General

Dubrovnik City Guide

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A sea of terracotta coloured roofs encompassed by an ancient, sea-battered wall. The glistening Adriatic Sea, with its various shades of blue and green, and boats peppered throughout the harbour. Keen travellers exploring the city wall, sitting down for a coffee or hiking up Mount Srd. Welcome to Dubrovnik! Perched on the coast near the southern tip of Croatia, Dubrovnik combines European history, elegant architecture, delicious al-fresco dining and an abundance of sea-based activities. The popular ancient city is a bustling yet charming Mediterranean destination and a highlight of a holiday to Croatia.

Dubrovnik’s Best Spots

From the ancient corners of the city walls to the relaxed beaches of Lapad, Dubrovnik has plenty of interesting places waiting to be explored. For such a small destination, the contrast between the Old Town and the rest of the city is fascinating, and the beautiful coastal location means picture-perfect views are around every corner. Here is a selection of our favourite spots in Dubrovnik.

The Old Town 



Known as one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world, Dubrovnik’s Old Town dates back to around the 7th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the compact ancient city is surrounded by a fortified wall that travellers can walk the full length of. Within the Old Town you can find the Dubrovnik Cathedral, Church of St Blaise, Dominican Monastery and the Old Port, as well as many other historical buildings of interest. The side streets are brimming with quaint cafes and restaurants and small boutique shops. It’s easy to spend a day getting lost in the cobbled alleys of this section of Dubrovnik.

Top Tip

We recommend arriving at the entrance of the City Wall as soon as it opens when the crowds are much smaller than in the afternoon.

Lapad

Lapad is a large peninsula located around 4km west of Dubrovnik Old Town. With pebbled beaches, plenty of coastline and a whole host of delicious restaurants, it’s a popular area to stay in if you want away from the busy and often chaotic Old Town. While there are no specific attractions in Lapad, the atmosphere is more than enough to entice you into spending time here. Enjoy a walk around the peninsula for fantastic ocean views and sip cocktails in one of the many ocean-side bars.

Top Tip

The Dubrovnik City Card gets you into the city walls and museums, and also provides unlimited free transport for the duration of the card’s validity. If you are coming to and from Lapad this can be useful!



Mount Srd

Rising sharply behind Dubrovnik is Mount Srd, and at 1,352 feet it offers the best view of the city from above. The most popular ways of reaching the summit are by hiking the trails or hopping on the cable car. The hike will take anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your fitness, but you’ll also want time to stop for photo breaks. And of course – walking up is free! The cable car is the easier option and takes you to the top in a few minutes, but can get busy during peak times and costs 170 kuna for a round trip. On a clear day, you can see for miles into the Adriatic Sea.

Top Tip

If you hike Mount Srd in the height of the day in summer, ensure you have a sunhat and sunscreen.

Lokrum

Lokrum is the large, verdant island that you can see if you’re looking south from Dubrovnik. Located a short ferry ride from the harbour, it’s a popular day trip for those looking for something different to the bustling Old Town. By ferry it takes only 15 minutes, but you can also reach the island by kayak on a guided tour. Once on the island, walk through the beautiful Botanical Gardens, check out the ruins of the Benectine Monastery or simply stroll through the olive and cypress trees. It’s a beautiful escape from the city and offers some truly fantastic surroundings, including a salty lagoon where you can float.

Top Tip

Lokrum Island is only open to visitors between April and November. 

Food in Dubrovnik

Croatian cuisine is fresh, rustic and simply delicious. Think traditional, grandma-style, home-cooked meals that leave you feeling warm and satisfied. The coastal country has absorbed influences from its neighbours over the centuries, and now provides people with a taste of Italy, Turkey and Greece with their own traditional twist. Picture plates of fresh seafood, cooling salads and plenty of herbs. While the Old Town has some hidden gems which we highly recommend seeking out, it’s also the most tourist-filled place and therefore can be overpriced for the quality of food on offer. Research thoroughly to ensure you’re getting bang for your buck!

