The best places to visit in Dubrovnik – Attractions & Day Trips
Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site city that is quickly becoming one of European’s most loved holiday destinations. It’s ideal for a city break, but is also a top choice for longer, more relaxing holidays. With a rich history, stunning architecture and some excellent attractions, you’ll soon learn why Dubrovnik, and Croatia in general, is one of our favourite places to visit.
In this guide, we‘ve listed some of the very best places to visit in Dubrovnik. We’ve included the top attractions of the city centre, but also the nearby islands, beaches, day trips and every other possible site to see in this beautiful tourist destination. There’s something for all tastes.
Read on for inspiration on the best places to visit in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Dubrovnik City Walls
The Dubrovnik City Walls are the most iconic attraction in the city and one you cannot miss. The city is known for its towering walls that surround the entire centre. They’ve been featured in Game of Thrones and are instantly recognisable on any postcard of Dubrovnik.
You can walk the full length of the walls yourself, climbing up to the viewpoints to see Dubrovnik from all angles. The walls feature various towers, turrets, gatehouses and viewpoints. They take around 1 hour to walk around and are best enjoyed on a morning or late-afternoon when it isn’t too hot. The entry fee for the City Walls is an expensive 30 euros per person. However, it’s an attraction you can’t miss of your list and is one worth paying for.
Lokrum Island is one of the best places to visit in Dubrovnik for those that want to escape the city for some relaxation, history and beautiful nature scenery. The island is only a 15-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik’s Old Harbour. It’s so close, it appears to be within swimming distance of the city walls! The filming location for many movies and TV series, most notably Game of Thrones, Lokrum is a great place to explore for a full day.
Go on a long nature walk, relax on the beach or go swimming in the salt-water lagoon. Lokrum is also home to some historic attractions, including Fort Royal and a handful of old ruins.
Fun fact: Lokrum has hundreds of peacocks! They’re practically everywhere on the island and you’ll bump into the beautiful birds many times during your visit.
Dubrovnik’s Old Harbour has long been an important area of the city. For hundreds of years, it was a key port for trading. These days, it’s full of tourist boats, private yachts and ferries. It’s one of the most picturesque areas of Dubrovnik and a place that’s certainly worth visiting. Capture some nice photos from one of the surrounding viewpoints that surround the harbour. You could also go for a stroll alongside the pier, enjoy a lunch with a view or jump aboard a boat to the nearby islands. If visiting Lokrum island (as featured above), you’ll catch the ferry from the Old Harbour.
Dubrovnik Cable Car and Mount Srd
Mount Srd is the huge mass of land that sits inland from Dubrovnik, creating a powerful backdrop to the city. It looks impressive from down below, but the views from the top of Mount Srd are even more epic. To get to the top of the mountain, you can either hike up the mountainside on a scenic trail. Alternatively, hop aboard the Dubrovnik Cable car to make the steep ascent to the mountain summit in only 5-minutes.
The cable car is a great attraction itself, boasting beautiful views of the city and seaside as you climb the hill. Peer over the viewing deck at the top of the mountain or enjoy a meal or drink at the highest restaurant in Dubrovnik, Panorama. If you’re feeling brave, you can also zipline across the side of Mount Srd with Panorama Zipline Dubrovnik. We personally just loved sitting down on a park bench admiring the views of Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik may be a city destination, but it’s also a popular holiday spot. The hot summer weather and beautiful beaches set the scene for a relaxing European vacation. Many of Dubrovnik’s hotels are located in the Lapad or Babin Kuk area, which are both a short 10-15-minute drive from the Old Town Centre. Both areas are some of the best places to visit in Dubrovnik for excellent beaches, promenades and scenic walks.
If you want to escape the city for some relaxation, we recommend catching a bus or taxi to Lapad for half a day. It has several relaxing beach spots and some excellent bars and restaurants.
