Dubrovnik is a beautiful city in Croatia. It’s famous for its medieval Old Town, the stunning landscapes, and more recently, for being one of the filming sets of Game of Thrones.
I’ve been to Dubrovnik numerous times, and every time I fall more and more in love with the city. Despite the growing tourist crowds, there’s something in those old brick alleyways that keeps pulling me back.
Dubrovnik is the perfect destination for someone looking for both a beach and cultural holiday. With such a well-preserved medieval town you can’t help but learn of Dubrovnik’s history, while also enjoying the beautiful Croatian coast.
In this article I have outlined all the best best things to do in Dubrovnik, highlighting the key attractions and points of interest. I have also included estimated times for every activity, so that you can plan your Dubrovnik itinerary accordingly.
You will also find my top tips for the best places to eat, where to stay and all the most beautiful places to see in Dubrovnik. So without further ado, let’s dive into what to see and do in Dubrovnik, Croatia!
- 1 About Dubrovnik in Croatia
- 2 Do you need travel insurance to visit Dubrovnik?
- 3 10 top things to do in Dubrovnik
- 3.1 Walk on the Old Town walls
- 3.2 Do a Game of Thrones walking tour
- 3.3 Do a kayak sunset tour
- 3.4 Discover the Old Town of Dubrovnik
- 3.5 Explore the Croatian beaches
- 3.6 Do a boat trip to the Elaphite Islands
- 3.7 Take the cable car at sunset
- 3.8 Taste the delicious Croatian cuisine
- 3.9 Visit the Rector’s Palace
- 3.10 Go on a day trip to Montenegro
- 4 Where to stay in Dubrovnik
- 5 What to pack for a trip to Dubrovnik
About Dubrovnik in Croatia
Dubrovnik is a city in Southern Croatia, located on the Adriatic Sea. I visited Dubrovnik the last time four years ago, and I have to say I was very surprised at how much busier and touristy it has become.
We were there in early September, with summer being over and schools starting soon we thought there wouldn’t be many tourists around, but it was turned out to be really busy.
The city is actually pretty big, but the only area that is busy and touristy is the Old Town.
Dubrovnik is also an important location on the Dalmatian coast, with a lot of Mediterranean cruises stopping here. From Dubrovnik you can also get ferries or go on boat trips to islands in the area.
There are so many cool things to do in Dubrovnik and beautiful places both in the city and surrounding it, that it’s easy to see why it has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
Do you need travel insurance to visit Dubrovnik?
After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.
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Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.
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10 top things to do in Dubrovnik
Walk on the Old Town walls
Regardless of how much time you spend in Dubrovnik this is the one main tourist attraction that you cannot miss. The Old Town of Dubrovnik is entirely surrounded by walls.
Back in the day these were to keep invaders out and to protect the city from the power of the sea and waves. Today, it’s the main tourist attraction of Dubrovnik. Access to the walls costs 150 Croatian Kuna (HRK).
The walk lasts around two hours, and you can only walk it going in one way (imagine the traffic and how messy it would get with people walking in opposite directions)!
It’s a very beautiful walk, since the walls are considerably higher than the majority of the rooftops in Dubrovnik (makes sense if you think about it, they had to keep invaders away and make sure houses inside the town were safe!) which means there are beautiful viewpoints from pretty much any spot on the walls.
There are only three access points to the walls though, if it starts raining, like it did when we where there, you might end up having to walk for quite a while under the rain before you can get off the walls.
Top tip for visiting the walls; go in the afternoon. In the morning there are all the visitors from the cruise boats who go around in big groups often making it hard to walk in the narrow sections of the walls.
Most of these groups leave around lunch since the cruise boats leave early, so if you go on the walls early afternoon you will be able to enjoy the walk without as many people.
You can easily walk the Old Town walls alone, but if you prefer to have someone tell you about the history of Dubrovnik while you do it there are many guided tour options.
Estimated time required: 2 / 3 hours
Do a Game of Thrones walking tour
Another addition from my last visit to Dubrovnik were the Game of Thrones walking tours.
GoT was already around four years ago, and I remember my friend who has from Dubrovnik pointing out which parts of the town had been used in the TV show, but that was it.
This time we found the city full on organised walking tours, where a guide will take you to all the main filming locations in the Old Town, showing you pictures of the scenes to help your recognise them.
