10 incredible things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia's historic wonder
Discover our definitive list of what to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Uncover this ancient city’s famous attractions, historical sites, best beaches, sunset spots, and best restaurants, as well as all the essential travel information you need.
Famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said that "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it”, and after witnessing the beauty of Dubrovnik for the first time, it’s easy to understand what George was on about.
Lying at the foot of Mount Srd, Dubrovnik’s famous wall fortifications rise tall, enclosing a breathtaking walled city that is seemingly suspended in time. Surrounded by some of the finest coastline in all the Mediterranean, Dubrovnik really is a dreamlike European destination.
The UNESCO World Heritage listed walled city, with its long and storied history, ubiquitous terracotta roofs, white-washed limestone streets, elegant churches and public squares, and abundance of restaurants and bars, is naturally home to most of Dubrovnik’s best things to do.
The starting point of all things old city is Stradun, Dubrovnik’s ancient main street connecting the east and west city walls.
From here, all the main attractions can be found, including the ever popular Game of Thrones tours. Don’t let recent tv shows define your visit though - there’s a lot of history inside these walls waiting to be explored, so take your time and get a little lost through the alluring stone laneways.
Those wondering what to do in Dubrovnik should also look beyond the old city walls and take to the waters, sea kayaking around the old city, spending the day on nearby Lokrum island, or enjoying a lazy day at one of Dubrovnik’s many beaches. Or, take the cable car up to Mount Srd to watching a ridiculously dreamy Croatian sunset (they’re amazing!).
Whether you’re visiting Dubrovnik on a summer break, a weekend getaway, or as part of a tour, this list of things to do in Dubrovnik, plus our short city guide, will help you have the best possible stay.
What to do in Dubrovnik | 10 Wonderful sights, attractions and tours
#1 Walk the historic Dubrovnik Fort walls
Believe us when we say, walking the epic city walls should sit atop your ’things to do in Dubrovnik’ list.
It’s here on the historic walls that most visitors to Dubrovnik spend their time and it’s easy to understand why; the panoramic view over the Adriatic, across the vast terracotta roofs and ancient streets and laneways, is one of the most spectacular in Europe.
The UNESCO world heritage listed Dubrovnik city walls enclose the whole historic old town, and remain some of the finest in Europe and indeed the world. Originally built in the 9th century as the defence system for Dubrovnik’s burgeoning republic, the walls have had numerous additions and modifications throughout their history.
Considered to be one of the greatest fortification systems in history, Dubrovnik’s city walls were never breached in battle. Unfortunately, the Croatian Independence War left the city, and walls with extensive damage, which thankfully has now been repaired.
Walking the city walls of Dubrovnik is actually quite tough, and at almost 2kms, you’ll need at least two hours to enjoy the city walls properly.
There are three main entrances to the Fort Walls, Pile Gate, Ploče and the Maritime Museum.
We recommend entering at the Ploče gate to avoid the crowds that generally mingle around the far busier Pile entrance, and the get the hardest set of stairs out of the way first. The Dubrovnik city walls walk is one way, anti-clockwise (thank god - it would be hell as a two way system), with the best views coming at the highest point, Fort Minčeta, located in the north west of the walls. Alternatively, join a city walls walking tour (book here)
So if you’re wondering what to do in Dubrovnik, start by exploring the city walls.
Where | Dubrovnik city walls
Cost | 200 KN, which gives you access to both Dubrovnik city walls and Lovrjenac Fort
Opening Hours | 8am - 7pm (last entry)
Book | This city walls walking tour
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#2 Sea kayak around the old city of Dubrovnik
A morning or afternoon sea kayaking expedition around Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island is a must-do for any visitors to Dubrovnik.
On a typically beautiful summers day, we join Josh, our half Croatian, half Australian guide to explore the beautiful Adriatic coast off Dubrovnik. As we prepare for our trip, Josh is quick to point out that we’ll be getting a decent work out today; the 7kms kayak will burn 500 calories, enough to cover our recent ice cream consumption.
We set off for our morning paddle from Pile port, right under the imposing city walls, heading towards our first stop, Betina Cave.
Kayaking around the base of Dubrovnik’s most famous attraction is both breathtaking and daunting at the same time - it’s easy for your mind to drift to a bygone era where Ottoman ships would lurk in these very waters, waiting to attack the Dubrovnik Republic. Thankfully those days are long passed, and the only ships you need to contend with are those heading out for day trips among the surrounding waters.
