Dating back to the 7th century, this UNESCO-certified city covers just 8.24 square miles and the Old City is surrounded by 1.2 miles of walls. During the building of the Minceta Tower in 1464, there was a short supply of stone, so it was decreed that every visitor to the city must bring a stone with them. Did we mention that Old City Dubrovnik is “King’s Landing” in “Game of Thrones”!!! Let’s visit Dubrovnik!
Visiting Dubrovnik? Here’s What To Do
There’s really so much to do, this city could keep you busy for days. Here’s a list of our must-see’s when visiting Dubrovnik.
Visiting Dubrovnik? Check Out Old Town!
A trip to Dubrovnik is simply not complete without a little exploration of the walled old town. Dating back to the 7th century, this extremely well-preserved medieval city feels like a movie set (or should I say Game of Thrones set!). Here’s what to do:
Old City Walls
Take a walk around the city on top of the old stone walls that surround it. This 1.2 mile, roughly 2-hour walk is well worth the $17 fee.
Located by the port, this palace-turned-museum once served as the seat of the Rector(governor). Built in Gothic style with a splash of Baroque and Renaissance, this beautiful building is definitely worth a stop.
Also known as Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, this Roman Catholic cathedral originally dates back to the 7th century, but was destroyed in an earthquake in 1667. The rebuilding of the church led to many discoveries about Dubrovnik’s history and is currently home to many relics and paintings.
Old Dubrovnik Port
Known to many as Kings Landing Port, this maritime trading point is located on the eastern side of the city. From the Old Port you can catch a ferryboat to other ports in Croatia or grab a bite at one of the restaurants or cafes. Take a seat and watch the boats navigate their way through the bay.
Visiting Dubrovnik? Explore Lokrum Island!
Head to the Old Port and purchase a $5 ticket for the 15-minute boat ride to the amazing ‘Treasure Island’. Be sure to sit on the port side of the boat (left) to see stunning views of Old Town. What to do when you get there??
Dating back to 1023, history books show the Benedictine Monastery was built on the sea-side of the Lokrum Island in order keep an eye out for intruders. The Monastery is also where the legend of the Lokrum Island Curse began. When the monks were forced out by the French in 1808, they declared: “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!” The Curse wasn’t even lost on Austrian archduke Maximilian, who purchased the island and was killed just a few years later.
With numerous species of flora and fauna, this island is a botanist’s dream. While the whole island is covered in beautiful and exotic vegetation, head to the botanical garden in the center of the island to see some truly unique plants.
Bunnies and Peacocks
Lokrum Island aka ‘Cursed Island’ aka ‘Rabbit and Peacock Island’! Thanks to Maximilian, who brought over these regal birds from the Canary Islands in the late 1800s, you too can be one with the flock. Not to be outdone, there could be 3,570 bunnies(guessing widely, but there’s a lot!) running all over the island. We recommend bringing along some carrots for these friendly critters.
The Dead Sea
Located on the southern end of Lokrum Island you’ll find a swimming hole dense with salt. Surrounded by rocks, take a swim in the crystal-clear water or just sit and relax.
While arguably the best views of Dubrovnik can be found on the boat ride over to Lokrum, don’t miss out on the island’s highest point on the north end. Built by the French, Fort Royal Castle offers up some fantastic views of Dubrovnik across the Adriatic. **Side note: One view you may want to keep an eye out for is marked by signs labeled ‘FKK’. These signs will lead to the nudist beaches on the southeastern side of the island!
Visiting Dubrovnik? Walk around!
It’s impossible to avoid walking around Dubrovnik, and why would you want to? This amazing city has so much to offer on foot…
Just outside the western wall of the Old Town is this majestic fort-turned-theater, perched high atop the rocks overlooking the sea.
Located to the west of the city, just past Lovrijenac Fortress, is this enchantingly quiet park. Head up to the top for panoramic views of the city and the sea.
Visiting Dubrovnik? Book a Tour!
Visiting Dubrovnik? Taste the Local Wines!
Not as well-known as Italian or French wine but a Croation might argue it’s superiority! Have you ever heard of Plavac Mali? We hadn’t either.. Grown along the Dalmatian coast, these amazing little red grapes are known for producing liquid pleasure that is rich, delicious, and high in alcohol.
- Step 1: Rent a car
We recommend renting from Discovery Car Rental, we paid under $50 for the whole day. The people were super-friendly and the car was in great condition.
- Step 2: Drive to Orebic
Take the coastal roads north for 71 miles, to the winery called Korta Katarina. GPS works great here, so just put in the destination and enjoy the scenic drive.
- Step 3: Tasting Please
We recommend signing up for the winery’s VIP guided tour. After the tour of winery grounds and cellar, you’ll be served a delicious lunch and liberal ‘tasting’ in the beautiful tasting room that’s surrounded by stunning views of the vineyard and the Adriatic below. **Grab a coffee for the ride home 🙂
- Step 4: Shellfish farms in Mali Ston Bay
On your way back you can’t miss the shellfish farms, roughly 35 minutes from Korta Katarina. Take your pick of stands and enjoy THE most delectably fresh oyster you have ever eaten.
- Step 5: Walls of Ston
A little further down the road and you can’t miss the town of Ston. On the left, look for the 4.3-mile long stone wall surrounding the town. Called the “European Wall of China”, this wall dates back to the 14th century.
- Step 6: Return to Dubrovnik
Visiting Dubrovnik? How About A Scavenger Hunt
If you’re in the mood for some great seafood, find the restaurant called “Barba” in the Old Town. The menu is great and we enjoyed the octopus burger, oysters on the half shell, and shrimp salad. Well-priced, with friendly service, and you can decorate a wooden fork with a colorful marker to leave behind… Whoever can find ours first and post a pic in the comments, wins a double high-five! 🙂
Visiting Dubrovnik? Bonus!
