Along the Adriatic Sea on the Dalmatian Coast sits the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. A bustling seaport in Medieval times and a popular cruising spot today, the city boasts amazing coastlines and sparkling sapphire waters. Well-preserved historic sites stand tall amidst fierce walls and an array of museums and cultural events celebrate tales from centuries past.
Friendly residents invite visitors to indulge in their fabulous fresh food and savor the warm Mediterranean climate. This welcoming city offers over 250 days of sunshine a year. Dubrovnik seduces and charms, and with tourists unable to hold back, it is no longer the Mediterranean’s best kept secret. Don’t let that keep you from visiting, here are the best things to do in Dubrovnik.
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What to Do in Dubrovnik with kids
Explore the Dubrovnik Old Town
Surrounded by medieval walls that have stood the test of time, this pedestrian-only marble paved town is a living museum. There are treasures of Baroque, Renaissance and Medieval palaces and churches on every corner. The main street known as Stradun is the favorite walkway for tourists. Filled with restaurants, entertainers, shopping, and a weekend farmer’s market, this is the pulse of Dubrvonik.
Make sure to rub the nose of the statue of Marin Drzic, the Croatian playwright and poet. The statue sits outside the Rector’s Palace in the Old Town. Touching its gold nose is said to bring good luck.
If you’re visiting Dubrovnik with kids, be sure to stop in one of the massive candy shops offering all sorts of unique treats.
Walk along the Dubrovnik city walls
No trip to Dubrovnik is complete without a walk along the city walls that meander around the Old Town. About 1,940 meters long and a two-hour journey, this provides a glimpse of Dubrovnik from a completely different angle.
From the highest point there are views of the the Adriatic, the red-tiled roofs of the city, and the maze of medieval streets. Take a self-guided walk or buy tickets for a group tour and hear stories about Dubrovnik’s 1,400 year history.
*Tip: Visit the walls of Dubrovnik first thing in the morning before it gets too hot, or late in the evening after all of the day trippers have left.
Relax on the beach
If you stay outside the town walls, odds are you will walk past one of the city’s beaches, Plaža Banje. You can rent lounge chairs here and there is a restaurant next to the beach. It has stunning views of the Old Town walls.
If you are looking for places away from the crowds, be sure to check out these Dubrovnik beaches.
Contemplate amidst St Blaise Church
This 18th century Baroque church stands in the center of the Old Town. It is crowned with a gold dome and a towering statue of Saint Blaise, the patron Saint and protector of Dubrovnik.
It is noteworthy that during the fire of 1706 the old church was destroyed. The only thing that survived intact was the gold-plated statue of St. Blasius, which adorns the altar to this day.
The wide staircase outside the entrance of the church is a popular spot for weary visitors to rest, bask in a sacred place, or just watch the crowds.
Indulge at the Pharmacy of the Franciscan Monastery
Operating continuously since 1317, this Dubrovnik pharmacy, along with the monastery, is one of the oldest in Europe and a must-see for every tourist. Founded as an in-house pharmacy for Franciscan friars, it was later introduced to the public beyond the town’s walls.
Glass cases display rare manuscripts, pharmaceutical manuals, secret elixirs and local wild herb remedies. With the wonderful herbal scents seducing visitors to their doors, it is difficult to leave without purchasing some mementos. Popular products are the aqua lavandulae cream, rose oil, cold pressed almond and olive soap, and of course, the bergamot oil and cocoa butter wrinkle-proof cream.
Climb the Dubrovnik Bell Tower
Soaring high above the Stradun, the Bell Tower in Dubrovnik is a magnificent landmark. Recently opened to visitors, climb up to see two bronze statues known as Maro and Baro. They strike the bell on the full hour, repeating the strike after 3 minutes and a single clang on the half hour.
Each blow propels hundreds of pigeons into the air which is quite a sight. Dubrovnik’s famous bell strikers have now turned a tint of green from the salt air and are aptly called the green men.
Ride the Dubrovnik Cable Car to the top of Mount Srd
The Dubrovnik cable car takes riders from just above the old town to the top of Mount Srd, once home to Napoleon’s Imperial Fortress and a strategic vantage point for centuries.
The ride takes less than five minutes and provides breathtaking panoramic views. From here there are views of the Old Town and its massive walls, the beautiful Adriatic, nearby islands, and even a glimpse of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Spend time up on the mount and visit the big cross. Enjoy a drink and incredible food at the Panorama Bar and Restaurant. It’s even possible to book a dune buggy tour through the rugged landscape. While the choices are many, the star attraction is the magnificent view. This is the perfect spot to fully understand the rich history and deep beauty of Dubrovnik.
Don’t miss a Game of Thrones Tour
Promising to thrill both avid fans and curious spectators alike, there are many Game of Thrones tours to choose from. Walking tours throughout the historic city center introduce where famed scenes took place. The famous walls, fortresses, and churches of Dubrovnik all pose as spectacular backdrops to the mighty battles and brave heroes of the epic TV series.
Another option is a cruise on board Karaka, the ship used in filming the series and quite the ultimate experience. When sailing into the fantastical world of Game of Thrones, the guide shares interesting facts, exciting stories, and insider tips from the filming in Dubrovnik and introduces the legendary King’s Landing.
There may even be an opportunity to adorn costumes, play dress up, and feel like a GOT hero or villain. Official GOT merchandise is available for purchase throughout the city. Winter. Is. Coming.
Take a boat ride to Lokrum island
Lokrum was apparently shelter to King Richard the Lionheart while he was shipwrecked during the Third Crusade, but today it is a favorite excursion spot. Lokrum sits on the water with gorgeous views of Dubrovnik on one side and the open sea on the other.
To reach Lokrum from Dubrovnik, grab a quick taxi-boat ride from the Old Harbor. The island is a nature reserve that is home to exotic gardens, olive groves, swimming holes and an abandoned 12th century Benedictine monastery. More adventurous souls can visit Lokrum via a kayaking tour.
Take a dip in the Dead Sea, a small salt-filled lake just 10 meters deep and surprisingly easy to swim in. Without hotels or the commotions of a city, this idyllic spot is filled with sunbathers, the scent of pine and sea salt, and peacocks, one of its only inhabitants. According to legend, the Lokrum curse, which took the lives of those who tried to make Lokrum their home, is still alive today. As soon as dusk falls, visitors depart the island and head back to the city.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
Many people like to stay inside the city walls, but there are many properties that are easy walking distance to town. We stayed at Grand Villa Argentina, which was right on the water with gorgeous views of Old Town. Other properties to consider are: Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik and Rixos Premium Dubrovnik. There are also plenty of vacation rentals available in Dubrovnik.
About the author: This post was written by Kavi Mirchandani Larson. She is a mom to four. Wife to one. Collector of experiences in her everyday journey through motherhood, wellness, travel, food, and living abundantly.
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If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.
Book Your Accommodation
We regularly use Expedia.com and Hotels.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.
Book Your Transportation
For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service. If you need airport transfers, we recommend Welcome Pickups.
When traveling in Europe, we use AutoEurope to make our bookings. They find the best rates and allow you to compare different car rental agencies. Europcar is another option. If you plan to take the train, we recommend using Rail Europe.
Book Your Tours and Travel Photos
We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages. Other companies to look at include Tours by Locals and Withlocals.
If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Both are worthwhile investments.
Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours. For unique, curated activities, check out Headout.
One of our favorite things to do annually is taking photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master or World Nomads to find the best policy for your group.