At our first stop, Betina Cave, it's possible to swim, cliff jump, or just chill on the beach and soak in the glorious vitamin D. We take the first option, diving head first into the refreshing sea, before floating in the salty Med, enjoying the last rays of summer.
After a rest and recharge, we head towards the picturesque island of Lokrum. Fortunately the Adriatic around Dubrovnik is relatively still, so while the journey is strenuous, it’s far easier than previous kayaking trips we’ve been on.
As we head back towards Pile port, it’s hard not to stare in awe at the view - the famous city walls walls, the ubiquitous terracotta roofs, and the shimmer of the Mediterranean Sea - it’s bloody stunning.
This really is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik, and one activity we highly recommend (book your experience here).
What | Sea Kayaking Dubrovnik
Cost | 230 KN
Operating hours | 09:30, 13:30, 17:00
Book | This Half-day Dubrovnik Kayak tour is brilliant
#3 Walk Stradun and the Dubrovnik old town streets
There’s just something about Dubrovnik’s beautiful limestone laneways and arched passages that makes you feel you’re stepping back in time.
The beating heart of Dubrovnik is Stradun, the 300m long street that runs through the old town, connecting Pile gate in the west with Ploče gate in the east. Stradun has been the city’s main thoroughfare since the 13th century, but was destroyed in the 1667 earthquake.
Since that point, Stradun has held the same layout, as required by law of the then Republic of Ragusa. The uniform houses and buildings that line Stradun are so wonderfully unique and we recommend you take a moment to stop and look up at the ubiquitous architecture.
While the Stradun is wonderful, it can get super crowded, especially when the cruise ships arrive. It’s at this point we suggest taking a few steps away from the main square and heading up the crumbling stairways and down the winding stone streets and white-washed alleyways to experience a whole other side of Dubrovnik that many tourists never get to see.
It’s here that you see, hear and feel the real Dubrovnik - empty streets open to vine-covered courtyards, locals greet each other, pausing to chat before heading on their way, and the waft of delicious wood-fired seafood floats through the air.
So, get wonderfully lost in these historic stone streets; it’s one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
Other places we do recommend checking out within Dubrovnik’s old town include:
Where | Stradun, Dubrovnik
Book | This 1.5 hour walking tour of Dubrovnik old town
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#4 A day trip to Locrum island
Dubrovnik, for all its beauty, gets seriously crowded during the summer months, so for those wanting to escape the busy narrow laneways, selfie sticks, and Game of Thrones tours, a day trip to Lokrum island is one of best things to do in Dubrovnik.
Located just off Dubrovnik, Lokrum is a stunning forested island complete with incredible beaches (rocky, of course), a medieval Benedictine Monastery, botanical gardens,
Among the things to do on Lokrum Island is:
Benedictine Monastery | The medieval Benedictine Monastery of Lokrum was first referenced in 1023 and existed on the island until the 15th century, when the monks were forced to leave the island.
While there’s not a huge amount to see here, it’s worth a quick visit to check out the remains of a cloister, ornamental gardens and a bar (which incidentally is the perfect place to enjoy a cold drink after a swim).
Swim, swim, swim | Lokrum island is where the locals come to escape the crowds and swim in the gloriously clear Adriatic waters, so why not join them at one of the many (rocky) beaches around the island.
There’s also a small inland lake that’s worth checking out called the Dead Sea, because of it’s salty nature (you can float in it, much like Israel’s Dead Sea).
Botanic Gardens | Located next to the monastery is the Botanical Gardens, which has a large selection of California and Australian plants
The Royal Fort | Built during the French occupation of Dubrovnik in the early 1800’s, the Royal Fort stands on the tallest peak of Lokrum, overlooking Dubrovnik and the Adriatic. Although it’s a decent walk from the harbour, it’s worth it for the views.
Sit on the Iron Throne | Game of Thrones fans would be excited to know that Lokrum was the city of Qarth, and the cloister of the Benedictine Monastery served as a filming location. You can also sit on the Iron Throne and live your GOT dreams.
Where | Lokrum island
Cost | 150 KN return taxi boat from Dubrovnik old port
Departure times | Every 30 minutes
#5 Join a game of thrones tour
We hate to admit it, but we’re in the 0.005% of all the world’s population who haven’t watched Game of Thrones. We know, we know, we’re idiots.
