Here are the Most Classic Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia!
Oh, Dubrovnik – you busy little charmer, you. Whether you are staying for a week or night, you are going to be looking for things to do in Dubrovnik. Now, the good news is there are tons of free things to do in Dubrovnik. That said, you’ll pay a price for some of the top things to do – but there’s a reason they are the top things to do – and we’ll get to that.
For this post, we wanted to bring you a healthy mix of both the classic things a first-time visitor might be interested in as well as unique or non-touristy things to do in Dubrovnik. We’re never one to follow the crowd completely! For example, we went for an unusual hike in Dubrovnik – and we even made a video about it! Check it out below.
Oh, and if you are planning an epic trip to Croatia, perhaps these will come in handy:
- Explore Some of the Top Sights in All of Croatia
- Plan a Croatia Road Trip with Our 5-14 Day Itineraries
- Hop the Croatian Islands in One Amazing Day
- Visit Krka National Park’s Waterfalls with Our Guide
Ready to explore Dubrovnik? Let’s get going – there are lots of things to see, eat, and do!
Accommodation in Dubrovnik
Let’s briefly explain how accommodation usually works in Croatia – and in Dubrovnik. You’ll find a mix of hotels and apartments (apartmani) for rent. Most cities will have a healthy mix of both – and Dubrovnik is no exception. Hotels in the Old Town (or even remotely close by) can be very expensive, but worth the cost if you want to be able to walk there.
Since we usually like our own space, cook our own meals (usually), and stay for longer, we rented an apartment that was outside the old town and about a 20-minute walk there. We love walking and frankly, it was nice to stay away from the crowds.
Our apartment was clean, check in was easy, and the host was lovely! She even sat us down with a map of the city to show us the best sights. Here is the exact apartment we stayed at in Dubrovnik. If you are looking for a hotel or another apartment, you can check for the best hotel deals in Dubrovnik here.
Things to Do in Dubrovnik
Okay, so here’s our list of the classic things to do in Dubrovnik with a few of the non-touristy thing thrown in! In general, our advice is to explore the city – and not just the Old Town. There are lots of things to see like other beaches, coves, paths, and shops all over the city.
The farther you venture away from the Old Town an towards the main bus station, the more authentic the experience becomes! That said, let’s dive in with whatever one wants to see first!
Explore the Old Town
Inside the Old Town, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time a few centuries. The atmosphere and the architecture truly are incredible. As you walk about, you’ll run into churches, cathedrals, museums, galleries, you name it! There are even numerous places to get sweet treats, actual food for lunch or dinner, a simple coffee (see below) or a nice cocktail on a patio.
If you want souvenirs, you’ll find plenty of shops – but be sure to shop around for the best price since they can be inflated closer to the main paths! There is something for everyone in the Old Town.
Dubrovnik is known, among other things, for the number of stairs in the city. Since it’s built in/on a hillside, the stairs add to the character of the Old Town and the city in general. In the Old Town, there are over 4000 steps. Seriously – a group did a survey a few years back and that’s what they came up with! You can definitely get exercise if you are looking for it in the Old Town.
We honestly had an amazing time just wandering down side alleys. Up stairs, down stairs, didn’t matter. If there was a path that wasn’t clearly the path to someone’s front door, we took it. Away from the main street, it was very quiet and we hardly saw anyone else at times. It made for amazing photographs and a very peaceful wander!
The harbour is nice, and we had a great time sitting at the water watching the boat go by. In another area, we got to see the waves crash and watched people get wet when they got too close. Admittedly, it was a little comical. There are lots of great tour of the Old Town. To learn all about the history, the building, and other amazing facts and stories, check out a guided tour of Dubrovnik’s Old Town!
Walk the Old Town Walls
While the Old Town is impressive by itself, the massive stone wall around it makes it even more unique. The medieval stone walls were completed in the 16th century and are still very well preserved to this day. One of the top things to do in Dubrovnik is to walk the Old Town Walls when you visit. Since the walls encircle the Old Town, you get different views of the city, the harbour, the coastline, and the area in general.
That said, it is not free to “walk the walls”. You’ll have to pay 150 Croatian Kuna (20 Euro) for general adult admission. Some would argue that the price is worth it for the upkeep of the historic Old Town while others argue that public space should be free.
Whatever you think, we would recommend that you go early in the day since the lines can be super, super long even in the morning during the off-season. We were there in late April and it was already busy – we can’t imagine what July is like. You should also make sure to use sunscreen and maybe wear a hat since you can’t really escape the sun up there.
