Dubrovnik Tourism Information
Dubrovnik is one of the most idyllic places in Croatia to spend a holiday and has become a renowned destination, now competing directly with Italy or Spain, as it offers the same warm climate year round but much less crowded. However, this area of Croatia has suffered a lot during its turbulent history, which it was occupied and conquered by a succession of its neighbours and European colonial powers. But now, Dubrovnik is a city at peace, allowing visitors to make the most of its historic architecture, white pebble beaches, and crystal-clear sea.
The old town, dating from the 7th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enclosed by city walls built in the 13th century, the buildings represent a cross-section of medieval architectural styles and remain well preserved. Onofrio's Fountain, situated just inside the main entrance to the old city at Pile Gate, is one of Dubrovnik's most famous landmarks and a popular meeting place.
The centre of the old town is the Stradun, its main street, which was originally a channel separating an island from the mainland. It was filled in to join two towns into the merged city of Dubrovnik. There are lots of churches, monasteries, and museums to explore, while the old town boasts plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops.
Most of the hotels and the best beaches are located northwest of the old town, at Lapad, or in Ploce to the northeast.
Dubrovnik is a favourite on European cruise itineraries and many tourists arrive by sea, ferrying in to the charming old port. The city is also well situated as a travel hub for exploring the towns and islands that stretch along the dramatic Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.
Dubrovnik has a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Summer days can be intensely hot, but humidity is moderate and gentle breezes ensure cool, pleasant evenings. Summer temperatures (between June and August) average around 29°C but temperatures can rise to well over 32°C, especially in the southern region.
Winters are significantly colder but they are not severe. In winter (December to February) temperatures occasionally drop to close freezing point on the coast but in Dubrovnik daytime temperatures tend to average around 10°C. The wettest months are October, November and December.
The peak tourist season in Dubrovnik is in the summer months when the weather is at its hottest, but the best time to visit is September or May, because in these months it is still warm but the city is less crowded and slightly less expensive.
First, if you are arriving by air, transportation from the airport to the city and beyond, is offered by shuttle buses, local busses, as well as taxis. The shuttle bus is the most shuttle buses, local busses, as well as taxis. The shuttle bus is the most convenient and comfortable option. For 50 kuna one way or 80 Kuna return, it operates as flights land and stops at the Old Town area of Dubrovnik and the bus station.
It takes around 30 minutes. To return, you need to check the timetables, which may vary according to season and number of flights operated. (published at the bus station).
For those not in a hurry, there are local buses that travel to/from the airport which make a number of stops along the way. Buses 11, 27, 31 and 38 travel between the airport and Dubrovnik. If you are going to the city centre then only take bus 11 or 38. Tickets cost 15 Kuna (€2.40) if purchased on the bus or 12 Kuna beforehand.
Once in the city, Dubrovnik has an efficient public bus system. Buses generally run from 5am to midnight. Fares are standardised: HRK 15 for tickets bought from the driver, and HRK 12 if bought from a kiosk (known as a 'Tisak') in advance. The ticket is valid for 59 minutes after the first stamping and can be used in all directions. Also, you can purchase one-day tickets valid for 24 hours from the first stamping with no restrictions on the number of trips. One day ticket price is 30 kn and can be purchased at the transport offices called, Libertas. Children under the age of 6 years old accompanied by an adult do not pay for public transport.
The old town is pedestrianised, therefore Dubrovnik is a wonderful city to explore on foot, as many of the main sightseeing attractions are in the pedestrianised area, and the medieval atmosphere of the city makes walking feel like the most appropriate way to get around.
Renting a car is one of the best ways to get around Croatia but travellers need to be confident drivers to handle local driving etiquette. Roads are very well-maintained and having a car allows visitors more freedom and independence for exploring outlying parts of Croatia. Also you will need to check ferry crossings for the islands, check Jadrolinija for the latest timetables and routes.
Below you can find the local maps for the transport in Dubrovnik:
Most travellers will come to Dubrovnik to relax, sunbathe, swim and dine in the many restaurants along the coast line. However, don't miss the opportunity to explore further and discover the city which has much culture and history, awaiting to be discovered down its pedestrian streets. This Croatian city, with its quaint cobblestone streets and red-tiled roofs, makes an amazing holiday destination for visitors from all walks of life.
Tourists can stroll along the city walls made famous by the HBO TV series Game of Thrones. Behind these walls lies the UNESCO-listed Old Town, a medieval city featuring ancient baroque churches, monasteries, and palaces. Enter through Pile gate and admire the imposing Fort Lovrijenac or visit the Rector's Palace, housing the cultural history museum.
Don't miss, a short cable car ride up to Mt Srd, presenting stunning views of Old Town and the Elafiti Islands. Dominating the bay is the forested island of Lokrum, just a 10-minute ferry ride from Old Harbour. Take in the Benedictine monastery, pose on a replica of the Iron Throne, and wander through lush botanical gardens.
