Top things to do in Dubrovnik

The fortified city of Dubrovnik is known to many as Kings Landing from Game of Thrones. Strolling around the Old Town it’s easy to spot where some famous scenes were filmed. But there’s more to this city than filming locations, from discovering its rich history to buggy tours of the Srđ mountain.
Dubrovnik Old Town and harbour. Photo: Shutterstock
Dubrovnik Old Town and harbour. Photo: Shutterstock

Walk the City Walls and explore the Old Town

Dating back to the 8th century, the city walls surrounding Dubrovnik have been constantly extended and improved to better protect this well-positioned city on the edge of the Adriatic. Now running to a length of 1,940 metres, they take about two hours to walk around. It's best to start as early as possible to avoid too much sun exposure or, better yet, visit the city in the off-season (autumn/winter) for a quieter and cooler, more enjoyable experience. 

Included in the wall structure are a number of fortresses, the most prominent is the Minčeta Tower which can be climbed for a better view of Dubrovnik. The Lovrijenac Fortress sits outside the main city wall to the west, perched on top of a high rock overlooking the Old Town: a melee of streets lined with shops and restaurants. 

Enter through the main Pile Gate entrance, where the Large Onofrio’s Fountain sits; designed by Italian architect Onofrio, the fountain was built to bring water to the city as it was notoriously difficult to find fresh water in the long, dry summers. Other notable historic buildings to admire including the Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral, St Saviour Church and the Franciscan Church and Monastery. Enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town as part of Insight Guides' Complete Croatia trip.

A narrow alley in Dubrovnik old townA narrow alley in Dubrovnik old town. Photo: Shutterstock

Visit Lokrum Island

From the Old Town Harbour board a ferry for the 15-minute trip to Lokrum Island. Covered with traditional vegetation, this lush island is home to majestic holm oak trees which form the basis of the forest, where peacocks and rabbits roam freely. Walking trails are laid out from the ferry point across the island, passing other sights along the way. 

The island's botanical gardens are home to more than 800 species of exotic plants, originally planted in 1959 to see how well they would adapt to the climate. ‘The Dead Sea’, or Lokram Island’s version of it, lays to the southwest side of the island. A geologically formed pool surrounded by rocks that gradually rise, makes a great spot to jump into the refreshing, clear water. A monastery complex, part of which dating from the 12th century, was used more recently for filming the Game of Thrones series and is now set up with video recordings of the cast and a few props including a replica of the Iron Throne. 

Dubrovnik's walled Old Town and Lokrum Island Dubrovnik's walled Old Town and Lokrum Island. Photo: Shutterstock

Take a trip on the Dubrovnik cable car

The cable car takes you on a short ride to the top of Srđ, the mountain overlooking Dubrovnik’s Old Town. From the top, a vast expanse of blue engulfs the horizon while a small built-up area stretches along the shore, giving way to verdant land at the foothills. 

For those who want to linger, taking in the view for longer, Panorama Restaurant and Bar offers drinks and dining in a prime viewing location. There is also a chance to learn about Croatia’s recent history in the Homeland War Museum in Fort Imperial, which displays weapons, photographs and documents. Hiking routes can be found, starting at the top of the mountain, a great activity for wintertime when temperatures are cooler. Less strenuous, but just as much fun, are the buggy rides on offer which venture off-road on rocky trails for some of the best and most comprehensive views of the city. 

Cable car over Dubrovnik Old TownCable car over Dubrovnik Old Town. Photo: Shutterstock

Have a relaxing beach day

Numerous inlets and stretches of coast offer swimming spots (although the water may be a bit fresh in the winter months). White pebbles lace the shoreline to the northwest and southeast of the Old Town where hotels perch on the rocks and narrow steps lead down to the beaches. Other spots offer off-rock swimming – small ladders descend from the rocks into the clear water where a section is marked off for swimmers. These areas are good for more adventurous visitors, as reaching them involves climbing over uneven boulders to get to the steps. 

Just outside of the Old Town, Sulic is a tiny beach surrounded by a mass of limestone walls and buildings which blend into the underlying rocks. This is a nice, quiet spot, close to the tourist area where visitors can enjoy views of the rocky coastline, or if it's warm enough, a swim. Alternatively, refreshing drinks are on offer at one of the small bars overlooking the bay.

Ready to take a trip to Dubrovnik?

Simply get in touch with us to share ideas for your trip and let us know when you would like to travel. We can then create an itinerary especially, which you can amend until you're happy with every detail before booking. Our existing Croatia itineraries can provide inspiration, and remember that all of our planned itineraries can be fully personalised to suit your wishes.