Dubrovnik is situated in the southern region of Croatia. The city slightly juts out along the eastern part of the Adriatic Sea. Aside from the natural attractions, the city also beckons to history buffs and Game of Thrones fans, as some of the cultural and historical monuments and landmarks were used as filming locations.
The city is mainly served by an efficient bus transport system and ferry services, so getting from one point to the next within the city and off to other islands is easy peasy. The main bus station, Autobusni Kolodvor, is located in Gruž near the main port, Port Gruž. Within the Old Town, most attractions stand close to each other, so you can just travel on foot.
Dubrovnik is also a good base for those who plan to explore other attractions outside the city and for those who want to go island-hopping. If you are still building your Dubrovnik itinerary, here are some of the things to do and places to visit in and around the city to consider.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
WITHIN THE CITY
1. Game of Thrones Tour
For Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik is King’s Landing, the capital and seat of power in the Seven Kingdoms (Westeros). But this Croatian gem wasn’t really the first choice. The series’ first season was shot in Malta, an equally stunning city. But because of a few logistical issues, they decided to film the succeeding seasons in Dubrovnik, immediately making it the top destination among the saga’s die-hard fans.
Tours that can take you to these shooting locations are aplenty in the city. Klook has curated two of them. One is a 2-hour walking tour, while the other one is a full-day tour with a boat ride to Lokrum Island. Both tour packages include English-speaking guides. check the inclusions and itineraries.
2. Dubrovnik Walking Tour
Enclosed by the scenic 16th-century wall, Dubrovnik’s Old City cradles several significant sites that speak about the heritage of the city. You can take a walking tour around the city on your own, but if you want to gain more insights about each key tourist spot, you can join a guided tour. This way, you’re not just looking at some bell tower, you’ll know exactly what it is and how important it is to the residents.
If you are a fan of Klook, you can book the walking tour activity on their site.
3. Legends Evening Tour
The evening breathes a new life to Dubrovnik. If you want to discover under-the-radar streets and alleyways while being regaled with legends and stories of mysteries surrounding some of the spots in the city, this tour will give you that.
The tour is led by a knowledgeable local English-speaking guide and is available on Sundays, usually starting at 9PM. Electric lantern will also be provided. Here are some of the stops:
- Pile Gate
- Old City’s Granary
- Abandoned monastery
- Southern walls of the city
- An excavation site
- Old City Harbor
- Cathedral Ruins
The itinerary might change depending on the traffic and crowd conditions. This is for reference only.
4. Dubrovnik City Walls
Just like most fortresses, the Dubrovnik walls were built to protect the old city from attacks. The walls’ origin dates back to the 16th century. Through the years, they have undergone modifications.
This well-preserved fortification system, one of the largest and the most intact in Europe, is the greatest pride of the city. Up to this day, the ancient walls still envelop the old city, running almost two kilometers continuously and providing unforgettable views of the area and the Adriatic Sea. In 1979, a portion of the wall system and the old city of Dubrovnik itself were listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Entrance Fee: KN 200 (Regular), KN 50 (Under 18 y/o). It’s a bit steep, but we’re telling you — It’s absolutely worth it!
Opening Hours: Opening time is at 8AM while closing time varies between 5PM to 7PM (Summer); 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM (Winter, November – March); CLOSED (Christmas Day)
Nearest Bus Stop: Pile Stop
Getting There: The main entrance to the walls is located near the Pile Gate on one end of Stradun, the main street in the Old City.
5. St. Lawrence Fortress
Also called Fort Lovrijenac, St. Lawrence Fortress is located just outside the western entrance to the Old City and adjacent to Dubrovnik West Harbor.
The triangular medieval fortress was built to stop foreign invaders, primarily the Venetians, from conquering them. Sitting on a cliff, it is an imposing sight from both the sea and the land. The construction is said to date back to as early as the 11th century and was finished in just three months. Aside from being a historical landmark symbolizing freedom, it also functions as a theater stage during Dubrovnik’s Summer Festival.
Trivia: For Game of Thrones fans, this is the filming location for the Red Keep.
Entrance Fee: KN 50 (Regular). If you are getting the City Walls ticket, this is already included in the fee so you don’t need to pay for another ticket.
Opening Hours: Opening time is at 8AM while closing time varies between 6PM to 7:30PM (Summer); 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM (October); 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM (Winter, November – March); CLOSED (Christmas Day)
Nearest Bus Stop: Pile Stop
Getting There: Take the bus to Pile Bus Stop. The entrance is located near the Pile Gate.
6. Lokrum Island
The island is located 600 meters off the southern coast of the mainland. It was originally inhabited by the Benedictine monks around the 11th century, but they were eventually forced to leave the island in the early 19th century. It then became the holiday residence of an Austrian archduke and his wife.
