Dubrovnik has long been considered one of the most beautiful cities on the Croatian coast. The city, known for its breathtaking location by the sea and the historic old town, offers many attractions for visitors. If you ask us, Dubrovnik is our favorite city. We visit it whenever we have the opportunity, even if it means a quick jump to the hill Srđ, from where there is a stunning view of the entire city. The guide ” Dubrovnik: Complete travel guide ” was created to make it easier for you to explore this beautiful coastal town.
History of Dubrovnik
The charm and beauty of Dubrovnik today comes from its long and varied history. The city boasts the name “Pearl of the Adriatic”, surrounded by pristine walls, which are now under UNESCO protection. Long ago, Dubrovnik was a successful republic that built its power and visibility on marin trade and taxes. The city of Dubrovnik, as a republic, was focused on the old city center within the city walls. Protected by a double wall to really remain protected. History is intertwined with the incursions of barbarians, powerful rivals, and at the same time a thriving tradition of art and history.
The patron saint of the city is Saint Vlah. His statues can be seen in several places in the city, on the city walls, at the entrance to the city, in the port, the facades of buildings, fortresses and palaces.
City of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is located in southern Dalmatia in Croatia. The city boasts the name “Pearl of the Adriatic”. When Dubrovnik is mentioned, we all first think of the famous old town, surrounded by walls, and the many museums that supervise the history of the city. For many years around the world, Dubrovnik is known as one of the most famous destinations in the entire Mediterranean. Magnificent walls, narrow cobbled streets, charming cafes, excellent culinary offer and many historical sights gives the city a very special charm.
How to get to Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik is located in the south of Croatia, on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. There are quite a few options on how to get to the city.
By car – Dubrovnik is 650 kilometers away from Ljubljana, which will take you about 8 hours drive. There is a motorway almost all the way to Dubrovnik, which will cost you cca. 30 euros one way.
By plane – if you decide to come to Dubrovnik by plane, the nearest airport is Dubrovnik Čilipi (DBV), which is 20 kilometers away from the city. In the summer months, Dubrovnik also has a good connection from Slovenia. Better and more regular connections are from Zagreb Airport. Return airline tickets between Zagreb and Dubrovnik range from 150-250 euros per person.
If you are coming on an international flight, the airport in Split (210 km from Dubrovnik). The airport in Montenegro (Podgorica 150 km) is also considered.
By train – by train you can get to Split, where you will change the train that goes to Ploče.
Bus – you can easily get to Dubrovnik by bus. With regular bus lines, you can come from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany, Bosnia and Montenegro. More information can be found on the carriers’ website.
How from the airport to the city?
From the airport to the city is 20 kilometers, which will take you about 30 minutes drive. You can reach the city by car, taxi or public transport. The bus runs to the port of Gruž, to the main bus station, near the port.
Beautiful old town
The old town is a great attraction itself, as it consists of historically important buildings. It is definitely an interesting and attractive part of the city. We recommend that you take the time to see the city and that you go on a visit early enough, before the crowds of other tourists. For this purpose, we went to the city before 7am, when the city was just beginning to wake up. The smell of aromatic herbs and morning coffee brewed by the locals, exploring the narrow cobbled streets, rushing the locals to prepare their produce at the market, sightseeing without other tourists are the best way to get to know and feel the true pulse of the city.
The interior of the walls hides a rich history, complemented by numerous events, from theatrical, musical, to film. Upon entering the city through the city gates, you will first notice the beautiful Onfori Fountain, which is a popular gathering place for people. Soon after, you will find yourself on the main and popular street Stradun, where you will notice many souvenir shops, restaurants, galleries and street artists. During the tour, do not miss the medieval pharmacy, the city cathedral, the church of St. Blaise, the Sponza Palace (city archives), the Rector’s Palace, the Orlando’s Pillar, etc.
When you get tired or hungry during the tour, just follow your nose. Along the narrow streets of Dubrovnik, the intoxicating smells of Mediterranean cuisine are always spreading, inviting you to sit down. But here also pay attention to the prices if you don’t want to open your wallet too much.
A walk along the city walls
The biggest attraction of Dubrovnik is definitely the two kilometers long walls and fortifications that surround the old part of the city. The walls surround the city in the form of an irregular polygon, with the Minčet and Janez towers on the southeast side of the sea. To walk around the city walls, set your alarm clock early. The tourist attraction opens at nine o’clock in the morning and at that time be already at the entrance. The ticket is very expensive and costs 200 KN (25 €). From the walls you can enjoy stunning views of the old town, the island of Lokrum, the blue sea and enjoy a coffee or a good glass of wine in one of the cafes. Take an hour to two hours for the tour.