Local favourites

Dubrovnik is brimming with cosy and authentic restaurants which are loved by both travellers and locals alike. Croatian’s love fresh food and Mediterranean flavours, and if the weather is nice, you’ll most likely find everyone sitting outside. Most restaurants will serve local dishes but you want to head towards the ones that are overflowing with local residents, where you can smell the home-cooked delicacies and see happy faces all around.

Located on the shores of Lapad, Levanat dishes up local Dubrovnik cuisine and various meat and seafood combinations. Popular choices include black risotto, baked mussels and the sea bass fillet.

Depending on the location of your accommodation, this hidden gem can be quite a mission to reach – it’s located on the northern side of Lapad. The restaurant is authentic, well priced and dishes up authentic food that gives you the real Croatian experience.

Nestled down a side street in the Old Town, Mama’s Pot Tavern is known for serving some of the best mussels in the city. The small and intimate setting creates a wonderfully cosy atmosphere and the staff are known for being friendly and helpful. Expect it to be busy in the evenings and book ahead if possible.

Treat yourself

If you are after something a little fancier, Dubrovnik has a huge range of fine dining options showcasing the best produce of the region. Combine this with coastal views, outdoor terraces and first class service and you’re bound to have an experience to remember.

If you’re after some of the finest seafood, you’ll want to head to Proto. Legend has it that Dubrovnik fisherman handed down old recipes that are still used to this day. It’s been open since 1886, and remains one of the best places in the city for seafood specialities. The a la carte menu includes a “delicacies of the Adriatic” section with plenty of options including the fisherman platter or lobster tail pasta.

Getting Around Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is small enough that getting around doesn’t take much time at all. The old town is easily walkable and getting lost amongst the side streets is actually all part of the fun. If you want to reach further away areas such as Lapad, a regular bus service operates bringing you directly to the old town entrance. Taxis are readily available for ease of travel, and a shuttle bus operates regularly between the airport and the bus terminal. Regular boat services operate to take you to nearby islands and you’ll also find plenty of local operators offering day trips if you’re too short on time to use public transport.

Alternative things to do in and around Dubrovnik

While the masses may flock to Dubrovnik for the sunny Mediterranean atmosphere and the charming Old Town, this coastal destination has an abundance of activities for those who want culture, outdoor activity or adventure.

Zaton Bay

The charming village of Zaton is a hidden gem located only 2km from Dubrovnik. Enclosed in a small bay, the shore offers crystal clear turquoise waters making it the perfect getaway for swimming, walking along the coast or sipping a glass of local wine. The village has a small but decent range of guesthouses and restaurants, making it perfect for those who want a slice of Mediterranean life close to the bustle of Dubrovnik. Since it’s located that little bit further away, accommodation is much cheaper than in the heart of Dubrovnik.

Walk the Elafiti Islands

The Elafiti Islands are a cluster of small islands located close to Dubrovnik. While there are six altogether the three main ones are Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. With gorgeous ocean views, lush landscape and charming buildings, the islands are perfect for those who enjoy walking and exploring the less touristy side of Croatia. Kolocep and Lopud are entirely car free islands, so once you hop off the island you’re faced with some of the most tranquil and calming corners of the region. While they are inhabited, the population of the three islands put together is under 1000 people. You’ll find a few family owned guesthouses and restaurants, plenty of beautiful walking trails and pure tranquillity that is hard to come across in such a popular area.

Take a day trip to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

It takes just under 2 hours to drive from Dubrovnik to Mostar, in fact Dubrovnik is under 10 kilometers away from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostar is a charming, Ottoman influenced city which provides unique insight into the culture of this lesser visited country. The popular area of Mostar is the old bridge, an iconic landmark that represents the united front of the mainly Christian west side and the Muslim east side. The atmospheric bazaar is a wonderful place to explore, picking up local handicrafts and souvenirs. You’ll also find a whole host of delicious restaurants overlooking the river, at a fraction of the price of the ones in Dubrovnik.

Kayak around the islands

With crystal clear blue waters and stunning views, the coast of Dubrovnik is the perfect place to get out on the ocean and see it from a different perspective. A guided tour is a great option since you get an expert local guide who will show you secret locations while telling you lots of stories and facts about the area. Explore hidden caves, get unique photographs and if you really love photography – opt for the sunset tour!



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