The walls are almost 2000 metres long and walking all of it takes you around two hours. However, if you stop for water and photographs, the walk will probably take a little longer. You can get down earlier if you don’t want to walk all of it though but remember that you can’t go back up unless you pay again.
Pro Tip: The walls can be walked on a self-guided basis BUT if you want to learn all that you can, you can hop on a guided tour about the history, the wars, and the walls of Dubrovnik!
Do a Game of Thrones Tour
While Dubrovnik was a popular destination before, the fact that it was one of the main filming locations for the show Game of Thrones increased its popularity even more. As such, you won’t be surprised to see lots of Game of Thrones Tours that show you the different buildings and locations that were used for filming.
We both haven’t really watched more than an episode of the TV series and didn’t share the enthusiasm that some passionate fans had, but we can imagine that it must be a cool experience to see some of the film sets in real life.
Since it is so popular there are a lot of different Game of Thrones tours offered by different companies throughout the day. You can find some Game of Thrones tours here.
If you are sick of exploring on land and want to check out the water around Dubrovnik, then hop in a sea kayak! You can rent them from a few different around the city, One of the most popular is the area just outside the Pile Gate and Fort Lovrijenac. You can’t miss the kayaks all colourful and lined up ready to be taken out!
The coastline has lots offer like small coves and islands that are close by. If you want to kayak but you’re not too sure about going out on your own, you can join a seakayaking tour and get an experienced guide to take you on an adventure!
Check Out Fort Lovrijenac
Another landmark that is sure to interest any Dubrovnik traveller is St. Lawrence Fortress. Built back in the 11th century, the history of the actual fortress is fascination. It actually played a very important role in shaping who ruled Dubrovnik back in the day. The fortress is off the water at 37 metres above the sea and you can enter to check it out for a fee. From there, you get great views of the Old Town and the surrounding area given the height of the fortress!
Hike or Take the Cable Car up Srđ
If you’re a fan of amazing views and exercise, then feel free to hike up to the top of Srđ, the hill/mountain behind the city. If you aren’t feeling the winding hiking paths you can always take the cable car to the top. The base of the cable car is close to the Old Town.
At the top, you’ll find a restaurant if you want a bite to eat with a view. You’ll also find Fort Imperijal which is a military museum and lookout spot that you can enter for a fee. If all of that sounds interesting, you can combo it up with a cable car ride and guided walking tour of Dubrovnik!
Drink a Coffee at Soul Caffe & Rakhija Bar
While wandering the Old Town, you might get a craving for something sweet. You will certainly have your pick of places – but we wandered a little deeper and were rewarded greatly! Tucked down a side alley, we found a great little coffee shop called Soul Caffe. We usually take a quick photo of our coffees but this time we just relaxed on our little coffee date.
We sat down under an umbrella (it was actually raining but we didn’t mind) and had two coffees. The service was super nice, the prices weren’t too expensive, and the experience away from the crowds was also a nice treat. You’ll be out of the sun – which might be good if you want shade or bad if you’re too cold! Head there and let us know what you think!
Address: Uska ul. 5, 20000, Dubrovnik
Relax at Bellevue Beach
Located in a beautiful bay, just underneath the Bellevue Hotel with the same name, Bellevue Beach is one of one of the most visited beaches of Dubrovnik, so you can expect it to be quite busy. You should visit in the morning or early in the afternoon since the beach can be in the shade later in the day depending on the time of year.
At the beach, you can rent chairs and relax in the sun or do different kinds of water sports. The beach is very developed so not the place if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path beach – still great if you are looking for a fun few hours at a beach that is easy to get to.
If you wanted to stay close by, the Rixos Hotel is very close and a popular destination for travellers. The location is also good for a long (but doable) walk to the Old Town.
Island Hop to Lokrum
One of the things that our host said we should check out is the island of Lokrum. Located just off the coast closer to the south of the city near the Old Town, Lokrum is a cool spot for lots of interests. You can get there with the regular ferry service or you can kayak there if you rent one or hop on a tour (mentioned above).
Once there, there is a monastery, botanical gardens, and you can hike, swimming, and snorkel along the coast. There are actually nude areas so keep that in mind if you’re sunbathing or looking to explore the island! Speaking of islands, here is our guide if you are interested in checking out the island of Hvar!
Enjoy Cake and Coffee at Dubravka 1836
If you’re outside the Old Town and looking for a sweet treat, you can’t miss the larger covered area and beautiful tables of Dubravka 1836. We decided that given the size and the number of people at the location it had to be a good cafe. We weren’t wrong! While some people were just having beers, others were having a full-on lunch. We grabbed a cake and coffees and they were excellent.