Being all avid GoT fans we couldn’t miss on the chance of seeing all the filming locations and feeling like we were also in Kings Landing for a day.
The tour lasts about two hours, and are a fun way of combining seeing the city with learning more about a TV show you know and love.
It’s interesting also to see how much of it real life props and how much is added CGI. If you want to find out more about the filming locations of GoT in Dubrovnik check out my article here.
Estimated time required: 2 hours
Do a kayak sunset tour
Another popular tour, which was also one of the highlights of our Dubrovnik trip was doing a kayak sunset tour.
The tour is about 200 Croatian Kuna per person, and includes a sandwich during the tour and wine once the tour is over and you’re back safely on firm land.
We met with our group at 4pm, it took some time to get everybody arranged with life jackets and their kayaks, plus the usual security chat and then we were off kayaking.
Kayaking under the walls of the Old Town of Dubrovnik is both impressive and beautiful at the same time.
Looking up at the size of the walls from your small kayak makes them seem even more imposing. The kayak tour goes around the island of Lokrum, before then arriving at a secret beach inside a huge cave.
I did this tour also last time I was in Dubrovnik four years ago, and even if the beach was lovely, when we went this time there were so many kayaks you couldn’t even sit on the beach.
Cliff diving from the rocks surrounding the cave is very popular. After having our sandwich, swimming in the water and relaxing for a bit we set off on the return home, and this was even more stunning than before.
The return was at prime sunset time, and we got to kayak under the walls of the Old Town as the sky was lighting up with all the reds and pinks you could imagine.
Estimated time required: 3 hours
Discover the Old Town of Dubrovnik
I’ve mentioned the Old Town of Dubrovnik before, but it’s so beautiful that it deserves to be its own item on this list of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is enclosed by the city walls I previously mentioned, so it’s hard to miss it. Within the Old Town walls you will find countless adorable streets and houses, built with the traditional style and brick.
In 1667 there was an earthquake in Dubrovnik, which then lead to the meticulous renovation and preservation you can see today. Walking around the streets of the Old Town will feel like stepping back in time!
Estimated time required: Up to you really! From 1 hour to all day, depending on how many cute streets and corners you want to find.
You can also do a guided tour of the Old Town if you want to discover all the most iconic spots, as well as learning about the history of Dubrovnik along the way.
Explore the Croatian beaches
There are lots of beautiful beaches in Dubrovnik.
However like most Croatian beach destinations (from what I’ve seen anyway!) there aren’t many sandy beaches. Even the beach inside the hidden cave was rocky, but the water is always clear and beautiful.
There are two main beaches on either side of the Old Town, one is made up of small rocks instead of sand, whilst the other by the Pila gate can’t really be called a beach by Italian standards (we pride ourselves with our white sandy beaches).
However according to the tour guide it’s where the locals go to hang out and play water polo, so we couldn’t miss it. It took us a bit of trial and error walking down little paths in the cliffside, when we eventually found it.
There is no beach per se, just big slabs of rock where people put their towels to sunbathe, and a water polo court floating in the sea in front of it.
Even if you’ve never played before I recommend jumping in and joining a game if you can, it’s great fun and the locals are very welcoming.
Do a boat trip to the Elaphite Islands
In the harbour of the Old Town of Dubrovnik you will also see lots of stalls trying to sell you excursions and boat trips to the islands off the coast of Dubrovnik.
If you’re a beach person and want to take a break from all the city sightseeing of the other activities on this Dubrovnik bucket list, this is a great way to spend a day in Dubrovnik.
The Croatian beaches and sea are absolutely stunning and you will spend a relaxing day exploring some beautiful islands.
Prices vary depending on the boat size, if food and drinks are included, how many stops the boat does etc but usually range from 250 to 500 HRK.
You can book your boat tour directly at the harbour of Dubrovnik, but if you’re visiting during high season I recommend booking your Elaphite Islands boat trip beforehand online, as it can sell out very quickly in high season.
Estimated time required: They do both half-day (3 / 4 hours) and all-day (7 / 8 hours) trips
Take the cable car at sunset
Dubrovnik has the sea on one side and hills on the other. There is a fort on top of the closest hill, from which there is a beautiful view that overlooks Dubrovnik and its surroundings.
