12 Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik: Must-See Attractions

by Jem
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Dubrovnik is one of those cities that every traveler should have on their bucket list. Why? Because it’s a place where history comes alive. Walking through its streets feels like stepping back in time, with its well-preserved city walls and historic buildings. But Dubrovnik isn’t just about the past. It’s a vibrant city with a modern edge, offering everything from world-class dining to exciting nightlife. Over the years, I’ve visited Dubrovnik multiple times, and each trip has given me a deeper appreciation for its unique blend of old and new.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or just someone looking for a beautiful place to relax, Dubrovnik has something to offer. And while it’s become more popular in recent years thanks to shows like Game of Thrones, there’s still plenty of undiscovered gems waiting for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

So if you’re thinking about booking a ticket to Croatia, don’t hesitate. It’s a city that never disappoints. To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Dubrovnik.

The nicest places to visit in Dubrovnik right now
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Best Places to Visit in Dubrovnik

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Dubrovnik? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this picturesque vacation spot in Croatia. So keep reading to discover all these unique Dubrovnik places to visit.

Are you looking to explore ancient city walls, historic sites, and museums? Or would you prefer to relax on beautiful beaches, indulge in local cuisine, and enjoy vibrant nightlife? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Dubrovnik can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Dubrovnik that you should know about.

1. City Walls

Dubrovnik’s City Walls aren’t just a tourist attraction; they’re a testament to the city’s resilience and history. If you’re in Dubrovnik and skip the walls, you’re missing out big time. This isn’t your typical walk in a park. It’s a 2-kilometer trek around the Old Town, offering unbeatable views of terracotta rooftops and the Adriatic’s shimmering waters.

The walls are a crash course in Dubrovnik’s past. You’ll pass by forts and bastions, each a silent witness to the city’s turbulent history. And while the walk can get crowded, especially during peak season, the vistas make elbowing through the crowds worth it. Just a tip: tackle the walls early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday sun. And don’t rush it. The views are worth savoring, and there are plenty of spots to stop and snap photos.

The City Walls of Dubrovnik are not only an architectural marvel but also a symbol of the city’s strength and determination. Built between the 12th and 17th centuries, these fortifications have withstood sieges, earthquakes, and the test of time. As you navigate the walls, you’ll come across the Minceta Tower, the highest point, which offers panoramic views of the city and the sea beyond.

The City Walls serve as a reminder of the city's tenacity and past.
The City Walls serve as a reminder of the city’s tenacity and past.

2. Lokrum Island

Just a short boat ride from Dubrovnik’s Old Town, Lokrum Island is a haven for those looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s not packed with attractions or activities, but that’s precisely its charm. Lokrum is about relaxation, nature, and a bit of history thrown in.

The island boasts a unique botanical garden filled with plants from all over the world. As you wander the paths, you’ll stumble upon peacocks and rabbits, the island’s friendly residents. There’s also the remains of a Benedictine monastery, giving you a glimpse into the island’s past.

For those keen on a bit of adventure, there are rocky inlets perfect for a refreshing swim. The Dead Sea, a small salt-filled lake on the island, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. And if you’re up for it, climb to the island’s highest point, Fort Royal Castle, for a panoramic view of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.

Lokrum Island is a perfect half-day trip from Dubrovnik, offering a mix of relaxation, nature, and history.

For anyone who want to get away from the bustle of the city, Lokrum Island is a sanctuary.
For anyone who want to get away from the bustle of the city, Lokrum Island is a sanctuary.

3. Maritime Museum

Tucked away within the mighty walls of Fort St. John, Dubrovnik’s Maritime Museum is an absolute must-visit. Sure, Dubrovnik gets a lot of buzz for its medieval vibes and those epic Game of Thrones scenes, but let me tell you, its seafaring history is just as captivating.

Dive into exhibits that take you on a journey through time. From ancient galleys, you get a feel of an epic movie. Then, with the sleeker modern ships, you’ll witness the transformation of shipbuilding over time. And those old-school navigational tools? They’re a testament to the innovation of sailors from yesteryears. But it’s not all smooth sailing – artifacts from shipwrecks serve as haunting reminders of voyages that met untimely ends.

