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Best things to do in Dubrovnik
Located in the southern part of Croatia is a coastal town famous for its dramatic walls surrounding the city, its medieval feel, lively night scene, and of course more recently, Game of Thrones. The city has an inviting feel to it. Whether its your first time to Dubrovnik, or your tenth time, the city hosts an array of things to do, covering culture, history, art, literature, music, food and wine, and many more.
With the Adriatic Sea hugging the city coastline, there are lots of things to do on the water. These include classic boat trips and day excisions out on the ocean to the nearby secluded islands of Sipan and Elaphati. On top of that, Dubrovnik is also a great base to enjoy more active and lively water-sports activities from. Enjoy speed boat trips, swimming in the warm waters and sea kayaking to undiscovered caves and secluded beaches.
For those interested in food and wine, Dubrovnik is a city that offers a blend of local delicacies and Michelin-starred restaurants. Dubrovnik (in fact, most of Croatia) has exquisite fish and seafood on offer – often freshly caught that very morning from the local fisherman. Craft beer is also worth tasting and, with reasonable prices and lively bars, it will soon become a night to remember.
With so much to do, you could easily spend a week or two in Dubrovnik but, for most travelers, a few days is the norm on a Croatia itinerary or cruise. We have put together some of the best things to do in Dubrovnik to accommodate the active travelers, the romantic couples and the history enthusiasts, among others. Our travel experts know everything about Dubrovnik and Croatia – many of whom live here – so please get in touch with any questions you may have.
The Walled City
From the air, flying over Dubrovnik will take you back to the foundation of the Dark Ages. The whole city is enclosed by a wall (a maximum height of 25 meters) which immediately gives it medieval characteristics. The wall extends almost 2,000 meters in length, encompassing forts, towers and bastions along the way. During the 13th century, the impressive walls of Dubrovnik were built as a defence barrier.
Today, the walls remain strong and sturdy. Walking the walls of Dubrovnik is regarded one of the best things to do in the city, and being a UNESCO world heritage site, these walls are carefully protected and restored if any damage arises. Ploče Gate was built in the 14th century and is the main entrance from Dubrovnik’s Old Town. As you leave the gate, you will see a spectacular fort (named St. John) on the right hand side. Walking the walls of Dubrovnik can take anywhere between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on your pace.
Taste Dubrovnik’s Craft Beer
Along with fresh fish and seafood, Dubrovnik also boasts a fantastic local brewery scene. In particular, the city is a leading pioneer in craft beer with innovative brewers who have had years of experience in the industry. A name you will hear regularly during your stay is the Dubrovnik Brewery Company (DBC) who, over the last three years or so, have become the front-runners in Croatia’s craft beer.
For those interested in the process, you can book brewery tours which give you an insight into the process and the science of breweries, as well as an insight into the local drinking scene. Although there are many cities across Croatia that offer lively night scenes, Dubrovnik is home to some of the most unique drinking hangouts in the country – if not, all of Europe. Cliff bars are somewhere you must visit (and drink at) when you visit Dubrovnik. With panoramic views of the city on one side, and the glistening Adriatic Sea on the other, these cliff bars are probably the most unique place you have ever had a beer at.
Game of Thrones Tour
Although Dubrovnik was loved before the release of this series, the city definitely grew in popularity when Game of Thrones was released (2011-2019). The fantasy series with dragons, castles and scandalous medieval dramas could not have picked a more fitting location to film in. Dubrovnik’s Old Town is so captivating and tells its own story through the cobbled streets and dramatic defensive walls.
Whether you have watched all of the Game of Thrones series, or have never seen an episode, a walking tour around the city is a great way to learn about the location and how it was brought to light through film. You will see generic settings like the Dubrovnik coastline and walls through the series, but also more specific architectural gems. For example, on the tour you will see the trademark stone staircase which was the setting for a vital scene in series two – the meeting between the Daenerys and the Spice King in Quarth.
Wander Dubrovnik’s Old Town
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is, arguably, one of the most charming and architectural interesting in all of Croatia, if not Europe. Within the walls, Dubrovnik’s old town has some fascinating features to look out for. From the main square, you can enjoy views of the Church of Saint Blaise, a dominant bell tower, and lots of unique hand-crafted fountains, sculptures and statues.
Much of the old town is pedestrianized and the charming cobbled streets will transport you back a couple of centuries. Although historic buildings and architecture are the focal point for a walking tour around Dubrovnik’s old town, the town has a cosmopolitan feel to it, with bars, open-air restaurants and ocean views at every angle.
Enjoy views over the cable car to Srd
Although views along the streets of Dubrovnik are stunning, the panoramic view across the city and out to the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea from the cable car (built in 1969) cannot be beaten. From a small enclosure glass box, you will glide over the city – getting a real feel for the size, shape and colours of the UNESCO-protected Dubrovnik. The first thing you will notice is the terracotta rooftops.
It is estimated that almost 70% of these bright orange tiles were destroyed during the war in Croatian War of Independence but, thankfully, a restoration process was put in place for these famed rooftops. As you continue your cable car journey, you will see the crystal-waters of the Adriatic to one side – a sea responsible for separating the Italian peninsula and the Balkans. That said, the best views are from the top of Srd Hill. Here, nature meets man-made architecture. Views of old fortresses’ and castles have a backdrop of breath-taking mountains and the ocean.
Tick off the architectural wonders
As well as the mighty walls themselves, Dubrovnik is home to some independent architectural gems. The medieval pharmacy which was built over hundreds of years ago is one of them. Despite its dated look, this pharmacy is still in use today. The Dominican Monastery, the charming alleyway of Cogito, and Rector’s Palace are a few others.
This is just a taster of things to do in Dubrovnik. Along with activities on the water, whetting your appetite in prestigious restaurants, relaxing on hidden beaches and exploring the history and depth to Croatia’s loved city, there are more than enough things to do to keep you busy for weeks on end.
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