Constructed in 1537, this sturdy gate on the west wall of Dubrovnik’s Old Town was once locked nightly—and the wooden drawbridge leading to it was raised—to prevent intruders from gaining access to the city. More recently, the gate served as a filming location for Game of Thrones, as the site where King Joffrey was unceremoniously pelted with cow dung.
As the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, Pile Gate is a natural starting point for any traveler exploring the city on foot. A stone bridge links the outer and inner gates, both of which feature statues of St. Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint. Most walking tours of Dubrovnik Old Town pass through the gate.
Some Game of Thrones tours also stop at the gate, as well as other filming locations on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast, including Fort Lovrijenac, which doubles as the Red Keep, and Trsteno Arboretum, which serves as the gardens of King's Landing.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Pile Gate is a must-see for first-time Dubrovnik visitors and history buffs.
- A tourist information center is located on the Stradun, just past the gate.
- Pile Gate is one of several access points for Dubrovnik’s ancient city walls.
- The gate has a ramp and is accessible to wheelchair users and strollers.
How to Get There
Pile Gate is situated in the western wall of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, and most city buses stop here. The gate is a 3-minute walk from Dubrovnik West Harbor and a 5-minute stroll along the scenic Stradun, the Old Town’s main thoroughfare, from the Old Port. Gruž Port, where many larger cruise ships dock, is about 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) away.
When to Get There
Dubrovnik is busiest in July and August, with Thursdays through Sundays drawing most crowds. During these times, bottlenecks do form at Pile Gate, especially when crowds of cruise ship passengers arrive en masse. To avoid getting stuck in one of these, come before 10am or after 4pm.
The Gates of Dubrovnik
Pile Gate is one of three entrances to Dubrovnik Old Town. On the eastern wall stands Ploče Gate, which is approached via a drawbridge that—as with Pile Gate—was once raised at night to defend against potential invasions. The walled city’s northern entrance, Buža Gate is not as dramatic as Pile or Ploče, but still worth a visit. Be aware that from Buža Gate you’ll have to navigate down a lot of steps to reach the Stradun.