A Solo Traveller's Guide to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Solo travellers will find plenty of things to keep them busy on a trip to beautiful Dubrovnik in Croatia
Solo travellers will find plenty of things to keep them busy on a trip to beautiful Dubrovnik in Croatia | © Sorin Colac / Alamy Stock Photo
Alex Robinson

Travelling alone to Dubrovnik? You’ll be instantly at home. It’s fairytale-romantic, all Renaissance palaces, baroque churches and stately piazzas behind castle walls, framed by mountains and a shimmering bay of islands. Book a boutique hotel in one of the ancient alleys then browse the arty shops and open-air markets. Sunbathe and swim off the pearly beaches that fringe Dubrovnik’s coast and islands, then sip sweet proseč wine at sunset, with the Adriatic at your feet.

What’s the vibe?

Visit between March and October for warm, sunny weather. With al fresco cafes and restaurants at every turn, it’s easy to meet fellow travellers – especially at sunset behind Banje Beach or at the Beach Bar Dodo, above the Adriatic just west of the city walls. A long weekend is enough to take in the sights – it’s a small city, easily explored on foot. In the evening, grab a pew in a bar or restaurant with a sea-blue view.

Sun-seekers should head to Banje Beach, just outside the city walls in Dubrovnik

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

Not all Dubrovnik hotels are in Dubrovnik. Many are sprinkled along the beaches and peninsulas beyond town, a taxi ride away – as a solo traveller you may feel isolated. To meet people – and for that King’s Landing, within-the-castle-walls atmosphere – stay in the Old Town. Rooms with a view or a location in one of the historic monasteries like St Joseph’s (right off the main Stradun Boulevard) come at a luxury hotel price. But there are cheaper haunts – most of them dotting the cobbled back streets and alleys at the southern end of Old Dubrovnik, less than a 10-minute walk from the centre.

Whatever your budget – and your bag – find inspiration for your accommodation with our guide to the best hotels in Dubrovnik. And check out the best luxury places to stay, backpacker hostels, hip apartments and bases ideal for a local experience.

Soak up the sea views with a stay at Hotel Neptun

What to do in Dubrovnik

With a gorgeous medieval-turned-Renaissance walled city to explore as well as mountains, beaches and a scattering of islands on the doorstep, Dubrovnik pushes the boat out in terms of things to see and do. Here are some of our favourite ways to spend the days…

1. Take a walking tour of Old Dubrovnik

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

People walking along the stone City Walls in Dubrovnik, looking out to terracotta rooftops of the Old Town and Lokrum island in the distance
© Vito Arcomano / Alamy Stock Photo

Top of the bucket list is a walking tour of the old city – best enjoyed with a local guide. They’ll unlock the city’s history as a trading point between the Silk Road and Venice, and show you the medieval monasteries, the 17th-century baroque cathedral and those Instagrammable Game of Thrones filming locations.

A walking tour of Dubrovnik’s Unesco-listed Old Town features on Culture Trip’s eight-day small-group adventure Jewels of the Adriatic: the Best of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.

2. Admire the view from Mount Srđ

Natural Feature

A cable car on Mount Srd, looking down to Dubrovnik Old Town, Lokrum island and the blue Adriatic Sea
© eye35 / Alamy Stock Photo

The best views of the city? Try the Srđ (pronounced surge) mountain, looming over the old city. You can reach it (with a lot of huffing and puffing) on foot – catch a cab to Staza Prema Utvrdi Imperial, where the trail starts. More sedate is the cable car ascent. Leave it until late afternoon when the light is golden and the crowds are at their thinnest.

3. Bask in the sun

Natural Feature

People sunbathing and swimming on Banje Beach, overlooked by buildings and the rocky hills
© Peter Forsberg / Alamy Stock Photo
A beach with a view and cocktails? That’s Banje – tucked under Dubrovnik’s massive bulwarks immediately east of town. Drop your towel on the pale shingle, and spend the afternoon sunbathing, swimming in the bath-calm Adriatic and sipping drinks at one of the many beach bars behind the strand.

Eating and drinking in Dubrovnik

Many visitors hold Croatian food and wine to be as good as in neighbouring Italy. But as it’s harvested or produced small-scale, much of it stays under the radar – and in the country. Juicy Dubrovnik olives and creamy cheeses come from local villages while fish is caught right offshore. Expect myriad wines from artisan family growers who have been producing crisp pošips and hearty, ruby-red dingačs for centuries. Here’s where to sate your tastebuds.

4. Villa Ruža

Restaurant, Mediterranean

Here’s heaven: a shady pew with the Adriatic before you, a cooling breeze off the sea and some of Croatia’s best fruits de mer. At the Villa Ruža, on balmy Koločep island, a boat hop west of old Dubrovnik, there’s only one thing for it: a long, lazy lunch, with a fabulous view.

5. Lokanda Peskarija

Restaurant, Mediterranean, Seafood, European

People dining outside at Lokanda Peskarija, among the stone buildings and terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik Old Town
© Peter Forsberg / Alamy Stock Photo

Great over-the-ocean views, a top location at the feet of Dubrovnik’s city walls, delicious seafood at nice prices… Tables at Lokanda can be hard to get in high season, and there’s no booking. Come for an early or late lunch to ensure a table.

6. Bota Šare

Bar, Restaurant, Sushi, European, Greek

Dubrovnik’s seafood is jumpingly fresh, making it perfect for sushi and sashimi, as served at this little hole in the wall in the heart of Old Dubrovnik. The oysters, shrimps and the wine list are great, too. As it’s a local secret the restaurant rarely gets too busy.

Stay safe, stay happy

Croatia has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so rest assured it’s safe to walk the streets solo day or night in Dubrovnik.

Getting around

With narrow streets and a pedestrian path around the walls, Dubrovnik is a place to explore on foot – you could walk across the old city in 15 minutes. Cabs are easy to come by for trips further afield – with stands outside hotels, next to the Old Town gates and at the bus station and ferry terminal. Tours and boat trips are easily organised through hotels and hostels.

Ploce Gate is one of the main entrances to the city walls, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Dubrovnik

Cultural need-to-knows

The people of Dubrovnik are warm, welcoming and easy-going. Most speak fairly good English and excellent Italian, so you’ll find it easy to meet and greet. There are few cultural taboos, but to limit offence avoid speaking about the war with Serbia or making jokes about the Catholic church.

Fancy joining a small group of like-minded travellers to discover the beauties of Croatia? Book a place on Culture Trip’s eight-day small-group adventure Jewels of the Adriatic: the Best of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. It includes the guiding hand of a Local Insider.

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