In actual fact, we’re going to set aside some dreary, winter days to invest time in watching the series, so our Dubrovnik Game of Thrones tour will make a little more sense once we’re done.
For those that have watched the series, you’ll know full well that Dubrovnik is the capital of Westeros, Kings Landing. HBO actually chose the city as a location for the their award-winning program in 2011, and since then, fans have been flocking to Dubrovnik ever since.
The 2 hour walking tour takes you through scenes and filming locations in Dubrovnik, including the infamous (and ridiculously popular) walk of shame.
If you’re looking for what to do in Dubrovnik and are interested in Game of Thrones, don’t miss this tour (book here!).
Cost | 150 KN / €20
Departure times | 10am, 12pm, 5pm daily (April - Oct)
Book | Game of Thrones tour
#6 Swim at Dubrovnik’s many amazing beaches
Lazy days spent on the Mediterranean coast are some of our favourite days. There’s something nostalgic about setting your towel down on the rocks and diving into the deep blue waters that makes these long summer days live in the memory.
Thankfully, Dubrovnik has some wonderful beaches to make new sun-filled memories.
Some our our favourites include:
Sveti Jakov beach | Tucked away beach in a secluded cove just below Fort Lawrence (Lovrijenac) is Sveti Jakov, the beach of all your Mediterranean dreams.
Dubrovnik’s best beach, this little slice of heaven has the most crystal clear water, a picturesque restaurant and bar, concrete areas to lay your towel, and the most perfectly laid-back atmosphere.
Danće beach | A hidden gem, Danće beach is located around 15mins east of Dubrovnik old town beyond Fort Lawrence.
A beach we spent hours at, Danće is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoying a relaxing swim amongst ‘in the know’ locals. There’s also a little bar where you can enjoy an afternoon beer or ice cream in the shade, before diving back in for one another swim.
Banje beach | Banje beach is Dubrovnik’s most popular beach and it’s easy to understand why - it’s within walking distance to the old town, and the views back towards the Dubrovnik fortress walls is incredible.
While the views are great, you’ll need to fight to get any sort of real estate on the beach - the beach is overrun during the warm summer months.
Still, it’s the perfect place to have a quick cool off, or to hire a sun lounge and enjoy the day by the sea.
Take time off exploring the top things to do in Dubrovnik, and set aside a day (or even just an afternoon) for beach time.
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#7 Watch sunset from Mount Srd (Srd Hill)
Watching the sun drop into the ocean became a daily ritual during our six weeks spent living on the island of Hvar, and over those six weeks we became very enamoured with Croatian sunsets.
You see, the sunsets in Croatia are some of the most beautiful in the world - over the course of a few hours, the skies turn all shades of blue, orange pink, and purple, before eventually becoming night. Take it from us, watching a Croatian sunset is absolutely essential.
Each evening, a throng of locals and tourists alike descend on Mount Srd, located above the old city of Dubrovnik to watch the old town and surrounding islands colour themselves golden.
The panoramic view of Dubrovnik from atop Mount Srd is astoundingly beautiful, and gives you a great view of the old town, city walls, Lokrum island, and the whole Dubrovnik coastline.
We recommend jumping aboard the cable car from Dubrovnik at around 5:30pm before finding yourself prime position on the hill to the left of the summit viewpoint. Pack a picnic or beer and enjoy an almost spiritual as you watch natures show over the next few hours.
Sunset from Mount Srd is absolutely one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik, and one of the best travel experiences you can have.
Where | Mount Srd, Dubrovnik
Cost | 170KN for the Mount Srd cable car (return)
#8 Ride Dubrovnik’s Cable Car
If you’ve got alternative plans for sunset (ie. boat party, beers at a cliffside bar), then make sure you jump aboard Dubrovnik’s cable car and and explore Mount Srd outside the golden hours.
The view overlooking the old town of Dubrovnik on the journey up is worth the ticket alone.
Built in 1969 to ferry passengers Dubrovnik to Srd Hill, as well as the Imperial Fort built by Napoleon, the cable car now transports hundreds of visitors daily to take in the outstanding panoramic views.
