dubrovnik travel guide

The Essential Dubrovnik Travel Guide, Croatia

Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is one of the most captivating cities in Croatia. This medieval coastal gem is renowned for its imposing stone walls encircling a pedestrian-only historic center, terracotta-roofed stone buildings, spectacular Adriatic sea views, and as a filming location for Game of Thrones. This complete Dubrovnik travel guide will give you all the information you need to plan an amazing trip.

When to Visit Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik attracts tourists from May through October, with peak crowds and prices in July and August. For warm, sunny weather without the intense summer crowds, target your visit for late spring (May/June) or early fall (September/October). The shoulder seasons offer the best combination of good weather and fewer tourists.

The Essential Dubrovnik Travel Guide, Croatia

The city remains enchanting in the cooler months between November and April but expect some attractions to have reduced hours and islands/boats to have limited service. Come December, Christmas markets and New Year’s Eve festivals lend festive charm. Avoid visiting in January and February as many hotels and restaurants will be closed.

Top Dubrovnik Attractions and Activities

Walking the City Walls

No trip to Dubrovnik is complete without walking the imposing medieval stone walls (Gradske zidine) encircling the historic old town. Completed mainly in the 13th century, these enormous ramparts run nearly 2 kilometers in length, reach up to 25 meters tall in spots, and up to 6 meters thick in others. Strolling atop the walls provides Dubrovnik’s most iconic views over orange roof tops, the fortress-strewn coastline, and the endless blue Adriatic dotted with green Elafiti islands.

The full loop along the walls takes around 2 hours walking at a leisurely pace without stops. Don’t feel rushed to complete it. There are a few ideal photo vantage points like the Minceta Fort, Bokar Fort, Lovrijenac Fort outside the western wall, and the corner watchtowers facing the sea.

The walls are open daily from 8am-7pm between April and October, and 8am-3pm between November to March. Tickets cost 150 Kuna for adults and can be purchased at the entrance gates. Arrive as early as possible, ideally just as it opens, as lines grow quickly when cruise ships disgorge passengers into the confined city. The walls can accommodate 8,000 people but feel crowded at numbers approaching that.

If you would like to plan out the details and pricing of your private car or van transfer in advance, use the Christian Transfers website to book your travel and pay the confirmed rate securely online ahead of time by credit card.

– you can book a car to get from Dubrovnik to Split by clicking on this link or
– book a car to get from Dubrvnik to Podgorita by clicking on this link.

Dubrovnik Cathedral and Treasury

After exploring from above, head into the city streets to visit Dubrovnik Cathedral, home to treasures from the town’s golden era during the Renaissance. Completed in 1713 after the original 12th century Romanesque cathedral was leveled in an earthquake, Dubrovnik Cathedral is notable for its impressive Baroque design and is one of the few buildings from that time period within the city walls.

Step inside under an elaborate 18th century portico to admire artworks like Titian’s polyptych painting of the Assumption of the Virgin from 1552 and Vittore Carpaccio’s painting of St. Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Don’t miss the Cathedral Treasury’s 200+ relics including St. Blaise’s actual right hand.

Rector’s Palace

Once the seat of power for the Republic of Ragusa for over 500 years, Rector’s Palace offers a peek into governing during the 15th and 16th centuries through its historic furnishings, portraits, coats of arms, and artifacts. The building reflects a mix of late Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. Pass through the grand ceremonial halls on the first floor adorned with intricate decor and into council rooms with stunning carved wood ceilings. The atrium contains a small well that pumped sea water for use within the palace.

Lovrijenac Fort

For views over Dubrovnik’s red roofs without fighting the crowds on the main walls, make the steep 10 minute climb up to medieval Lovrijenac Fort just west of the city. Tickets cost 50 Kuna and though you can’t walk atop the entire perimeter, it’s worth popping in for views over the fortified Pile Gate entrance to Dubrovnik from an imposing vantage point. There’s also an open-air theater during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Srđ Hill Cable Car

Soar above Dubrovnik old town on a 3-minute cable car ride to the 405 meter summit of Srđ Hill. The sweeping views over the terracotta rooftops, church spires, and the Adriatic Sea dotted with islands seem to stretch forever. At the top, a scenic 2-hour hiking trail traces the perimeter of 19th century Imperial Fort. There’s also a restaurant and gift shop. Make time to watch the sunset from this elevated vantage point.

