Welcome to the land of a Thousand Islands! A more accurate nickname might be “the land of 1,246 islands, islets, and reefs” but that’s not as much fun! Did you know that only 1,000+ islands, only 48 are populated? Now let’s go over how to plan your trip to Dubrovnik Croatia!
After spending nearly a week in Dubrovnik I have a few tips to share with you traveling loving wanderers about the beautiful country of Croatia and the city of Dubrovnik!
Falling for Dubrovnik was inevitable. Famously described as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, it’s hard not to be captivated by this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are so many things to do in this beautiful city that you can easily spend a week in Dubrovnik and still wish you had longer.
1. Explore the Old Town
When you walk through the gates of the Old City and lay your eyes on the marble streets and ancient city walls which protected the republic for centuries – you will be overwhelmed by beauty and history.
The Stradun is the main street that stretches between the two town gates, Pile and Ploce. Lined with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, there’s a real hustle and bustle as locals go about their daily business and tourists admire the immaculate white limestone streets and beautiful buildings.
At the end of the Stradun, you’ll find some of Dubrovnik’s most well-known landmarks such as Sponza Palace, Orlando’s Column, St. Blaise Church, and Rector’s Palace.
Head through the arch at the end of the Stradun and you’ll find yourself at the old port where there are plenty of places to enjoy a drink and marvel at the old city walls and the rugged hills.
If you want to escape the crowds, wander down some of the narrow side streets that lead off the Stradun and explore the quieter alleyways which lead through to Gundulic Square. Here you’ll be greeted by an impressive Baroque staircase that leads up to the Church of St Ignatius and Collegium Ragusinum.
Follow the sign for ‘cold drinks with the most beautiful view’ and you’ll find an unmarked doorway in the city walls that open up to a stunning little bar perched on the rocks. With swaggering unrivaled views over the Adriatic, it’s easy to see why Buža Bar (literally meaning ‘hole in the wall’) has become a tourist favorite for the years.
If you can’t get a table then head back out and follow the southern wall until you reach a second doorway which leads to Buža 2.
2. Walk the city walls
If you really want to appreciate the beauty of the old town during your week in Dubrovnik, a walk along the city walls is a must. These monumental white stone walls are one of Dubrovnik’s most iconic features and the main reason why the city is referred to as the Pearl of the Adriatic.
You can walk all the way around the walls (2km) which boast spectacular views over the old town on one side and out to the shimmering Adriatic on the other. Gazing over the rooftops, you can get a feel for the sheer extent of the damage caused by the shelling in 1990. The bright new terracotta tiles stand out from the original orange rooftops, giving you a sense of the scale of the restoration program.
The walk can be quite strenuous, especially on a hot day as there are several steps to climb and very few places to buy a drink so take water with you and wear some good walking shoes. If you don’t want to walk the whole length of the walls then you can climb down at any of the entrance points.
Cost: 200 kn for adults and 50 kn for children aged 5 to 18. You can only pay by credit card or Croatian Kuna. Euros aren’t accepted.
3. Relax on Banje Beach and walk along the coast
Banje Beach is Dubrovnik’s main beach and lies just outside of Ploce gate. This pebble and sandy beach offer spectacular views of Lokrum Island and if you walk along the shoreline the views back to the old city really are heavenly. The Banje Beach Club is a lively bar and restaurant right on the beach which transforms into a nightclub once the sunsets.
There’s something quite hypnotic about the clear cerulean blue sea and rugged Dalmatian coastline. It’s tempting just to stay for the whole day but if you can drag yourself away there is a great walk that leads you along Dubrovnik’s dramatic coastline.
Go up the steps at the end of the beach to the main road and head along the road, away from the old town. The road will start to turn away from the coast and you’ll pass some of Dubrovnik’s popular hotels such as Hotel Excelsior and Grand Villa Argentina. Keep walking past a monastery until you come to some steps down.
If you follow them down, you’ll find yourself on the coastal path which eventually leads down to the rocks. It’s a perfect picnic spot to sit and enjoy the view looking back to the magnificent old city.
4. Float the Bay
When you are visiting the beautiful city of Dubrovnik you need to take a float! We took a ride with LiSail on their sunset tour and it was the most amazing tour we’ve booked for the longest time! I will never regret this excursion! If you enjoy a nice small boat excursion and a romantic sunset setting – you need to book a tour with these guys.
5. Diving for Wine
If you love going scuba diving and love wine, then this next activity is for you! Many of us have dived in strange environments, from the Antarctic to deep caves. Diving for wine, though, is not commonly associated with diving — unless you count going to a dive bar after you emerge from the water. Yet, there’s an underwater winery in Croatia just waiting for discovery. The Edivo Winery lies in the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, and it’s undoubtedly one of the unusual wine merchants on the planet.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBROVNIK?
A lot of cruise ships dock in Dubrovnik in the summer months and the old city can become overcrowded. I would highly recommend checking the cruise ship calendar before you book your trip. Avoid going in July and August if you can.
We went in May and it was quite quiet in the old city which made exploring much more enjoyable. The weather was sunny and warm but did get cooler in the evenings so take a light coat and jumpers so you don’t get cold at night. Late September and early October are also good times to visit Dubrovnik.
Make sure when you visit Dubrovnik – MAKE SURE YOU EAT! If you want more tips of food to watch out for on the menu — check out this article