Dubrovnik boasts a superb local bus services, you can take advantage and discover the city centre and its neighbourhoods, even if you are staying away in other hotels and resorts. Busses with key tourist routes run long past midnight in peak season. Discounted fares can be bought at a newsagent (tisak) for journeys to the Old Town and walk around city centre areas like Gruz or Lapad.
Let's check now more details of the highlights of what to see and do in Dubrovnik:
- Dubrovnik City Walls: The impressive walls enclosing the ancient city of Dubrovnik were laid out in the 13th century and became an ongoing project for almost two centuries. (They are featured prominently on the HBO Series, Game of Thrones). The fortified walls are up to 3 m thick on the sea side and at least twice as thick on the land side. Made to guard against invasion by the Turks in the 15th century, they reach 25 m in height. Visitors can access the walls via a steep stone stairway and once they reach the top they'll be rewarded with superb views. The walls are included in the Dubrovnik card, otherwise it costs 250 Kuna for a single entry.
✔️Tip:Visit the detached Lovrijenac Fort to the west of the old city. It stood guard against both land and sea invasion and is also worth a visit for some stunning views.
You will need to visit this the same day as the City Walls, so keep your ticket handy. (although they are flexible by a day)
- Stradun: The biggest, longest, and widest street in Dubrovnik, the Stradun dates back to the 13th century, while the uniform houses that line it were mostly built in the 17th century. The street is 292 metres long and is the commercial, entertainment, and spiritual centre of Dubrovnik. The shiny, slippery, marble-paved Stradun is the main walkway of Dubrovnik's Stari Grad. The Stradun holds many of the city's monuments and some great restaurants and shops. One of its more famous attractions is Onofrio's Fountain. This large fountain was built in 1438 by the famous Italian architect from Naples, Onofrio della Cava.
- Dubrovnik's Old Port: the Old Port is a major focal point of the city thanks to its unforgettable scenery. Located right next to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town, the port features great shopping and small markets along its tiny cobblestoned streets as well as fantastic sightseeing opportunities.
The old harbour has a rich history as a trading hub and continues this tradition through its delightful markets and quaint shops. Many different kinds of boat tours are operated from the Old Town harbour and these trips offer a wonderful chance to explore the stunning coastline from the water.
Many of these tours will point out attractions and landmarks, and provide insights into the port's history and Dubrovnik in general.
- Dubrovnik Cable Car and Mount Srd: The best views of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area are experienced from the top of the Srd Hill. The Dubrovnik Cable Car was built back in 1969 and was enthusiastically used by millions of visitors who wanted to enjoy the most beautiful panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see up to 60 km. For this reason the neighbouring Imperial Fortress was strategically built on this privileged spot, back in the early 19th century. Its possible to enter the fort.
Alternatively, just enjoy the view of the old city as well as the islands nearby. You can also take a walk around the top of the hill and bring a picnic. For the way back down, you can also walk, it takes around 30-45 minutes to reach the bottom. One way is 90 Kuna and return is 160 Kuna. Check more info at Dubrovnikcablecar.com.
❗Attention: The walkway down is in disrepair, so rocks sometimes are in the way and it can be slippery. Take adequate footwear and water for hot days.
- Cathedral Treasury: Dubrovnik has had at least three cathedrals on the same site during its long history. The first was a Byzantine building dating from the 7th century; the second a Romanesque Cathedral which was destroyed by the great earthquake of the 17th century; and at present the beautiful Baroque structure which was designed by Italian architect Buffalini from Urbino and completed in 1713. Within the current cathedral, called the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, there are several magnificent statues and paintings. The cathedral also has a treasury where hundreds of religious relics are stored. There is a cover charge for seeing the treasury, which is rich in artefacts, icons, and paintings.
- Saint Ignatius church and historic stairs: It's one of the most popular locations now in Dubrovnik, since it's one of the main scenes chosen to film "Game of Thrones" on the footsteps of Baroque stairs (designed by Pietro Passalacqua). If you walk up the stairs you will enter in Uz Jezuite Street where the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola and Jesuit College is situated.
✔️Tip: To get to the cathedral make sure you walk up the steps isit the detached Lovrijenac Fort to the west of the old city. It stood guard against both land and sea invasion and is also worth a visit for some stunning views.
You will need to visit this the same day as the City Walls, so keep your ticket handy. (although they are flexible by a day)
- Franciscan Monastery: The original Franciscan monastery in Dubrovnik was built in the 13th century in the Pile area. But when war broke out in the 14th century, the monks were forced to relocate to gain the protection of Dubrovnik's formidable defensive walls. Parts of the current monastery, and most of the church, have had to be rebuilt over the centuries due to damage. But parts of the complex date back to 1317. This Franciscan church and monastery, still enclosed in the walls of medieval Dubrovnik, boast one of the most beautiful Romanesque cloisters in Dalmatia.