There are a few interesting spots on the island, but the popular ones are the botanical garden and the ancient monastery, which now houses a restaurant.
Other points of interest are the beaches, snorkeling sites, rock formations, a small salt lake called the Dead Sea, Charlotte’s Well, an ecological park, olive groves, and Fort Royal. There are also toilets and shower rooms.
Trivia: Lokrum was featured in Game of Thrones as the Kingdom of Qarth. This is also where you can find the actual Iron Throne used in the filming.
Entrance Fee: KN 140 (Regular), KN 20 (Children under 15 y/o). This already includes the ferry fare.
Opening Hours: The opening hours depend on the ferry operating hours. Note that overnight stay is not allowed.
Getting There: The boats to Lokrum Island depart from Dubrovnik’s Old Port in the Old City. The first boat departs at 9AM or 10AM. The last boat from the island to the Old Port departs at 6PM or 7PM. The schedule may change without prior notice, so always check prior to your trip. The travel time is 15-20 minutes.
7. Dubrovnik Cable Car
The Dubrovnik Cable Car connects the city center from below to the top of a nearby plateau, Srd Hill. Built in 1969, the cable car ride continues to impress millions of visitors annually with the panoramic view of the city, the Adriatic Sea, and the nearby islands.
Have a drink, a snack, or a meal while you enjoy the fetching view from the restaurant or the snack bar. Other points of interest close to the top station are the Fort Imperial, a museum, a stone cross, and another observation point.
Fare: Adult KN 160 (RT), KN 90 (1-Way); 4-12 y/o KN 50 (RT), KN 30 (1-Way); Below 4 y/o FREE
Opening Hours: Opening time is at 9AM while closing time varies per month between 4PM to 11PM. CLOSED for the whole month of February.
Getting There: The lower station is located at Ploče near the Old Port in the Old City.
Klook is offering a tour that includes both a cable car ride and a guided walking tour around the Old City.
If you are into outdoor activities and water sports, appreciating the beauty of Dubrovnik from a kayak is another great option for you. You can explore Dubrovnik as you paddle along the shores and sweeping the seaside historical and natural attractions. You can also paddle your way to Lokrum Island from Pile, near Fort Lovrijenac, back!
Kayaking activities are available in summer months. Klook curated two kayaking guided tours that include circling around Lokrum Island, snorkeling in the Adriatic Sea at Betina Cave area, seaside sightseeing of Old City landmarks, and snacks. You have the option to kayak during the day or during sunset.
9. Dubrovnik Cathedral
Officially named Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the present structure dates back to the 18th century. However, its predecessor, which was partly commissioned by the English monarch King Richard the Lion Heart goes as far back as the 12th century. But even before that, a 7th-century cathedral once stood on the same site.
The current cathedral follows the Baroque style of architecture. It is the seat of the Diocese of Dubrovnik. It features ornate altars and the Treasury that shelters several important religious relics.
Entrance Fee: FREE; KN 20 (Treasury entry)
Opening Hours: Easter to October 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Monday – Saturday), 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Sunday); November to Easter 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Monday – Saturday), 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Sunday)
Getting There: The cathedral is near the Rector’s Palace and the Old Port.
10. Dubrovnik Food Trip
Croatian cuisine is quite diverse. Most dishes are cooked with lots of variations all over the country. There are also distinct differences between mainland cuisines and those on the coastal areas.
The mainland regions are more on meat, lard, and strong spices and heavily influenced by Slavic, Hungarian, and Turkish cuisines. The coastal regions are more Mediterranean, which uses light and fresh ingredients like seafood, vegetables, and olive oils. And instead of strong spices, they use LOTS of herbs like rosemary, oregano, bay leaf, nutmeg, sage, cinnamon, etc.
There are numerous restaurants and food places in Dubrovnik. I have to warn you, though, that most restaurants within the Old City are on the pricier side of the spectrum. More budget-friendly options can be found outside the city walls.
But if you’re on a budget, you still have a number of options. Here are some remarkable food places within the walls that are easier on the pockets.
- Lucin Kantun, Ulica Od Sigurate 4A. We had the pork medallions dish and baked octopus, both satisfactory. The pork was a little bit on the sweet side but was very tender, juicy and perfectly cooked. Great service, too! Waiters were very attentive.
- Portun, Od Sigurate 2. One of our best meals in the city. Order Chicken a la Konavle (grilled chicken with arborio rice and sauce) and Fisherman’s Squid (baked squid in tomato sauce).
- Presa, Djordjiceva 2. We ordered sandwich and meat platter, composed of four cevapi, chicken fillet, and sausages. We had better versions at lower prices elsewhere, but it’s still pretty cheap especially considering how expensive it is in Dubrovnik Old Town. Not bad for the price.
