The Adriatic Sea is the sparkling body of water nestled between Italy and the Balkans. The Mediterranean stretches its glorious arm north into the dazzling coastline of Croatia. Undeniably, this stretch of the Mediterranean is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. And one of the Adriatic’s most enticing locations is the ancient coastal city of Dubrovnik.
With the medieval architecture, pop-culture appeal, and boating draw, it’s no secret that Dubrovnik is on everyone’s radar. Rightfully so! There’s so much to do and see in Dubrovnik. With panoramic views, fresh seafood, and water sports; make this the vacation of your dreams with this Dubrovnik city guide. First up: all the sights!
Walk the City Walls
First stop: Stroll the City Walls which serve as the impressive historical line of defense encircling the city. The amazing thing is that the majority of the city walls are still intact, so take a 2 km stroll to appreciate the amazing preservation. Additionally, you can stop to have lunch or get a refreshment at one of the many bars and restaurants lining the historic wall. Additionally, various viewpoints promising major eye-candy await you. This is a great first stop to stretch your legs and explore the city.
Explore the Old Town
Within the walls of this majestic city lies the Old Town, a prominent token of medieval history featuring expansive squares, towering cathedrals and loads of history. Stroll the narrow streets and browse vendors, people watch at a cafe, and enjoy the freedom of getting lost in this glorious old city.
Every historic city has its token cathedral, and the same goes for Dubrovnik. This beautiful baroque cathedral was built in the late 17th/early 18th century to replace a 12th century Roman cathedral that was demolished by an earthquake. The present cathedral houses the famous painting, Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and features a prominent pale facade making it a must-see on your trip through the Old Town.
Book a Walking Tour
Let’s face it: most people come to Dubrovnik because gawking at the city is an attraction in and of itself. That’s why you have to take a walking tour of Dubrovnik. This hour and a half walking tour gives you invaluable insight into the captivating history of this city. What I loved most was that our local guide, Katarina, knew all the intricate layers of history which really made the tour more than just a “tourist” experience. If you want an intimate, detailed and fascinating look at Dubrovnik, I highly recommend you book a walking tour with Get Your Guide.
Take The Game Of Thrones Tour
Game of Thrones fans can’t miss the Game of Thrones Tour, which takes you to the iconic locations where some of the series’ most famous scenes were filmed. After all, Dubrovnik is the real life “King’s Landing.” This two-hour tour highlights the famous steps that commenced Cersei’s scandalous Walk of “Shame, shame, shame!” You’ll also visit the location of the King’s Landing riots, and see photos of how the city transformed into the backdrop of the home of the series’ most sinister villain. We booked our GOT tour on Get Your Guide which also included a ticked for the Outer Wall.
Take A Cable Car Ride
For amazing panoramic views of the city below, take a cable car up to the top of Mount Srd. While we personally didn’t get to soak in these phenomenal views, I really wish we had! The top of the mountain yields dazzling views of the town and city below, and there is a restaurant where you can stop for lunch before heading back down.
Just outside the Western Wall is the monumental Lovrijenac Fortress. Set atop a towering 37 meter rock peninsula, you can’t miss this astounding and utterly impressive feat of both nature and architecture. Just when you think this fortress is impressive enough, you’re greeted with incredible views of Old Town Dubrovnik and the Adriatic.
Explore the Franciscan Monastery and Pharmacy
One of Dubrovnik’s most prominent religious landmarks is the 14th century Franciscan Monastery. This notable tourist site is also a pillar of Dubrovnik society, serving as the Order of the Friars Manor, and housing a monastery, library, museum, church and historic pharmacy. Visiting a pharmacy might not sound too exciting by modern standards, but this one is one of the oldest in the world, and houses ancient recipes and medical records. The Franciscan Monastery and Pharmacy are a must-see for unique things to do in Dubrovnik.
This 15th century bell tower is a landmark of Old Town Dubrovnik which can be seen throughout the city. Sitting magnificently above Luza Square at the end of the Stradun, the Clock Tower chimes a beautiful melody on the antique bells each day at noon. It’s beautiful to stroll down the Stradun, sit down in the square and enjoy the beautiful bells chiming their daily tune.
Buza Bar or Mala Buza Bar
Buza Bar and Mala Buza Bar are two of the best bars in Dubrovnik because, despite their hole in the wall exterior, you can stroll through the ancient walls and end at a bar on the rocks overlooking the Adriatic Sea. On a hot day, this is the perfect spot to pop in for a drink or two. In fact, we were in Dubrovnik on one of the hottest days of the year and this was the perfect spot for respite from the heat. There’s even designated swimming areas where you can jump in for a refreshing dip.
Explore the beaches and Beach Clubs
In addition to the rich history, there’s another reason everyone comes to Croatia: the beaches! Seriously, Croatia doesn’t play around with its glistening beaches and hip beach clubs. When in Dubrovnik, head to Lapad or Banje Beach.
Just outside the Old Town is Lapad, a bustling peninsula with tons of restaurants and rocky beaches. The three main beaches to visit in Lapad are Copacabana, Uvala Bay and Cava. While most of the coastline here is pebbled, you can find some sandy stretches.
Banje Beach Club has a private pier, an upscale seafood restaurant and a lively waterfront perfect for nightlife. Banje Beach is located closest to the Old Town, making it easy to get to and spend the whole day lounging and sunbathing at. This is the perfect spot to rent a beach chair, sip on a cold cocktail and soak up the warm Mediterranean sun.
Dining in Dubrovnik
You won’t have trouble finding a delicious meal in Dubrovnik. In fact, there are tons of local restaurants serving up a diverse palette of traditional Mediterranean, Bosnian and Italian food. You know I’ve got a lot to cover here, so head to my Gluten Free Dining Guide to Croatia for all the best places I ate and also check out my post with all my tips and tricks to stay gluten free.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
With all this sightseeing, you’ll want to be centrally located to easily navigate the city. We stayed at the Hilton Imperial and the location could not be better. It was just outside of the old walls which were a three minute walk from the hotel. There are no cars allowed in Old Town, so It was nice to be able to have a car access the hotel with all our luggage. After sailing around Croatia for a week it was really nice to have a spacious room in a charming area of Dubrovnik. Plus, the Hilton never disappoints!
How To Get to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a popular destination in Croatia, so getting there is pretty simple. By far, the easiest way to get to Dubrovnik is by plane. From the U.S. you can fly directly to Dubrovnik from Philidelphia via American Airlines. Or, you can fly from your nearby international airport to Zagreb and catch a connecting flight to Dubrovnik. If you’re traveling from another city in Croatia or Europe, you can get to Dubrovnik by plane, taking a ferry or hopping on a bus, just keep in mind how far you’re traveling from as a plane might be the most quick and direct option.
Are you booking your tickets yet? As you can see, Croatia is a vibrant and historic country, and you can’t plan your trip without visiting the historic treasure that is Dubrovnik.
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