Overlooking the beautiful Adriatic water, the magnificent walled city of Dubrovnik is one of the most popular getaways in Europe. Historic sights, sparkling turquoise waters and amazing landscape can be found in this Croatia’s southernmost city. This blog post will serve as my Dubrovnik travel guide and tips.
Besides the Dubrovnik travel guide, I will introduce some popular tourist attractions and top-to-do things.
1. Dubrovnik at a glance
Before showing you my Dubrovnik travel guide, let’s take a look into some key facts about this Mediterranean’s coastal town:
1.2. Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?
Dubrovnik is Croatia’s southernmost town and probably the most well-known travel hotspot of the country. It is one of the most well preserved medieval towns, set in the background of pine- and cypress-shaded hills, and sparkling turquoise waters of the Adriatic.
What makes Dubrovnik special than other Mediterranean’s coastal towns is orange-tiled roof top and light limestone brick uniformed house encompassing within the 2km walls.
Dubrovnik has long been a popular tourist destination for Europeans, while it is another story for Asians. Dubrovnik is not the Asian’s first choice when traveling to Europe (Believe me I didn’t even know about Dubrovnik until I studied in the UK).
When asking my sister (who studied at the same school with me in the UK) some interesting places to travel in Europe, the first one to come was Dubrovnik, Croatia. I fell in love with this Mediterranean’s coastal town immediately. And here came the trip after 2 months.
1.2. Is Dubrovnik safe?
Dubrovnik is safer when compared to other tourist hotspots in Europe with low crime and scam rates. The only thing you should be concerned about is pickpockets when walking in large crowds.
However, don’t forget to keep yourself away from unintentional self-injuries when strolling around the town. Most areas within the old town are set on hills which involve some sort of steps. Moreover, cobblestone streets can be pretty slippery and uncomfortable to walk.
2. Best time to visit Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. For the Mediterranean region, summer is definitely the good time to travel thanks to abundance of sunshine and low precipitation.
As a result, tourists start flocking this well-preserved medieval town during summer months which drives accommodation prices, flight tickets or service charges to reach its peak. If you are traveling to Dubrovnik on a budget, let’s forget about summer.
Shoulder season (May or September) would definitely be good options as it has a more affordable price and comfortable weather. Yes, I travelled to Dubrovnik on the very last day of the shoulder season, but I still made it on time to get the off-season price.
Winter in Dubrovnik is mild which also enjoys a lot of sunshine per day. However, wintertime sees less crowds and cheaper prices than other periods. It would be an ideal time to experience authentic Dubrovnik. Keep in mind that Lokrum Island and some other tourist destinations are closed during this period.
3. How to travel to and get around Dubrovnik
3.1. How to travel to Dubrovnik
Being the southernmost town in Croatia, Dubrovnik is far from other tourist destinations of the country (200km from Split, 350km from Zadar and 600km from Zagreb).
a. Plane: The best way to travel to Dubrovnik is by plane. I took a flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik by Croatia Airlines which offers some discounts for youth (12 – 24 years old). It takes us 415 kuna for a flight from Zagreb, FYI.
b. Bus: You can easily reach Dubrovnik by bus from many places in Croatia. As it takes more than 12 hours to go to Dubrovnik from Zagreb, we choose to fly instead. If you wish to travel by bus, kindly see the official Croatia Bus page for more information.
3.2. How to travel to Dubrovnik’s Airport
Bus is the most budget-friendly and convenient way to go to the airport (and vice versa). The airport shuttle bus departs after every scheduled flight (even at midnight).
You don’t need to buy the ticket in advance. I bought the ticket right after baggage check.It will be cheaper to buy the round-way ticket with in advance. It takes us 70 kuna for a round way ticket, FYI.
For more information about airport services, kindly see this link.
3.3. How to get around Dubrovnik
As Dubrovnik Old Town is characterized by cobblestone streets and steepy stairs, the only way to get around is by foot. And of course leave high heels, boots at home, choose a good pair of trainers instead.
If you wish to travel to other areas than the old town, bus will be an economical and reliable option. There are a total of 12 bus lines in Dubrovnik, connecting all parts of the city with the old town.
