Top 5 Things To Do in Dubrovnik
Discover the best 5 things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has become one of the most desirable destinations in Croatia — it is a small gem showcasing all the characteristics that make the Dalmatian coastline so unique. It is the quintessential sea port with a cluster of houses overlooking the water whose red rooftops make a pleasing contrast with the deep blue Adriatic Sea. And for those who like to relax during their travels, as well as learn about the culture, the amount of things to do in Dubrovnik is dazzling: visitors will certainly manage to have their cake and eat it too!
Because there is so much to choose from, here is our rundown of the top five things to do in Dubrovnik. This should provide you with some good ideas, but if you need a little extra help in planning something special for your trip to Croatia, contact one of our travel specialists.
1. Explore the history of Dubrovnik
If you are visiting Dubrovnik, even for a short time, you should learn about the city’s fascinating history and background. From the oldest pharmacy in Europe to the fort which is symbol of the defense against the Serbian and Montenegrin aggression of 1991, there are certain monuments and buildings in Dubrovnik that simply must be seen. And don’t worry about time, because you can actually visit all the major sites with a three-hour tour of:
- Srdj Hill – from this location you will get the best views of Old Town Dubrovnik; don’t pass up the chance to visit the Imperial Fortress, either. Built during the French siege of the city at the beginning of the 19th century, today it houses the Homeland War Museum.
- Franciscan Monastery – the original monastery was located in the Pile area but it was rebuilt in 1317 inside the city walls, by the Pile Gate, for protection from the Serbian threats of early 14th century. The monastery contains a magnificent Romanesque cloister, the oldest working pharmacy in Europe and one of the major libraries and archives in all of Croatia.
- Rector’s Palace – built in the 15th century, the palace has undergone reconstruction several times throughout history. The Gothic-Renaissance style of the structure has nevertheless withstood time, and the palace’s distinguished profile sits between the Cathedral and the church of St. Blaise.
- St. Blaise Church – St. Blasius, to whom the church is dedicated, is the protector and patron of Dubrovnik; every year, on February 3rd, the city hosts a festival in honor of the saint. The Baroque style church was built in 1715, and one of its most interesting features is the statue of St. Blasius on the main altar. This 15th-century sculpture represents the saint holding a model of the city of Dubrovnik as it was before the fire of 1706 and the great earthquake of 1667.
2. Paddle your way around the imposing city walls
Dubrovnik’s medieval city walls are its most prominent feature and a major contributing factor to making this city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether arriving by land or by sea, the first thing travelers notice are these imposing walls; they run all around the perimeter of the city and would have been extremely effective in times of war and conflict. Brick by brick, the city was fortified in the early Middle Ages and has maintained its protective walls until today.
The history of these walls is very long and tumultuous so you might want to view them from a different perspective: from the sea. Imagine that in the past, enemies approaching from the Adriatic would see from a distance the imposing walls of Dubrovnik looming over the sea. This would already send the clear message that the city is prepared to resist any attack, no matter how well planned.
To experience the walls by kayak is a great way to add a little bit of adventure and exercise to your vacation. Starting from Banje beach, you will paddle your way around the massive walls and make your way towards Lokrum Island (also known as “the Island of Love”) — this is an unique way to spend a half-day outside the city walls!
3. Follow the sites where Game of Thrones was filmed
The overwhelming beauty of Dubrovnik is its preservation through time and the city’s close link to the nature that surrounds it. Bordered by both land and sea, “the Pearl of the Adriatic” sits protected between two worlds, giving birth to the perfect location for a fantasy drama series such as Game of Thrones.
Dubrovnik has been featured as King’s Landing, Capital of the Seven Kingdoms, in the series, and several locations in the city have been adapted for GoT:
- The Red Keep is, in fact, the Lovrijenac Fortress – The fortress is dramatically located on a 115-foot tall rock overlooking the sea, making it hard to miss. The building’s strategic position makes it perfect for spotting incoming threats from the sea; for this reason, the walls on the Adriatic side are 40-foot thick, almost twenty times thicker than the walls facing the city. This quintessential fort lends itself perfectly for the GoT.
- Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Shame and the Blackwater Bay Battle in Old Town Dubrovnik – Dubrovnik’s heart, its Old Town, is a maze of limestone streets that have become glossy and smooth with the passing centuries. As the sun sets, the alleys become darker and the lights of the city bounce off the stones, making them shimmer under the gloomy night. The historical, yet at times spectral, quality of Old Town Dubrovnik captured the attention GoT producers; they used it as backdrop for many scenes in the series.
- Purple Wedding Feast at Gradac Park – The location was adapted for the Purple Wedding Feast, where King Joffrey succumbs to his death. As you walk up the steps to the park, you enjoy a splendid view of Old Town Dubrovnik from above. Facing towards the city from the railing that surrounds the park, makes you feel like you own the town!
All GoT enthusiasts should take a look at the actual locations where the famous series was filmed on our tour of Dubrovnik!
4. Take a speedboat ride to Mljet National Park and the Elaphite Islands
The number of things to do in Dubrovnik can be really overwhelming, but you should also venture outside the city to Mljet island and the Elaphite islands. The archipelago of Dubrovnik boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Adriatic, with turquoise lagoons and pristine islands that just beg you to take a dip in the crystal clear sea.
You can jump on one of our speed boats in Dubrovnik and whizz over to Mljet in no time. And although the island itself is worth seeing, the trip by boat to the island is part of the fun, providing a picture-perfect view of the coastline and islands. Once you reach Mljet, you can visit the national park and go for a swim in one of the salt water lakes that border the park.
5. Taste Dubrovnik’s delicacies
As a Mediterranean country, Croatia has an excellent climate for vineyards, olive groves and orchards. And because of its long Adriatic coastline, seafood is very prominent in Croatia’s cuisine. That means another one of the things to do in Dubrovnik is to sample the local delicacies. If you have never been to an oyster farm, don’t miss the opportunity to visit one with us in Mali Ston Bay: this secluded bay is renowned for its oysters, and you’ll have the chance to try the freshest organic oysters with some local wine.
On the same note, if you are a wine enthusiast, you can indulge in a tour along the Dubrovnik coast to some of the best known wineries in Croatia. This dream-journey lasts about eight hours, during which you will visit and enjoy a wine tasting at Grgic Winery in Trstenik and Korta Katarina Winery on the Peljesac Peninsula.
As a whole, Dubrovnik offer activities for all types of travelers – kids, students, foodies, history buffs – something for everyone! And if you are undecided amidst all the things to see and do in Dubrovnik, you can give us a call and we will gladly assist with any planning you may need.
written by Isabella Ott
What did you do when you visited Dubrovnik? Share your experience with us and comment below!