And for a real deep dive, check out the section on the Republic of Ragusa. It’s a window into how Dubrovnik, or should I say Ragusa, ruled the Mediterranean waves. So, before you wander the city’s alleyways, take a moment. Make a pit stop at the Maritime Museum before snapping another pic of those iconic walls. Trust me, it’s one of those underrated gems that’ll give you serious travel bragging rights.

The Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik is an outstanding must-see.
The Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik is an outstanding must-see.

4. Stradun

Stradun, also known as Placa, is Dubrovnik’s main street and the heartbeat of the Old Town. It’s a pedestrian-only thoroughfare that stretches from Pile Gate to Ploče Gate, lined with historic buildings made of gleaming limestone.

Starting your walk at Pile Gate, you’ll immediately notice the Onofrio Fountain, a 16th-century structure that once supplied water to the city. As you continue, you’ll pass by a diverse mix of shops and cafes. Landmarks, including the City Bell Tower and Orlando’s Column, stand out as symbols of Dubrovnik’s freedom.

The street is more than a place to shop or grab a bite; it’s a living testament to Dubrovnik’s history. Many of the buildings along Stradun were rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake, showcasing the city’s resilience and architectural prowess. The uniform Baroque style of the structures gives the street its distinct appearance.

Visiting Stradun is more than just a walk; it’s an experience. Whether you’re window shopping or sipping coffee, there’s plenty to do. Stradun offers a glimpse into Dubrovnik’s vibrant culture and rich history.

The main avenue of Dubrovnik and the beating heart of the Old Town is Stradun.
The main avenue of Dubrovnik and the beating heart of the Old Town is Stradun.

5. Rector’s Palace

If you’re roaming around Dubrovnik’s Old Town and want a real taste of its history, the Rector’s Palace is your spot. It’s not just another old building; this place was the political heart of the Republic of Ragusa. Think of it as the White House of its time.

Inside, it’s like a crash course in Dubrovnik’s past. The museum is packed with relics from the city’s glory days. You’ll find old furniture that the city’s elite once lounged on, portraits of influential individuals, and even the old prison cells. Yep, they locked up troublemakers right in the palace.

The Rector, who was the elected leader of the Republic of Ragusa, resided here, but only for a month-long term. This short term ensured that no single individual held too much power for too long. As you explore, you’ll come across the Rector’s ornate chambers, giving you a glimpse into the life of the highest official in the republic.

But what’s really cool? The atrium. Sometimes, if you time it right, you’ll catch live classical music performances there. It’s a surreal experience, hearing timeless music in a place so steeped in history. While the Rector’s Palace might not top every tourist’s list, it’s worth a visit. It’s one of those underrated gems that offers a deeper understanding of Dubrovnik beyond the popular attractions.

The Rector's Palace is the place to go if you want a true taste of its past.
The Rector’s Palace is the place to go if you want a true taste of its past.

6. Fort Lovrijenac

Perched on a 37-meter high rock overlooking the sea, Fort Lovrijenac is Dubrovnik’s impressive standalone fortress. It’s often dubbed “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar” and for a good reason. This fort played a crucial role in defending the city from Venetian invasions, and its walls tell tales of resilience and strategic genius.

When you enter, you’ll notice an inscription above the gate: “Freedom is not sold for all the gold in the world.” It’s a powerful reminder of Dubrovnik’s fierce spirit of independence. Inside, the fort has three terraces offering panoramic views of the Old Town and the must-visit Adriatic Coast. It’s a prime spot for some epic photos.

Game of Thrones fans? You’re in for a treat. Parts of the series were filmed here, turning the fort into a pilgrimage site for many. But even if you’re not into the show, the fort’s history is captivating enough. It’s a place where you can feel Dubrovnik’s pulse, its battles, and its victories. So, grab your camera, lace up your walking shoes, and dive into a piece of Dubrovnik’s rich history.

