Renowned as the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is no stranger to any top destinations list. The city on the Dalmatian coast has it all from crystal clear waters of the Adriatic, backdrop of rugged limestone mountains to stunning Old Town encased in towering walls. So what to plan for your upcoming trip to Dubrovnik. This blog will serve as my recommendation for Top 10 best things to do in Dubrovnik Croatia.
Keep in mind that the following things to do are not a chart or ranking (I put these in random order). Besides the list of best things to do, I will show you how I make up my list and some travel guides.
How to find best things to do in Dubrovnik Croatia
You can find some ways to find best things to do in Dubrovnik below:
- Google: Search for the most common things to do.
- TripAdvisor: Read reviews about tourist attractions, hotels and restaurants. Create the short list for places to see, where to stay and food to eat.
- Instagram: Find Instagrammable places and see other people’s photos to plan ahead.
- Pinterest: Pin some ideas for photos and blog posts.
1. Visit Dubrovnik Old Town
Once rivaled Venice as a trading port, Dubrovnik was an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. The city reached its peak for prosperity in the 16th century and achieved a high level of development which is renowned as the “pearl of the Adriatic” since then.
Nowadays, all the remnants of that glorious time can be found inside Dubrovnik Old Town. The perfectly-preserved medieval town boasts the combination of architecture styles like Renaissance (Sponza Palace), Gothic (Rector’s Palace which is a history museum now) and Baroque (St. Blaise Church).
It felt like being transferred back to the medieval time when visiting the old town area (and sometimes you will bump into some guy dressed up as gladiators).
However the old town will be extremely crowded which won’t last until midnight. As a result, if you wish to experience the nostalgic vibes of medieval time, better visit this area early in the morning.
2. “Challenge yourself” at Dubrovnik Wall
The Walls of Dubrovnik are a series of defensive stone walls that encircled the city’s historic core. A walk through the wall will not only offer breathtaking views of Dubronvik’ terracotta and the shimmering Adriatic, but also a glimpse into the city’s glorious history.
And no visit to Dubrovnik is complete without taking a walk around the city walls. However, the wall once hindered the step of invaders, now a challenge for every tourist. Keep in mind that the 2 kilometer journey will involve numerous steep steps and barely any shades along the way.
Yes, the walk may be tough however the view is worth it. So don’t give up along the way as you can find the most valuable treasure of the Adriatic.
3. Feel Dubrovnik people’s resilience in Lovrijenac Fort
Not far away from the Dubrovnik old town is Lovrijenac Fort. Overlooking the Adriatic Sea from a cliff top perch, Lovrijenac Fort plays as an important stronghold that protected the city for hundreds of years.
Despite being rebuilt and repaired many times since construction, the fort stands tall which has become a symbol of resilience of Dubrovnik’s people. And you won’t know how resilient Dubrovnik People are unless you visit the fort.
Inside the fort display the remnants of past war. And the most noticeable one is the famous inscription carved in stone above the door leading to the fortress “Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro” (translated as “Freedom cannot be sold for all the gold of the world”).
4. Get yourself a panoramic views of Dubrovnik from Mount Srđ
Part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range which rises to a height of 1,352 feet, Mt. Srd creates a backdrop of rugged limestone mountains for Dubrovnik old town.
And there are no better places in Dubrovnik than Mt. Srđ to grab a stunning 360-degree view of Dubrovnik. There is no doubt that climbing up Mt. Srđ tops the list for best things to do in Dubrovnik.
Yes, it was also on my list. I bought myself a cable car ticket to enjoy the little time at the end of the day. From the top of Mt. Srđ, the old town looks like a “little pancake” among the Adriatic feast.
Make your way out of the observation deck and head up to the nearby view point area. Be careful there are no fences raising up. I saw many people slip and get hurt.
Mt. Srđ can be reached by 3 ways including cable car, bus and hiking. However, it is recommended to take the cable car if you do not have much time.
Dubrovnik Cable Car tickets can be purchased at the station or online. You can find the rate below:
- Adult round-trip ticket: 200,00 kn
- Adult one-way ticket: 110,00 kn
- Children round-trip ticket (4 – 12 years): 50,00 kn
- Children one-way ticket (4 – 12 years)30,00 kn
- Children (0 – 4 years old): Free
And keep in mind that the cable car will not operate during winter months. You can find the timetable below:
- January, February, March, November, December: CLOSED
- April & October: 9:00 – 21:00
- May: 9:00 – 22:00
- June, July, August, September: 9:00 – 24:00
5. Take a boat trip around Dubrovnik old town
Climbing up the Dubrovnik wall and Mt. Srđ, then what to do next? Going down to the water is not a bad option.
