As a favourite city of mine, I felt it only necessary to share with you my guide to Dubrovnik. White walls, red-tile roofs, massive stone walls and hefty cannons butting up against the sea, Dubrovnik is known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” and lies on the coast of Croatia, overlooking the Adriatic sea. It has been a European vacation spot, on and off, for the last few hundred years. Founded in the 7th century, it’s an enchanting city that makes you feel you’ve gone back in time. In 1979, Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. And yes, it’s also famously known as the location for Game of Thrones.
Before we get into this Dubrovnik travel guide, here’s a few facts you should know.
Currency: Kuna (Kn)
Weather: July is the hottest month with average temperatures around 28°C (about 82°F), and the coldest is January at 4°C (39°F)
When to visit
Peak season is July to August, where Dubrovnik is over-run by tourists – hotel prices rocket and restaurants and beaches are packed, but nightlife is booming.
Low season is November to April. It can be lovely, though most facilities are closed and the weather is less reliable. Some hotels and restaurants now open for Christmas and New Year, but almost everything is shut through the rest of January. And while a few places reopen for Carnival in February, the new season only really begins at Easter.
You can fly into Dubrovnik, but it accepts flights from only four cities; Zagreb, Croatia; Frankfurt, Germany; London, England; and Rome, Italy. Flights from North America connect in one of those four cities.
You can catch a ferry from Bari, Italy, all year-round. The domestic ferry service runs from numerous coastal locations in Croatia, as well as many other islands off the coast.
Buses also run from Trieste, Italy, to Dubrovnik once a day.
What to Do
A visit to Dubrovnik is not complete without walking the ancient walls of Old Town. The walk is 1.2 miles, with heights reaching 82 feet, and boasting the most spectacular views. I feel like I took around 200 photos because every corner is just as beautiful as the last.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you probably won’t want to miss the Game of Thrones walking tour. It goes for 3 hours, and even if you’re not an avid watcher of the show, it’s still a unique experience.
The 7th-century Cathedral of the Assumption is worth a visit, as well as Gothic-Renaissance inspired Rector’s Palace and the Dominican Monastery & Museum. They hold some incredible architecture and history.
If you’re after some impressive views, Dubrovnik’s cable car whisks you from just north of the city walls to Mt Srđ. It takes just 4 minutes to complete the 405 metres, and at thetop there’s a stupendous perspective of the city.
Being a coastal town, there’s plenty of water activities such as sea kayaking and snorkeling in the Adriatic sea. The kayaks are come in one and two seaters and you’ll have instructors helping you along the way if you’re not too confident. You circle the Island of Lokrum, explore some small caves, and make a quick pit stop into a private cave beach along the Dubrovnik coast line called Bettina.
For something a little more relaxing, head down to Banje Beach, just beyond the 17th-century Lazareti outside Ploče Gate. Although many people rent lounge chairs and parasols from the nearby EastWest Club, there’s no problem with just flinging a towel on the beach.
The nightlife in Dubrovnik is booming during peak season (July – August) and you’ll find bars absolutely everywhere. On main streets, in narrow laneways, on rooftops & within the castle walls… the best thing to do is just go exploring through the Old Town. Buy a freshly made mojito at Mojito bar while you’re strolling around, check out Cave Bar, or Buza for spectacular views, Revelin for clubbing (and ridiculous drink prices), or D’Vino Wine Bar for something a little more classy.
Croatia has some amazing places for cliff jumping, but I’d have to say Dubrovnik tops the list! There’s spots all over the city, but the most popular (and my favourite) spot is Cliff Jumping Café known locally as Buza.
And last, but certainly not least, you MUST try the $1-a-scoop Gelato from Dolce Vita in Old Town. There’s often a line out the door and all the locals know about it, so it’s hard to miss.
Where to Eat & Drink
A favourite among tourists. It’s inexpensive and they have the BEST pizza. Probably a better spot for lunch as it’s right near the main shopping streets! Tip: ask for a seat with a view to the Stradun!
Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota
If seafood is what you’re after, look no further. It is a lovely spot overlooking the Cathedral and they sushi is just down right amazing (as is the wine).
This place is really all about the experience. You have to book a small speed boat to get you there and back, and the outdoor seats have the most incredible views – particularly at sunset. The food is delicious, too, however I would probably avoid this place on a windy or cold day.
This restaurant is particularly special because it’s hidden on a river that flows underground from Bosnia toward the Adriatic. It’s basically a “floating” restaurant. You can arrange vegetarian options here (which is usually very difficult in Croatia) and the food is just wonderful.
Inside a history-rich barrel shaped building lies this pretty little restaurant. The food is delicious and it’s definitely worth the visit, but if you’re going in peak season you’ll more than likely need a reservation.