Within the monastery complex there is also a working pharmacy, which has been in business since 1317 and is thought to be the third oldest pharmacy in the world. A museum houses relics from the original medieval pharmacy such as medical books, instruments, and weight scales, as well as some gilded church relics. The monastery is a great refuge after sightseeing in the heat and crowds of the city. It is cool and quiet and also has some tranquil gardens to venture into.
- Sponza Palace: Built between 1516 and 1522, the Sponza Palace was the centre of medieval Dubrovnik. Apart from featuring the customs office, the palace once also housed a number of the Dubrovnik Republic's state offices, the mint, the bank, the treasury, and the armoury. It has been suggested that the architectural style of this well-preserved old palace gives some indication of what the public buildings in Dubrovnik may have looked like, before they were destroyed in an earthquake in 1667. Although this natural disaster caused considerable destruction to Dubrovnik, the palace itself was largely undamaged.
Whilst holidaying and visiting in Dubrovnik it is a great opportunity to visit some of the islands around and discover more beautiful places. To get there, take the many tour boats which depart from the Old Port.
Below you can find the highlights of the main islands:
- Elafiti Islands: Made of the islands of Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan, which are part of a larger archipelago northwest of Dubrovnik. They are the only inhabited islands in the group and the most popular for visitors. The islands are an escape from the mainland crowds and boast olive groves and orchards, sand and pebble beaches, 15th-century summer residences, and several interesting churches and monasteries.
Kolocep is the smallest and closest island to Dubrovnik, and it is beautifully covered in green vegetation. Lopud is the most visited and is famed for the stretch of sandy beach at Sunj. Sipan used to be the summer getaway of choice for aristocratic families in Dubrovnik and is fascinating from an historical point of view.
Kolocep and Lopud are both car-free islands but they are tiny and easy to get around on foot. You can choose to stay on one of these charming islands and accommodation here is generally less expensive than in Dubrovnik.
✔️Tip: Take an island hopping tour which visits all 3 islands and includes, pick-up / drop off, onboat lunch, tour guide and free time on the islands to explore them. Tours can be reserved at the tourism office or at the various boats which dock on the main harbour which have signs of the tours offered.
Double check several companies, as they tend to vary on inclusions and price. Generally starting from 280 Kuna for the full day tour.
Elafiti Islands Day Tour Photo Gallery
- Korcula Island: is one of the bigger Adriatic islands, boasting beautiful views, secluded beaches, vineyards and olive groves, as well as pretty towns and harbours. Korcula Town is the island's main commercial area and is situated on the northwest coast. This old town, sticking out into the sea, is typically Dalmatian and often likened to a small Dubrovnik, with its red-roofed houses and enclosing walls. Other main towns on the island include the tourist centre of Lumbarda and the port town of Vela Luka on the east coast.
- Mljet Island: Covered by small villages, forests, and vineyards, Mljet is famous for its national park on the western half of the island. Main attractions include the two saltwater lakes of Veliko Jezero (Great Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake), as well as a 12th-century Benedictine monastery. The lakes are popular spots for swimming and the beauty of this unspoilt oasis attracts nature lovers and those in search of peace and tranquillity. Mljet is popular with couples because the lack of crowds and pristine natural beauty. It is also a great option for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and kayaking. There are of accommodation options on the island and a variety of great places to eat.
Dubrovnik's offer a number of beaches at either side of the old walled city, appealing for families wanting to sunbathe, paddling and swimming. Many coastal hotels in Dubrovnik front the beach and treat the sand / pebbles as their own, even though in almost all cases these are public stretches.
Most of these Croatian beaches offer a pleasant experience, coming with a choice of seaside facilities, such as cafes, children's play areas, gift shops, and in some cases, swimming pools. The most popular beaches also offer water sports, with all kinds of equipment being available to hire and sea kayaks / canoes being in good supply.
The Dubrovnik Riviera is made up of a real variety of beaches, some of which boast fine sand. Others are made up of small pebbles and rocks. Most pebbly beach fronts are to be found around the bays.
- Banje Beach is comprised of small pebbles and lies to the east of the Old Harbour. Banje is especially close to the action and features amazing vistas of the Old Town.
- The sandy Lapad beaches are amongst the city's best and based around the Lapad Peninsula. Reachable by a charming coastal pathway, these pretty beach fronts have a few seafood eateries, highly suitable for sunset-watching and dining. They are also composed of a mixed pebble and sand beaches.
