The Game of Thrones put Dubrovnik on the tourist radar. However, even without the HBO series, the city is too beautiful to have stayed a secret for long. Enjoying an ideal position along the southern coast of Croatia, this post will cover the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
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Things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
I’ve put together a list of ten things to do in Dubrovnik to kick-start your Croatia plans. When planning how much time to allow for Dubrovnik, as a bare minimum, make sure to give yourself time for at least the first five items on this list.
You could do the first five items with two full days in Dubrovnik. However, since there’s so much to see in and around the city, I recommend aiming for closer to four full days. I spent nearly two weeks in Dubrovnik and wish I could have stayed longer!
Psst…Will you be traveling with your dog? If so, check out this awesome post by Wet Nose Escapades on 10 Things to do with Your Dog in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
1. Roam the old town
Is a cliché a cliché if it’s really the best thing to do? You’ll find some version of “roaming the old town” at the top of just about every post on Dubrovnik.
My advice to you?
Now, let me show you how.
There are three entrances to the walled city of Dubrovnik; Pile, which is the main gate; Ploča, which is by the port; and Buže, which is between Pile and Ploča. Buže Gate will take you into Dubrovnik via steep staircases, whereas Pile and Ploča Gates offer ground level entry.
Placa Stradun is the wide, flat main street that runs the length of the city. When entering the old town from Pile Gate, the portion of town with the steepest staircases will be to your left.
If you’re fit, I recommend dedicating time to going up and down at least some of these staircases. Since the left side of town is designed as a grid, it’s easy to walk up and down all the staircases without worrying that you’re missing some. It took me about 1.5 hours to walk all the staircases, including lots of time for photos and catching my breath.
When entering the old town from Pile Gate and heading towards the right, the layout of the old town becomes more sporadic. It also offers exploration of flatter ground before hitting stairs. However, you won’t come across the ultra-steep staircases that are characteristic around Buže Gate.
Make sure to visit the market, which is located inside the old town in Gundulić Square. Nowadays, it’s primarily a tourist market selling lots of traditional Croatian sweets and lavender. The candied orange peels and figs are classic of Dubrovnik.
Travel Tip: Arrive to the old town before 8:30am if you want to avoid crowds during high season. Evenings also clear out, although to a lesser degree, after the tour groups are gone.
To many of the locals’ dismay, Dubrovnik politicians created a policy of “enter” and “exit” lines to funnel people in and out of the old town. If having a throwback to your elementary school days isn’t on your vacation bucket list, consider staying inside the city walls. There are plenty of options to choose from, but St. Joseph’s is particularly famed for their “St Joseph’s smoothies” offered at breakfast.
Now that we’ve got you exploring the old town, let’s take a look at some other things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
2. Walk the city walls
When you’re roaming around the old town, there’ll be a plethora of “people dots” in your photos from the top of the walls. Walking around the walled city is one of the best things to do with your time in Dubrovnik, and Croatia as a whole.
The main entrance to the wall is by Pile Gate, immediately to the left when you enter the old town. There are also entrances by St. Lucas and St. John’s Fortresses.
Give yourself at least two hours for this activity. There are restaurants in a couple of areas, particularly on the side facing the open sea. This is a great way to take a break and enjoy more time on top of the walls.
Entrance to the walls opens at 8:00am from April 1st – October 31st. All other months, it opens at 9:00am. Closing depends on the time of year. You can view the full schedule here.
As is expected from Dubrovnik, ticket prices are expensive. The cost for an adult is 200 Kuna. However, they have a generous child policy with an only 50 Kuna fee for children under 18 years old. I highly recommend purchasing your ticket online since the ticket booth line gets long during high season. No need to print your ticket, as they accept mobile vouchers.
Travel Tip: Your ticket to the city walls offers free entrance to the Lovrijenac Fortress. Take advantage of this! We’ll talk about Lovrijenac shortly.
3. Go up to Mount Srđ
You know all those beautiful “aerial” pictures you’ve seen of Dubrovnik that look like can only be taken with a drone?
No drone needed!
Those photos were taken at, or around, Mount Srđ. There are a few ways to reach Mount Srđ: by cable car, vehicle, or hiking.
