Dubrovnik is the type of place that stays with you long after your visit has ended. Wandering around the cobblestone streets of Old Town or walking along the famous city walls, you get the sense that this city has a sort of mysterious magic, a deeper history, something hidden in the walls.
Currently, it is a popular tourist destination with amazing restaurants, world class wine, picturesque scenery, and ubiquitous references to Game of Thrones. But you can feel that it wasn’t always like this. Dubrovnik has been through earthquakes, empires, world wars, sieges, and revolutions, with its walls still standing. It is a city that is in the midst of a resurgence after decades of war. Enjoy Dubrovnik for everything it has to offer – great food, amazing wine, unbeatable access to the Adriatic, and a long, complicated history.
Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is a picturesque Croatian city situated along the Dalmatian Coast. Over the past several years, Dubrovnik has become known as the location for much of the filming for the popular HBO drama, Game of Thrones. It has become an increasingly popular tourist destination known for its historic Old Town, prime location on the Adriatic, and wonderful food scene.
What To Do in Dubrovnik
From relaxing on the beach, to kayaking and hiking, there is plenty to do for a day or two in Dubrovnik. Here are eight highlights from our trip to Dubrovnik:
- Go kayaking on the Adriatic Sea
- Relax on the beach in Betina Cave
- Walk along the city walls
- Eat fresh seafood at Bistro Revelin
- Explore Old Town
- Take a Game of Thrones Tour
- Enjoy a waterside cocktail at hidden cliffside bar
- Hike up mount Syrd
1. Go kayaking on the Adriatic Sea
Cost: $25 – $50 per person — Time: 2-3 hours
If you are visiting Dubrovnik, sea kayaking is a must do! Being on the water offers a stunning view of the city, protected behind its great walls that feel even more impressive from below.
We should note that you will be kayaking on the sea. If you are envisioning slowly paddling on smooth waters, this is not it. Sea kayaking is hard work – expect to get a real workout from this, but we can guarantee the sights are worth it.
You have two options for getting out on the sea – you can take a guided tour, or rent kayaks and paddle on your own.
If you prefer to kayak on your own, you can rent tandem kayaks for 150 kuna (~$25) for one hour, 230 kuna (~$37) for two hours or 290 kuna (~ $48) for three hours from Dubrovnik Watersports.
Tip: You will want at least two hours! Kayaking in the sea is harder than you expect, and one hour won’t give you time to see much.
We opted to take a tour through get your guide, and we were happy that we did. Tickets for our 2.5 hour guided tour cost $40 per person. Our tour guide provided a wealth of knowledge and fun facts about Dubrovnik. He told us all about the mysterious Legend of the Lokrum, which is the small island off the coast of Dubrovnik.
The kayaking trip started from Pile Park Beach, located just outside the city walls. We started the journey kayaking around Lokrum Island, passing by several caves along the way. Around the far side of Lokrum, we stopped at Betina Cave to take a break on the beach and eat lunch. At Betina Cave, we were given the option to go snorkeling, cliff jumping, or just hang out on the beach. After leaving Betina Cave, we headed back towards Pile Park Beach, passing by the Dubrovnik city walls along the way.
2. Relax on the beach in Betina Cave
Cost: $48 (couple) — Time: 3 hours
Even if you aren’t taking a kayaking tour, this beautiful secret beach hidden inside a cave is worth visiting.
The cave is accessible only by water, so you’ll have to either kayak or take a water taxi from Dubrovnik. Kayaking is probably the cheapest option – you can rent a tandem kayak for 3 hours for 290 kuna ($48). Betina Cave isn’t exactly easy to get to, but thats what makes it so special. This tiny beach is a little slice of serenity, away from the bustling crowds of tourists that flood the streets of Dubrovnik.
From inside the cave, you can see a tiny glimpse of the city above through a small hole in the rocks.
Go Cliff Jumping
Looking for more of a thrill? Inside Betina Cave, you can climb up the cliffs around the cave and jump into the sea. Note that we did this with our kayaking tour guide, so he told us exactly where to jump. Be safe!
3. Walk along the City Walls
Cost: $33 per person — Time: 1 hour
The city of Dubrovnik is fortified by walls on all sides, built between the 12th and 17th century to protect the city from pirates and invaders. You can walk along the walls for an awesome view overlooking the city and the Adriatic Sea.
The walls feature 16 towers and span a total of 2 kilometers. Entrance to the walls costs 200 kuna (~ $33), and you can walk all or parts of the walls, with access points at the towers. The easiest and most popular access point is near Pile Gate.
4. Taste fresh seafood at Bistro Revelin
Cost: $20 — Time: 1 hour
Fresh octopus, scallops, shrimp, and squid topped with a light pesto vinagrette and fresh tomatoes: what more could you want on a hot day in the Mediterranean?