The island of Lokrum
The island of Lokrum is a great choice for a day trip from Dubrovnik. The island is located near the city, only 10 minutes by boat and the old port of Porpole. The boat runs every half hour and a return ticket will cost you 20 euros per person. Lokrum is a protected natural park and a special reserve of forest vegetation. On the island you will find the Benedictine monastery, the karst phenomenon of the Dead Sea, a botanical garden with 700 exotic plants, numerous coves and peacocks that move freely around the island. Climb to the Royal Fortress, the highest peak of the island, from where you will have a beautiful view of the island.
Go on an organized kayak trip
If you are looking for an adventure and want to explore the coast in a unique way, you should definitely rent a kayak or go on an organized kayak trip. There are quite a few providers offering a three-hour kayak trip, and the prices are around 250 HRK (36 €). You can choose between excursions that include the island of Lokrum, exploring the coast or a trip that takes place during sunset.
In Dubrovnik you will also find one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, which still operates 700 years after its opening. You can find it in the Franciscan monastery. You can buy newer medicines at the pharmacy, as well as those prepared according to the recipes of the monks.
Following the footsteps of the Game of Thrones
If you’re a fan of the Game of Thrones TV series, then be sure to take a guided tour of the venues where the popular series was filmed. Due to the mentioned series, Dubrovnik has gained even more recognition in recent years. If you walk around the old town and are a fan, you will quickly notice scenes from the series.
The mighty fortress of Lovrijenac has long been considered one of the most important Croatian fortifications, also called “Croatian Gibraltar”. At the top of the fortress, which stands on a 37-meter-high cliff, you will have a beautiful view of the old town and the green village of Lapad. The fortress has a great location, as it faces the city center and is a great point for photographing the old city center. A tour of the fort is included in the price of a ticket to see the walls, but if you only want to see the fortress, you will pay 50 KN (7 €).
Dubrovnik and its surroundings offer quite a few beautiful and interesting beaches that are worth visiting. Banje beach, thanks to the beautiful view of the city center, ranks among the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. The beach is located south of the city center, only 5 minutes walk from the gates of Ploče.
One of the more popular beaches in Dubrovnik is also the beach of Sv. Jakob, which can be found in a small cove not far from the city center. Buče beach is also very popular, located on the rocks below the city walls.
Hill Srđ – the most beautiful view point of the city
If you ask us which is one of our favorite places in the world that we have already visited, we first think of hill Srđ and the view of the old town core, the island of Lokrum and the rest of the surroundings. Srđ is a 412 m high hill that rises in the background of Dubrovnik. You can reach it by car, on foot (1h) or by cable car, which runs from the city walls. The cable car will take you to the top in just four minutes, and the return ride will cost you 100 KN (14 €). At the top you will find stunning views of the entire Dubrovnik and a panoramic terrace with excellent food. If you have the opportunity, go to Srđ at sunset. We promise you won’t be sorry. In any case, you should not miss Srđ during your visit to Dubrovnik.
Where to sleep?
Dubrovnik is known as a rather expensive destination and so accommodation prices are high. The district of the town is divided into four districts, Gruž, Lapad, Babin Kuk and the old part of the town. If you want to experience the city in all its glory and splendor, book an overnight stay somewhere in the old part of the city. In case you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but still be close to what is happening, look for accommodation in the area of Babink Kuk or Lapad.
We slept in Dubrovnik twice and always spent the night a few kilometers from the city. We slept for the first time in the “Camp under the Olive”, which is 11 kilometers away from Dubrovnik. It is a small campsite, with a great location, shade and a good price. In the second we stayed in Apartments Violić, located in a quiet bay Zaton. The apartments are 11 kilometers away from Dubrovnik. These apartments are located only 10 meters from the sea, with friendly owners, quiet surroundings and a good price.
Where to park?
One of the most expensive things you will pay for in Dubrovnik is a parking space. Not only that an hour of parking is expensive, but ther is not enough parking spaces in high season. The old town is a car-free area, so you will be forced to park your car outside the city walls. Parking spaces are divided into zones (0, 1, 2, 3), and the price of parking depends on which zone you park in.
- the nearest parking lot to the old town is located at the entrance “Pile Gate”, where you will deduct 40 KN (5.8 eur) for an hour of parking.
- the best choice for parking near the city center is a public garage, which is a 10-minute walk from the city center. The garage house can accommodate 711 cars, and an hour of parking will cost you 15 KN (2 eur)
- the cheapest option and that the city center is within walking distance are parking lots along the streets. The price of parking is 10 KN (1.5 eur) , and you will need a 10-20 minute walk to the city
- the Gradec car park is located on a cliff, opposite the Lovrijenac fortress. The parking lot is close to the city, but you may not be able to get to it in the main season.
- you can also park for free in Dubrovnik, in Babin Kuk, where you can find free parking and take a bus to the city center. Bus no. 6, for a return ticket you will deduct 30 KN (4 eur), the ride takes 20 minutes.
Wherever you park, first make sure this is the right place. In the summer months, the guards are always on the lookout, behind improperly parked cars, to which they write fines.