Whether you have 10 days in Croatia or a month, frolicking among the best things to do in Dubrovnik is a must.
Dubbed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is the most popular travel destination in Croatia. The top tourist attractions in Dubrovnik number among the country’s best. Whether plying its ancient city walls or frolicking in the Adriatic Sea among magnificent natural attractions just offshore, Dubrovnik is a place like none other.
Not sure what to do in Dubrovnik? Start planning your trip with this Dubrovnik attractions guide including the best places to visit in Dubrovnik for travellers…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Dubrovnik: Top attractions & places to visit
- Where to stay in Dubrovnik: The best hotels for sightseeing
- Beyond Dubrovnik: More places to go in Croatia
What to do in Dubrovnik: Top attractions & places to visit
Walk along the ancient Walls of Dubrovnik
Whether you have one day in Dubrovnik or a week, make it your mission to pound along the stunning ancient Walls of Dubrovnik.
The city walls of Dubrovnik were originally built to defend the 300-year-running independent Republic of Ragusa city-state. They stretch out about two kilometres to encircle the entire Old Town of Dubrovnik.
Treading along the Walls of Dubrovnik, over a dozen towers, five bastions and three fortifications, including St. John Fortress, await.
The views from this top Dubrovnik point of interest are the real kicker though. Nearly every step along the Walls of Dubrovnik seems to unleash a stellar vista, sweeping in over the Old Town and the azure Adriatic Sea.
As the Walls of Dubrovnik are among the most popular Dubrovnik tourist attractions, be sure to arrive as early as possible to minimize brushing up against the biggest crowds.
Be sure to bring along a hat & sunscreen. It can get a little hot along the walls with the hot Croatian summer sun blazing down!
- Opening Hours: 8:00am to 6:30pm (Apr-May, Aug-Sep), 8:00am to 7:30pm (Jun-Jul), 8:00am to 5:30pm (Oct), 9:00am to 3:00pm (Nov-Mar)
- Admission: 150 Kn (adults), 50 Kn (children)
Wander around Dubrovnik Old Town
I can hardly think of a more enchanting place for a stroll than Dubrovnik Old Town.
Like so many ancient cities in Southeastern Europe & the Balkans, Dubrovnik Old Town feels impossibly beautiful. There’s hardly a corner of it that doesn’t leave your mouth gaping wide in awe. It’s not wonder why Old Town tops every list of what to see in Dubrovnik!
Even with many centuries passing and a not-so-distant war that left parts of the city shattered, Dubrovnik has retained much of its ancient character. This is reflected in a rich tapestry of Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque architecture blanketing its palaces, churches, monasteries, and piazzas.
The top Dubrovnik Old Town sights to look out for include:
- Palace Sponza: An early-16th century palace blending Renaissance and Gothic elements including a six-column portico that’ll stop you in your tracks.
- Church Sveti Vlaho (St Blaise): A Baroque church hailing from the early-18th century. The central location on the lovely Luža Trg makes it a popular place to congregate and rest.
- Dominican Monastery: A 14th-century monastery with a popular museum housing works of religious art from Dubrovnik and other areas in Europe.
Take the Dubrovnik Cable Car up Mount Srđ
As amazing as spotting Dubrovnik Old Town from the city walls is, the best views in Dubrovnik are found at none other than Mount Srđ. This 412-metre mountain looms north of the city centre and is one of the most famous places to go in Dubrovnik.
With a little gumption, you can trek up Mount Srđ on your own volition. But, undoubtedly, the easier experience is to scroll up with the Dubrovnik Cable Car.
Tracking the route up Srđ since 1969, the Dubrovnik Cable Car hangs high above to deliver world-class views of Old Town. The cable car ride itself is spectacular, and is, on its own, one of the top things to see in Dubrovnik.
Besides pulling buzz-worthy vistas, Mount Srđ is home to Fort Imperial. This early-19th century fortress saw Dubrovnik through numerous military battles.
Fort Imperial now hosts a museum dedicated to the Croatian War of Independence including the Siege of Dubrovnik, which took place in this very spot.
To see Dubrovnik from above at its absolute best, time your trip up Mount Srđ with the sunrise.
Reimagine history at Lovrijenac Fort
Yet another entry into Dubrovnik’s endless list of military defense structures, Lovrijenac Fort is one of the top points of interest in Dubrovnik and a must-see for travellers.
In its Ragusa Republic days, the ancient port city of Dubrovnik was a target for conquerers. Legend has it that Lovrijenac Fort, also known as Fort Lawrence, was built in response to a leaked threat of attack by the Venetians, who drew up plans to build their own fortress in that very same location.
Like Fort Imperial on Mount Srđ, Lovrijenac Fort saw its fair share of action. With outside walls up to 12 metres thick, the fortress had little difficulty protecting Dubrovnik from foreign invaders over the centuries.