However, bus is not always a good option when it comes to reaching uphill or downhill places. You will not reach the places without passing a series of steps. And here comes Sveti Jakov Beach.
For such downhill places, boat is definitely the best option. You can get a boat taxi or book a boat tour (they will send you right next to the beach and pick you up later). We booked the boat tour in Dubrovnik Old Port and no need advanced booking, fyi.
4. What is the best area to stay in Dubrovnik
4.1. What is the best area to stay in Dubrovnik
The best area to stay in Dubrovnik is inside and near the wall where almost all the main sights in town are located.
However many neighborhoods in Dubrovnik, including the part of the old town, are set on the hill which involves some sort of steepy stairs. Cobblestone streets and steepy stairs make it more uncomfortable to walk around (of course it will be more challenging to commute with luggages).
Moreover, it will cost you more to stay inside the wall, especially during the peak season. As we are unable to find any options inside the old town during our trip to Dubrovnik, we stay outside instead.
Our Airbnb is located just a few minutes away from the walled old town and luckily it is not challenged by steps.
4.2. Booking tips for Dubronvik
– Dodge the peak season (which falls on summer months) if you don’t want to exceed your travel budget.
– Book your accommodation in advance to secure your selected places and spots.
– Choose an accommodation which offers free of charge luggage storage (yes, my flight back to the UK departed at midnight, so we had to leave the luggage at our apartment).
– After the reservation is confirmed, don’t forget to tell your hotel staff or host to pick you up from the meeting point. Because it will be not easy to find your accommodation in Dubrovnik’s maze of small streets and alleys.
5. Best places to visit in Dubrovnik
5.1. Dubrovnik Old Town
Lying within the wall is the wonderfully preserved medieval Dubrovnik old town. The pedestrian-only old town is packed with beautiful Baroque architecture and cobblestone streets.
There are more than that tourist attractions in Dubrovnik old town, but a glimpse into local’s daily life. Away from the bustle and hustle of main street Stradun (or Placa), you can find cross-the-street drying racks and stair-side flower pots.
5.2. Walls of Dubrovnik
Built in the 13th century as a defensive stone wall surrounding the old town of Dubrovnik. The 1940 meters long wall with 6 fortresses (Lovrijenac, Revelin, Minčeta, Bokar, St John and St Lucas) has protected Dubronivk from unwelcome guests.
One of the most popular activities in Dubrovnik is walking along the wall. These impressive walls offer some sort of you-never-seen-before view from orange-tiled roofs and narrow streets to turquoise blue water.
5.3. Mt. Srđ
Mt. Srđ is a low mountain behind the walled city which sets the iconic Balkan backdrop for Dubrovnik’s old town.
Mt. Srd is a popular tourist destination which offers panoramic and unobstructed views of Dubrovnik Old Town, Lokrum island and the Adriatic sea. You can either hike up all the way or take the cable car to reach the viewpoint.
5.4. Lokrum Island
Lokrum island is undoubtedly the best getaway among locals as well as visitors. It is a small island and nature reserve located just a short ferry away from Dubrovnik Old Town.
The island is covered by a plenty of plants namely pine, cypress and olive trees as well as some other subtropical vegetation, which offers tranquillity and shade. Moreover, Lokrum is entirely uninhabited in which you can see local wildlife runs free.
5.5. Lovrijenac Fort
Built on a 37 m high sea rock, Lovrijenac Fort was used to be of prime importance for the defence resisting Venetian rule. The fort has a triangular shape with up to 12 meters thick wall and was equipped with 10 large cannons. As a result, Lovrijenac Fort is often called “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”,
When all threads have gone, Lovrijenac Fort becomes one of the most visited places in Dubrovnik for an impressive view overlooking the walled city.
5.6. Belvedere Hotel
Not far from Dubrovnik Old Town was a beautiful yet abandoned hotel, named Belvedere. This hotel has been abandoned since the Croatian War of Independence. And of course, there were also some scary stories about this hotel.
However, mysterious things drove our curiosity and we visited this place instead of Lokrum island. Believe me, there aren’t any scary things when visiting this hotel. All I see is amazing views overlooking the Adriatic sea.
