Plan ahead to see the many sides of Dubrovnik, from the location for the HBO series Game of Thrones to a haven for a variety of water sports. Here are a few ways to spend two days in Dubrovnik.
Things to do in Dubrovnik
Welcome to Dubrovnik
Also known as the Croatian Athens, the UNESCO World Heritage–listed city of Dubrovnik certainly lives up to the accolade. The ancient city walls, with its myriad towers and turrets, date back to the 10th century and protect the many impressive monuments of the Old Town. Walking tours check off all the main sights including Onofrio's Fountain, the Franciscan Monastery and Museum, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Rector’s Palace, Renaissance-era Sponza Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, and of course, Dubrovnik’s Ancient City Walls. Beyond the Old Town, the city’s beaches and surrounding islands are popular with travelers and locals alike. Take a guided sea kayaking or snorkeling tour to discover caves and beaches along the Dalmatian coast. Or cruise by ferry, speedboat, replica 16th-century galleon, or even private yacht to the Elafiti Islands, Lokrum, Korcula Island (where Marco Polo was born), and more. For a true taste of Croatia, take a day trip to Konavle Valley region and spend the day hiking, biking, or wine tasting among the mountains, vineyards, villages, and olive groves. The Pelješac peninsula is also famed for its wine, and many excursions combine tastings in Pelješac with stops in the bayside town of Ston, known for its oysters and old salt factory. And for longer-haul trips, head to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the town of Mostar dazzles all who gaze upon its iconic bridge, and Montenegro, the tiny country where medieval towns meet the natural beauty of fjords.
Top 10 attractions in Dubrovnik
The medieval core of Dubrovnik and the focal point of most city itineraries, Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, made up of a warren of limestone-paved streets and painstakingly restored medieval architecture. The pedestrianized center is still surrounded by its 15th-century fortification walls and walking along the ramparts provides expansive views over the town. Navigating the labyrinth of the Old Town unveils many of the city’s most impressive buildings, now flanked by an array of modern shops, restaurants and hotels. Highlights include the reconstructed gothic-renaissance Rector’s Palace; the baroque-style Cathedral of the Assumption, built in the 18th-century; and the landmark Bell Tower, which looms 31 meters over Luza Square. Don’t miss a stroll along the main thoroughfare of Stradun Street, a tour of the Franciscan Monastery and Museum and a visit to the striking 16th-century Sponza Palace....
Dubrovnik’s distinctive orange cable cars speed 778 m (2,552.5 ft) in around three minutes to the top of Mount Srđ from the Lower Station positioned just north of the sturdy walls of the city. Opened in 1969, the cable car was destroyed during the Balkan Wars of Independence in the 1990s but was reopened in 2010; today it serves up to 2.5 million visitors each year who make the journey to enjoy the peerless views across the terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik, the indented coastline of Dalmatia and the island archipelagos sprinkled across the Adriatic Sea. Sitting at 405 m (1,328.75 ft) above sea level, the scenic viewpoints around the upper cable car station on Mount Srđ are popular local spots for weddings; there’s a souvenir shop selling Dalmatian olive oils and landscape paintings plus the Panorama restaurant, serving up delicious Croatian dishes along with its far-reaching views; book an early-evening table in advance to enjoy the spectacular sunset sliding into the sea....
A mere 1km from Dubrovnik, the small island of Lokrum makes a welcome escape from the city and with regular boats making the 15-minute trip, it’s an easy excursion from the mainland. Nicknamed the ‘Island of Kings’, legend has it that King Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked on Lokrum Island following his 1192 crusades. Continuing its royal connections, the island was bought in 1859 by Maximilian von Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria, who transformed its 12th-century Benedictine abbey and monastery into a summer palace. The Abbey and its formal gardens remain one of the island’s principal highlights, but equally impressive is the botanical garden of the Dubrovnik Oceanographic Institute and the Fort Royal, an early 19th-century French fort, which tops the Lokrum Hills. For many though, a visit Lokrum is simply an excuse to soak up the idyllic scenery – swathes of pine and cypress forests, olive groves and rocky coves that make up the Lokrum island nature reserve....