Stop in to Bistro Revelin for fresh seafood, a cold beer, and a lovely view overlooking the sea and city below. Located just outside the city walls, Bistro Revelin is reasonably priced and just out of the way enough to escape the city crowds.
5. Explore Old Town
Cost: Free — Time: 30 min – 1 hour
Characterized by perfectly preserved limestone buildings with dark green shutters and red tiled roofs, Dubrovnik’s Old Town will make you feel like you’ve been transported back to Medieval times. Although Old Town has suffered damage from an earthquake in 1667 and civil war in the 1990’s, it has been meticulously restored with no detail overlooked, right down to the shade of green on the shutters.
Old Town’s main street, the Stradun, is open to pedestrian traffic only and leads from Pile Gate to the Clock Tower in Luza Square and finally to Old Town Port. The street is bustling with small shops and cafes, making it a great place to relax with a drink and people watch.
6. Take a Game of Thrones walking tour
Cost: Free – $25 per person — Time: 1-2 hours
Dubrovnik has become known for being a primary filming location for Game of Throne’s, a popular HBO drama. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you can take a guided tour of the city that features different filming locations for $25 per person.
Alternatively, you can save a little money by planning a self guided tour. The main sights are easily walkable and located inside the city walls or just outside, meaning you may just happen upon a few of these places while exploring the city regardless. It’s a pretty neat experience to stumble upon a place that feels oddly familiar…
Self-Guided Game of Throne’s Tour
- Pile Park Beach: Film location for King’s Landing’s Blackwater Bay
- Jesuit Stairs of Gundulic Square: Cersei’s infamous walk of shame from the Septon starts here
- Pile Gate: Riot of King’s Landing against Jeoffrey in Season 1
- Minceta Tower: The exterior of the House of the Undying
- Fort Lovrijenac: The Red Keep
7. Enjoy a waterside cocktail at Buza Bar
Cost: $10 per person — Time: 1 hour
This hidden bar clinging to the cliffs just outside the city walls is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day. Try a Pan Lemon Radler for a sweet, refreshing and only slightly alcoholic drink.
The Buza Bar is a bit tricky to find, nestled deep in Dubrovnik’s narrow winding streets. There is no sign, so look for a narrow passage that leads out to the sea.
8. Hike up Mount Syrd
Cost: Free – $15 per person — Time: 2 hours
Mount Syrd is a small mountain rising to 1,350 feet that overlooks Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea. For an awesome view of the city, visiting Mount Syrd is a must! There are a few different ways to get there:
- Hike: 1.5 mile steep hike (3 miles roundtrip). The trailhead is located on Jadranska Cesta Street, to the northwest side of the city.
- Cable car: From Dubrovnik, the ride takes ~3 minutes but the line to get on can be very long
Ticket Cost: 90 kuna one-way ($15), 170 kuna round trip ($28) per person
- Bus: 25 minute ride, departing from Pile Gate
Ticket Cost: $15 kuna
Planning Your Trip
When to Go
June through August is peak season in Croatia. While the temperatures are warm and most reliable, the small city can get packed with tourists during the summer, particularly on days when cruise ships are in port.
May and September are great alternatives to the summer months, with milder, but still warm, temperatures and significantly fewer crowds.
Winters in Dubrovnik are also relatively mild, and while you won’t want to swim or lay on the beach, average temperatures in the mid-50’s make it comfortable for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
How to Get There
Dubrovnik makes for a perfect stop on a Mediterranean road trip. Renting a car and driving is the easiest way to get around Croatia and surrounding countries, such as Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can get to Dubrovnik from:
- Split, Croatia in 3 hours
- Plitvice Lakes, Croatia in 5 hours
- Kotor, Montenegro in 1 hour 45 minutes
- Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2 hours 20 minutes
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 4 hours
- Zagreb, Croatia in 7 hours
Other ways to get to Dubrovnik:
- Bus: You can take a bus between Dubrovnik, Split, Croatia, and Mostar, however the bus ride will take longer than driving.
- Train: While there is not a train that goes all the way to Dubrovnik, you can get a train into Split from many places in Europe and then catch a bus or drive to Dubrovnik.
- Fly: You can fly directly into Dubrovnik from Zagreb and a handful of other European cities, although you may have an easier time finding flights to Sarajevo or Zagreb and driving or taking a bus to Dubrovnik.
- Cruise: If that’s your thing, many Mediterranean cruises stop in Dubrovnik.
Planning a trip to through the Mediterranean? You can’t miss Kotor, a small village situated on the stunning teal waters of the Bay of Kotor, just a couple hours from Dubrovnik.
We absolutely loved our time in Dubrovnik and hope you do as well. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions!