What To Do In Dubrovnik

2nd July 2024

Dubrovnik ranks highly on many people’s ‘must visit’ lists. Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, it’s easy to see why. The UNESCO World Heritage listed old town is a walled medieval masterpiece with glistening limestone streets set against a backdrop of the Dalmatian coastline. Whether you’re visiting for the history, the architecture, the food, or to bask in the sunshine, here’s a selection of things you can do if you have a limited amount of time in the city.

1. Walk the city walls

The city walls surround the old town of Dubrovnik almost entirely, spanning almost 1,940 m. In places they are 25 m high and 4 to 6 m thick. But mostly, walking them gives you incredible views over the rooftops of the old town and across the sparkling blue Adriatic Sea. There are three entrances to the walls, the main one being at Pile Gate. Fast walkers can do the walls in about an hour, but a more leisurely pace helps you take in the views, catch your breath and explore some of the historic points of interest like Lovrijenac or Bokar Fortress.

2. Take the cable car up to Mount Srd

If the views from the city walls weren’t enough to take your breath away, catch the cable car that zooms up to the top of Mount Srd, where you can take in the incredible vistas of the old town far below and the Croatian islands dotted around the sea. Sunset is great time to go. You can get an (overpriced) drink at the Panorama bar and restaurant, worth the splurge. While you’re up there, visit Fort Imperial, home of the Homeland War Museum, which recounts the events of 1991 – 1995, during the Croatian war of independence and the Siege of Dubrovnik.

3. Get a Game of Thrones fix

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you can take in a walking tour that showcases a number of the locations used in the filming of the series. One of the most notable sights is the Jesuit staircase which became known as Cersei’s Walk of Shame. The beautiful Baroque style staircase is worth seeing even for non GoT lovers.

4. Stroll the Stradun

Dubrovnik’s main street, this beautiful limestone-paved street runs for 300m from Pile Gate in the West to Ploče Gate in the East. Each end of the street has 15th-century fountains – the Large Onofrio’s fountain in the West – be sure to drink some of the cool water to refresh yourself – and Small OnoFrio Fountain in the East. The Dubrovnik Bell tower in the East and a bell tower attached to the Franciscan monastery to the west are other key landmarks. But you’ll probably be more tempted by the countless small boutiques to browse and outdoor cafes to enjoy a cool drink and a spot of people watching.

5. Head out to sea

Numerous sea kayaking companies rent out kayaks for guided tours or self-guided trips to take in the city walls from the sea. You can paddle your way around Lokrum Island – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the nudist beach at the top end! If you have more time, you can take a day trip to Lokrum island on one of the regular ferries from Dubrovnik’s old port. It’s a welcome escape from the bustle of Dubrovnik with its botanical garden, salt lake, Benedictine monastery, natural swimming pools, walking paths and colourful peacocks. It also has Game of Thrones filming locations. Or head out on Karaka, a 16th century replica ship that captures Dubrovnik’s shipbuilding past. Finally, just take a cooling dip from one of the public swimming areas.

6. Eat and drink

Get lost in the small alleyways of the old town and discover an enormous number of eating and drinking establishments. We recommend the gelato from Peppinos, or grabbing a cold beer from the tiny bar at the end of the Porporela (harbour wall), or a drink from Buza bar to watch crazy people jumping off cliffs into the sea, or enjoy fresh seafood and a raft of Dalmatian specialities at any of the numerous restaurants.

 That’s a tiny starter list that will keep you busy if you’ve only a short amount of time to visit. Our Croatian Sailing trip ends in Dubrovnik where you get two nights and a full day to explore, but we can arrange for you to have a longer stay.

by Hamish McMaster

Hamish McMaster is the Water By Nature owner. He has spent the past 25 years exploring and playing on the world's great rivers. He still loves nothing more than getting out there and sharing adventures.

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