Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is a spectacular destination, where history, culture, beaches and striking landscapes come together. If you’re already starting to plan your next trip, your choice won’t be difficult to make after consulting our 15 good reasons to add Dubrovnik to your bucket list and to visit Croatia at least once in your life!
1. Swim in the Adriatic Sea
For a refreshing dip while having a gorgeous view of Dubrovnik, Banje Beach is ideal for swimming in turquoise waters and only a few steps from the Old Town. It’s also the perfect place for water sports enthusiasts who wants to dive or windsurf, but don’t forget to bring water shoes because the beach is more rocky than sandy (like almost everywhere in Croatia). If you prefer to sunbathe on a deck chair under an umbrella, you’ll also have to spend a few kunas for a relaxing spot for the day.
2. Explore Dubrovnik’s medieval Old Town
Founded in the 7th century, Dubrovnik’s medieval Old Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Well known as a filming location for the Game of Thrones series, it feels like being in King’s Landing while strolling through its pretty cobbled streets. You’ll also come across Cersei Lannister’s famous walk of shame stairs, the Pile and Ploče drawbridge entrances, the clock tower and many local restaurants not to be missed.
3. Walk the Walls of Dubrovnik
Over time and wars, the Walls of Dubrovnik were rebuilt many times, but still offered an important defense against invaders. Walking around this impressive fortress is a must during your visit to the city to immerse yourself in its fascinating past.
The scenic walk takes about 2 hours (depending on where you stop to take in the sea and city views), but when we were there in May, it was pretty quiet and we felt like we had the place to ourselves. However, during the summer months, it’s quite crowded under the blazing sun. As the price of tickets is a little higher than those of museums, we strongly recommend that you get the Dubrovnik Pass for the same price, because it will also give you access to the city’s transport network and several other free activities.
4. Visit the Rector’s Palace
For a cultural outing in one of the most magnificent places, we recommend a visit to the Rector’s Palace, a beautiful museum, historical monument and GOT filming location.
Once used as the rector’s residence, this temporary political and administrative role was voted on monthly by local councilors to prevent a single individual of the Republic from becoming too powerful. In addition to the collection pieces retracing Dubrovnik’s history, the Gothic Venetian style architecture of the building makes it a unique place to visit where you’ll also find an ancient prison as well as a courtroom.
5. Admire Lovjrenac Fort’s beautiful view
There’s no shortage of epic spots with phenomenal city views in Dubrovnik, but the one from climbing Lovjrenac Fort is hard to beat. Rising more than 37 meters above the Adriatic Sea, this fortress has long played a major role in the defense of Croatia against the Venetian Empire in the 11th century. Many restaurants nearby allow you to dine with a breathtaking panorama and, by strolling down to the bottom of the fortification, you’ll find a dock where you can rest at the edge of the water while admiring the landscape.
6. Stroll through the Franciscan monastery’s pretty gardens
Directly affected by the bombings during the Croatian War of Independence in the 90s, the superb Franciscan monastery still stands despite these violent times. Inside the monument, you’ll also find some traces through the walls coexisting with large frescoes and intriguing relics dating from the 16th century.
In addition to the monastery’s pretty gardens, you can also visit the large library containing more than 21,000 rare manuscripts as well as a medieval pharmacy operating since 1317.
7. Visit Lokrum Island
Located just in front of Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island is easily accessible by ferries, departing every half hour from the city’s port. This nature reserve with lush vegetation is also home to many ruins from medieval times and Napoleon’s invasion. Athletes can go scuba diving and culture lovers can visit its museum and botanical garden.
8. Relax at St. John’s Fortress
Once responsible for a major part of Dubrovnik’s defenses, St. John’s Fortress’s imposing structure now houses the Maritime Museum and Dubrovnik Aquarium where many exhibits are displayed. After your visit, take the opportunity to relax or have a picnic in the sun near the ramparts.
9. Take the cable car to see the city from up high
To admire Dubrovnik differently, hop on the city’s famous cable car where you can see the striking scenery up to around 50 kilometers away when the sky is clear. After a 10 minutes ride, you’ll arrive at the top of Mount Srđ, a mountain that played a key role during the Turkish and French invasion as well as during the Croatian War of Independence in the 90s.
10. Enjoy the sunset at Buza Bar
With its secret bar atmosphere, one has the impression of crossing a labyrinth through the walls of the Old Town to finally arrive on Buza Bar’s terrace. The panoramic sea view is simply unbeatable and it’s also a great place to cliff jump in the Adriatic. Make sure you have some kunas on you since it’s cash only, then sit on the terrace with a local beer and enjoy!
11. Try sea kayaking in an idyllic setting
Sea kayaking is an emblematic outdoor activity in Dubrovnik and some excursions even go as far as the island of Lokrum. This is an opportunity to discover this corner of paradise a little differently and, for paddleboard enthusiasts, some local companies also offer sunset getaways.
12. Sunbathe on Lapad’s gorgeous beaches
If Banje Beach is a little too busy or crowded for you and you crave a quiet day by the waves, head to the Lapad neighborhood. Its many beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters are all connected by a walking path, directly by the sea.
It’s therefore an opportunity to take a magnificent walk and land at the place of your choice to dive or soak up the sun. Among the prettiest beaches, we recommend Uvala Beach for incredible sunsets and Copacabana Beach for more privacy.
13. Taste Croatian gastronomy
To treat yourself and taste Croatian gastronomy at its best, there’s no shortage of excellent local cuisine restaurants in Dubrovnik. We highly recommend Kazbek Dubrovnik for their delicious menu featuring the flavors of the sea, freshly caught during the day, and their romantic terrace in a villa dating back to the 16th century.
Otherwise, on hot summer days, we recommend Boccapiena, a nice stop to cool off with a good gelato or an iced coffee in a cute setting.
14. Explore the Elaphiti Archipelago
Among the day trips you can do from Dubrovnik, an excursion to the Elaphiti Archipelago is to be added to your itinerary. Its main islands, Lopud, Kolocep and Sipan, are perfect for bathing in coves with crystal clear waters or strolling through Roman-era villas, lavender fields and olive trees.
From Dubrovnik’s shore, several ferries run to the Elaphiti Islands daily and the journey usually takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour depending on the chosen island.
15. Fill up on relaxation in Cavtat
To end your trip with ease, we suggest you to stop in Cavtat, a beautiful town southeast of Dubrovnik where the airport is also located. In addition to its prime location, Cavtat is a great place to rest up before heading home thanks to its idyllic harbor and equally stunning beaches.
In terms of lodging, we strongly recommend Delta Residences where the swimming pool bordering the Adriatic and the spacious rooms with panoramic terraces will certainly charm you. It’s the kind of place where your cup of coffee or your glass of wine tastes even better if you can believe it.
We hope that all our recommendations will help you to have an amazing trip to Dubrovnik and made you want to visit this phenomenal city at least once in your life! Don’t hesitate to share your favorites places from this list with us during your getaway!
Have a fabulous time!
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