We actually had a funny experience when the ladies beside us (Americans on a multi-country tour) just decided that we were their new best friends. We chatted quite a bit and it was nice to hear about their experience in Croatia and along the coastline. Oh, and the service was excellent – so we’d definitely say check it out! The views along the water are beautiful, as well.
Address: Brsalje ul. 1, 20000, Dubrovnik
Go on a Secret Hike
We had a great time on a little side hike – and we even made a video about it. There are some steps located off of Ul. branitelja Dubrovnika. You might miss them if you weren’t looking. if you climb down far enough the steps end and turn into a little seaside trail. it opened up to a dirt landing where we took lots of photos and enjoyed the waves crashing. it was also nice to get away from the crowds given that it was the end of April in Croatia!
Indulge on a Food and Wine Tour
If you’re exploring the Dalmatia Coast, there is a chance you will hear about Dalmatian cuisine. From fresh seafood to Balkan-style sausages called cevapi and Croatian wine, there is plenty to indulge in for food and drinks! When we lived outside of Split and travelled up and down the coast, we had some amazing seafood. Typically, fish is caught daily and served hours later.
As for hearty food, we fell in over with cevapi – the Balkan-style mixed meat sausage found in Montenegro and Bosnia, among other places. We had great cevapi in Croatia, and you’re sure to find great cevapi on a mixed meat platter at any restaurant in Dubrovnik. As for wine, islands like Hvar are known for their vineyards so be sure to try Croatian wine if it’s on the wine list
If you wanted to try out some amazing Croatian food and wine while sightseeing in Dubrovnik, consider booking a food and wine sightseeing tour that covers all of the above!
Day Trip to Montenegro or Bosnia
If you are in Dubrovnik and have a few days to explore the are, you might consider a day trip to another country! Dubrovnik has a unique location in that it’s located in the very south of Croatia. This makes it very close to head south into Montenegro as well as close to head north into Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We spent weeks exploring both of those countries and we think that a day trip to the two popular spots from Dubrovnik is worth it. You can head north a few hours drive to explore the amazing small city of Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Known for the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge) among other things, Mostar is a great way to discover a little bit about Bosnia without planning a whole trip.
We loved our time in Bosnia (and especially the capital, Sarajevo) so check out day trips to Mostar from Dubrovnik. You can even do it yourself if you want to take the bus to Mostar from Dubrovnik. Don’t forget your passport for the border crossings!
If you head south, it’s popular trip to head to Kotor, Montenegro. We stayed there for a few days and loved the seaside town in the stunning Bay of Kotor. There are plenty of day tours that will take you down easy enough but you could also take the bus from Dubrovnik to Kotor if you wanted to. You can check out top-rated day trips to Kotor here. Just remember to bring your passports for the border crossings!
Listen to Music at Park Orsula
Tired of sightseeing and want to infuse a little art and culture into your Dubrovnik visit? Perhaps head to Park Orsula! Locates a little outside of the city to the southeast along the main highway, you’ll find a small outdoor performance area. Here, you can listen to live music performances and it even hosts an outdoor music festival each summer!
As we said, it’s a little further from the downtown core but it is worth checking out. Because it’s built on the hillside you get incredible views of the Adriatic Coast and the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
Discover a Gated Garden
If you are exploring the middle of the city (outside the old town), you might end up walking towards the Old Town on Ul. branitelja Dubrovnika street. If you do, you’ll pass the University of Dubrovnik. The University has a few buildings located in this area – but the real gem id the gates garden!
You/’ll notice a large iron fence with a small gate in the middle – if you walk through, you’ll be transported into this small area of paths, benches, beautiful trees, and flowers! At the end of the courtyard, there is a building – what we believed to be an administrative building. In any case, this is where we ate lunch. There was no one around so we had this great little oasis to ourselves. Like with most things in Dubrovnik, any chance you can get to get away from the crowds can be a blessing.
And there you have it – some of the top things to do in Dubrovnik and a few things you might not have heard of! We enjoyed our time in Croatia but had mixed feelings about Dubrovnik. It’s a cool city with a beautiful Old Town, but there is so much more Croatia to discover! We’re not saying don’t go – we’re saying feel an open mind to discover more of the country and certainly don’t think a visit to Dubrovnik is representative of every town or city in the country. What do you think of Dubrovnik? Get in touch and let us know!
As always, Happy Dubrovnik Waddlin’,
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