The striking fort by itself in Dubrovnik is called Fort Lovrijenac.
The striking fort by itself in Dubrovnik is called Fort Lovrijenac.

7. Dubrovnik Cable Car to Mount Srđ

If you’re looking to get a bird’s-eye view of Dubrovnik, the cable car to Mount Srđ is where it’s at. Within moments, you’ll leave behind the hustle and bustle and find yourself soaring to a height of 405 meters. As you climb, watch the city’s signature terracotta rooftops become tiny specks, while the endless blue of the Adriatic stretches out.

Reaching the top, it’s not just about those Instagram-worthy views. The Imperial Fortress, standing tall since Napoleonic times, beckons. Today, it’s home to a museum that dives deep into the 1991 Croatian War of Independence. As you wander through, it’s hard not to be moved by Dubrovnik’s gritty spirit, especially when juxtaposed against the tranquil beauty outside.

Got the munchies? Head over to the Panorama Restaurant. Sure, it’s a bit of a tourist magnet, but with that cityscape backdrop, who can resist? For all you adventurers sifting through what to do in Dubrovnik, this cable car ride is a must. It’s not just about the ascent; it’s about blending history, views, and a touch of adrenaline in a city that never ceases to amaze.

Aerial photograph of Dubrovnik, showing the location of the cable car to Mount Srđ.
Aerial photograph of Dubrovnik, showing the location of the cable car to Mount Srđ.

8. Franciscan Monastery and Museum

If you’re wandering around Dubrovnik’s Old Town and want a break from the crowds, head over to the Franciscan Monastery. It’s not just another old building; this place has layers of history stacked up. Built in the 14th century, it’s got a mix of Gothic and Romanesque vibes going on.

The real gem? The Old Pharmacy inside. It’s not just a claim to fame; this place has been grinding up medicines since 1317, making it one of the oldest pharmacies still running. That’s a lot of cough syrups and headache pills over the centuries!

There’s also a museum attached. It’s not huge, but it’s packed with cool stuff like ancient manuscripts and old-school surgical tools. It gives you a peek into how folks in Dubrovnik dealt with illnesses back in the day.

So, if you’re making a list of things to check out in Dubrovnik, pencil in the Franciscan Monastery. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but it’s worth the detour. Plus, it’s a cool way to see a different side of the city’s history.

To get away from the throng, visit the Franciscan Monastery.
To get away from the throng, visit the Franciscan Monastery.

9. Banje

Dubrovnik isn’t all about ancient walls and historic buildings. Sometimes, you just need a beach day, and Banje Beach is the place to go. Located just outside the eastern entrance of the Old Town, it’s the city’s most famous patch of sand and pebbles.

Now, Banje isn’t some hidden gem; it’s popular, especially in the summer months. But there’s a reason for that. The views from here, with the Old Town on one side and the island of Lokrum on the other, are pretty epic. And the water? Crystal clear and perfect for a refreshing dip.

There are beach clubs where you can rent loungers and umbrellas if you’re planning to make a day of it. And if you’re feeling a bit more active, there’s a range of water sports on offer, from jet skiing to parasailing.

For those looking to mix up their Dubrovnik itinerary with a bit of sun and sea, Banje Beach is a solid choice. It’s a reminder that sometimes the best way to appreciate a city’s history is to view it from a sun lounger with a cold drink in hand.

When you simply need a day at the beach, Banje Beach is the perfect destination.
When you simply need a day at the beach, Banje Beach is the perfect destination.

10. Dubrovnik Cathedral

When listing the best things to do in Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption, is a must-visit. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this Baroque-style cathedral has a rich history. The site has been home to several churches over the centuries, with each one being destroyed and then rebuilt.

The current structure dates back to the 18th century and is known for its impressive treasury. Inside, you’ll find a collection of relics, including what’s believed to be a piece of the True Cross. The artwork here is also noteworthy, with paintings from renowned artists like Titian.

But it’s not just the interiors that impress. The cathedral’s dome is a standout feature in Dubrovnik’s skyline. It’s definitely worth pausing to admire its exterior beauty.

