One Day in Dubrovnik, Croatia: What to Do

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I have what can be described as a love/hate relationship with Dubrovnik at the moment. When I first visited this magical city in the fall of 2011, I visited spontaneously, arriving from Italy on an overnight ferry, and spent a week getting to know the city. 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. This was the release of the television series Game of Thrones. Any fan of the show will immediately recognize Dubrovnik by its presence on the show, and locals definitely capitalized on the show’s fame, hoarding fans in by the boatload.

All that being said, if you only have one day in Dubrovnik, Croatia, I recommend taking advantage of the shoulder seasons, and the evenings when the cruise ship passengers have set sail. The best time to visit Dubrovnik is during the months of September and October, when the weather is still beautiful, but less cruise ships are docking.

a view of dubrovnik old town

Despite the recent influx of tourists, Dubrovnik is still a magical city that is more than worth a visit on any Eastern Europe itinerary. If you only have one day in Dubrovnik to soak up all of its beauty, follow along to hit up the best spots in town!

one day in dubrovnik croatia guide

One Day in Dubrovnik

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Book a night or two at Guesthouse Raguz! Guesthouse Raguz is located only a 15 minute walk outside of the Old Town, making it the perfect place to base yourself for a full one day in Dubrovnik. The hosts at the B&B are beyond accommodating and cook up an incredible, and overwhelmingly large, breakfast for only 8 euros per person.

guest house raguz in croatia

One Day in Dubrovnik, Croatia Itinerary

Dubrovnik Cable Car – 9:30 AM

After an energizing breakfast at Guesthouse Raguz, make your way on foot into the Old Town. This shouldn’t take you more than 15-20 minutes. Your first stop will be the Dubrovnik Cable Car. Albeit a bit touristy, the cable car allows you to access some incredible views of the entire city! We opted to purchase a one-way ticket (140 kn/12 euro) and hike our way back down. This was definitely a good call because we found out quickly that some of the best views are on the hike down the mountain. The trail is rather rocky with minimal shade, so make sure to pack sunscreen and proper walking shoes! The hike takes approximately 1 hour and will lead you right back to the Old Town.

views of dubrovnik from above

Explore the Old Town – 11:30 AM

The next stop on the itinerary is an ice cream cone from Sladoledarna Dubrovnik. Located right in the Old Town, this ice cream 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!

 hanging laundry and cobblestone streets in dubrovnik, croatia  picture perfect streets of old town dubrovnik

Eat Lunch at Barba – 12:30 PM

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. You’ll find some of the best seafood dishes here, so it is well worth the wait!

the best swimming spots in dubrovnik

Go for a Swim – 2:00 PM

Now that your stomach is full, it’s time for the beach! First head over to the Old Town Konzum for some drinks 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

one day in dubrovnik croatia guide

Sunset Walk on the Old Town Walls – 6:00 PM

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.

the sun setting over dubrovnik

 old town square dubrovnik croatia at sunsetpicture perfect streets of old town dubrovnik

Heading up to Zagreb as well? Check out my post on 24 Hours in Zagreb.

Dinner at Konoba Jezuite – 7:30 PM

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.

views of dubrovnik from above

Grab a drink at Buza Bar – 9:00 PM

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!

views of dubrovnik from above

Exploring Lokrum Island

If you’re looking for a more adventurous beach day, or have a second day to spare, a trip to 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 of Lokrum is full of wild peacocks, so don’t be surprised to see them wandering about!

If you’re traveling in Croatia, here are some other useful posts:

 

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 One Day in Dubrovnik, Croatia pinOne Day in Dubrovnik, Croatia pin

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11 Comments

  1. July 12, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    My friend just went to Croatia and loved everything about it. Her experience and your post have definitely made me add this location to my bucket list!

  2. July 12, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    That B&B sounds wonderful and a great alternative to the very touristy hotels. I love the look of those walled fortresses against the turquoise sea. And peacocks too? Looks like Dubrovnik has many surprises in store for travelers who visit.

  3. July 25, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    I love the fact that you preface this post with a GoT disclaimer. I’m not really into that show at all and appreciate that in spite of all of the tourist influx, you still encourage people to visit. I’m going to be in that part of the world next year and have bookmarked this! Thanks!

  4. Cali O'Connor
    July 25, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    Such pretty photos appreciated by someone who doesn’t watch Game of Thrones! I went to Dubrovnik last year for just a day, but if I went back, I would seriously follow your itinerary to a T. It sounds like the perfect day complete with a bunch of my favorite things (views, ice cream, beach, cocktails, food…the usual)

  5. July 26, 2017 / 12:45 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this insightful post loaded with great tips and information. Sounds like we can really enjoy a lot in that beautiful old city in 24 hrs. Beautiful pictures also!

  6. July 27, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    Oh I love your 24 hour itinerary for Dubrovnik. I was here a few months ago and saw most of these attractions, but it sure was crowded. Thanks for reminding me of how beautiful this place is.

  7. July 30, 2017 / 1:42 am

    Cobbled stone streets, ice cream, seafood and beautiful water! Oh my! Get me to Dubrovnik right now!!! I’m not a huge fan of crowds either, but for this beauty I’d be willing to suck it up. The Mala Buzo Bar looks amazing too – totally my kind of spot. It looks like the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner. Great post!

  8. July 30, 2017 / 3:31 am

    Dubrovnik looks like an amazing place to visit, and i really enjoyed your itinerary! Isn’t it always a bit disappointing when some of our fond memories are made less by local "improvements"??

  9. Paula Gaston
    July 30, 2017 / 4:27 am

    I have read and heard so many great things about Croatia and Dubrovnik that I definitely want to experience it someday. I would like to stay there longer though than just a day and explore the surrounding areas also. Love the photos!

  10. July 30, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Man I really need to get to Croatia! I keep seeing beautiful photos and such on Instagram. People love visiting. I love the view from the cable car in this. And breakfast for 8 euros is not bad!

  11. July 31, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    Looks like you had a beautiful day and helpful guide as well 🙂

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