We’ve teamed up with GPSmyCity and converted our Dubrovnik travel guide into a downloadable application that comes complete with a GPS map of our recommendations and operates offline without any need of data plan or Internet connection. You can check it out here.
Getting to Dubrovnik
Getting to Dubrovnik: FLY
If planned in advance you can find reasonable direct flights to Dubrovnik from most major cities in Europe for under $50. Affordable international flights like Amsterdam for $31, Munich for $32, London for $42, and Geneva for $40 can be found with our favorite flight search site, Skyscanner.
Dubrovnik Flight Deals
Getting to Dubrovnik: TRAIN
We generally recommend train travel, but currently Dubrovnik is not accessible by rail.
Getting to Dubrovnik: FERRY
If you’re coming from Split in central Croatia, look into taking a ferry for as little as $11.
Getting to Dubrovnik: BUS
Buses are not our favorite mode of travel.. The seats are generally cramped, the ride is bumpy, and departure/arrival times can be unpredictable. That said, bus travel is generally less expensive; in particular you can take the $16 ride from Sarajevo for 6 hours 10 minutes.
Airport to Dubrovnik City Center
Dubrovnik Airport (aka Cilipi Airport) is located 9.5 miles from the Dubrovnik city center. How to get there?
Airport Shuttle Bus**RECOMMENDED
Located just outside the Arrival Terminal, find the white Airport Shuttle Bus named Atlas parked next to the building. Purchase the ticket onboard for roughly $5.70 and take the 35-minute ride into town and get dropped off at either Pile Gate or Gruz Port.
For roughly $38, take a taxi into the city center in about 30 minutes. Find the taxi stand just outside the airport, or connect with one of the many eager drivers vying for attention.
Getting around in Dubrovnik
For such a small town (8.24 sq miles), Dubrovnik is very walkable. The only downside, or should I say upside, is there are roughly 10,000 stairs to contend with to get to the upper levels of this hillside city.
Taxi’s are readily available throughout the city, although much more expensive than the city bus. A 3-mile trip estimate is just under $10 and a 10-mile trip runs about $24.
UBER is available in Dubrovnik and is cheaper than a taxi. However, there are very few drivers, so you will likely be waiting awhile for one to arrive.
Dubrovnik has an extensive bus network throughout the city. With 12 lines running from one end of town to the other, you will be very well connected. Purchase tickets at the main bus terminal or at newspaper stands for about $1.70. If you’re running late, you can buy a ticket onboard the bus for just over $2. If planning multiple bus trips, look into purchasing a 1 day, 3 day, or 7 day pass.
Walkscore.com gives Dubrovnik a score ranging from 67-80, or “somewhat walkable” to “very walkable”. We feel that Dubrovnik is very walkable, and would definitely earn a 100 if it were as flat as most cities. If you’re not in great shape upon arrival, you will be when it’s time to leave.
Where To Stay in Dubrovnik:
Where To Stay in Dubrovnik: HOTELS
Dubrovnik offers a wide range of hotels from high-end hotels like Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik Hotel or Flowers Dubrovnik Luxury Apartments running about $225 a night to reasonably priced hotels like Apartments Zoro or La Musica Apartments at about $55 a night. When it comes to hotels in Dubrovnik, we recommend shopping Agoda.com.
Dubrovnik Hotel Deals
Where To Stay in Dubrovnik: HOSTELS
With over 120 hostels available in Dubrovnik, you will likely find one that suits your needs, although it’s always a good idea to plan in advance. Prices generally range from $12-$20 a night for a dorm room, while private rooms cost a bit more at about $30-$50 per night. Hostelworld is our recommended resource when searching for hostels in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik Hostel Deals
Where To Stay in Dubrovnik: AIRBNB
We love using Airbnb. From private rooms to entire homes, Airbnb is represented in all neighborhoods of Dubrovnik at an average price of only $40 per night. If you’re a first timer to Airbnb use this coupon to enjoy $35 off of your first stay.
Where To Stay in Dubrovnik: NEIGHBORHOODS
Choosing a neighborhood is an important part of trip planning that should not be overlooked! Dubrovnik is a small city with only a few districts divided into unique neighborhoods. While our general recommendation is to stay closer to the city center, here are some of the best areas worth considering in Dubrovnik.
Old Town aka Stari Grad
The entire neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is surrounded by the old city walls and packed with important monuments. Know that vehicles aren’t allowed inside the walls, something to keep in mind for heavy packers.
This residential neighborhood has some of the best views of the Old City and Lokrum Island. Ploce is home to exclusive hotels, Banje Beach, and plenty of free exercise(lots of stairs!)
This large peninsula to the west of the city is where you’ll find many of Dubrovnik’s hotels. Roughly 2 miles from the old city, you’ll likely need to catch a city bus or taxi into Old Town.
Dubrovnik Travel Tips:
Dubrovnik Travel Tips: Tipping
Tipping in Croatia is not customary although tipping for good service is always appreciated. Tip restaurant servers 10%, round up for taxi drivers, and leave 10 Kuna per day at hotels.
Dubrovnik travel tips: Money
Croatia’s national currency is the Kuna, and is currently exchanging at 7.10HRK to $1USD. Credit cards are accepted at most places and ATM machines are readily available.
Dubrovnik travel tips: Insurance
Traveling to Dubrovnik is exciting and safe, but you never know when some good travel insurance could come in handy. World Nomads offers the best coverage in the business, is affordable, and is quick to act should something go wrong. For more info, check out our recent World Nomads blog post.