Dubrovnik truly is a medieval wonderland. Most visitors spend a mere day in King’s Landing, but I could easily stay an entire week on this stretch of Croatia‘s Adriatic coast. The region is absolutely stunning, and I’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect summer destination in Europe. The country has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in part to HBO’s Game of Thrones. On a summer day when cruise ships are in port, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in Old Town are quite common. I’ve put together a complete guide to Dubrovnik below – it covers all my favorites spots in and around the city, as well as tips for sightseeing, beaches, day trips, photos, hotels, restaurants and more.
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Views of Old Town over Banje Beach. OUTFIT DETAILS: Madewell swimsuit linked here.
The Rector’s Palace is a Renaissance Gothic palace that dates back to the 15th century.
Now the palace is a museum that can be visited with a paid ticket.
THREE TO FIVE DAYS. As you plan your visit, consider spending three to five days in Dubrovnik. The main tourists sites can be covered in one to two jam-packed days, but the busy schedule would leave no time to stop to enjoy anything. With careful planning, a longer stay affords you the time to experience Old Town without crowds, soak in the city at a relaxed pace and maybe even squeeze in a day trip. Five days is ideal.
A morning stroll along the city walls.
Afternoon hangs outside the Rector’s Palace – a great place for people watching!
Dubrovnik’s main beach is one of the prettiest in the country, thanks to its spectacular views of Old Town. Banje Beach sits just south of the city walls, a five-minute walk from Ploče Gate. The beach is large, but it does get busy, especially during the summer months. For a spectacular view of Old Town and the Adriatic, stop for a photo at the top of the steps that lead down to the beach. It’s one of my favorite views in Dubrovnik.
BUZA BARS I & II
Built into the cliffs below the medieval walls, the city’s two Buza Bars are lovely spots to grab a cold beer on a summer day. The bars sits tucked away in the same back corner of Old Town. Holes in the wall (literally) lead to small passageways that open up to sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea where white umbrellas are scattered up the cliff. Grab a table and watch the cliff jumpers plunge anywhere from 20 to 60 feet into the water. A great spot for a swim.
A seaside village located approximately 18 km from Dubrovnik, reachable via a 45-minute ferry ride. The historic waterfront is lined with picturesque churches, al fresco dining and tiny shops – a serene spot to grab dinner on a summer evening.
The 2 km stroll along the medieval walls of Old Town is the highlight of any trip to Dubrovnik. The topside panoramas of the city are sweeping along a path that leads through Minceta Tower, Bokar Fort, Revelin Fort and Pile Gate. The walk takes approximately 1.5 to two hours, and there are three entry points at Inner Pile Gate, St. Lucas Fortress and St. John’s Fortress.
This is a swim ladder haven, a spectacular setting for an afternoon of swimming and sunbathing. It’s walking distance from Dubrovnik, just beyond Sulic Beach.
Lokrum Island is a lovely day trip destination from Dubrovnik. Ferries leave twice an hour from Porporela, located just outside of the Old Town walls, and it’s about a 20-minute journey. The island is small, home to a Benedictine Monastery, Dead Sea swimming hole and botanical garden, all reachable on foot. If those sound underwhelming, the real reason to visit is the Adriatic coastline, riddled with rocks and swim ladders for an idyllic day of sunbathing.
Also known as St. Lawrence’s Fortress, Lovrijenac is a spectacular fortification that sits atop jagged cliffs 37-meters above the sea. The fortress peninsula faces the city walls, providing a great vantage point for photos of Old Town.
Visit the top of Mount Srd. for panoramic views over all of Dubrovnik. There is a hiking trail that starts just outside of the Old Town city walls that is free of charge, or there is a gondola that can be accessed via a paid admission ticket. I recommend hiking up in the morning before it gets too hot, and then taking the gondola down. Panorama Restaurant is located at the top of the mountain – truly dining with a view.
Spend a day exploring Dubrovnik’s Old Town. A stroll through the pedestrian maze of limestone alleys is like a step back in time. The medieval city is home to plenty of sights, easily discovered by aimless wanders including Loggia Square, Onofrio Fountain, Rector’s Palace, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Pile Gate & Ploče Gate and the Stradun (main boulevard).
