22 Coolest Things to Do and See in Dubrovnik

| Ivan Ivankovic / Unsplash
Justin McDonnell

The historic walled city of Dubrovnik is Dalmatia’s most prized jewel. Towering over the azure Adriatic Sea, it’s not hard to see why hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers flock to this handsome maritime town every year. Bolstered by the recent popularity of HBO series Game of Thrones which sometimes films here, Dubrovnik has been gifted a bucket-list destination status, and the city has cultivated a tourist industry to go with it – there is lots to see and do here.

1. Walk the City Walls

Natural Feature


A ramble along the city walls tops the list of essential things to do in Dubrovnik. These impressive fortifications thread around the Old Town for 1,940 meters, and for first-timers, it’s a great way to get your bearings on the layout of the city. The walk also has some of the best photo opportunities in Dubrovnik, with epic sea views at every turn. You can take the journey at your own pace – people usually complete the walk in a couple of hours, but a laid-back stroll along its meandering paths could take a lot longer. Things get considerably less tourist-laden towards late afternoon, and the journey is more enjoyable away from the searing midday sun. Visitors enter the Old Town through the Pile Gate, where the entrance and the ticket office is.

2. Take a cable car up Mount Srđ

Architectural Landmark

Dubrovnik Cable Car, mount srd, dubrovnik, croatia
© Dubrovnik Cable Car

The bright orange cable car that zooms up Mount Srđ isn’t just a kitsch tourist attraction: it’s a veritable piece of history. Mount Srđ was an important military asset during the Croatian War of Independence, providing a strategic frontier against Serb forces in 1991. These days, the mountain’s primary purpose is to ferry tourists up and down to enjoy the view – but it’s a spectacular ride. As it climbs erratically above the city, Dubrovnik disappears into a hazy vista, engulfed by swathes of Adriatic blue. At the cable car station, the Panorama restaurant provides refreshments and more stunning views.

3. Discover Lokrum Island

Natural Feature

Lokrum, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Inera Isovic / Unsplash
A stones-throw from Dubrovnik, Lokrum is an uninhabited island teeming with lush vegetation and historical ruins. Covered in a lowland pine forest and fringed by rocky beaches, its focal point is a ruined Napoleonic fort and botanical gardens set up by the Habsburg royal Maximilian. Another popular attraction is the miniature salt lake located at the southern part of the island. Taxi boats leave every half hour, and you could be relaxing under the pines in just twenty minutes from Dubrovnik’s Old Town.

4. Feast on Seafood

Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, Seafood

© Jenny Gu

Seafood is at the heart of every menu in Dubrovnik, and must-try Dalmatian specialities include black cuttlefish risotto, fried squid and octopus salad. The best restaurants for seafood are the more high end Nautika and Proto, while Orhan and Pantarul are good mid-range restaurants, but Lokanda Peskarija remains the top table in town for bargain caught-that-day fish and seafood, located on the main port.

5. Sample Croatian Wine

Wine Bar, Wine, Croatian

Dvino, wine, dubrovnik
© D'Vino

A short walk from the Old Town’s buzzing thoroughfare Stradun, D’vino is the place to try Croatian wine in Dubrovnik. Much of the wine will come from nearby vineyards on the island of Korčula or the Pelješac peninsula, and look out for the internationally renowned red from Frano Miloš winery. With over a hundred domestic wines to sample, you could spend an enjoyably boozy evening on the terrace appreciating the finest Croatian grape.

6. Dive into Dubrovnik’s beaches

Natural Feature

The city beach Banje is close to Ploče Gate, the stone entrance to the Old Town from the eastern side. Here, deckchairs are available to rent for astronomical rates, jet skis cut tracks in the water and children on inflatables bob up and down in the sea. Essentially, Banje is convenient but touristy. Locals instead make a beeline for Sveti Jakov, a majestic slice of coastline that guarantees tranquillity, less than half an hour from Villa Dubrovnik. The sun here glows until late evening, dappling a golden light on the Old Town.

7. Seek refuge in a monastery

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Old Pharmacy, monastery, dubrovnik
© Andrija Carli

Take a break from the blazing heat and the crush of sightseers and spend an afternoon exploring the Franciscan Monastery and its Old Pharmacy museum. Adorned with beautiful cloisters, the monastery is home to one of the world’s oldest pharmacies. Stuffed full of curios and old jars, it’s still very much in use, and you’ll see locals collecting prescriptions from the chemist while tourist gawp at the antiquities. The monastery also houses a museum where you can see artefacts from the pharmacy, alongside manuscripts and a collection of medieval artworks. An attractive courtyard sprinkled with orange blossom trees provides a peaceful retreat. Visit during the late afternoon to avoid crowds.

8. Kayaking

Architectural Landmark

Kayaking in the clear waters around Dubrovnik, Croatia
Nazrin Babashova / Unsplash

Tired of pounding the streets by foot? Take in another side of the Old Town by kayak. There are plenty of outfits renting kayaks throughout the city, and many routes paddle around the walls of the Old Town, passing near Buza, Sveti Ivan tower, Porporela, Old Harbour, before crossing the bay to the idyllic Lokrum island for sunbathing, snorkeling, picnics and more. Recommended by Orfhlaith Kearney.

9. Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Architectural Landmark

Built in the 18th century, this beautiful church is a welcome change from the buzz of Dubrovnik’s town center. Located in the center of the Old Town, the Church of St Ignatius of Loyola has a stunning interior of baroque style décor. With white arched columns, lovely frescoes and a painted dome depicting Jesus in Heaven, it’s a spectacular but serene sight. With so much history, including a 14th-century tower bell, this is one of the city’s greatest attractions. Recommended by Orfhlaith Kearney.

10. Rector's Palace

Architectural Landmark

Also known as the Knezev Dvor, the Rector’s Palace is a beautiful Gothic and Renaissance building on the edge of the Old Town. Originally, it was a site of defense in the Middle Ages, but when it was destroyed by fire in the 15th century, it was rebuilt as a palace to serve as the seat of the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa. Although parts of the building have been renovated and restored over the years due to gunpowder explosions, fires and earthquakes, it has lost none of its charm and remains a collection of some of the finest architecture in the area. Recommended by Orfhlaith Kearney.

11. Lovrijenac

Architectural Landmark

Couple kayaking past the ancient city fortifications of Dubrovnik, in the clear waters of the Dalmatian Sea
Nazrin Babashova / Unsplash

Now used for the traditional al-fresco performance of Hamlet during the Dubrovnik Festival, the stand-alone fortress of Lovrijenac was once manned by 25 soldiers under an elected commander. Rebuilt after the 1667 earthquake, its walls feature the motto, ‘Liberty Should Not Be Sold for All the Gold in the World’. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

12. Orlando's Column

Architectural Landmark

From this landmark outside Dubrovnik Cathedral, all major state declarations were announced to local citizens. Built in 1418, Orlando’s Column symbolised the city’s independence for nearly 400 years. The figure depicted is Roland, known here as Orlando, a military leader under Charlemagne and inspiration for early medieval literature. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

13. Church of the Holy Annunciation

Church, Museum

Bombed by Serbian forces during the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991, the Church of the Holy Annunciation is the city’s main Orthodox house of worship. A plain exterior hides a marvellous collection of icons – there’s also a separate display in a museum accessed by separate entrance. Photography is strictly forbidden. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

14. Revelin Fort


Overlooking the Old Port, Revelin was completed in 1549, its expert construction proven when it survived the 1667 earthquake intact. In fact, it was here that council members assembled to plan the city’s reconstruction. Cathedral treasures were hurriedly stored here. Today, Revelin houses a nightclub and stages Dubrovnik Festival events. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

15. Memorial Room of the Dubrovnik Defenders

Memorial, Building

A separate exhibition within the Sponza Palace, the Memorial Room is a solemn, worthwhile reminder of the terrible events that took place from 1991 right up to 1995. Lining the walls are portraits of young men who died defending the city from Serb and Montenegrin forces stationed on nearby hillsides. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

16. Rupe Ethnographic Museum


Housed in a former granary store of four floors, the Rupe Ethnographic Museum shows the traditional way of life in the countryside surrounding this former maritime power. Textiles, handicrafts, tools and festive costumes are displayed, along with photographs demonstrating that little has changed in villages a short distance away. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

17. Dubrovnik Synagogue


Historic evidence of the tolerant nature of this former maritime power, the Dubrovnik Synagogue is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the 14th century. Still a functioning place of worship on holy days, the synagogue is mainly used as a museum, displaying medieval objects of ritual. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

18. Sponza Palace

Memorial, Building

Overlooking Dubrovnik’s ceremonial main square Luža, the Sponza Palace today houses more than 1,000 years worth of manuscripts that comprise the city archive. Accessed by scholars upon request, the Sponza Palace remains an architectural treasure, its loggia façade created by 16th-century craftsmen in Gothic-Renaissance style. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

19. Homeland War Museum


The Homeland War was the conflict that culminated in Croatian independence in 1995. For five years, Dubrovnik held out against Serb and Montenegrin forces, original documentation, maps and video films detailing the Siege. The setting is the hilltop Imperial Fort, built by Napoleon. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

20. Onofrio’s Great Fountain

Architectural Landmark

Just inside the Pile Gate as you enter the Old Town, Onofrio’s Great Fountain is one of two that served the medieval city. Still functioning 550 years after it was built by Onofrio della Cava in 1438, the fountain was connected to an aqueduct 12km (7.5 miles) in length. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

21. Dominican Monastery

Monastery, Museum

Behind a stern exterior near the Old Port, the 14th-century Dominican Monastery houses notable works of art, including pieces by Titian and local masters Nikola Božidarević and Lovro Dobričević. The golden crucifix above the main altar is by Paolo Veneziano, considered the most significant Venetian artist of the 14th century. Recommended by Peterjon Cresswell.

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