The city of Dubrovnik is a port and tourist center located in southern Dalmatia at the foot of the Srd mountain. It has a rich history and culture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”.
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Dubrovnik is one of the most attractive destinations in the Mediterranean due to its beauty and wide range of tourist attractions, especially since the city can be visited all year round.
Tourism started to develop in Dubrovnik before the First World War. Besides its world-famous architectural heritage, Dubrovnik has beautiful rocky beaches, pebble beaches and sandy beaches. The city of Dubrovnik also has a Mediterranean climate and pleasant vegetation.
The city was named Ragusa in the Middle Ages and was the head of the republic and city-state of the same name. It is also known for its good food, hotel and tourist facilities, sports and recreational activities, and cultural and entertainment events. Dubrovnik’s economy is now largely based on tourism and maritime activities.
What can you visit in Dubrovnik?
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is home to many cultural and historical monuments, as well as various museums. That being said, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to enjoy Dubrovnik: you can safely stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, passing through the various gates and passages to soak up the city’s atmosphere.
More recently, Dubrovnik has been known for providing a magnificent setting for two successful movies: Game of Thrones (King’s Landing) and Star Wars (episode 8). There are dedicated activities to visit the different filming locations. This recent fame has further enhanced the city’s tourist appeal.
Dubrovnik’s old town
The historical heart of the city is easy to navigate and quite charming. Visiting it is free, but the best time to see it is in the early morning and in the evening when the crowds are gone.
Stradum or Placa Street
This is the main artery of the historic center. It crosses the city from the Pile gate to the old port. This commercial and lively street is the soul of the city. Read more…
The fortified walls surrounding the historic city offer a very pleasant walk with many views of the city’s rooftops and the sea. It’s best to do it at sunset. Read more…
The St. Lawrence fortress is located outside the western wall of Dubrovnik, facing the sea. Read more…
Every visitor notices the cathedral’s dome when they arrive in Dubrovnik. The building is open to the public. Read more…
You have to take the car to get to this Mediterranean garden, but the trip is worth it. Read more…
Lokrum is located a few hundred meters from Dubrovnik and is a relaxing place to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
This is where the Republic of Ragusa’s decisions were made. It is now a museum.
Other museums and historical discoveries in Dubronik
- Maritime Museum
- Ethnographic Museum
- Modern Art Museum
- Natural History Museum
- War photo exhibition and military museum
- Museums of the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries
- Onofrio Fountain, Pile Gate, Clock Tower, Sponza Palace
- Fortresses of Mincetta, Revelin, imperial fort
Other fun activities
- Cable car
- Museum of love stories
- Bungee jumping from the Franjo Tudman bridge
- Lokrum’s still waters
- Dubrovnik’s old port
Cultural and entertainment events
The famous Dubrovnik Summer Festival (theater, music and folklore festival) is held during the summer high season. There is also the Dubrovnik Carnival. February 3 is the day of St. Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint.
Other tourist activities in Dubrovnik
Sports and leisure facilities include a wide range of courts, equipment and infrastructure for all kinds of sports, whether on land, in water or even in the air. The activities include tennis (a popular sport among Croatians), sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, diving, parasailing, bungee jumping…
There are also fitness centers and wellness areas with saunas, massages and solariums, which are quite typical for modern seaside resorts.
Dubrovnik is a popular tourist destination, so there are a number of activities available: Game of Thrones tours, kayaking or rafting trips, sunset cruises in a galleon, excursions to nearby Montenegro, boat tours to the Elaphite Islands, discovery of the Mljet National Park, wine tasting and wine tours…
There are several beaches close to the historic city of Dubrovnik: Banje, Suluci, Buza and Dance. The other beaches are further away but are easily accessible for a half-day of relaxation facing the Adriatic Sea. These beaches include Copacabana, Lokrum (on the island of the same name), Bellevue.
Banje beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (top 10 in the world according to Skyscanner). You can also try scuba diving or rent jet-skis on the large beaches such as Copacabana, just north of Dubrovnik.
Please note that Croatian beaches can be a bit confusing sometimes: a few large stones and a ladder, a small cove and large pebbles… long sandy beaches are the exception.
Vacation accommodations in Dubrovnik
Accommodations for travelers passing through Dubrovnik include almost everything imaginable so you can book different types of accommodations and vacation rentals (hotels, apartments, rooms for rent, campgrounds).
Renting in Dubrovnik is not a problem, but you should make reservations. The city is prone to mass tourism and prices can quickly skyrocket.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik?
The historical heart of the medieval city has a charming atmosphere with its typical houses, but the pressure of short-term rentals is draining the city of its residents, and Croatians and tourists alike are complaining about this phenomenon. The authorities are making efforts to curb this somewhat invasive tourism.