Lokrum Island

Escape the bustling crowds with a quick 10-minute ferry ride to Lokrum Island just 600 meters offshore. Wander along the coast to swim in the Dead Sea, a calm saltwater lake perfect for families. Hike around this car-free island under canopying trees to reach the 11th century Benedictine monastery and 19th century Fort Royal. See if you can spot descendants of the peacocks and rabbits Maximilian von Habsburg introduced to Lokrum in 1859.

Day Trips from Dubrovnik

Elaphiti Islands Cruise

No Dubrovnik trip is complete without a cruise around the Elaphiti Islands north of the city. The three most popular islands reachable on day trips are Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan. Koločep is perfect for strolling the walking path encircling this peaceful, car-free island. Lopud has great sandy beaches including Šunj beach. Šipan attracts history buffs with its hilltop castle ruins. Full day cruises allow you to explore all three islands.

Mljet Island

Escape to the tranquility of Mljet National Park, covering a third of forested Mljet Island, known for its saltwater lakes, dense pine forests, and 12th century monastery. Hike and bike around the Great and Small Lake and dine at a harborfront restaurant in sleepy Pomena village. Tour the protected seaside Odysseus Cave, said to be where Odysseus shipwrecked.


The coastal town of Cavtat, located just south of Dubrovnik, has an attractive waterfront promenade dotted with seafood eateries. Enjoy the views on a scenic hike to Racic Mausoleum in the peaceful cemetery of St. Roch, filled with elaborate stonework and sculptures.

Korčula Island

Korčula town is famed for its historic Old Town said to be the birthplace of the explorer Marco Polo. Wander the herringbone streets and medieval squares before touring one of the island’s many vineyards or sampling local olive oil and wine.

The Essential Dubrovnik Travel Guide, Croatia

If you would like to plan out the details and pricing of your private car or van transfer in advance, use the Christian Transfers website to book your travel and pay the confirmed rate securely online ahead of time by credit card.

– you can book a car to get from Dubrovnik to Split by clicking on this link or
– book a car to get from Dubrvnik to Podgorita by clicking on this link.

Accommodation Recommendations

Lodging in Dubrovnik’s pedestrian-only historic center allows you to wake up amid the action but comes at a high cost with luxury hotels like Excelsior Dubrovnik and Villa Dubrovnik running $400+ in summer. The streets just outside the city gates offer better rates at hotels like Hotel Lero, Villa Wolff, and Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik which are steps from town or a quick bus ride.

For budget savings, look for apartments in the Lapad and Babin Kuk neighborhoods a 15-20 minute bus ride from old town or hotels farther out like the beachfront Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik and Grand Hotel Park. Proximity to a bus stop offering a direct line to the old city is key. Hotels in Cavtat, the Elaphiti Islands, and Mljet also allow easy day trips into town.

If you need the Dubrovnik Airport website, here is the link.

Dubrovnik Travel Guide, Tips and Advices

– Buy a Dubrovnik Card pass to save on attraction costs – it often pays for itself in a day or two
– Visit the city walls first thing in morning. Afternoons get very crowded.
– Wear comfy shoes for all the walking and stone steps
– Don’t bother renting a car – the old town doesn’t allow cars and parking is extremely limited
– Bring cash – some smaller shops/kiosks don’t accept credit cards
– Head to the Pile neighborhood outside the walls for cheaper eats and great views
– Avoid cruise crowds by planning your visit when fewer ships are in port
– Take the cable car up Srđ Hill at golden hour before sunset for ideal photos
– Don’t swim at Banje Beach within the city – better options are south near Bellevue Beach

With its winding cobblestone lanes, medieval architecture, and endless sea views, it’s easy to see why Dubrovnik tops many travelers’ bucket lists. Use this Dubrovnik Croatia travel guide to plan an amazing trip from start to finish.

You can click here if you need to have a look after some Zagreb top attractions, on this link for things to do in split and on this one for taxi apps in Paris.