- Barba, Boshkoviceva 5. Serves “street food”. We had a salmon sandwich, fried oysters, and fried squid. Pretty good for the price.
If you suddenly miss Asian food, grab a plateful of fried noodles or fried rice at Snogu, just outside the city, near the Ploce Gate. It’s pretty hit-or-miss (the miss is usually an underseasoning issue), but it’s cheap and filling.
11. Beaches and swimming spots
Dubrovnik is one of the famous summer destinations in Croatia. It is bounded by water on the southeast, south, west, and northwest portion. And a few nearby islands are under the jurisdiction of the city. The mainland’s shores and islands feature beaches which possess their own charm and character. The most visited are the following:
- Banje Beach. Located near the eastern gate of the Old City, this is the main beach and the most popular among tourists due to its proximity to the city center. During the day, people can sunbathe in one of the many sunbeds dotting the beachfront. At night, people party the night away.
- Lapad Bay. The bay is located on the northwestern portion of Dubrovnik. The cove is lined with beach resorts that offer plenty of lodging and dining options. Bars also attract tourists in the evening.
- Northern Coast. The northern coast of Dubrovnik is also fringed with beach resorts like Mandrac Beach, Coral Beach Club, Cava Beach, and others. The most popular in the area is the Copacabana Beach, a pebble beach good for family and offer water sports amenities like jetski and kayak.
Mostar is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city is known for its Old Bridge (Mostar Bridge), a reconstructed 16th-century Ottoman arch bridge crossing over Neretva River and attracting cliff jumping daredevils for a rush of adrenaline.
Other attractions are the Old Bazaar, the Old Bridge Museum, and the Turkish House.
Nearest Bus Stop: Mostar Bus Station
Travel Time: 2-3 hours
Fare: KN 100-150
Klook is offering a day tour from Dubrovnik to Mostar with roundtrip hotel transfers, tour leader, a local guide in Mostar, and entrance fees.
13. Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is a fortified town tucked in the secluded part of a picturesque bay. Hemmed in by Mount Lovćen and the limestone mountain range Orjen, Kotor has retained its charming medieval atmosphere with its narrow winding streets.
Aside from the squares, the town is adorned by historical landmarks, including several Romanesque structures. Some of the noteworthy sites are the fortresses and walls, Kotor Cathedral, Maritime Museum, and the islets Sveti Đorđe (St. George) and Gospa od Škrpijela (Our Lady of the Rocks). Kotor is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nearest Bus Stop: Kotor Bus Station
Travel Time: 2-3 hours
Fare: KN 110-200
Klook has a day tour package to Kotor and Perast from Dubrovnik inclusive of roundtrip hotel transfers, boat tickets for Our Lady of the Rocks and ferry ride between Lepetane and Kamenari, Our Lady of Rocks entrance fee, an English-speaking guide, and insurance.
14. Perast, Montenegro
Located northwest of Kotor, Perast is a well-preserved ancient town peppered with historical Baroque palaces and old churches. The town is small, stretching about one kilometer along the Bay of Kotor, yet it’s still packed with interesting tourist spots.
The town can get crowded during summer because this is also the jumping-off point to St. George islet and Our Lady of Rocks islet, which are visible from the town’s main street running parallel to the coastline. Other notable attractions are Perast Museum and Saint Nicholas Church.
Nearest Bus Stop: Kotor Bus Station. You need to make a stop in Kotor and do a land transfer here, usually by taxi, to Perast.
Travel Time: 2-3 hours
Fare: KN 150-300
Klook’s tour package to Kotor from Dubrovnik includes Perast in its itinerary.
Located northwest of Dubrovnik, Ston is the gateway to Pelješac, the second largest peninsula in the country. It is surrounded by hills and blessed with arable lands and sources of both freshwater and saltwater. The most famous historical landmark is the City Wall, where you can stroll and get a good view of the town and the surrounding areas.
Nearest Bus Stop: Zaton Doli Bus Station
Travel Time: 30-45 minutes
Fare: KN 35-55
Klook is offering a day tour that includes Ston in its itinerary. Other stops are Korčula Island, Orebić, and Potomje. The package inclusions are roundtrip land transfers, boat rides between Orebić and Korčula Island, wine and other drinks sampling in Potomje, an English-speaking guide, and insurance.
16. Korčula Island
Situated very close to the northern portion of Pelješac peninsula, Korčula Island still enjoys the serenity and seclusion from all the other busy tourist attractions on the eastern portion of the Adriatic Sea.
The island is about 47 kilometers long and about seven kilometers wide. It is characterized by lush forest, olive groves, vineyards, quaint villages, and an old charming town. Pebbly beaches line the northern coast, while sandy coves punctuate the southern coast. Popular destinations are Korcula town, Lumbarda, and Vela Luka.