- Copacabana Beach in the Babin Kuk area (part of Lapad), is a great place for families, where the shallow water and children's toboggans are all notable draws, along with the windsurfing and water skiing opportunities. Beaches are mostly composed of smaller pebbles and rocks.
Whilst in Dubrovnik, take the opportunity to visit Cavtat, it is the most southerly Croatian resort of all, located around 20 km south of Dubrovnik and only 22 km from the border with Montenegro. Cavtat is an exceedingly pretty town and very relaxing. It is very easy to travel from Cavtat to Dubrovnik by bus or boat.
To get there you can take local bus number 10, with a bus running approximately every hour. See the schedules on the Dubrovnik Bus Terminal website.
You can also travel by boat to Cavtat from Dubrovnik. Cavtat is actually very close to Dubrovnik Airport only 6km away, os it makes a good option for a night stop over.
Things to see whilst in Cavtat, is the House of Vlaho Bukovac, a museum dedicated to this Croatian painter who was born in Cavtat in 1855. The Our Lady of Snow Monastery by the harbour was built in the 15th and 16th centuries with later additions. In the adjacent church are a number of interesting painting by Dubrovnik artists, and a by Cavtat artist Vlaho Bukovac. The Konavle County Museum in Cilipi, exhibits men’s and women’s costumes traditional to the region, as well as embroidery, other handcrafts, jewellery, paintings and more.
However, the best thing is walking along the pretty seaside promenade and bathing in the many beaches and swimming spots along the area. Some are rocky formations but enable for easy swimming and have shade from the trees.
Dubrovnik’s nightlife takes place outdoors for much of the year. The area behind the Cathedral, Buniceva poljana, becomes one big outdoor bar in the spring and summer. The locals tend to hang out in the area between the Old Town and Gruz, where a strip of flashy bars have turned ‘bana Jelacica’ into what the locals call ‘Bourbon Street’.
The nightlife in Dubrovnik is mainly in the Old Town. The town does not have that many nightclubs and the Stradun seems to be the place to be at night.
Dubrovnik offers a unique shopping experience to its visitors, but due to its popularity as a tourist destination, prices tend to be on the high. As with the restaurants, most of the shops of interest are found in the Old Town, along the tiny streets.
The Lapad area of the peninsula has a western-style shopping mall, the Lapad Shopping Centre, with all the usual international stores and boutiques. For a more local shopping, Dubrovnik has a good selection of street markets which are good for souvenirs and crafts, fresh foods, and local wines and spirits. Above the harbour are a selection of textile stalls that are well worth visiting.
The best place to head for shopping is the Old Town's main street, the Stradun, and the many lanes packed with little stores radiating out from there.
Gunduliceva Square features a morning market with a varied choice of crafts and souvenirs, while for fresh fruit and vegetables, olives and olive oil, delicious local honey, wines and spirits, the morning market at Gruz is the place to go. Dried fruit, a Dubrovnik speciality, comes beautifully packaged and the local fruit preserves are delicious.
Dubrovnik is a major tourist destination and a historic city, putting it in direct competition with many coastal resorts in the mediterranean. You can find accommodation at all levels, with plenty of hotels to choose between, particularly in the Ploce and Lapad neighbourhoods.
Many lodging options are found in or near the Old Town's little streets, and several Dubrovnik hotels boast stunning locations on the cliffs, with magnificent sea views, although with much of a heavier price per night. For luxury accommodation or special trips such as honeymoons, the five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace is the place.
A few mid-range hotels are found in the Old Town and even in some of its lovely old buildings. Others are set in modern blocks with all conveniences, outside the protected area and there is a good selection of resort-style accommodation near the beaches and harbour. Hotels prices per night start at €50 per night but you can find cheaper rates off season and during the Winter.
For budget options, accommodations are found in the Old Town with hostels and guesthouses popular with budget travellers and offer a great way to get to know the locals, while private rooms and shared. Booking.com and Airbnb can provide this experience. Flat rentals start from €300 per week.
Hostels nights can cost around €20-25, some offering breakfast included.
❗Attention: It's worth checking the location of your accommodation, since a lot of properties are located in the hills of Dubrovnik, this being quite a physical challenge if you do not have a car and walking this route in the Summer months, can be quite draining and tiring.
Most tourist and visitors coming to Dubrovnik, stay in the city for relaxing, bathing and swimming, which is the biggest attraction of the region. Many come with package holidays which normally last a week. Others, like travelling around and making overnight stops, as well as some general tourism activities.
If you like to see most of the old city and the culture side of Dubrovnik, you will need a little longer, 5 nights would be enough. But if you just want to explore the basics and relax by the sea, also 3 nights would be enough to take in the most important.
Take note, there are many islands around, so doing a tour of one day to each of them could be also an interesting option and therefore at least a week would be needed.
Dubrovnik Photo Slide 📷