If you’re a history or art enthusiast, this place is for you. Even for those keen on understanding Dubrovnik’s religious heritage, visiting the cathedral is essential. It’s a testament to the city’s resilience and its commitment to preserving its history, even in the face of adversity.

This historic cathedral is built in the Baroque style.
This historic cathedral is built in the Baroque style.

For a different perspective on Dubrovnik and the broader region, the War Photo Limited Gallery is a place that’ll make you think. Situated in the Old Town, this gallery has a powerful theme. It’s dedicated to showcasing the impact of war through the eyes of photographers who witnessed the events firsthand.

The main exhibition delves into the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. These conflicts tore apart the former Yugoslavia and deeply affected Croatia. The photos are raw, powerful, and sometimes hard to look at, but they tell a story that needs to be remembered.

Beyond the permanent collection, the gallery also hosts rotating exhibitions on other conflicts from around the world. It’s a stark reminder of the realities of war and the human cost that often gets overlooked.

If you’re someone who values understanding the deeper layers of a destination beyond the tourist highlights, this gallery is a must-visit. It offers a sobering counterpoint to Dubrovnik’s more popular attractions and is a place that’ll stay with you long after you leave.

The War Photo Limited Gallery is an interesting venue to get an alternative viewpoint of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.
The War Photo Limited Gallery is an interesting venue to get an alternative viewpoint of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.

12. Gundulić Square Market

Every city has its heartbeat, and in Dubrovnik, the Gundulić Square Market is a vibrant part of its pulse. Located in the Old Town, this daily market has been a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike for centuries.

From the early hours of the morning, vendors begin their preparations. They set up their stalls, showcasing a vibrant selection of fresh produce, local cheeses, homemade olive oils, and aromatic herbs. The air is filled with the scent of ripe fruits and the chatter of sellers promoting their goods. It’s a sensory experience that gives you a genuine taste of Dubrovnik’s daily life.

But beyond the fresh produce and artisanal products, the market is also a place to soak in the local culture. One of the coolest things to do in Dubrovnik is simply enjoying the ambiance. Grab a coffee at a nearby cafe, observe the world around you, and perhaps engage in a chat with a local. It’s these authentic moments, away from the main tourist trails, that often become the most memorable parts of a trip.

For decades, both locals and tourists have gathered at this regular market.
For decades, both locals and tourists have gathered at this regular market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Dubrovnik? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Dubrovnik:

How long does it take to walk the Dubrovnik Walls?

Walking the Dubrovnik Walls is a must-do experience when visiting the city. It takes approximately two hours to complete the entire loop around the city. As you walk, you’ll be treated to spectacular views the entire way, including highlights like climbing the Minceta Tower and overlooking the Old Town.

What can I expect when wandering the Old Town of Dubrovnik?

The Old Town of Dubrovnik is compact and easy to explore on foot. As you wander through its narrow streets, you’ll find them brimming with restaurants and small shops. It’s a perfect place for leisurely strolls, pit stops, and soaking in the city’s rich history.

Is Lokrum Island worth a visit?

Absolutely! Lokrum Island is a popular excursion from Dubrovnik. A short ferry ride will take you there, where you can enjoy a day at the beach or explore its gardens. The island is home to roaming peacocks and large rabbits, adding to its charm. For Game of Thrones fans, Lokrum Island also offers a chance to sit on the Iron Throne and visit a filming site at the Benedictine Monastery.

Dubrovnik is popular for several compelling reasons:

