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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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
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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