Cable car is the most popular option. Due to issues with paying concession fees, the cable car was closed when I visited. The rift has been going on with the city of Dubrovnik since 2010, so prepare yourself for the possibility of the cable car being closed when you’re there, too.
Head over to the Dubrovnik Cable Car website to see if the cable car is running. If it’s not, a message will pop up letting you know. In that case, you won’t be able to access any other part of their website.
You can also reach Mount Srđ by road, either by going with a tour, by taxi, or by means of a public bus to the town of Bosanka.
If you take the bus, you’ll need to walk about 15 minutes to get to Mount Srđ from Bosanka. There isn’t a ton of parking around Mount Srđ, but it’s free to use and even with the cable car not working, there were a good number of spots available.
If you have the ability to hike about 50 minutes on a gravel switchback mountain, I encourage you to do so. Hiking to and from Mount Srđ was the absolute highlight of my time in Dubrovnik. However, for me, the best part wasn’t the traditional switchback mountain hike…it was finding a hidden path in Bosanka that led back down to the old town.
Take a look!
If you’d like to learn more about this hidden path and hiking to Mount Srđ in general, head over to my post about the Mount Srđ hike.
4. Visit Fort Lovrijenac
And by visit, I don’t necessarily mean “go inside”.
Before we get into whether or not you should enter Fort Lovrijenac, let’s cover the basics.
The fort is located outside of the old town walls, on the Pile Gate side. From afar, it seems like it should be easy to get to. However, if, like me, you’re at Pile Gate scratching your head about how to get to Fort Lovrijenac, head towards the coast along the narrow street behind the tourist information center. From there, head right, with the coast to your left, and you’ll soon arrive at the entrance.
Travel Tip: If the waves are rough, they can douse the narrow sidewalk in water that leads to the Fort Lovrijenac staircase. It gets slippery, so make sure to wear shoes with good grip!
The coastal area around Fort Lovrijenac and the stairs leading up to the fortress offer incredible views.
So incredible, in fact, that I only recommend entering Fort Lorijenac if one or both of the following items apply to you:
- You have an entrance ticket from walking the old town walls. In this case, the entrance fee to Fort Lovrijenac is waived.
- You’re a big Game of Thrones fan. If you’ll be taking a Game of Thrones tour, they’ll bring you to this fort as well (entrance fees usually need to be paid separately from the tour cost).
If neither of these items apply to you, then I recommend going to Fort Lovrijenac but enjoying the views from outside the entrance gates. Visiting Fort Lovrijenac is should definitely be on your list of things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia. However, the view from the outside is stunning and nearly equal to the view that you would have from inside the fort.
If you don’t already have a city walls ticket and want to enter the fortress, the Fort Lovrijenac entrance fee is 50 Kuna. Make sure to hold onto that ticket if you plan on visiting the city walls since it includes a discount for the walls.
5. Walk down Frana Supila Street
So far, this list of things to do in Dubrovnik has mostly been about seeking the best viewpoints…and seeking viewpoints in Croatia will continue with this point!
Frana Supila is located south of the old town. In order to enjoy this panoramic walk, exit through Ploče Gate. From there, follow the road along the coast, which is Frana Supila Street, with the coast to your right. Then, enjoy the views that so few people venture out to see!
A sidewalk follows the road for about 20 minutes. After that, you’ll need to use the road. However, the road is quiet, as it goes through a residential area.
There are a few convenience stores when you first start the walk but be prepared with plenty of water and snacks, since you’ll head out of civilization quickly.
You’ll get stunning views over Dubrovnik right away with this walk. Nevertheless, I encourage you to go as far as possible. The further out you go, the more unique viewpoints you’ll have of the old town. You’ll also get to enjoy some amazing coastal views like the one below when your back is to the city.
This walk can be as long as you want it to be, for the road wraps along the coast for miles. I traveled to Dubrovnik in May and only came across a few people along the way. It’s the perfect way to escape the crowds in the old town!
6. Lokrum Island
If you’ve already completed the points above, your camera will surely be filled with photos of an island a short distance from the old town.
That’s Lokrum Island.
Taking a half (or quarter) day trip to Lokrum Island is easy, thanks to the ferry system that runs from the old town port to Lokrum. The ride takes about 15 minutes and you can view timetables and pricing here.