Where | Mount Srd, Dubrovnik
Cost | 170KN for the Mount Srd cable car (return)
Opening hours | 9am - 12am (June - August)
#9 Sunset drinks at cliffside bars
A lazy sundowner after a long day of exploring the top things to do in Dubrovnik is best enjoyed at one of the cliffside bars on the outer city walls.
Located on the south side of Dubrovnik, Buza Bar is a literal ‘hole in the wall’ bar which has cold drinks with the most beautiful view (their words, not ours). Climbing through the little opening in Dubrovnik’s ancient city walls, the view is the first thing you’ll notice. Nestled into the cliffside, the bar overlooks the glorious Adriatic ocean, Lokrum Island, and of course parts of city walls.
During the golden hours, it gets super busy, so we suggest getting there early to secure a few seats and enjoying a lazy afternoon.
A word of warning - the drinks are very expensive by Croatian standards, so you’re essentially paying for the view, but for an outlook like this, it’s totally worth it.
It’s also possible to swim at the base of the bar, so if you’d prefer your sunset from the water, head down for a quick paddle.
Where | Buza bar
Cost | 40 KN per beer, 44KN for cider
#10 Cliff jumping/swims
Adrenalin freaks need to look a little deeper for their thrills in Dubrovnik, with a host of adventure activities located far outside the old city.
However, the cliffs and rocks that dot the coastline, especially those under the city walls provide the perfect jumping opportunities to get that adrenalin kick.
The most popular cliff jumping area is under Buza bar in the south of the city, where it’s possible to jump off cliffs over 10m high. Some local enthusiasts, who we must admit, are absolutely insane, jump off 20m high cliffs.
If you’re not keen to get involved, it’s fun to watch, especially while enjoying a swim in the deep blue Adriatic.
NOTE | Cliff jumping in Dubrovnik is super dangerous, so please be careful.
Where to eat in Dubrovnik
The cuisine in Dubrovnik, and indeed all the Dalmatian coastline, is all about fresh seafood, a range of meats, and grilled vegetables.
Oysters are a long-time favourite in Dubrovnik, so if you’re a lover of salt-water molluscs, stop by one of the many oyster bars for your fix.
While the Dalmatian cuisine is wonderful, we found the food in Dubrovnik surprisingly poor, considering the amount of restaurants on offer. Similar to Venice, its mostly overpriced tourist fare, so we recommend stepping away from the main tourist streets and sourcing your own hidden gem.
Or, take our recommendations below:
| Konoba Jezuite |
Probably our favourite place to eat in all of Dubrovnik, Konoba Jezuite serves fresh Dalmatian cuisine (including delicious veggie options) in the most beautiful setting, under the imposing St. Ignatius church.
We sampled the vegetarian menu, which used fresh Mediterranean produce to produce delicious dishes. The main, a combination of grilled Mediterranean veggies, was our favourite. The meals were paired with absolutely wonderful house wines, and the service was really great (which can be hard to find in parts of Croatia).
| Lady Pipi |
Located under the city walls to the north of the city, Lady Pipi is a hidden gem that’s slowly being discovered. Set on a beautiful terrace amongst vines in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, the view from the restaurant is absolutely stunning.
Serving simple Dalmatian cuisine of grilled seafood and meats cooked on their outdoor grill, Lady Pipi is a wonderful, relaxed restaurant.
| Peppers Eatery (Lapad) |
Located outside of Dubrovnik in the popular resort/port area of Lapad, Peppers Eatery serves a range of fresh mediterranean cuisine and affordable prices.
We sat in the beautiful terrace and enjoyed the fresh vegetarian pasta, full of sun-dried tomatoes, which took us straight to foodie heaven.
Be warned, Peppers eatery gets super busy, so arrive early or book in advance to secure a table.
Our detailed map of what to do in Dubrovnik
What to do in Dubrovnik | 4 essential day tours
If you’ve only got a short time to explore the best things to do in Dubrovnik, we advise joining a tour to see and enjoy the best of the city.
Below is a selection of four tours we recommend in the city, personally enjoyed by us:
OLD CITY WALKING TOUR | 1.5 hour guided walking tour through the old town of Dubrovnik. Book here
GAME OF THRONES TOUR | 2-hour Game of Thrones guided walking tour. Book here
SEA KAYAKING | An awesome half-day sea kayaking tour exploring the city walls and beyond. Book here
DUBROVNIK CITY WALLS TOUR | Discover the ancient fortifications of Dubrovnik with this tour. Book here
Dubrovnik trip planning essentials | All you need to enjoy things top things to do in Dubrovnik
Where is Dubrovnik?