5.7. Nearby places to take a day trip from Dubrovnik
a. Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina: Referred to as the “jewel of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Mostar fascinated visitors with Islamic architecture, rich culture and the Stari Most (the Instagrammable arch bridge).
b. Kotor Bay – Montenegro: Kotor is the winding bay of the Adriatic and the old coastal and cultural centre. For centuries, it has been a crossroads of commercial roads under the strong influence of Venice. Photogenic medieval towns and commanding cliffs rising above peacock-blue inlets are what to be found in this nearby town away from Dubrovnik.
6. Best things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik offers everything from historical buildings, amazing landscapes to beautiful beaches. And there are a couples of things you need to do when traveling to this “gem of the Adriatic”
- Visit Dubrovnik Old Town
- Walk along the Dubrovnik Wall
- Get yourself panoramic views from Mt. Srđ
- Sunbathe in Sveti Jakov Beach
- Pay a visit to abandoned hotel – Belvedere Hotel
- Lovrijenac Fortress
- Take a boat trip around Dubrovnik
- Grab a drink at Buza Bar
- Enjoy the medieval vibes at Stradun
- Explore local life inside away from the main street
7. Dubrovnik travel itinerary
7.1. How many days in Dubrovnik is enough?
3 or 4 days is enough to visit Dubrovnik only if you don’t plan to visit Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina or Kotor Bay – Montenegro (since they are just miles away). You can stay more than 3 days to get some Mediterranean sun.
As we were on a multi-country European trip, we only had 2 days in Dubrovnik. 2 days is a bit rush in my opinion. And of course we had to skip some places.
7.2. Dubrovnik travel itinerary
You can find my Dubrovnik travel itinerary below (this itinerảy is for reference only)
DAY 1: Arrive at 11:00 pm then take the shuttle bus to Old Town
DAY 2: Dubrovnik Old Town – Dubrovnik Wall – Mount Srđ
(You can visit Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina or Kotor Bay – Montenegro on day trip after day 2)
DAY 3: Lovrijenac Fortress – Bellevue Hotel – Sveti Jakov Beach – Back to accommodation and go to the airport
7.3. Dubrovnik travel map
Kindly see my Dubrovnik travel map to plan your itinerary (I pin some tourist attractions, restaurants and airports in this map):
8. Dubrovnik travel budget
8.1. Is Dubrovnik expensive to visit?
Dubronivk is more expensive compared to other cities in Croatia, especially during the peak season (June – August).
I travelled to Dubrovnik on 30th May, which is 2 days before the beginning of peak travel season. But I still got the off-peak season price as the peak season price is not valid until 1st June.
You can find some saving tips for Dubrovnik below:
- Don’t book your accommodation inside the walled city
- Make sure to book your accommodation in advance to secure the best place and save money
- Money exchange shops are easy to find in Stradun Street (the main street of Dubrovnik Old Town).
8.2. My Dubrovnik Travel Budget
I spent 1950 kuna (259€) for my 2D2N trip to Dubrovnik. The majority of my budget was for transportation.
You can find my Dubrovnik travel budget below
|1. Flight Zagreb – Dubrovnik||395 Kuna||* Depend on the journey being made|
|2. Flight Dubrovnik – London||352 Kuna||* Depend on the journey being made|
|3. Bus airport – Dubrovnik Old Town||70 Kuna||* Round-way ticket|
|4. 2 nights accommdation||428 Kuna|
|5. Dubrovnik Wall||150 Kuna|
|6. Mt. Srđ Cable Car||130 Kuna|
|7. Boat tour||75 Kuna|
|8. 2D2N eating cost||350 Kuna|
|TOTAL||1950 Kuna||≈ 259 €|
9. Summary: Dubrovnik travel guide
9.1. Dubrovnik travel tips
– Say no to high heels and boots as it will not be comfortable to walk around the old town. Choose a comfortable trainer instead.
– Book your accommodations and tours in advance to secure your service
Dubrovnik is amazing. I didn’t put too much expectation on Dubrovnik because I had visited some top-rated tourist destinations in the beginning of my multi-country trip to Europe.
However, the trip to Dubrovnik turned out to be the most memorable so far. After the trip, I understood why it was referred to as “the gem of Adriatic”.
This is my Dubrovnik travel guide and tips. If you need any further information, do not hesitate to contact me.
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