The entrance fee to the island is included with your ferry ticket. However, note that the ferry doesn’t run during low season, although the specific date seems to vary by year.
The island is small and easy to explore by foot (in fact, it’s the only option for exploring). Full of pine trees, grassy areas for reading a book or having a picnic, and tons of birds chirping, visiting Lokrum will make you feel like you’re worlds away from busy Dubrovnik.
Did I mention the peacocks and rabbits?
Get your cameras ready…they’re adorable! The peacocks were extra active the day I was there, putting on a show with their feathers out. One even tried courting a rabbit, who was entirely unphased. A word of caution- the peacocks are used to people and may come running up to you if you kneel down to take a photo. They’re friendly, but be careful of them getting too close to your face.
Aside from roaming around enjoying nature, make sure to visit the monastery, Lokrum’s version of the “Dead Sea,” and Fort Royal. There’s also a nudist beach, so watch for the sign if you’re traveling with children.
Since the park is a protected area, no one is allowed to spend the night there. Therefore, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to catch the boat back to Dubrovnik!
7. Don’t Rub Marin Držić’s Nose
Tourists will be tourists.
For a reason perplexing to locals, tourists have created the movement that rubbing the Croatian Renaissance writer’s nose will bring them good luck and a return visit to Dubrovnik.
How has this affected the statue of Marin Držić?
His nose and lap where people lean over is now a shiny gold color compared to the rest of the statue.
By all means, go visit the statue. You can find it beside the Marin Držić Theater in the old town. But please, be a responsible tourist and don’t rub Marin Držić’s nose.
8. Get out on the water
It won’t take much wandering around Dubrovnik to learn about the array of water activities offered. Walk out to the old town port and you’ll be bombarded with vendors selling water-based tours.
Below are some of your options:
- Semi submarine ride
- Glass bottom boat excursions
- Jet Skiing
- Panoramic boat tours
- Scuba diving
Prices vary but your best bet for a good deal is going to the old town port and “shopping around.” If they see your interest and watch you speaking with other companies, you may wind up with a discount.
Water activities are such a big part of Croatia and by far one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
9. Explore Lapad
If you’ve done (or not done, in the case of #7) everything on this list, head on over to Lapad. This is the newer, more residential part of Dubrovnik. It’s home to beaches and a boardwalk around the peninsula.
Walking from the old town to the Lapad harbor will take you around 30 minutes. It’s a nice walk, a portion of which is along a cliff bordering the water. However, if you’re looking for a quicker route, you can get there by means of bus #4 or #6.
I recommend starting from the Lapad harbor. From there, follow the boardwalk around the coast until you reach Copacabana Beach. Here, you can relax beachside or head to one of the cafes that line the coast in the area.
Travel Tip: As with most beaches in the area, Copacabana Beach is rocky. If you’re planning on spending a portion of your day by the beach, there are chairs and umbrellas for rent.
10. Visit Cavtat
Although not technically in Dubrovnik, visiting Cavtat is one of the most popular things to do as a day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Cavtat is a quieter, coastal town located about 30 minutes from Dubrovnik. The most popular way to get there is by boat, although I recommend taking the boat one way and the bus the other way. The views from the road will give you an entirely different perspective from the boat!
The biggest attractions in Cavtat are the oceanfront boardwalk, Račić Family Mausoleum (which offers beautiful views from the hill), exploring the old town, and eating seafood.
Cavtat is tiny. Therefore, you can easily take a half-day trip there and still have time to explore some of Dubrovnik on the same day. If you’re interested in learning more about Cavtat, check out my guide on a Day Trip to Cavtat: Everything You Need to Know.
I’ve visited over 50 countries and Dubrovnik is by far one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to. I hope this guide on things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia helped to give you a foundation for your own Dubrovnik exploration.
Feel free to send any questions my way in the comments section, or leave your advice about Dubrovnik from your own experience.
P.S.- Don’t forget to check out my guide on Hiking Mount Srđ: The Best & Secret Path if you’re looking for an ultra-unique Dubrovnik hiking experience!
P.P.S.- Will you be heading to Zagreb? I’ve got you covered with The Best of Zagreb: 12 Things to do in Croatia’s Capital. Also, make sure to head over to my posts on Plitvice Lakes and Krka if you’ll be visiting Croatia’s waterfalls.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.