Top 10 Things to Do in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is one of the most popular cities in Croatia, offering something for nearly every type of traveller from history enthusiasts and romance-seekers to 'Game of Thrones' fans and even outdoor adventurers and nature lovers. Inside the medieval Old Town, surrounded by massive stone walls, you'll find magnificent centuries-old architecture, museums, shops, cosy cafes, and fine-dining restaurants. The city is backed by the Dinaric Alps, and just outside the historic walls are beaches and the brilliant blue Adriatic Sea, providing opportunities to get out on the water and paddle or sail. Planning your itinerary might feel a bit overwhelming with so many options, but we've made it easier with this guide to the top 10 things to do in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik city walls

1. Walk the City Walls

The 16th-century walls that surround Dubrovnik’s historical centre are one of the top attractions. They’re impressive from afar, but you can even walk right atop them. They stretch for 1.2 miles and provide a panoramic view of the sea and nearby islands on one side, while the terracotta rooftops, limestone-paved streets, and lovely squares are on the other. If you start at Pile Gate, the main entrance, your view will be of the sea, the city, and Fort Lovrijenac, known as ‘Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar.’ As you stroll, you’ll not only find many awe-inspiring views, but multiple little cafes where you can take a break and enjoy a refreshing beverage and/or a bit to eat along with those beautiful vistas.

Stradun Dubrovnik

2. Explore the Old Town

The Old Town is Dubrovnik’s historical centre. It’s enjoyable just to get lost among the narrow alleyways with something to discover around nearly every corner. But if you want to seek out some of the iconic landmarks, be sure to visit the Gothic-Renaissance Rector’s Palace. The former residence of Dubrovnik’s elected rector, it now serves as the Cultural History Museum with ornate staircases, coats of arms, lavishly restored rooms, portraits, and elegant décor providing a sense of how the wealthy lived during the period. It was used as the palace atrium for the Spice King of Qarth in ‘Game of Thrones.’ Other highlights include the Franciscan Monastery, home to one of the world’s oldest still operating pharmacies, founded in 1317.

Fort Lovrijenac

3. Visit Fort Lovrijenac

Not only can you marvel at Fort Lovrijenac while walking the city walls, but you can visit it as part of your entrance ticket. One of the country’s most impressive historic sites, it’s perched high on a rock at about 122 feet above sea level, initially built to defend the western part of the Old Town. It was ultimately used as a defensive position for the entire city, protecting two entrances from invaders that came by land or sea. The first records of the site show that it has existed since the 14th century, however, some historical experts say it was built in the early 11th century. Today, the fortress is used for theatre plays during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Elaphiti Islands

4. Go on a Boat Trip to the Elaphiti Islands

The Elaphati archipelago is a group of islands just off the Dalmatian coast from Dubrovnik. A boat trip is guaranteed to be a scenic ride, surrounded by cobalt waters. Once there, you can relax on one of the soft sandy beaches, enjoy a memorable swim in a secluded by, or give your legs a workout with a picturesque hike. Lopud sits at the heart of the islands, small and car-free. By hiking to the top of its highest hill, you can visit the ruins of a 16th-century Spanish fort and enjoy a spectacular view over the archipelago. There’s plenty of other history to explore, including the ruins of medieval pre-Romanesque churches and a summer residence that belonged to a 16th-century shipowner. 

Dubrovnik Cable Car

5. Ride the Cable Car to the Summit of Mount Srd

Getting up close to Dubrovnik’s iconic landmarks in the Old Town is a must, but you should get a bird’s-eye view of it as well. One of the best ways to do it is to head to the top of Mount Srd. Climbing it is the hard way. Fortunately for those who prefer a quicker and easier method, there’s a cable car that will bring you to the summit. One of the taller peaks in the Dinaric Alps overlooking Dubrovnik, you’ll ascend approximately 1,330 feet in less than five minutes. Once at the top, not only will you be able to look out over the walled historical centre, but the nearly endless blue of the sea and neighbouring Lokrum Island. 

Dubrovnik kayaking

6. Go Sea Kayaking

If you want to enjoy active sightseeing, sea kayaking is one of the most popular things to do in Dubrovnik. Kayaks are available for hire if you want to enjoy independent paddling, but a guided sea kayak tour is ideal as you’ll have an expert guide with local insight. The excursions are for beginners and advanced alike with instruction provided in shallow water before heading into the sea. Many tours paddle to nearby Lokrum Island, starting with an exterior view of the city’s walls and Fort Lovrjenac. At Lokrum Island you can explore hidden beaches and sea caves, perhaps stopping for a break to sunbathe and swim. When timed to catch a sunset, the finale is sure to be breathtaking.

Franciscan Church

7. Visit the Franciscan Church and Monastery

One of the top attractions in Old Town Dubrovnik is the Franciscan Church and Monastery, a must-see for first-time visitors. One of the largest and grandest Franciscan monasteries, it’s located in the western section adjacent to the famous walls near the main gate. The monastery houses the third-oldest still operating pharmacy in the world, founded in 1317. It’s believed to have been the first pharmacy in Europe to open to the public. In the pharmacy museum, you’ll see a fascinating display of old pharmaceutical tools, jars, grinders, and more dating back to the Ragusan era (mid-14th through early 19th centuries). There are even tinctures and creams that are still made according to the ancient Franciscan recipes that are available for purchase. 

Aerial view of Lokrum Island

8. Take a Boat to Lokrum Island

Although kayak tours are a popular way to get to Lokrum Island, you can take a boat if you want to enjoy a more relaxed Croatia holiday. It’s just a 10-minute ride to the forested island where many spend the day swimming and sunbathing. Not only can you enjoy refreshing dips in the sea, but in a saltwater lake. The high concentration of salt makes it easy to float – incredibly relaxing whilst surrounded by the picturesque scenery. At the heart of the island is a medieval-era Benedictine monastery featuring an exhibit on Lokrum’s history and Game of Thrones, with some of the series filmed here. Don’t miss the botanical garden and nature reserve where you’ll see peacocks and rabbits freely roam.

Dubrovnik Cliff Bar

9. Watch the Sunset from a Cliff Bar

There are two Cliff Bars in Dubrovnik, Buza and Buza II (translating to ‘Hole’ and ‘Hole II), both of which are hidden below Dubrovnik’s city walls, providing ideal spots for sundowner cocktails with incredible sea views. Accessed through a hole in the wall, the understated entrances offer a big surprise on the other side. As you emerge, you’ll see a cliffside dotted with people gazing out at the crystal-clear blue sea as they sip various drinks, swimming occasionally in between. Buza, the original Dubrovnik cliff bar, is closer to the water, has a tiered seating area, and steps that lead to the sea. Some of the more adventurous leap in from the cliffs, fun to watch for those who prefer to relax.

Arboretum in Trsteno

10. Visit the Arboretum in Trsteno

No. 10 on our list of the Top 10 Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Trsteno arboretum is sometimes referred to as “heaven on Earth.” One of the oldest arboretums in Europe, it’s located less than nine miles northwest of the city, providing a chance to step back in time and enjoy the tranquil natural beauty. Explore the meandering garden paths that wind beneath a canopy of lush greenery, passing colourful flowers and exotic trees like the giant Asian plane trees that are over 500 years old. Set on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic, you’ll also enjoy views of the crystal-clear blue sea. The arboretum also features a Baroque fountain, a chapel, Renaissance villa, and the elegant arches of a stone aqueduct.

Discover Dubrovnik

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