We found this boat trip when asking for ways to get to Sveti Jakov beach.At first, I thought this was only a ride from the harbor to the beach, but it turned out to be a tour with the boat driver acting as tour guide.
Every time passing by a place, the boat driver will tell guests some stories behind each (and the story might be different from what you searched before). It feels like diving into the magical world of Dubrovnik.
6. Sunbathe in Sveti Jakov Beach
Located in the eastern part of Dubrovnik Town, Sveti Jakov is probably one of the most spectacular beaches which is enchanted with crystal clear water and breathtaking backdrop of the old town.
The beach is popular with locals, however goes pretty much unnoticed by tourists. Yes, it was the reason why I picked Sveti Jakov Beach, not any other tourist-loved beaches like Banje, Bellevue or Uvala Lapad. It will be a good place to get away from the excessive flow of tourists.
And Sveti Jakow was exactly what we expected for Mediterranean beach vibes. Less people, turquoise water, tranquil ambience are all to make a day.
If you wish to spend some time at Sveti Jakov Beach, better take the boat since it is not so convenient to take the bus then walking down 160 steps. And you will need to pay some money to rent a beach chair.
7. Pay a visit to abandoned hotel – Belvedere Hotel
Not far away from Sveti Jakov Beach is Belvedere Hotel. We didn’t know the hotel existed until reaching the tour desk. They told me that there is an abandoned hotel nearby Sveti Jakov beach which
Being abandoned since the Croatian War, the hotel has been surrounded by rumors of horror stories and paranormal activities. However, “rumor is just rumor”.
After spending some time at Sveti Jakov Beach, we headed toward Belverde Hotel and stopped for a while at the terrace area. There is nothing but a breathtaking view overlooking the turquoise Adriatic sea.
8. Explore local life away from the main street
No one can deny that almost all highlights of the Old town are gathered in the main street of Stradun. However, the old town has more than main streets. So what to expect?
Far away from the bustle and hustle of main streets are where daily activities take place. Just ignore the tourist flows and make your way towards lanes and alleyways no matter where they lead to. You will bump into flower pots, hanging racks and grandma rocking chairs.
Believe me, this will offer opportunities to take some photos for Instagram and you will not need to compete with other tourists. .
9. Dine in a alleyway restaurant
Dubrovnik has no shortage of restaurants with views. Limestone mountains, Adriatic sea, Lokrum island and iconic wall are some views to name some.
However, the best views are not located in those aforementioned areas, but actually located in those small alleys. Who cares about mountains or ocean views when you have a glimpse of local life in front of you.
Down to the narrow lanes of Dubrovnik Old Town, you can find a wide variety of restaurants from family-owned to luxury one. But don’t worry, they all offer you local and authentic experience.
Moreover, dining in an alleyway restaurant is more affordable and enjoyable than other area in Dubrovnik.
10. Gundulic Square Market
There are no better places than Gundulic Square to dive into local culture. Open every morning until noon, the square is turned into an open-air market.
It is common to see numerous stalls full of seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as other local products such as dried lavender, produced Grappa, various liqueurs and brandies, and handcrafted souvenirs.
We bumped into the market without noticing and then got lost in the authentic vibes of a Mediterranean town. And of course, we took some souvenirs and sweet treats out.
Summary: Top 10 best things to do in Dubrovnik Croatia
Dubrovnik travel tips
– Avoid the peak season if you don’t want to go “bankrupt” or go in a photo-spot “competition”. Make sure to book your accommodation and service in advance to avoid disappointment.
– It is recommended to stay outside the Dubrovnik Old Town for a cheaper hotel or apartment price and better roam around the town (the old town involves a series of steps and cobblestones).
– If you wish to stay in the old town, be sure to tell the staff or host to pick you up as it is not easy to find the way inside.
Dubrovnik turned from “a miss” to “a hit” on my Eastern Europe trip. At first, I intended to skip Croatia (and also Dubrovnik) for another country. However, I was keen on with my pick.
After spending some days in this Dalmatian coast, I understood why Dubrovnik had been renowned as Jewels of the Adriatic. Hope I can come back to Dubrovnik someday.
If you need any further information, kindly see other posts in Croatia series:
– MUST-USE WEBSITE TO PLAN YOUR NEXT TRIP –