If you’re feeling sporty you can walk up the hill, but it will take more than one hour, or for the lazy people like us you can take the cable car to the top.
If you go at sunset the view will be even more beautiful, since the soft light will really make the colours of the red roofs stand out.
There is also a restaurant here but as you can imagine it is considerably more expensive than the restaurants inside the Old Town.
I recommend going just before sunset, enjoying the sunset and the view and then getting the cable car back down to have dinner and enjoy the rest of your evening.
Estimated time required: 1 hour
Taste the delicious Croatian cuisine
In Dubrovnik you will find many delicious places to eat. One of my personal favourite was Lady PiPi (if you like meat or fish, as they don’t have much else).
Both our AirBnB host and the guy from which we bought our Game of Thrones and sunset kayak tours recommended it as a place “where the locals go”, so we couldn’t not check it out!
The venue is outdoors and lovely, with a beautiful view over the rooftops of Dubrovnik. For 20 EUR each we had a huge mixed barbecue of meat, which was great value for money.
There are many restaurants both with epic rooftop views or hidden in cute side streets. Make sure to check online reviews or to get a local tip, since given how touristy the Old Town is, some can turn out to be tourist traps.
Visit the Rector’s Palace
The Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik is one of the main tourist and historical attractions. It used to be a political building, acting as the seat of power for the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa and later on in history for the Minor Council.
Today it’s just a beautiful palace that you can visit and if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might even recognise it as the setting for a lot of the Qarth scenes in season two. Entry to the palace is 120 HRK.
Estimated time required: 1 hour
Go on a day trip to Montenegro
I know what you’re thinking, how is going to an entirely different country one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik? I thought the same thing, until I discovered that it’s one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik.
The drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor in Montenegro is only 2 hours. You will find many Montenegro day tours from Dubrovnik that will occupy the whole day, taking you to Kotor, Budva, and many beautiful viewpoints along the way.
It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a traveller keen to tick off as many Europe bucket list experiences, and don’t mind spending a few hours driving, then it’s a great activity!
Estimated time required: 11 hours
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
The best places to stay in Dubrovnik are those within the walls of the Old Town, or just outside.
These will obviously be a little more expensive than accommodation further out, but you will be so close to all the main attractions that it will be worth it. I’ve listed below some options for every budget.
Budget: Hostel Angelina – This lovely hostel is right in the Old Town. It has spacious dorms and a fun sociable atmosphere.
Mid-range: Buza Apartment – This hotel has awesome views over the Dubrovnik Old Town, as well as being just 30m from the nearest beach, while still offering an affordable price.
Luxury: The Pucic Palace – If you’re looking to treat yourself, this is the perfect place to do so. Located right in the heart of the Old Town, this beautiful hotel has great views over the rooftops of Dubrovnik.
What to pack for a trip to Dubrovnik
You don’t need much besides the usual travel essentials to have an awesome time in Dubrovnik. However I’ve listed below some key things you don’t want to forget!
Power bank – Whether it’s to check where you’re going with Google Maps, or to take beautiful travel pictures, you don’t want your phone to run out of battery!
Water bottle – You can drink the tap water in Croatia, so kill two birds with one stone by saving money and consuming less plastic!
International adapter – Depending on where you’re travelling from you might need an adapter to charge your electronics.
Fast drying towel – Whether it’s for the shower of your hostel dorm, after a a kayak tour or to lie on the beach, you’ll need one of these. I love them because they dry quickly and don’t take up much space.
Final thoughts on the best things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city which I have travelled to multiple times, and would happily go back to again.
In this post I’ve given you a summary of what to do in Dubrovnik and the best places to see, including an estimate for how long each activity will take you, so you can plan your time in Dubrovnik accordingly.
Have you been to Dubrovnik before? Would you recommend other places to see? Let me know in the comments below!
I want this guide to include all the most amazing things that you can do in Dubrovnik, so if you have other cool suggestions let me know and I’ll include them!
Looking for more Croatia travel tips? Check out these guides:
- Ultimate guide for a Hvar Island day trip from Split
- Best things to do in & around Split
- Krka National Park – everything you need to know
- Everything you need to know about doing a zipline tour in the Cetina Canyon, Omis
- Where to stay in Split