  1. Stunning Old Town: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Dubrovnik’s Old Town is exceptionally well-preserved, showcasing medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and historic buildings. The city walls that encircle the Old Town are a major attraction, offering panoramic views of the city and the Adriatic Sea.
  2. Beautiful Beaches: Dubrovnik is surrounded by spectacular beaches, such as Banje and Lapad, offering crystal-clear waters and picturesque settings. These beaches provide a perfect blend of relaxation and scenic beauty.
  3. Rich History and Culture: The city has a rich history, evident in its numerous museums, churches, and monasteries. The Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace, and Dubrovnik Cathedral are notable examples of its historical and cultural significance.
  4. Game of Thrones Filming Location: Dubrovnik gained additional fame as a primary filming location for the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.” Fans of the show flock to the city to see iconic locations like King’s Landing and the Red Keep.
  5. Vibrant Festivals and Events: The city hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the famous Dubrovnik Summer Festival, attracting artists, musicians, and performers from around the world.
  6. Stunning Natural Scenery: Beyond the city, the region offers breathtaking natural landscapes, including the Elaphiti Islands, Lokrum Island, and the nearby Pelješac Peninsula, known for its wine production.
  7. Culinary Delights: Dubrovnik’s cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean flavors, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, olive oil, and local wines. The city’s restaurants range from traditional eateries to high-end dining experiences.
A quick ferry ride that allows you to tour the gardens or spend the day at the beach.

Can I go wine tasting in Dubrovnik?

Yes, Croatia produces some fantastic wines, and Dubrovnik is no exception. D’Vino Wine Bar is a recommended spot where you can sample Croatian and Montenegrin wines. Pair your wine flight with their meat and cheese platters for a delightful experience.

Are there any day trips I can take from Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik serves as a great base for various day trips. You can visit the medieval city of Korčula, explore Kotor in Montenegro, or head to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Each destination offers its unique charm and experiences.

What is Dubrovnik best known for?

Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” is famed for its medieval walls surrounding the Old Town. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it offers historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and coastal views. Its role as a “Game of Thrones” filming location has also boosted its global recognition.

How many days should I spend in Dubrovnik?

A 3-day stay in Dubrovnik is ideal, allowing time to explore the city walls, the Old Town, and nearby attractions. However, a 2-day visit can cover major highlights, while longer stays offer deeper cultural immersion.

How to spend 3 days in Dubrovnik?

Spending three days in Dubrovnik offers a perfect balance to explore its historic charm, stunning coastline, and vibrant culture. Here’s a suggested itinerary:

1st Day: Explore the Old Town

  • Morning: Start your day with a walk along the famous Dubrovnik Walls. These ancient walls offer breathtaking views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. It’s best to go early to avoid the crowds and the heat.
  • Afternoon: Wander through the Stradun, the main street in the Old Town. Visit landmarks like the Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral, and the Sponza Palace. Don’t miss the Onofrio’s Fountain and St. Blaise’s Church.
  • Evening: Enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants. Try some traditional Croatian dishes like black risotto or seafood.

2nd Day: Island Hopping and Beach Time

  • Morning to Afternoon: Take a boat trip to the Elaphiti Islands. These islands offer beautiful beaches, clear waters, and a tranquil escape from the city. Spend your time swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the islands.
  • Evening: Return to Dubrovnik and enjoy a relaxed evening. Consider dining at a seaside restaurant to experience the stunning sunset over the Adriatic.

3rd Day: Cable Car and Lokrum Island

  • Morning: Take the Dubrovnik Cable Car up to Mount Srđ for panoramic views of the city and the coast. There’s also a museum dedicated to the Homeland War at the top.
  • Afternoon: Visit Lokrum Island, a short ferry ride from the Old Town. Explore the botanical gardens, the ruins of a Benedictine monastery, and the small salt lake known as the Dead Sea.
  • Evening: Spend your last evening strolling through the Old Town’s narrow streets. Check out local shops and cafes, and perhaps catch a performance or a local event if available.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik captivates travelers with its rich history and stunning architecture. As you wander through the city, the medieval walls and Old Town transport you to a bygone era, making every moment feel like an adventure.

But the true essence of Dubrovnik lies in its hidden gems. Beyond the popular spots, local cafes and untouched beaches await discovery. These lesser-known treasures offer a genuine taste of the city’s vibrant culture.

Whether you’re on a brief visit or settling in for a longer exploration, dive deep into what this Mediterranean gem offers. Every experience, from the bustling squares to the quiet alleyways, contributes to a journey that stays with you, urging you to return and explore even more.

The top things to do in Dubrovnik for all types of travelers
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