Hotel More Cave Bar
A unique place to visit in Dubrovnik is the Hotel More Cave Bar. Located in the Lapad area we mentioned above, this cool and sophisticated bar has been carved out of the rock face. Bare rock and high ceilings set the scene for one of the most interesting places you’ll ever have a drink. It features an indoor and outdoor area and an extensive drinks menu. Drinks here are a little expensive but it’s worth visiting for the experience. It’s a great place to check out on an evening.
Dubrovnik Old Town
You can’t visit Dubrovnik and not explore its old town centre. Dubrovnik Old Town is at the very heart of the city. Cobblestone streets, historic buildings, grand monuments and quaint market squares form together to create one of Europe’s most captivating city centres. The thing we love the most about the old town is the narrow alleyways and tall buildings on either side. You can wander down them and get lost, feeling like you’re in a scene from a movie.
The beauty of Dubrovnik Old Town is simply wandering down the streets, marvelling at the architecture and soaking in the atmosphere. There are some excellent bars, restaurants, shops, cafes and ice cream stalls tucked away on every corner. To get an insight into Dubrovnik’s historic centre, we recommend joining a free walking tour. This one is excellent.
Discover the Elafiti Islands
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Dubrovnik is located just away from the shores of the old town. The Elafiti Islands sit just off the mainland and are a popular place to visit for those that want to see a different side of the Dubrovnik area. Boat tours depart from Dubrovnik’s main boat marina every day.
The Elafiti Islands are made up of several small islands, some being more developed than others. They feature quaint towns, some of the area’s most stunning beaches and plenty of relaxation spots. Go for a swim in the refreshing turquoise waters, visit a winery or olive oil tasting shop, or simply wander along a promenade. The islands of Lopud, Šipan, and Koločep are the most visited islands on a tour.
We booked the Dubrovnik: Elafiti Islands Trip w/ Lunch tour on Get Your Guide and highly recommend it.
Admire Fort Minceta and Fort Lovrijenac
Dubrovnik’s city walls aren’t the only fortifications in this ancient city. The coastal fortresses of Fort Minceta and Fort Lovrijenac were once vital defensive structures. Today, they’re instantly recognizable in post cards and pictures of Dubrovnik. They’re also some of the top Dubrovnik attractions to see whilst visiting the old town. Take time to admire each fortress from below before heading up to the turrets and viewpoints. Fort Lovrijenac has some of the best views in the whole of Dubrovnik.
Rector’s Palace is a 14th century palace in the old town that served as the ruling residence of the Republic of Ragusa. It appears much like Dubrovnik’s other buildings from the outside. It’s beautiful, but nothing special. Inside the palace is where the architecture is special. It has Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, all intertwined together to create a stunning palace with a courtyard.
You can pay the small entrance fee to enter the palace, where you can then wander freely and explore its interior at your leisure. Tall columns, statues and ornately decorated rooms will give you a glimpse into Dubrovnik’s past. Rector’s Palace is worth visiting for an hour or so.
Onophrain Fountain is an unusual place to include on our list of places to visit in Dubrovnik as it’s essentially just a fountain. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful fountain. Onophrain Fountain is a 15-century fountain that bears the city’s iconic design and sandy colour. It features 16 carved mask faces, each of them emitting a stream of fresh water. It was designed in 1438 by the prominent Italian architect Onofrio di Giordano della Cava.
We filled our water bottle up multiple times at the fountain. It’s a free way to stay hydrated and a welcome sight after walking the Dubrovnik City Walls.
Kayak around the Dubrovnik coast
Are you looking for an adventurous activity for your time in Dubrovnik? A kayaking tour is perfect! It’s easy to see the city centre and its views of the sea, but to appreciate the beauty of its grand walls and castle-like appearance, you’ll need to head away from the shore. Kayaking tours leave from a small beach beside the old town multiple times a day.
Led by a tour guide, kayaking is a fun activity that gives you some good exercise whilst you see the sites. It’s a slow-paced activity that doesn’t go too far out to sea. However, it’s still hard work, so be prepared!
