Located in southern Croatia on the coast of the Adriatic sea, Dubrovnik, often called the “Pearl of Adriatic”, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and popular cities in Croatia. Dubrovnik is a relatively small city, counting only around 42 thousand habitants. With a well-preserved Old Town, breathtaking views, and a turquoise blue sea, it’s no wonder even the creators of Game of Thrones recognized its potential.
Dubrovnik has a rich history dating back to the 7th century and since then it was ruled by both Venetians and Hungarians whose influence can be seen when walking the city streets. The city reached its historical peak in the 16th century when it became a famous harbour thanks to merchants and shipbuilders.
Today, the city is a very popular tourist destination and also popular on the international scene which is noticeable by higher prices during the season and many luxurious villas, restaurants, and bars.
How to get to Dubrovnik?
Flying is the easiest way to get to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik Airport is called Čilipi and is located in a nearby village with the same name, only 20 km away from the city. To get to the city from the airport you can take a shuttle bus or if you prefer more comfortable ways of travelling, taking a taxi or a private ride is also an option.
If you’re travelling by car Dubrovnik is very well connected with many other cities in Dalmatia and the rest of Croatia. You can easily reach Dubrovnik from Zagreb, Split, Zadar, or Makarska on the highway. You must cross the recently constructed Pelješac bridge, which finally connects Croatian territory, to get to Dubrovnik. The fact that the Pelješac Bridge has finally connected the rest of Croatia to the south of the country is the main cause of all the excitement around its opening. It was necessary to exit Croatia, travel a short distance across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then cross the border once more to get to Dubrovnik prior to the bridge's opening. Now the way to Dubrovnik is much easier over the bridge, which is 2404 meters long.
What are the best things to do in Dubrovnik?
You don’t have to be afraid you’ll be left down with the things to do and see when in Dubrovnik. The town is full of sceneries that will take your breath away, there is something to see behind every corner and the city will inspire you with stories from its long and rich history.
Walk the city walls
The most important and popular sight in Dubrovnik are the Old Town walls. Dating back to the 8th century this around 2-kilometre-long wall surrounds the whole Old Town with all its historical sightings and is among the most famous city walls in the world. The walls are very well preserved and visited by thousands of tourists daily every season so if you want to avoid the crowd on narrow paths, it is suggested that you visit as early as possible.
The walls open at 8 A.M., are open all year round, and the entrance fee is about 200 kuna or approximately 30 euros. The entrance to the walls is on the left side after Pile Gates and you get free entrance to Fort Lovrijenac when you buy the ticket so be sure to save your ticket.
To get around the walls you’ll need around one and a half to two hours during which you will enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Dubrovnik Old Town and the Adriatic.
After leaving the City Walls don’t miss the chance to explore the streets of the Old Town from the ground and discover the amazing history that Dubrovnik can offer while visiting Rector’s Palace, the city Cathedral that is home to Assumption Of Our Lady/The Virgin painting, The Church of ST. Blaise, Franciscan Monastery, and many more.
One of the most impressive things to see when visiting Dubrovnik is the Lovrijenac Fortress, built at the beginning of the 13th century on a towering cliff above the sea. Lovrijenac was first built to defend the city from attackers from land and the sea and today is a very popular attraction inside which are many cultural events held in a beautiful mediaeval atmosphere.
The entrance to the Fortress is free if you bought the ticket for the City Walls, if not, the price of the tickets is 50 kuna or 7 euros, and the fortress is open from 8 A.M. to 7 P.M.
Stradun or as many locals call it Placa is the most important street in Dubrovnik and the most famous promenade in Dubrovnik. Located in the Old Town it connects the Pile Gate on the west and Ploče gate on the East. This 300-metre-long street is one of the favourite places among locals and tourists to gather and enjoy their time in one of the many restaurants or cafes while watching the people go by.
Along the Stradun you will find many unique houses in baroque style, built in the 17th century after the big earthquake hit Dubrovnik, as well as many other places worth seeing like Onofrio Fountain, Orlando Statue, and Sponza Palace.
Srđ and cable car ride
The Srđ Hill offers a spectacular view of Dubrovnik, it’s located above Dubrovnik, and it's one of the most unique places to visit during your visit to the city. To get to the top you can take a 90-minute hike or if you prefer to avoid that kind of adventure, you can take the cable car and just enjoy the ride. The ride lasts around 5 minutes and the price is 200 kuna for the return ticket.
At the top of Srđ, you can find Fort Imperial, which played an important role during the war and for that reason now you can visit the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence once you get there.
One of the most famous restaurants and cafes found its place on top of the Srđ mountain so you can sit, relax and enjoy your meal or drink while having one of the most beautiful panoramic views above the city. Just keep in mind the cable car working hours and don’t miss the last ride.
Game of Thrones Locations
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones you already know that Dubrovnik has been part of the show since season 2 as the iconic King’s Landing. The Old Town of Dubrovnik, home to well-preserved ancient locations, was the setting for more than 10 Game of Thrones filming locations. When exploring the city fans will feel transported to King’s Landing, home of the Iron Throne, and the Lannister family.
Jesuits Stairs, Fort Lovrijenac which doubles as the Red Keep, Pile Gate, and West Harbour are the most famous sites, but some scenes were also filmed at the Minceta Tower, Rector's Palace, or at St. Dominic's footsteps. If you visit the Island of Lokrum you’ll even get a chance to sit on the Iron Throne.
You can take the Game of Thrones tour which will help you discover all the places from the show and find out how Dubrovnik became King's Landing. Even if you haven't seen the show, you'll get a chance to experience the city from a different perspective.
Island of Lokrum
Lokrum island, which is located a little bit away from the old town, is another place you should visit when in Dubrovnik. This little island is a real oasis near the city and is very well connected by ferry to the Old port. The ride lasts only for 15 minutes, so relatively many tourists go there during the summer months.
You can explore several attractions, including Fort Royal, a Benedictine monastery, and a botanical garden, during a walk over the island. Thanks to its beautiful nature the island is a protected nature reserve.
Best time to visit Dubrovnik
Choosing the right time to visit Dubrovnik might be a crucial factor when planning a trip to this beautiful city.
Even though the summer months are the first thing you might think of when you think about travelling to coastal cities, keep in mind that during the season Dubrovnik is hot and crowded with tourists so it might be a little hard to experience the real beauty of the city while trying to squeeze through narrow city streets full of people trying to find their way around town. Most locals won’t recommend you to visit Dubrovnik during July and August but will advise you that, if possible, you book your stay in late spring or the beginning of the fall.
If you visit Dubrovnik from May to mid-June or mid-September to October, not only will you avoid crowds, but you will also save yourself some money, the weather is still perfect and most of the places that work during the season are still open. The only thing you need to do is decide how many days you want to spend discovering the city.