I have what can be described as a love/hate relationship with Dubrovnik at the moment. I first visited this magical city about 6 years ago. I immediately fell in love with the cobblestone streets, the secluded swimming holes, and lively music playing the streets at night. I was more than eager to return to this captivating place, however one major event took place between my first and second visit to Croatia’s capital… the release of the television series Game of Thrones. Any fans of the show will immediately recognize Dubrovnik by it’s presence on the show, and locals definitely capitalized on the show’s fame, hoarding fans in by the boatload. So while I admit that on my second visit to Dubrovnik I was quite turned off my the throngs of tourists and inflated prices, that does not mean that this is a city to skip.
Despite the recent influx of tourists, Dubrovnik is still a magical city that is more than worth a stop on your Eastern Europe itinerary. If you only have one day to soak up the beauty, follow along to hit up the best spots in town!
Where to Stay:
Book a night (or two) at Guesthouse Raguz! Located only a 15 minute walk outside of the Old Town, this cozy B&B is the perfect spot to start your journey! The hosts are beyond accommodating and serve up an incredible (and overwhelmingly large) breakfast for 8 euros a person.
After an energizing breakfast at Guesthouse Raguz, make your way into the Old Town. Your first stop will be the Dubrovnik Cable Car. Albeit a bit touristy, the cable car provides great views of the entire city! We opted to purchase a one-way ticket (140 kn/12 eur) and hike our way back down. This was definitely a good call because we found some of the best views on our return hike down the mountain. The trail is rather rocky with minimal shade, so make sure to bring sunscreen and proper walking shoes! The hike takes approximately 1 hour and will lead you right back to the Old Town.
The next stop on the itinerary is an ice cream cone from Sladoledarna Dubrovnik. Located right in the Old Town, this shop serves up some of the best ice cream in Dubrovnik! Take your ice cream to go as you take some time to stroll around the Old Town. Dubrovnik has so many hidden alleys and secret paths, just be prepared for a workout with all of the stairs!
Ready for lunch? Try to snag a table at one of Dubrovnik’s best seafood restaurants, Barba. There is usually a line at this spot, however the crowds tend to be smaller for lunch.
It’s time for the beach! First head over to the Old Town Konzum for some beers and snacks, and then it’s time to get some sun! Most of the “beaches” in Dubrovnik are small rocky areas, with ladders leading right down into the water. A couple of good options are listed below:
1. Mala Buza Bar – perfect for tanning out and sipping cocktails on the rocks
2. Exit the walls by the Old Port and head towards the lighthouse. Turn right around the exterior of the walls and you will come to a lovely little local swimming hole
3. If you don’t fancy the overpriced cocktails of Banje Beach Club, turn right directly before the club entrance for a public swimming spot
If you’re looking for a more adventurous beach day (or have a second day to spare), definitely take the ferry over to Lokrum Island! The ferry currently runs every 15 minutes from the Old Port and the journey takes under 10 minutes. On the island you will find plenty of secluded swim spots – make sure to pack a picnic though as food options are scarce!
The beautiful island is full of wild peacocks, so don’t be surprised to see them wandering about!
Now that you’re had some time to soak up the sun, it’s time for a stroll along the famous walls! This is the perfect time of day to come because the hoards of cruise ship tourists will have already flocked back to their ships, leaving the walls relatively tourist-free. It is also the best time of day to be up on the walls because not only will the setting sun provide you with some excellent lighting, but the day should have cooled down a bit at this point.
After a long walk on the walls you should be ready for dinner! Head up the famous Game of Throne steps (Jezuit Stairs) and settle down for dinner at Konoba Jezuite. Conveniently located, this dinner spot serves some amazing seafood (and a great Greek salad). For more budget options try wandering outside of the walls instead.
After dinner it is time to head up to Buza Bar for some cocktails or beers. The drinks here are going to be a bit pricier, but it is well worth it for the views! If you’re lucky, try to catch the tail end of the sunset!
Planning a trip to Croatia or Eastern Europe and have more questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Heading up to Zagreb as well? Check out my post on 24 Hours in Zagreb here. Make sure to follow @tavernatravels on Instagram as well for your daily dose of wanderlust!