Today, Lovrijenac Fort has shown itself capable of another intense battle: show business. The stunning location has made the fortress a favourite filming location for historical fiction dramas including Knights Templar. Most famously, the fortress is one of Dubrovnik’s main Game of Thrones filming spots, filling in for the Red Keep.
Lovrijenac Fort also provides the backdrop to theatre productions during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival including Hamlet.
Chill out on Lokrum Island
Need to escape the chaos of Old Town Dubrovnik? Lokrum Island, one of the best day trips from Dubrovnik, lies just ten minutes from Old Town by ferry.
Blanketed with a dense cloak of oaks, pines, cypress and olive trees, Lokrum Island delivers a relaxing getaway from the Dubrovnik city centre—even if you can only squeeze in half a day!
Once on Lokrum Island, exploring by foot is the best way to experience the island.
The coastal areas of Lokrum hide pebbly beaches that are prime spots for swimming, tanning, and even for a little snorkelling. (You’ll probably want to avoid the beach labelled FKK unless you’re okay with letting it all hang out—if you catch my drift.)
Also be sure to check out the old Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island. The complex includes a 13th-century Romanesque-Gothic basilica and 15th-century Gothic-Renaissance main building.
In addition to a restaurant, Benedictine Monastery hosts an exhibition on Lokrum’s history. You’ll also get a chance to check out its botanical garden, full of exotic plants from around the world.
Dip into the Adriatic Sea
While Dubrovnik’s historical charms might have summoned you here, that’s not to say you should ignore some of its more natural ones. With its prime seafront location, there’s plenty of opportunity while visiting Dubrovnik to dip your toes into the beautiful Adriatic Sea.
There’s a handful of beaches spread throughout Dubrovnik. But they might not quite be what you’re expecting.
Many of the beaches along the Adriatic feature pebbles rather than sand. And Dubrovnik isn’t much different. In any case, swimming in the Adriatic Sea is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik!
Here are a couple of the best beaches in Dubrovnik to check out:
- Banje Beach: The most popular beach in town and the closest to Old Town. Banje Beach is semi-private, requiring a lounger rental to hang out there.
- Sveti Jakov Beach: A local favourite that’s about 15-20 minutes down the coast from Banje. It’s further-flung location means its less-crowded than beaches closer to town.
- Lapad Beach: The largest beach in Dubrovnik and a favourite for families. The pedestrian zone adjacent to the beach features several bars and restaurants. It can get a little hectic at times.
Sail to the Elaphiti Islands
If you’ve got a couple days in Dubrovnik and need a relaxing escape from town, grab some sunscreen and head offshore for a trip to the lovely Elaphiti Islands.
Although not as famous as other popular Croatian islands like Hvar or Rab, this relaxing archipelago features 13 islands. The closest islands in the bunch lie just over 7 kilometres from Dubrovnik.
One of the best places to start a sailing trip to the Elaphiti Islands is at Koločep, the closest island to Dubrovnik.
When Dubrovnikers need a break (and to that I say, “really?”), this is a favourite escape.
Koločep offers plenty of relaxing walks among lush pine forests and along pebble & sand beaches on the Adriatic coast.
The other two inhabited islands in the chain—Sipan and Lopud—are also among the best places to visit in Dubrovnik. They’re well worth visiting to get a taste of their quiet, laid-back lifestyles and to catch a glimpse of their stunning Mediterranean scenery.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik: The best hotels for sightseeing
As Croatia’s top destination’s popularity soars, choosing where to stay in Dubrovnik is becoming ever more difficult. Every month, there seems to be an explosion in the number of apartments, hotels, and guesthouses.
For getting close to the top things to see in Dubrovnik, the best location is, undoubtedly, in and around the Old Town. For those more inclined to take on Dubrovnik’s seaside pleasures, the areas of Lapad and Ploce are also great choices.
Here’s a quick primer to help you get your Dubrovnik accommodations search started…
- Apartments Festa: Set in a historical building in the heart of Old Town Dubrovnik, this lovely apartment features modern furnishings that blend stunningly with the old character of the property. The value you’ll find here is excellent!
- Scalini Palace: Occupying a 16th-century manor, this guesthouse is perfect for digging into Dubrovnik’s top points of interest & attractions as it lies just steps from Stradun, Old Town’s main pedestrian street. All units here are self-catering with a kitchenette. The balconies available on the pricier units offer brilliant Old Town vistas.
- Grand Villa Argentina: If you’re in Dubrovnik to explore the Adriatic, this grand seaside villa is perfect. It includes direct access to the beach and features an on-site pool. The views of Old Town, hovering just 5 to 10 minutes away by foot, are simply spectacular.