Catch the boat to Cavtat town
If you want to experience a small Croatian seaside town, one of the best places to visit in the Dubrovnik area is Cavtat. This small tourist town is a popular place to stay for those that want a relaxing holiday, but it’s also a nice place to visit for the day. Take a taxi boat from Dubrovnik Old Harbour and you’ll arrive in Cavtat in 45-minutes.
Cavtat is home to a long promenade, some excellent bars and restaurants and several small, quiet beach coves. You can walk around the entire town and nearby nature coves on foot. Cavtat is like a much smaller version of Dubrovnik, with less crowds and lower prices for eating out.
Visit Orsula Park for sunset
Orsula Park is a coastal location right on the cliffside. It has a number of walking trails, viewpoints and park benches, all giving you a stunning panoramic view of Dubrovnik city, Lokrum Island and the entire coastal region. It also has several old ruins and is a popular spot for locals that want to go a walk. The park is one of the best places to visit in Dubrovnik for sunset.
Relax on Sveti Jakov Beach
You can’t visit Croatia and not stop by one of its amazing beaches! The country is known for its pebble stone beaches and it can be quite hard to find a nice sandy beach. This, alongside the beautiful scenery, is what makes Sveti Jakov Beach extra special. It’s located just along the coastline from Dubrovnik city and is easy to reach by car, bus or taxi.
Sveti Jakov is a small inlet with golden sands and vegetation covered cliffs on either side. It features gorgeous turquoise water, sun loungers that you can hire and a small snack bar. As it’s a little further away from town, it’s not as busy as other beaches. However, we still recommend arriving early to secure a sun lounger.
Explore the abandoned Belvedere Hotel
Just along from Sveti Jakov Beach is an old hotel called Belvedere, which has been completed abandoned. Once a luxury 5-star hotel on the Adriatic Coast, the hotel has now been taken over by Mother Nature. Decaying corridors, crumbling swimming pools and hollowed out windows all set the scene for an unusual Dubrovnik attraction that is just waiting to be explored.
If you like urban exploration and want a cool site to see during your visit, catch a bus or taxi to the old hotel and wander around at your leisure. You can capture some excellent pics of the decaying hotel ruins.
Fun fact: the ‘trial by combat’ scene in the Game of Thrones series was filmed here.
Visit Dubrovnik’s many churches
Churches are always some of the most impressive buildings in European Cities, and that’s exactly the case with Dubrovnik. Baroque-style churches dominate the skyline of the old town, each with a grand façade that matches the rest of Dubrovnik’s sand-coloured buildings. The best churches to see include:
- Church of St. Ignatius
- Church of St. Blais
- Dubronvik Cathedral
- The Franciscan Church and Monastery
Wander around the city and marvel at these old, charming buildings. You can also peer inside if mass or a ceremony isn’t taking place. The classic baroque architecture is very similar to the churches you’d find in Rome or Venice.
Dubrovnik has many small coves and beaches, some betters than others. If you want a beach close to the city centre, look no further than Banje Beach. It’s the go-to local beach, located only a 5-minute walk from the south city gate. Banje is a crowded but beautiful pebble beach with plenty of loungers to rent. It has a nice swimming area that has been cordoned off so no boats can access the beach. It also has a multi-level bar, lounge and restaurant.
Visit Banje Beach as a relaxing break from sightseeing and alternate between lying on a lounger and going for a dip in the ocean. If you visit the beach on an evening, the bar/restaurant turns into a disco bar with upbeat music and a DJ.
Browse the stalls at Gunduliceva Poljana Market
Gunduliceva Poljana Market is one of the best places to visit in Dubrovnik if you’re a fan of local markets. The square the market is located on has long been a hub of trading and there’s always something going on. Most days, you’ll find several stalls selling handmade gifts, fruit, homeware, snacks, Croatian olive oil and other typical market goods.
In addition to the market, the square has a historic monument and is surrounded by some excellent bakeries, cafes and restaurants.
