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. In this post I will take you to explore some of the best things to do in Dubrovnik, highlighting the key attractions and points of interest. In my recent 10-day Croatia trip I spent 3 days in Dubrovnik before going to Split. This article will look specifically at what to do in Dubrovnik if you only have 3 days.
- 1 About Dubrovnik
- 2 Top things to do in Dubrovnik
- 3 Where to stay in Dubrovnik
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 actually 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 big cruise boats 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 has become an increasingly popular tourist destination.
If you’re looking for a suggestion on where to eat in Dubrovnik, I can highly recommend 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 tour recommended it as a place “where the locals go”, so we couldn’t not check it out! We wanted to go for brunch but we soon realised our mistake, since they only start the grill for the barbecue at noon, so we had to wait until then for our food. However the venue is outdoors and lovely, with a beautiful view over the rooftops of Dubrovnik, so it wasn’t an unpleasant wait. For a big mixed barbecue of meat we spent the equivalent of 20 EUR each, which given the huge amount of delicious meat we had eaten seemed to us like great value for money.
Book your Dubrovnik tours here:
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.
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
Explore the Croatian beaches
Like most Croatian beach destinations (from what I’ve seen anyway!) there aren’t many sandy beaches in Dubrovnik. 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 islands in front of Dubrovnik
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 history and city sightseeing of the other activities 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.
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
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
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. We stayed at an AirBnb called Mirjana Studio, which at approximately 70 EUR (so 35 EUR each as I was sharing with a friend) we thought was good value for money. Comparatively the cheapest hostels we found were outside the Old Town, and charged around 15 to 20 EUR for a shared room so we were happy with our AirBnb. To find out more about where to stay in Dubrovnik, click here.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city which I have travelled to multiple times, and would happily go back to again. In this post I’ve tried to give you a summary of what to do in Dubrovnik and the best places to see if you’re only visiting for 3 days or less. I included an estimate for how long each activity will take you and you’ll see you should be able to fit them all in 3 days. 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!