The historic town of Dubrovnik is located in the region of Dalmatia on south-east coast of Croatia. The surrounding area is home to a number of smaller towns and islands which are incorporated into the greater Dubrovnik region.
The majority of the best things to do in Dubrovnik are located within the old city walls.
Critically important on the former trading routes, Dubrovnik became super-wealthy in the Middle Ages, rivalry Venice in wealth and power. Now, Dubrovnik is one of the most popular tourist resorts in all of Europe, attracting over 4 million visitors annually.
The best time to visit Dubrovnik?
Although we visited in August, right in the heart of summer, we absolutely do not recommend visiting at this time, unless otherwise essential.
Unfortunately, it’s peak travel period for all of Europe, so on top of the cruise ships and international tourists, Dubrovnik is heaving with local tourists.
The best time to visit Dubrovnik is between September and October, when the summer temperatures have cooled and the amount of tourists is far less. At this time, the days are still relatively long, the water is still warm enough to swim in, and the evening’s comfortable enough for al fresco dining.
It’s also a little cheaper over this period, for those keen on a bargain.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
Like all major tourism destinations around the world, accommodation in Dubrovnik is super expensive.
Fortunately, there’s a huge choice of accommodation options to suit most budgets (super cheap backpackers, maybe not so much) which can be found both within the Old City, and the surrounding coast.
We recommend trying to source accommodation within the old city, because how often can you say that you stayed in a historic old town?
| AIRBNB |
Whether you want to stay inside the historic old town of Dubrovnik, or in the quieter, slightly cheaper suburbs, Dubrovnik is literally brimming with Airbnb options.
As the majority of apartments in Dubrovnik are used for tourism, the area doesn't suffer from rental issues affecting larger cities such as Paris or Barcelona.
If you’re a fan of AirBnB, there are a heap of options available in Dubrovnik.
You can book a locally-run guesthouse close to town for less than £50 - £100 per night.
READ | Our comprehensive guide to Airbnb to help you book the best, cheapest and safest accommodation, every time
| HOTEL |
If you’re after a more luxurious splurge, Dubrovnik is literally teeming with mid to high end hotels - think open, breezy rooms, and beautiful views.
To get to Dubrovnik from the Lapad area, catch the #6 bus to and from Pile Gate bus stop.
If they’re not quite right for you, search for all hotel options for Dubrovnik using HotelsCombined here.
| HOSTEL |
Given Croatia and Dubrovnik’s popularity on the European backpacker trail, the town has a number of very well appointed backpacker hostels.
Dubrovnik's hostels are perfect for those who are travelling solo, or are on a tight budget.
How to get to Dubrovnik
Due to its location, Dubrovnik can be a little harder to get to than most major European attractions, however most chose to fly to Dubrovnik directly, transfer from Split, or visit as part of a cruise/sail Croatia trip.
| Flights - How to get to Dubrovnik |
Dubrovnik is serviced by major European airlines during the peak travel period between June - September. Depending on your location, direct flights are possible, including from London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Vienna and Madrid.
Check flight prices and availability to Dubronik with Skyscanner here.
Dubrovnik airport is located 20kms east of the city, and is serviced by the Croatian Airlines bus (45KN one way - 45 mins) which picks up/drops passengers off at Kantafig bus station near Port Gruz, about 10 mins north of the old city.
Alternatively, Uber and taxi’s operate the service regularly, costing around 250KN one way.
| How to get to Dubrovnik by BUS |
Dubrovnik is serviced by all major cities Croatia and surrounds, including Split, Zagreb and Zadar, as well as Mostar and Kotor, through the Kantafig bus station near Port Gruz, about 10 mins north of the old city.
The most popular route is from Split, which has 14 daily services during the peak season, and takes between 4-6 hours depending on the border crossing.
If travelling from Split, be aware that currently the route must pass through the Neum corridor at Bosnia and Herzegovina. Buses may be delayed at this point, and you may be asked to produce valid identity documentation.
What | Split to Dubrovnik bus
Cost | 100 - 200 KN, depending on the service
Services | 14 daily from Split
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