You can stay in the following areas: Lapad (lively district), Babin Kuk (quieter), Ploce (more picturesque and without the excess tourism of the historical center).
How long should I stay in Dubrovnik?
A city-break is possible if you come by plane. Dubrovnik can be visited in 1 day but 2 days is preferable.
The tourism office offers a special 3-day pass that includes transportation and entrance fees to a few dozen tourist sites.
You should allow an extra day if you plan to visit the nearby islands.
When is the best period to visit Dubrovnik?
The best time to visit is between May and September. The temperature is over 20 degrees and although it may still rain in May, the other months are dry until the fall. During the winter months, temperatures rarely drop below 5 degrees. It’s best to avoid the last two months of the year because they are the rainiest.
We recommend visiting Dubrovnik in the spring or fall to avoid the tourist crowds, and to choose weekdays over weekends.
How to get to Dubrovnik?
You can come from Europe by car. However, the journey is long because Dubrovnik is located at the southern end of the country and you have to use roads, which are very beautiful, but which are congested in summer. You also have to cross an additional border at the city of Neum.
- Coming to Dubronik by plane. Cilipi, the international airport, is located 25 km south of the city, about 20 minutes away. There are regular flights to Croatian and Italian destinations as well as charter flights to many European destinations. A Croatia Airlines bus runs to and from the airport about an hour and a half before each flight.
- Coming to Dubrovnik by bus. Dubrovnik also has an excellent bus network with regular connections to many Croatian cities. There are also international bus connections from Dubrovnik to other countries. The bus terminal is located in Gruz, about half an hour’s walk from the old town, between the Lapad port and the Pile Gate.
- Coming to Dubrovnik by ferry. The ferry company Jadrolinija is also located in town and offers connections to the main Croatian islands as well as to other cities like Rijeka. Adriatica operates two ferries to Ancona and Bari in Italy. There are also local boat services with skipper to some of the neighboring islands, including Mljet, Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan.
Practical information and frequently asked questions about Dubrovnik
Is life in Dubrovnik expensive?
Yes, Dubrovnik is an expensive city. Almost twice as expensive as other cities in the country.
What should I visit if I’m spending half a day in Dubrovnik?
For half a day, you can take a stroll in the old town, a short walk along the waterfront and visit the city walls.
What can I see in one day in Dubrovnik?
If you plan to stay a full day in Dubrovnik, it’s worth taking a walk on the city walls and in the old town, but also to stop at the Pile gate and in front of the Onofrio fountain and to visit a covered place: the Franciscan monastery, the maritime museum and at least one church…
Which gate should I use to enter Dubrovnik?
The Pile gate is the most popular. You can avoid some of the crowds by using the Ploce and Buza gates…
Is Dubrovnik a safe city?
Yes, like most place in Croatia, Dubrovnik is a safe city. However, just like in any other tourist city, there is some petty crime (pickpockets).
What can I order at restaurants?
Octopus, squid and other fish dishes are part of the traditional Croatian cuisine.
Where can I get a drink?
Stradum, the old town’s main street, is the most popular place for visitors. There is a lot of activity, a lot of people and a lot of choice.
Can I bring a stroller to Dubrovnik?
There’s a lot of crowd and many flights of stairs in Dubrovnik, so a baby carrier might be better than a stroller.
How to avoid the crowds in Dubrovnik?
There are several solutions, unfortunately, not always realistic:
Avoid the high season;
Avoid the middle of the day (between 9am and 5pm);
Avoid the days when ships come;
Avoid entering through the Pile door;
Avoid the weekend.
Do I need a car to visit Dubrovnik?
The historic heart of Dubrovnik is only a few hundred meters long and can be reached by foot. The entire city is no more than 5km long. A car is not necessary to stay in Dubrovnik.
Bus or car rental for Dubrovnik?
The bus is perfect for occasional trips (to/from the airport) or for one-way trips (to another city in Croatia). A car is preferable if you plan to travel around Croatia from Dubrovnik.
Is it easy to park in Dubrovnik?
Not really, like in any tourist city. You should try the international bus station and the Pile Gate parking lot. The earlier you come, the better.
Is it easy to drive in Dubrovnik?
Traffic in Dubrovnik is difficult during the high season and traffic jams are frequent. You should plan some time allowance to avoid being late.
What can I see in Dubrovnik with children?
Besides the beach and the city walls tour, taking the cable car up to the fort overlooking the city is a great idea.
Can I come to Dubrovnik by boat?
Yes, Dubrovnik is accessible by ferry from Italy (Bari – 10 hours crossing) but also from the islands close to the country (Kolocep, Lopud, Otok Sipan) as well as from islands further away (Hvar, Rijeka, Split, Korcula). There are 10 to 40 trips per day depending on the season.
Can I store my luggage?
Yes, the bus station has luggage storage facilities if you are just passing through for the day.