Pasjaca Beach sits just outside of Dubrovnik, and makes for a wonderful day trip from King’s Landing. It’s a 30-minute drive south to the beach’s small parking lot. Follow the trail along the coast to a steep staircase built into the cliffs. It leads straight down to Pasjaca’s spectacular crystal clear shallows.
THE RECTOR’S PALACE
This stunning Renaissance Gothic palace dates back to the mid-15th century. Today, a museum sits inside The Rector’s Palace. It’s a stunning setting to stroll amongst the stone archways, colonnades and carved pillars.
This medieval hilltop fortification is driving distance from Dubrovnik. It’s a great destination to couple with Pasjaca as a daytrip. Visit at opening in the morning and you’ll have the castle-like structure all to yourself.
Sulic Beach is far less popular than Banje Beach, but it’s much more atmospheric. The tiny beach sits in a medieval nook, tucked away below Lovrijenac. It feels like taking a dip in 13th century Croatia.
A slightly less touristed beach, only because of its distance from Old Town. It can still be reached on foot, just follow the road to Banje Beach … but keep walking another 15 minutes. The quiet beach has loungers and umbrellas available for rent, and there is a small restaurant that serves drinks and food.
The stunning West Harbor sits just outside the city walls, a short stroll from Pile Gate. This area is home to some of my favorite views of Old Town’s city walls, Lovrijenac and an iconic Game of Thrones filming location.
An afternoon of swimming, sunbathing and cliff jumping at Buza Bar II. OUTFIT DETAILS: One piece swimsuit linked here.
No place does mussels like Croatia.
Swimmers at Sulic Beach.
A beautiful set of apartments located very close to the Old Town gates. The Studio with the Landmark View is the nicest of the three options they offer. The space has lots of natural light, which looks even brighter thanks to the white and neutral color palette. Dubrovnik Finest Apartments is a wonderful option if it’s available.
Hotel Bellevue is a ultra luxe, contemporary property that boasts more than 90 rooms and suites that are clean, modern and spacious. The property sits on beautiful Miramare Bay, a 15-minute walk from Old Town.
For travelers looking to splurge in Croatia, this is the place to do it. Like most properties located along this stretch of coast, Hotel Excelsior is built into the rocks, and the seaside location is incorporated into almost every aspect of the hotel. The rocky sunbathing area is perched just above water where guests are treated to dreamy views of Old Town, and the surrounding Adriatic Sea feeds the hotel’s spectacular saltwater pool. Additionally, the on-site restaurant Prora seats guests beneath medieval archways that open up to the sea. The hotel interior is modern and minimalist chic, but it’s the location that makes splurging worth the stay.
Hotel Kompas is beautiful modern property that overlooks Lapad Bay. It sits just three miles from Old Town, but that translates to a 45-minute walk or 20-minutes by public bus. Not ideal for tourists that want to be within a stone’s throw of the city, but a quiet retreat for those that want an escape. The hotel is equipped with a pool and dozens of sunbeds and umbrellas on neighboring Lapad Bay.
Hotel Stari Grad is one of the only hotels located within the Dubrovnik city walls. Formerly a 16th century nobleman’s house, the boutique property has been completely gutted and renovated into nine rooms and five suites. One of the best places to stay within Old Town.
Brand new apartment located in the Ploce neighborhood, a 10-minute walk to Old Town. It doesn’t have the Old World character as some of the other apartments you’ll find in Dubrovnik, but the clean, modern space makeS this place a solid option.
This one-bedroom apartment is located up the steps on the climb to Lady Pi-Pi. The Airbnb rental is beautiful. It sits inside a 17th century building, featuring exposed stone walls, modern furnishings and lovely decor. An absolute gem in Old Town.
Old Town L is a lovely apartment that blends modern cues with the space’s exposed medieval stone wall. The white, orange and tan color scheme make the airy digs especially cheery. The property sits in the flat part of Old Town, a perk for guests who want to avoid the city’s infamous stone steps. It isn’t a huge space, but the apartment can comfortably fit two people.
Another wonderful option within Old Town that blends the historic setting with modern comforts. St. Joseph’s Boutique Hotel offers five rooms that are rustic chic with exposed stone walls, wood beam ceilings and wooden shutters. The Deluxe King Suite is particularly spacious and lovely.
