Whether you want to hike up Mount Srd for picture perfect views over the Adriatic Sea, or go out and kayak to Lokrum Island, Dubrovnik has plenty of outdoor adventures to offer. Here are the top picks in the Croatian city.
A good way to get familiar with a new city is by taking a walking tour. Luckily, Dubrovnik has many options. Free Dubrovnik Tours has both an Old Town and Game of Thrones one. Even though they are of no cost, tipping your guide is encouraged. Dubrovnik Walking Tours is another company offering a wide array of tours. You can take a scheduled tour or arrange for a private or group one. And companies like Walls of Dubrovnik offer an early-bird tour if you want to avoid the crowds. Or, you may prefer a tour with a private guide like Ivan Vuković Vuka, who was born and bred in Dubrovnik and has been giving tours since 2006. He offers a variety of two-hour tours, such as topics like Jewish history, war history, movie and photo locations (yes, including Games of Thrones), and an orientation tour of the city. If you want to go on a day trip, he’ll also take you to nearby places like Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and into Montenegro. “My tours are filled with local experience and knowledge,” Vuka says, “I also give my guests pointers and give them tips on things to do in their free time and how to avoid the crowds.” If you prefer to walk around Dubrovnik at your own leisure instead, pick up one of Ana Matušić’s Hello Dubrovnik patented hand fans. In addition to keeping you cool, it’s multifunctional and has a guide of things to see in the city – the perfect aid for a self-guided tour.
Even though some of the above tours offer Game of Thrones-themed options, the dedicated Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour is the best option for super-fans. “Tourists from all around the world come to the Old Town area looking for streets and corners where certain iconic scenes of their beloved TV show has been filmed,” says guide Josip Crnčević. “My job is to guide people to these spots, showcasing the scenes with a booklet of still photos, narrating the story and bridging the gap between the show and filming process as best we can,” he says. For people who enjoy smaller numbers and a more tailored experience, private tours are available too, he says. “This is also recommended for hard-core fans, as they will get the undivided attention of the guide and more details,” Josip adds. Some of the Game of Thrones locations in the tour include where the memorable Walk of Shame took place, Joffrey’s wedding day location and King’s Landing.
Dubrovnik is not short of epic viewpoints that you can easily get to by hiking. One of the most popular hiking trails goes from Old Town Dubrovnik to Mount Srd. “Mount Srd seems a world away from the lush subtropical world of the coastal strip, with bare stone and scrubs stretching as far as the eye can see,” says Željka Janjanin, co-founder and mountain guide at Hiking Dubrovnik. “As you climb to the top of Mount Srd, stunning views of the walled town below open up to you, with a panorama of the whole coast stretching as far as the Pelješac Peninsula to the northwest.” Pro tip: Watch the sunset from atop Mount Srd for an even more unforgettable experience. The hike up is about 45 minutes and you can always take the cable car back down.
Another adventure awaits around Mount Srd too – off-roading through Buggy Safari Dubrovnik. Sales Manager Iva Čehić says it’s perfect for all ages. “Buggy tours include an exciting ride on Dubrovnik’s coastal road and up the curvy path to the top of Mount Srd while stopping at unique photo locations,” she says. “Once you get to the top of the Srd, you’ll experience an off-road adventure and pass several landmarks: the ex-mine fields, sights from the most recent war, fortresses and a wooded area rarely seen by tourists.” You’ll also see an amazing 360-degree view of the whole Dubrovnik area, islands and mountains, she adds.
If you want a hike that’s more off-the-beaten-path, Janjanin suggests heading toward the Konavle Valley, also known as “The Golden Valley”. “My favorite hiking trail is above the Konavle Valley, which is about a 35-minute drive from the city of Dubrovnik,” she says. “The hiking trail uses the original steam railway which was built in 1903 during Austro-Hungarian times and closed in 1976. It’s known locally as ‘Ćiro’.” Along the route, she says you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the valley and pass through the tunnel pierced into the rocks. “The old railway trail is rarely used by people, so it is a uniquely peaceful place with a lot of historical stories to share. The path through the forest is known only to local people and mountaineers,” she adds.
No matter what your skill level is, Hiking Dubrovnik offers rock climbing excursions just a 15-minute drive from Old Town. “It’s a whole-body workout, builds your confidence, builds trust, trains your focus and makes for great pictures,” says Janjanin. She also says it’s good for when you want to escape Dubrovnik’s city crowds and do something different. “There’s a limestone rock near Dubrovnik that is equipped with sports climbing paths with different difficulty levels and it is also a very good place to have your first climbing experience.”
If you want to feel you’re on a pirate ship, take a cruise to the Elaphiti Islands via “a magnificent replica of a 16th-century merchant ship, our Karaka,” advises Mirna Vučković of Karaka Travel. The all-day cruise includes a buffet lunch and plenty of moments to get off the boat and swim or snorkel. Some highlights include seeing the island of Koločep, visiting the 16th-century villa of the Škočibuha family on the island of Šipan and exploring the Franciscan monastery on the island of Lopud.
Aside from both a sand and pebble beach, you can join locals in a game of picigin, which is a beach game that must be played when visiting Croatia. “It’s played in shallow water wherein players have to keep a small ball from touching the water,” he says. “If you can master it, you’ll be a true Croatian.”
Dubrovnik has many companies, like Adventure Dalmatia and Kayak Tours Dubrovnik, that offer kayaking tours from King’s Landing – yes, that King’s Landing – and out to Lokrum Island and other bays. “Kayaking is the perfect way to explore the area around Dubrovnik a bit more,” says Čehić. “This fun activity is suitable for all ages, no experience is needed and most of the guides are locals, so they’re able to tell a lot of stories about Dubrovnik and can answer pretty much any question about it.” She adds that a kayak tour gifted her one of the best sunsets she’s ever seen in Dubrovnik. “It was pure magic with a cotton candy sky and the only sound was coming from our paddles.”
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