Dubrovnik is located in the Mediterranean region, on the Adriatic Sea. Ideal temperatures and easy access to the water makes for a fantastic vacation spot, especially if you want to do some sailing or island hopping around Croatia. Get beyond the Old Town to see how the locals really live in Dubrovnik, and you won’t be disappointed either. Clubs, pubs, restaurants, and seafront venues abound, and at much cheaper prices than within the Old Town.
Unique Things to See and Do in Dubrovnik
- Kayak around Dubrovnik
- Take a sailing trip around the islands, including Hvar
- Take the cable car to the top of the mountain
- Party beyond the city walls
- Visit the Old Town
- Walk the city walls
- Jump from the city walls into the Adriatic Sea
Thanks to Dubrovnik’s stunning architecture, the city is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered to be the “Pearl of the Adriatic” on the Dalmatian access, it’s been a sea power since the 13th century. As you can imagine, the architecture here reflects Dubrovnik’s heritage.
Although an earthquake in 1667 destroyed much of the city, Dubrovnik has preserved its Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque churches. There are also many ancient monasteries, palaces, and fountains. The high fortifications and their monumental gates are impressive enough without even venturing into the city! They stretch for kilometers and one of the best views of Dubrovnik is found by walking along the top of them. Inside: marble streets and buildings, lending for a fairy tale-like setting.
The Franciscan Monastery dating from the 11th century is worth a visit and is an exemplary piece of Baroque architecture. The Town Hall (more commonly known as the Rector’s Palace) is another important city highlight, as well as the Dominican Monastery.
The cathedral here was rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake, and the customs house (Sponza) has one of the most eccentric facades you’ll find in this part of Europe, thanks to it being rebuilt by many architects over the years.
Don’t pass up visiting the Pile medieval suburb, either. This planned development was added in the 15th century and includes the beautiful Lovrijenac Fortress. You’ll also find the Lazarets here, built in the 17th century to house potential plague-carriers. The Revelin Fortress is also worth a visit, built in 1449 and meant to control the town moat.
Did you know…?
Dubrovnik was originally founded in the 7th century AD by Roman refugees fleeing the earthquake of Epidaurus. Dubrovnik’s original name was Rausa.
Did you ALSO know…?
In Serbo-Croatian, the word “Dubrovnik” comes from the word for “grove” — referring to the woods surrounding the city. Nowadays, the woods have all been cut down for ship-building.
Getting Around Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a relatively small city with a population of about 40,000 people. If you’re staying inside the Old Town, your only option is to get out there on foot. This isn’t much of a problem, however, since the Old Town is quite small. If you’re staying outside the Old Town, there’s a reliable and fairly efficient bus system. Otherwise you can easily find taxis around town. A rental car isn’t really necessary in Dubrovnik, unless you want to explore other parts of Croatia (or even Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Dubrovnik also has a very small airport that frequents most European destinations. Show up early for your flight! Things get crowded very quickly.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Dubrovnik
Like the rest of Croatia, Dubrovnik’s peak season is during the summer months between June and August. During these months, cruise ships coming into Dubrovnik’s port are at an all-time high, and it’s not uncommon to see large coaches unloading hordes of passengers. Don’t worry, though – get out on foot in the evenings, and you’ll find a much quieter city. On the other hand, the temperatures here are always the most pleasant, and ideal for water sports like sailing, swimming, and kayaking.
The temperatures in the shoulder seasons (spring and early fall) are also quite warm, however, and visiting Dubrovnik this time of year is a worthwhile experience. There’ll be much less tourist traffic, and although some shops and restaurants may be closed, you’ll still find most of the main attractions open for business.
Ready to plan your visit to Dubrovnik? Check out these popular guides and trips.