Croatia’s gem of a city, Dubrovnik, is positioned right next to the Adriatic Sea. While it has been blessed with the natural beauty that surrounds its borders, the city has also been well preserved, keeping much of its history and stunning architecture intact. Pair these assets with the modern innovations like trendy watering holes and innovative restaurants, and you can see why Dubrovnik is such a sought after travel destination. If you’re planning on giving it a visit, here is the ultimate list of the things you should do there.
Walk The City Walls
They are the city’s main attraction and couldn’t be missed even if you tried. They can be noticed in areas all over the city and contain immense amounts of history within their stones. Once used to defend the city, the walls now stand at about 25m high and give Dubrovnik a whole lot of character. Wander through some of the forts and towers along the way like Bokar Tower, Minceta Tower, Fort St. John and Fort Lawrence.
If you want to escape city life for an afternoon, this heavily forested island makes a fantastic retreat. Visitors here will find themselves amongst olive trees, holm oaks, pines and black ash that weave their way around the pebbly beaches. It’s a popular location for swimming and there is even a nude beach if you are feeling adventurous. During your visit you can wander to the Benedictine Monastery, which houses a beautiful botanical garden.
Eat at Restaurant 360
Not only can you have drinks with a view, but this restaurant allows you to dine with some of the best views of the city. Located on top of the city wall, the tables are positioned so that guests can look out over the picturesque harbor.
Visit Rector’s Palace
This Gothic-Renaissance palace was built back in the 15th century and once housed the rector who was in charge of governing the city. Today, the palace functions as a Cultural History Museum and features portraits, restored rooms and historical artifacts.
Visit The Cathedral of Assumption
An improvement from the structure that was built in the 7th century, this cathedral was finished in 1713 after an earthquake damaged the original. It is believed that the project’s funding was a gift from England’s king who was rescued from a nearby shipwreck. The gorgeous altars are part of what makes it so notable and the religious paintings it features keep visitors interested.
Visit The Dominican Monastery & Museum
This Gothic-Renaissance style building is a highlight of architecture in the city. It was constructed during the 14th century and houses an impressive collection of artwork. There are 15th and 16th-century works of art as well as stained glass pieces that are just as impressive.
Visit The Franciscan Monastery & Museum
The stone walls of this museum house historical relics and art from the 15th century. Guests here can see jewelery, paintings, chalices, medical gear, medical books and laboratory equipment. Also inside is Europe’s third oldest running pharmacy which has been conducting business since 1391. It was also the first pharmacy in Europe to be open to the general public.
To continue with an architectural tour of Dubrovnik, Sponza Palace is a stunning display of Gothic and Renaissance style. It is now home to the state archives that hold manuscripts dating back around 1,000 years. Also located inside is the Memorial Room of The Defenders of Dubrovnik, which displays a collection of black and white photos of men who died to defend the country in the early 90s.
See The Onofrio Fountain
Built in the 1400s, this immense fountain is now a landmark of the city. It actually functioned as a means to bring water into the city and was once covered in sculptures. The fountain was immensely damaged by the earthquake that struck the city in the 1600s so only a few of these sculptures remain.
Take The Cable Car up Srd
Taking visitors over the Old Town, this cable car is a great way to see the sights and learn a bit about the history. As you rise above the city, there will be beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea to keep you interested.
Visit The Beaches
There is plenty of coastline along the city that allows you the beach access you need for a beautiful day in the sun. Try the city beach, Banje and rent a beach chair to get working on your tan. If you want more of a secluded spot where the locals tend to go, try Sveti Jakov. The beach isn’t very crowded and offers fantastic views of the city and the natural landscape.
Come for the Summer Festival
Lasting for a full 47 days, the summer festival is definitely worth making a visit for. The Old Town will be full of opera, classical music, dance performances and theater. There will be orchestras, piano performances, Shakespeare reenactments and ballet in 70 different venues.
Browse The Old Town Market
While exploring the beauty of Old Town, make your way to the market to do a bit of shopping and to see some of the local culture. You will find stands of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as fishermen selling the daily catch by the harbor. Visitors will also be able to find cheese, honey, olives, lavender oil, spices and brandy for sale.
Drink at Cafe Bard
Why not rest your feet by sitting in one of the city’s most well positioned bars. Bard is technically referred to as a “cliff bar” as it sits right up against one of the city walls and overlooks the sea. The sights are fantastic and the drinks come in at a close second.
While many of the previously mentioned sites are located inside of the Old Town, this destination is worth visiting just to meander. The architecture here is astounding and the people watching is just as good.
Swim From The City Walls
Many restaurants that are positioned on the city walls actually have staircases that lead right into the water. Strong swimmers and brave souls can dive right in or you can ease your way down the steps into the water. Buza is a great place to access the water from but get there early because it’s often quite crowded.
Witness The Ceremonial Guards
Each day, there are guards dressed in traditional garb that look over the two main city gates. After they finish their daily watch at 9:30pm, they are accompanied by drummers as they march back down the streets.
Wander The Stradun
This is the main street that stretches across the city and is a great place just to stroll. There are tons of people to watch and plenty of restaurants and shopping opportunities.
Visit The Elafiti Islands
If you want to get away from the city for a day, a trip on a private boat to one of these islands can be just what you need. The chain is made up of three small islands that private coves with sandy beaches and nice hiking trails.
It’s a botanical garden from the 15th century and one that contains plants from worldwide travels. It’s located just 20km north of the city and makes for a peaceful retreat in nature. Another reason to visit is that it served as a location for the filming of Game of Thrones, making it an exciting destination for all of the fans out there.
Hang on Copacabana Beach
This beach is famous and is perfect for visitors who are traveling as a family. The views are gorgeous and there is a lot of room for activity. This is where many people rent jet-skis, go on parachute rides and rent kayaks. There are also beach bars and restaurants so that you don’t have to leave even when you get hungry.
Travel to Konavle Valley
Take the 30-minute drive to reach this beautiful natural landscape when you want a day out of the city. This is where many of the farms are located and visitors can see where the olives, figs, grapes, lemons, and vegetables come from that are often found in city markets. Enjoy a wine tasting, meet an artisan designer, or visit a traditional flour mill to understand more about the rural way of life.
Eat Ice Cream
It’s something that you just can’t not notice. Everyone walking the streets of Dubrovnik seems to be eating ice cream. There are plenty of shops on the main drag to get yourself in on the sweet, creamy action. Just take a walk and see where the greatest line is forming. Between all of the shops, you will have a lot of exciting flavors to choose from.
Explore The Peljesac Peninsula
En route to Split, stop in Ston, the capital of oyster farming in Croatia and experience a special oyster feast on a private islet.
Lounge in Gradac Park
There is still nature and solitude to be found within the city if you want a break from the bustle. Head to Gradac Park for a chance to lounge amongst the pine trees and look out at views over the Old Town and Lokrum Island.