Dubrovnik, Croatia is best known for being one of the most preserved medieval towns, full of rich history and culture, breathtaking architecture, and landscapes. Of course, Game of Thrones fans will rank the association with the filming location first, but for us, Dubrovnik truly is the Pearl of the Adriatic Sea, as the famous English poet Lord Byron once called it.
With a perfectly preserved Old Town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and gorgeous beaches, Dubrovnik is the ideal choice for every type of traveler. And with the overwhelming number of things to do in Dubrovnik, it is one of the most visited places in Croatia. But in this blog, we handpicked only the most thrilling activities and day trips you can experience during your stay in Dubrovnik.
Things to Do in Dubrovnik
We spent one week in Dubrovnik and found ourselves wanting to extend our stay as there are so many places to visit and charming cafes to eat at. But Split (link), our next destination in Croatia, was calling our name. So allow yourself two to five days to properly explore the city and base yourself in Dubrovnik to make day trips around the surrounding area.
Explore the Old Town
The Old Town of Dubrovnik, established in the 7th century, is undoubtedly the city’s number one must-see attraction. First, take your time wandering around the palaces, churches, and Game of Thrones filming locations (if you are a fan.) Many of Old Town’s hotspots are located along Stradun street – Onorfio’s Fountain and Franciscan Monastery were some of our favorites.
Then, walk around the spectacular 2-kilometer-long walls surrounding the city’s historic core. The walls date back to the 13th century and are the defining feature of Old Town, majestically towering over the shore. Minceta Tower, added in the 14th century, is the highest point of the Dubrovnik wall. It’s a steep climb, but we strongly encourage you to visit for the spectacular views.
Explore the turquoise waters around Dubrovnik on a boat tour or by renting a kayak. Seeing the iconic city views from the water is a must-do activity and a unique way to experience the Old Town walls.
Climb atop Mount Srd
The following perspective of Dubrovnik is the view from above. So, the next item on the itinerary you shouldn’t miss during your stay is mount Srd. It is the best place to enjoy the views over the picturesque Old Town, the rocky coastline, the azure sea, and the mountains on the horizon. There are three ways to get there: by car, cable car, or hike. Guess which option we picked. You can hike mountain Srd during the day, but we recommend climbing at sunset for the best view of Dubrovnik.
Spend the Afternoon at Lokrum Island
Natural reserve under UNESCO protection, Lokrum Island is located 10 minutes off the shore of Dubrovnik. One of the best things to do on Lokrum Island is to swim in the pond formed by years of rain collection called the Dead Sea. The second is to soak up vitamin D (and sea) on the rocks by the shore. The limestone and dolomite rock formations vary from just a few meters in height to tall cliffs that are just stunning. Next, head to what used to be a cave but is now a picturesque arch with a collapsed roof for photos. The third best thing to do is stroll around the Lokrum Monastery and the lovely Botanical garden accompanied by peacocks, who are ready to pose.
Escape to Trsteno Arboretum Garden
Trsteno Arboretum is a luscious botanical garden that dates back to the 15th century, located around 20 kilometers from Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Arboretum is the ideal afternoon escape among various types of plants, Game of Thrones filming locations, and stunning views. Our favorite spot within the garden was the fountain of Neptune and Two Nymphs.
Traditional Town of Cavtat
One of the most beautiful places and a hidden gem surrounding Dubrovnik is the town of Cavtat. Located 18km from Dubrovnik near the Montenegrin border, it’s a traditional town to visit for peace and tranquility away from the crowds of Dubrovnik. There are plenty of Renaissance buildings to admire, a fortress, and dining venues on the historic harbor.
Visit Dubrovnik’s Best Beaches
There are so many exciting things to do in Dubrovnik, but nothing beats heading to the beach and taking a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. Not to mention, no trip to Croatia is complete without swimming in the country’s inviting waters. There are many beautiful beaches around Dubrovnik you could spend days exploring, but here are the ones we loved during our stay.
St. Jacob, or Sveti Jakov, Beach is located outside the city center. You can take a 20-minute walk to this hidden treasure or catch a quick taxi. A long scenic staircase leads down to the beach and builds your anticipation for the refreshing turquoise water down below. Unlike most in Dubrovnik, this beach is sandy and offers a breathtaking view of the Old Town, especially at sunset. There is a relaxing beach club at this beach to enjoy lunch at, umbrellas, and plenty of shade.
Betina cave beach, reachable only by sea, is the most unique beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It’s a cave with a small pebble beach inside, which can get quite busy, so we recommend renting a kayak and visiting as early in the day as possible.
And saving the best for last, Pasjaca beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Getting to this beach takes a little bit of effort, but it’s absolutely worth it. Unfortunately, photos don’t do justice to this little slice of paradise, so you must see it yourself. It takes about thirty minutes to get to the beach from Dubrovnik, followed by a stunning walk down steep and rocky stairs. Unfortunately, Pasjaca beach has no shade, so pack an umbrella if you can. There are also no refreshment facilities, so bring plenty of water and snacks.
Indulge in Scrumptious Local Food
Croatian cuisine is Mediterranean heaven with Italian influences, rich in fresh seafood, delicious vegetables, and crisp local wine, making Dubrovnik, Croatia a foodie paradise. The ingredients are so high in quality, don’t be surprised if you return from your vacation without extra baggage! The city’s restaurant scene is incredibly varied, offering international cuisines to suit every budget – from street food to Michelin stars. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Dubrovnik.
Gradska Kavana Arsenal overlooks the Dubrovnik Marina in the heart of Old Town. Aside from the enchanting views over the water, this restaurant offers a fantastic Mediterranean menu, a sophisticated atmosphere, and gracious service.
Poklisar restaurant serves traditional Croatian dishes and Mediterranean cuisine. It is located in the Old Town, next to the shore, and like many Dubrovnik’s restaurants, offers a gorgeous view from the terrace. With warm hospitality and live music at Poklisar, meaning ambassador, the team strives to be ambassadors of remarkable and delicious experiences.
Portun is a charming restaurant in the Old Town serving Croatian cuisine. It is situated in a narrow alley nearby the Old City Walls. The menu uses exclusively local ingredients and takes you on a journey around the Dubrovnik region.
Where we stayed…
We chose to stay in the old town and our hotel, Dominus Rooms, was the perfect combination of quiet and charming. Our host was lovely and so helpful and we loved our location, near everything.
We hope this list of our favorite things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia gave you plenty of inspiration. We are confident you will fall in love with the beautiful architecture, sparkling sea, and delicious food. If you have questions we didn’t answer in this post, we would be more than happy to attend to them in the comments below! Be sure to check out our blogs from Croatia, like the traditional Croatian Foods you must try.