A clean, comfortable apartment with loads of character located in the heart of Old Town. There isn’t a ton of natural light inside the Two Steps Apartment, which might be claustrophobic for some. It can also be a bit noisy from passing pedestrians – just the nature of the alley where it’s built But if neither are an issue, the space is a very good value.
Located down the street from Hotel Excelsior, Villa Dubrovnik is a five-star property just 15-minutes walking from Ploče Gate. The hotel’s location is stunning, built into the cliffs overlooking idyllic views of the Adriatic. The sunbathing area is particularly lovely with white loungers and white umbrellas scattered along the rocks. Rooms are spacious and modern, all with views of the sea.
Adratic days under the white loungers at Hotel Excelsior‘s private stretch of coast. My favorite place to stay in Dubrovnik.
The view of Old Town from the Hotel Excelsior coast is absolutely epic.
The surrounding Adriatic Sea feeds into the Hotel Excelsior saltwater pool.
The waterfront loungers are perfect for Adriatic swims.
How perfect is the Adriatic?
FISH RESTAURANT PROTO
This family-owned restaurant has been around for more than 100 years, and sits in the heart of Old Town. The food is Michelin reviewed and the speciality is seafood, of course. While the menu changes based on availability, offerings often include fresh fish, mussels, shellfish, crab and scallops.
FOURTY FOUR RESTAURANT
Romantic restaurant setting located just off of the Stradun in Old Town. Forty Four Restaurant is indoors, so not much in terms of views, but there are a handful of alleyway tables. Artful dishes include a range of fresh seafood, pastas and meats. Reservations recommended.
GRADSKA KAVANA ARSENAL
Gradska Kavana Arsenal sits on one of the main square’s in Old Town – the perfect setting for outdoor dining during the summer, especially in the evening. Menu includes Croatian specialties like mussels, sea bass, seafood risotto, oysters and more.
This is the best restaurant in Dubrovnik. Everything about it is amazing – the fresh seafood, the rooftop ambiance, the service and the views. It’s a bit of a hike up the Old Town steps to reach the restaurant, but the delicious food and views over the city make it well worth the extra effort. The restaurant is tiny, and they do not take reservations. Arrive just before the restaurant opens, and you won’t wait too long for a table.
Luncin Kantun occupies a quiet alleyway, just off the Stradun in Old Town. Menu offers a variety of delicious fresh pastas and seafood.
Little tables are scattered along the steps that surround the oldest church in Dubrovnik – first rate ambiance at Konoba Rizario. Menu includes typical Croatian dishes. The fresh mussels and whole fish are particularly delicious.
This two-star Michelin restaurant sits outside the city walls near Pile Gate with sweeping views of Bokar-Festung and the Lovrijenac Fortress. Nautika is a fine dining experience with a menu that serves up local fresh seafood cuisine, as well as some meats. It’s been previously named one of the most romantic restaurants in the world by Conde Nast Traveller.
OYSTER & SUSHI BAR BOTA
Yes, one of my favorite restaurants in Dubrovnik is a sushi spot. And I’m not alone. It’s hard to nab a table at one of Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota’s during the summer months. Reservations are a must. Menu is filled with fresh sushi, sashimi, nigiri and teriyaki plates.
Lady Pi-Pi is my favorite restaurant in Dubrovnik – amazing seafood, great atmosphere and sweeping views.
Croatia is probably one of the best places in the world for fresh mussels.
The tables at Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota are always filled at dinner – reservations highly recommended.
Sweeping views of Old Town from the West Harbor.
The medieval alleyways of Old Town.
The best rooftop views are from atop the city walls.
Dubrovnik is accessible by land, sea and air, making it an ideal city to fly into for island hopping or road trips through Croatia.
The city walls are best to hike first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, before and after the tour group crowds show up.
Pasjaca Beach is one of my favorites in all of Europe.
Dubrovnik is a pedestrian friendly city with most sights located within the Old Town city walls, or just outside. For visitors interested in day trips, there are ferries that connect Dubrovnik to nearby Lokrum Island or neighboring Cavtat. A car is not necessary while in Dubrovnik, but day rentals are available at agencies around town for trips to Pasjaca Beach, Sokol Tower or Peljesac Peninsula.
Airport pick-up in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class by Dubrovnik Transfer.
Farewell, Dubrovnik. OUTFIT DETAILS: Free People set linked here.