Walk along the Stradun
The ‘Stradun’ is the main street in Dubrovnik. It’s a long pedestrian-only walkway that passes by many of the top attractions in the city, leading to the start of the City Walls walk. It’s one of the best places to visit in Dubrovnik to soak in the vibrant atmosphere, particularly on an evening. It’s also the most populated area in the city. Every day, thousands of tourists walk the cobblestone streets of this straight walking path.
Whilst walking down the Stradun, you can sample some of the bakery treats and ice creams on offer at the side stalls. There’s also a wide array of gift shops, clothing stores and shops selling Game of Thrones merchandise. It’s undoubtably a tourist area with tourist prices to match. However, it’s a must-see during your visit, especially at sunset.
Walk up the Jesuit Stairs
One of the most iconic and recognised sites in Dubrovnik is the Jesuit Staircase. Featured in a memorable scene from Game of Thrones where Queen Cersei is berated in ‘shame’ as she walks down the stairs, it’s a popular tourist spot that you’ll stumble across whilst exploring the old town. Its baroque-style architecture is a marvel to see and it makes a great photo opportunity.
See the staircase from below and then walk up the steps to the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius for a view from the balcony.
Walk through the city gates
As a walled city, to enter Dubrovnik you’ll need to pass through one of its towering gates. They sit at all walls of the city and you’ll feel like you’re entering a medieval castle as you pass through. Some have a bridge with a ditch underneath and others have a grand entrance with fortified turrets. Track down each of the city gate entrances on your maps and walk through them all!
Walk the footsteps of Game of Thrones
We’ve already mentioned Game of Thrones a few times in our guide. It’s no secret that Dubrovnik was a key filming location for the hit TV series, in particular the ‘Kings Landing’ scenes. If you’re a fan of the series, you’re going to want to check out these filming locations for yourself. Re-create memorable moments from the show on a Game of Thrones tour. These fun tours are a great way to see the filming locations, whilst also getting a background behind each spot.
If you’d prefer to discover the Game of Thrones filming locations for yourself, Greta Travels has an excellent guide on where to find them.
Bonus day trips
Dubrovnik’s location is perfect for exploring the neighbouring countries, some of which you probably haven’t visited. It sits right next to the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. There are some excellent day trips to both countries from Dubrovnik.
Kotor – Montenegro
Just south of Dubrovnik is the border to Montenegro. The beautiful coastline of Montenegro is just as spectacular as Croatia, with charming old towns, lush coastal terrain and stunning beaches. A tour to Montenegro starts early in the morning. You’ll board a coach to cross the border and will then proceed to drive around the country, stopping at local villages and checking out the top attractions. There are also tour options that include a boat cruise up the mouth of a river, to a small island called Lady of the Rock.
A day trip to Montenegro is memorable, scenic and a great way to experience another culture and country during your time in Dubrovnik.
Mostar – Bosnia and Herzegovina
The quaint town of Mostar is another popular day trip from Dubrovnik. Located inland from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina provides a completely different holiday experience compared to the Croatian coast. Its postcard-perfect town of Mostar is known for its fairy-tale-esque bridge, scenic river walks and traditional buildings. They form together to create a charming sightseeing destination.
You can visit Mostar by hiring a car in Dubrovnik and crossing the border to Bosnia yourself. Alternatively, join a guided day tour. A coach will pick you up at your hotel and you’ll have an action-packed day of sightseeing. In addition to Mostar, many tours take you to the majestic Kravica Waterfall, which is also in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Thanks for reading our guide on the best places to visit in Dubrovnik. The old town centre is no doubt the centrepiece of all the main Dubrovnik attractions and is where you’ll spend a lot of time. However, we encourage you to explore some of the other attractions on our list that are outside the city. The Elafiti Islands, Cavtat town and Montenegro day trip were all a highlight of our trip.
If you have any questions about any of the items we featured, or about visiting Dubrovnik in general, be sure to post a comment below.
By RickyAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.