectacular scenery, some scenes of the successful series Game of Thrones were shot right here.
Admission fee: 50 HRK (about 7 Euros) | Opening hours: 08:00 am to 7:00 pm
Tip: If you buy a ticket for the Dubrovnik Wall, the entrance to Lovrijenac Fortress is also included!
Cathedral of Dubrovnik
One of the most beautiful buildings in the historical center of Dubrovnik is the Cathedral Velika Gospa (Assumption of the Virgin Mary). It is located on the square Poljana Marina Držića and impresses as one of the most fascinating church buildings in the city. Especially the facade is charming, which is decorated with countless columns, gables and statues. Also the interior of this church, with the valuable art treasures and the relics of Sveti Vlaho is a sight for sore eyes.
Another interesting attraction in Dubrovnik is Rector’s Palace, which is located in the Old Town. Originally, it was the seat of the Republic of Ragusa; today it houses the Cultural Historical Museum of the city. The open colonnade and the splendid courtyard are particularly beautiful. However, they can only be seen if you visit the museum. Among the most important exhibits are various valuable paintings by Italian and Croatian artists, the extensive collection of coins from the time of the Republic of Ragusa and weapon collections.
Admission fee: 100 HRK (about 14 Euros) | Opening hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Mountain Srđ & Dubrovnik Cable Car
The Mountain Srđ, also known as Sergius Mountain, is located directly behind the city and a visit is an absolute cool thing to do in Dubrovnik. Since 2010 a cable car, the Dubrovnik Cable Car, has been leading up to the approximately 400-meter-high local mountain, which guarantees fantastic views of Dubrovnik. The 90-minute hike from the city center to the top of mountain Srđ is also very lovely, where you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the old town and its countless red-brown roofs.
Tip: You also have the possibility to go up the mountain by car. On top, close to the mountain station there are enough parking spaces.
Old Town Port
The Old Town Port is probably one of the most beautiful places to see in Dubrovnik. The entire complex was planned and created in the 15th century by the Croatian master builder Paskoje Miličević. Still in use today, mainly fishing boats, small yachts and sailing boats moor here. Also the ferry to the island Lokrum, as well as excursion boats start from this port. The harbor promenade is also really charming, where you can enjoy a fantastic ambience during a walk. Furthermore, cozy restaurants and cafés invite you to take a sightseeing break.
Another interesting place to visit in Dubrovnik is the Franciscan monastery in the old town. Uniquely beautiful here is the late Romanesque cloister from the 14th century. In the center is a romantic garden with fountains, countless flowers, orange trees and other Mediterranean plants. However, the highlight of the monastery is the monastery pharmacy, which has been one of the oldest still open pharmacies in Europe since 1317. Parts of it can be visited as part of a museum tour.
Admission fee: 50 HRK (about 7 Euros) | Opening hours: 09:00 am to 2:00 pm
The most famous beach of Dubrovnik is certainly the city beach Banje Beach. It is located right next to the historical old town and enchants with unbelievably beautiful scenery. The sea here is turquoise and the red roofs of the city center form a spectacular contrast. Just behind the bay there is a beach club, which especially attracts youngsters with music and cool drinks. There are some great accommodations nearby, perfect if you want to combine sightseeing in Dubrovnik with a beach vacation.
Another attraction in Dubrovnik is the island Lokrum, which is located a little bit away from the old town. Well connected with the ferry from the old port, relatively many tourists visit this little island. Interesting is especially the subtropical vegetation of the island, which is protected by UNESCO. There are not many beaches here, but there are many well marked hiking trails across Lokrum. During a walk over the island, which is about 1.600 meters long and 500 meters wide, you can explore several attractions, like Fort Royal, a Benedictine monastery and a botanical garden.
Tip: The small ferry to Lokrum leaves every 20 minutes from the Old Port of the city center to the island.
Another gigantic natural beauty and also a popular excursion destination is Betina Cave, a beach cave in the east of the city. Here you can explore a breathtaking natural bay in a semi-cave with a beautiful beach, surrounded by pine-covered rocks and kitschy turquoise sea colors. The sea is crystal clear and perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
Tip: Beware, there is no footpath to Betina Cave. This cave can only be reached by boat or kayak from Dubrovnik!
Dubrovnik is world-famous as a trendy party city and therefore you will find a large selection of exclusive beach clubs in this vacation destination. One of the most beautiful is the Coral Beach Club on Lapad peninsula. Here you can chill out on a lovely dream beach, enjoy an extra chic ambience and delicious cocktails. See and be seen, that is the motto here! Other cool beach clubs are Copacabana Beach Club, Sunset Beach Club and Beach Club Banje Beach.
Sveti Jakov Beach
The Sveti Jakov Beach is another must-visit in Dubrovnik. Here an absolute dream beach is waiting for you, kitschy and beautiful like in a picture book. But to reach the beach you have to climb some steep steps. Once you are at the bottom, you will be more than rewarded for your efforts! Crystal clear turquoise-blue sea, fine pebbles, high rocks and a spectacular view of Dubrovnik – Sveti Jakov beach is a real pearl!
Tip: Just above the beach is Guest House Carevic with a magnificent view and beautiful rooms.
A great way to discover the beautiful coastline around Dubrovnik is by kayak. Especially popular are paddle trips to the island Lokrum, tours along the picturesque old town and to the many fantastic beaches, such as Betina Cave Beach. You have the possibility to admire the unique coastal scenery directly from the sea, to take fantastic pictures and if you want also to snorkel.
Tip: Really great tours by kayak, including reviews and experience reports, can be found online on GetyourGuide.
Trips from Dubrovnik
Not only the above mentioned attractions are spectacular, also the offer of amazing things to do around Dubrovnik is fantastic. Here is a summary of the best tours at a glance:
One of the most popular excursions is a boat trip to the Elaphites, a group of islands near Dubrovnik. Especially recommended is a visit to Lopud Island, a small island with a picturesque sandy beach.
The coastal town of Cavtat is also worth seeing, which is located about 20 kilometers from Dubrovnik. Here, the beautiful port with its enchanting promenade and the picturesque coast are fascinating.
A real highlight, only about 50 kilometers from Dubrovnik, is the coastal town of Ston & Mali Ston on the Pelješac peninsula. It is famous for its imposing wall, in addition to its delicious oysters that are cultivated here.
Another famous excursion is a tour to Mostar in Bosnia, where you can visit the popular bridge “Stari Most”, beautiful mosques and the bazaar.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
In Dubrovnik there is a huge offer of fantastic accommodations. From cheap backpacker hostels to vacation apartments, bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels with pools, everything is available. If you look for a recommendable accommodation in Dubrovnik, we can give you these accommodation tips…It’s worth a look!
- Apartment in best location: The Apartment Timy is a fabulous, very clean and top-equipped accommodation on Labin peninsula, not far from the beach and restaurants.
- Apartment in the old town: The Apartment La Petite is the perfect choice if you like to stay in the romantic old town of Dubrovnik.
- Boutique Hotel with pool: The beautiful Hotel More is a fantastic beach hotel, directly by the sea with a lovely beach bar and fantastic pools on the roof terrace.
- 5-Star Hotel: The hotel Rixos Premium Dubrovnik is one of the best hotels in town! Here you can expect a nice pool, good restaurants and a fantastic view of the sea.
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