Perched on a 37-meter cliff top jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, it’s easy to see how the dramatic Fort Lovrijenac earned itself the nicknamed of ‘Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar’. The mighty stone fortress is one of Dubrovnik’s most recognizable landmarks, looming over the western gate to the walled Old Town and providing a striking backdrop to the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Immortalized on-screen as part of the fictional King’s Landing in HBO’s hit fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, Fort Lovrijenac has further cemented its place at the top of tourist itineraries and few views are as breathtaking as looking out over the coastal city from the cliff top ramparts. Built in the 11th century, the fortress was once an impenetrable stronghold, with its 12-meter thick sea walls and infamous 3,000kg bronze ‘Guster’ cannon....
A cluster of isles and islands found along the Dalmatian Coast, the Elafiti Islands are one of Croatia’s most popular destinations and make an easy day trip from nearby Dubrovnik. Fourteen islands make up the small archipelago, but only the largest three - Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan – are inhabited and linked by ferry and taxi-boat to the mainland, making them the focal point of island hopping tours. Despite their popularity among day-trippers, the trio of islands remain largely unaffected by the spoils of tourism, dotted with a mere handful of hotels and maintaining many car-free roads. Koločep benefits from being the nearest island to Dubrovnik, celebrated for its dramatic coastal cliffs, tranquil pebble beaches and shaded olive groves, whereas neighboring Lopud is best known for its well-preserved 11th century Benedictine monastery, 16th-century churches and sandy Šunj beach....
Travelers looking to explore untouched Croatia while getting a true taste of the Adriatic Sea will find all they’re looking for at Elaphite Islands. This cluster of coastal escapes stretches from Dubrovnik to Peljesac and boasts thick foliage and unspoiled natural wonders that have become difficult to find on the mainland. Just three of these favorite getaways—Lopud, Sipan or Kolocep—are accessible to visitors, but their diversity means there’s still something for everyone in the Elaphite Islands. Kolocep, the smallest of the three, is surrounded by brilliant blue waters and proves a remarkable respite for tired travelers. Sunj beach has made Lopud the most visited of the three, but those in the know say despite its popularity, Lopud is still perfect for a quiet escape. Sipan, the largest of the three islands, offers travelers the most to do, including tours of some of the stately aristocratic manors of the Dubrovnik Republic....
Pile Gate is a grand entrance into Dubrovnik’s Old Town, on its western wall. Built in 1537 to protect the city from invaders and monitor trade, Pile Gate was originally reached via a wooden drawbridge, which was raised every evening, the gate locked and the key handed to the prince in an elaborate ceremony. Pile Gate has an outer and inner gate with statues of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint. The St. Blaise statue in the niche of the interior arch is the handiwork 20th-century Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. You’ll also find an old door here that dates back to 1460. As you pass over the stone bridge towards the outer gate you’ll notice a green space below. This space used to be the moat, another defense mechanism to deter those who wished to infiltrate the city....
Stretching from Old Town’s western entrance at the Pile Gate to the harbor in the east, the Stradun (or Placa) was once a shallow sea channel that divided the small island on which Dubrovnik was built from the Republic of Ragusa on the mainland. In the 12th century, the Stradun was filled to create the main street in Dubrovnik’s Old Town....
Standing on Luza Square among some of Dubrovnik’s most impressive architecture, including St Blaise Church and the lovely Sponza Palace with its appealing mixture of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, Orlando’s Column was erected in 1418 at what remains the political and social heart of the city. Here public meetings and executions were held on the small stone platform guarded by wrought-iron railings that tops the column. The stone carvings adorning the four sides of the column were created by master craftsman Antun Dubrovcanin and represent the heroic knight Orlando, who was the nephew of Frankish Emperor Charlemagne; according to legend he was credited with saving Dubrovnik from Saracen pirates in the eighth century and here he is depicted surrounded by figures of minstrels and balladeers....
Top activities in Dubrovnik
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- Montenegro Full-Day Trip from Dubrovnik
- Exclusive: 'Game of Thrones' Walking Tour of Dubrovnik
- Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls Small-Group with Turkish House Included
- Bosnia and Herzegovina Day Trip Including Medjugorje and Mostar
- Dubrovnik Super Saver: Mt Srd Cable Car Ride plus Old Town and City Walls Walking Tour
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