Nearest Bus Stop: Orebić Bus Station. This is located near the port/ferry terminal. From here, take a short walk to the ferry and purchase ferry ticket to the island.
Travel Time: 2.5-3 hours (Bus); 20-30 minutes (Ferry)
Fare: KN 100-150 (Bus); KN 12-15 (Ferry)
Korčula Island is part of the itinerary of Klook’s day tour to Ston from Dubrovnik. Other stops are Orebić and Potomje. The package inclusions are roundtrip land transfers, boat rides between Orebić and Korčula Island, wine and other drinks sampling in Potomje, an English-speaking guide, and insurance.
17. Konavle Valley
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, going to Konavle Valley will satisfy your desire for a relaxing (or thrilling) nature-tripping outside of Dubrovnik.
The countryside on the southernmost part of Croatia is often referred to as the Golden Valley for its very fertile land, allowing vineyards, olive groves, and fruit orchards to thrive well. The valley is characterized by lush forests with waterfalls and arable lands dotted with windmills.
Most of the villages are located inland. However, the most popular is the coastal village of Cavtat where basic resort amenities and dining places can be found but still offer the peace and quiet you desire.
Nearest Bus Stop: Cavtat Bus Station. Take Bus #10.
Travel Time: 30 minutes
Fare: KN 20-50
Klook is offering a day tour to the southern countryside of Konavle Valley. The itinerary includes visiting some villages to learn more about the traditions and customs: Čilipi Village, Poljice Village, and Ljuta Village. The fee is inclusive of hotel pick-up and drop-off service, transportation, snacks, sampling/tasting (brandy, olive oil, a traditional lunch, an English-speaking guide, and insurance.
18. Trsteno Arboretum
Located in Trsteno, about 14 kilometers northwest of Dubrovnik, this is the oldest arboretum in Croatia.
Originally a private property of the Gozze family, this 15th-century lush land was eventually launched to the public in the 1940s when the ownership was transferred to the state. Since then, it has been under the management of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts.
It is famous for its two ancient Oriental Planes that are over five centuries old. The arboretum is a protected natural monument.
Trivia: For Game of Thrones fans, this is the filming location for the Red Keep’s palace garden in King’s Landing.
Entrance Fee: KN 50 (Adult), KN 30 (Children)
Opening Hours: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM (May – October), 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (November – April)
Nearest Bus Stop: Trsteno Stop
Getting There: From Dubrovnik, take Bus #12 to Trsteno Bus Stop. The entrance is near the bus stop.
19. Mljet National Park
Mljet National Park is niched in Mljet Island, one of the largest islands in the Dalamatia region of Croatia. The island is located south of the Pelješac peninsula. It stretches about 37 kilometers in length and almost two-thirds of the island is covered with lush forests. The national park takes up almost one-third of the island on the northwestern portion. It boasts two saltwater lakes — Veliko Jezero (Large Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake) — connected by a narrow channel over which Mali Most (Small Bridge) hovers.
Veliko Jezero features an islet where a former monastery was built and has been converted into a restaurant. Tourists can stroll or cycle around the lake. There’s also a kayak rental service at Mali Most. The park is also a good site for hiking.
The popular tourist bases on the island within the national park are Pomena, Polače, and Goveđari. Outside the national park, Sobra and Saplunara are the popular ones. Babino Polje near Sobra is the administrative center on the island.
Nearest Ferry Port: Port Gruž near the city center connects Dubrovnik to Mljet via Sobra Port, the island’s main port. Prapatno Port on Pelješac near Ston also has passenger ferry services to Sobra. From Sobra, you can take the bus to Pomena and Polače. Port Polače is the main port on the northwestern part of the island and usually serves the tourist ferries.
Travel Time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Fare: KN 35-100. Note that ferry tickets and schedules vary per season and route.
Entrance Fee to the Natl Park: Adult KN 70/KN 125 (Low/Peak Season), Children KN 50/KN 70 (Low/Peak Season), FREE (Children under 7 y/o)
Ferry ticket to Sv Marija Islet: KN 30 (Roundtrip)
Natl Park Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Low Season), 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM (High Season)
20. The Elafiti Islands
Scattered in the Adriatic Sea, the small archipelago located northwest of Dubrovnik is composed of more than ten islands; only three of them are inhabited and cater to tourists with their modest amenities: Šipan, Lopud, and Koločep.
Sun chasers and beach lovers flock to these islands during summer, usually booking an island-hopping tour that covers these three major islands, lunch, and drinks.
Nearest Ferry Port: Port Gruž
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Edited by Asta Alvarez
2020 • 10 • 23