Dubrovnik is one of Croatia's most fascinating cities and rich in culture, nightlife and outdoor pursuits. Despite suffering heavily during the Croatian War, it’s now looking better than ever with historic buildings just waiting to be discovered. The many beaches make for a wonderful full or half-day trip and can be accessed by foot, boat or car. And don't forget to tuck into some delicious seafood and sample some of Croatia's native wine. After dinner, head to one of the many coastal bars or make a beeline for a club in the Old Town to enjoy the evening the Croatian way. There’s plenty of opportunities to stay active on holiday in Croatia. Take to the high seas in a chartered boat and find yourself an uninhabited cove where you can spend the day in total privacy. A holiday to Dubrovnik in 2019 is the ideal destination for those who want to mix culture, relaxation and adventure for a trip that you'll remember forever.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 30m
When to go
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Things to do in Dubrovnik
Despite being heavily bombed during the Croatian War, much of the city has now been reconstructed and is in fine shape. Most of the attractions are located in the city’s Old Town. The bell tower marks a significant point in the city. The bronze statue strikes hourly as the sounds ring out across the town. The city walls, which once provided strategic defence for the city, can now be walked and give a unique perspective from above. There are several entrances to the walls, and you can pay by credit card or with local currency. The Church of St. Ignatius and its Jesuit college is an ornate Baroque structure constructed in the 17th century. It’s just one of many ecclesiastical buildings that are worth visiting when you visit Dubrovnik on holiday. The city is also famous for being one of the primary filming locations of the popular TV series, Game Of Thrones. The Old Town has stood in for several locations, primarily King’s Landing, and several walking tours will take you to many of the otherwise easy-to-miss filming locations.
Places to eat
Being a coastal location, it’s no surprise that Dubrovnik, and in fact Croatia as a whole, has a culinary emphasis on seafood. Food here is generally a conservative affair, using fresh, quality ingredients prepared to a high standard. The Old Town is packed with many restaurants, all of which offer a similar menu, so don't worry too much about searching for a specific eatery. Croatia's proximity to Italy also means that it’s influenced by their cuisine. Wood-fired pizza ovens are common and you'll stumble across a few pizzerias as you journey through the streets of Dubrovnik. For those on a budget, the Marco Polo restaurant serves traditional dishes in a quaint courtyard. If you want to sample some of the local seafood without breaking the bank, then head to Barba. Particularly popular for its succulent octopus burgers, this fast food restaurant with a difference is sure to delight every time. If you're looking for something a little more high end then Proto is the place to be. Situated on a first-floor terrace, they serve classic Dalmatian seafood, such as fresh oysters and shrimp in a garlic and white wine sauce.
Dubrovnik for Families
Dubrovnik's slow pace and relaxed way of life are ideal for those travelling with young children. Take the cable car to the top of Mount Srd for panoramic views over the peninsula. It’s regarded as one of the highlights of the town and a must on any itinerary. Kids will also love to walk the extensive city walls which encircle the old town. At times you'll be 25 metres above the streets, and youngsters will be thrilled while playing in the many fortifications you'll come upon along the way. Naturally, you’ll want to head to the beach when on holiday in Dubrovnik. Lapad is regarded as one of the best for children due to its shallow waters and many amenities. Copacabana Beach also caters heavily to children. There are water shutes, banana rides and pedalos available for rent and if you don't fancy joining in, there are plenty of cafés along the pebble beach where you can relax with a drink.
Beaches near Dubrovnik
Banje Beach is the closest one to the town centre. However, it’s also the most popular. While parts of it have been privatised there is still a section of the beach which can be accessed free of charge. Lapad Beach is located just over three kilometres from the centre of town, but is much less crowded and you can find shade among the numerous trees. The wider area around the beach is thought to be one of the most stunning in the local vicinity and is a must on a holidaymaker’s itinerary. If you're feeling adventurous, why not take a short boat trip to Lokrum island? The 10-minute trip, which departs from the Central Pier, will transport you to this geographically rocky area where several ladders lead you to the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
When to go
The warm and clear waters of the Adriatic Sea are perfect for those who enjoy swimming. A secret spot which remains elusive to many tourists is just beyond the aquarium in the Old Town. Café Buza also gives visitors the opportunity to partake in some cliff jumping. This adrenaline-fuelled activity should not be undertaken without the advice of a professional, though. Dubrovnik Sea Kayaking is one of the most popular tour providers offering excursions, which depart daily from Pile Beach, situated just outside the city walls. Visitors from all over the world flock to this region because of its excellent sailing conditions. There are many collections of islands located just off the Adriatic coastline which can be reached in under an hour from Dubrovnik. You can charter a yacht from one of the many agencies around the town, or book yourself onto a manned excursion if you want to just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Croatia has some of the most breathtaking scenery and landscapes in Europe. Its national parks are known for lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls and excellent trekking opportunities. If you want to head a little further afield, then Sarajevo and Montenegro are also accessible by bus from the town.
Rakija is the most commonly consumed drink in Croatia. Produced by fermenting a variety of different fruits such as plums and grapes, all varieties are quite strong so be sure to sample with caution. Though it doesn't have a huge presence on the world stage, Croatia actually produces some of the highest quality wines in Europe. It’s incredibly cheap, although it’s recommended to spend a little more to ensure good quality. There are many cafés in the Old Town where people drink alfresco in the warm Croatian sunshine. Head towards the coast and you'll stumble across a variety of small squares all playing live music. A few of the more popular establishment establishments are Oliver Twist Bar (known for its cheap drinks and free WiFi), Casablanca (famous for its outside seating area and techno music) and Buzz Bar (a new addition to the scene that’s already proved very popular among locals). Though not a party town, Dubrovnik does have its fair share of nightclubs, should the mood strike. East West is a beach club after dark and Club Orlando is a basement disco which sometimes features international acts.
Dubrovnik for Couples
Dubrovnik's authentic charms and cultural delights make it the ideal destination for couples looking for that perfect getaway. You can pair some well-deserved relaxation time with a little adventure when you book a holiday to Dubrovnik. Spend your morning shopping in the boutique stores which line the cobbled streets of the Old Town. After a spot of fresh fish for lunch, why not head to one of the many vantage points which are located across the city? The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea along with the simply divine Croatian weather make for a perfect day spent on one of the region's stunning beaches. There are several islands located off the coast of Dubrovnik which can be easily reached in under an hour by boat. It’s a great way to get away from the crowds in the city and have yourself a romantic day on a secluded beach in the Croatian sunshine.
Culture and history
Croatia, and in particular Dubrovnik, is known for its rich history and culture. Most of the relics and attractions are situated within the Old Town. The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is one of the most beautiful in the area and dates back to the 18th century. Another highlight is the Dominican Monastery which, in addition to its religious purpose, is representative of the town's ancient culture. There are plenty of museums to explore while on holiday in Dubrovnik. The Natural History Museum is one of the best and has a collection of taxidermy specimens which date back hundreds of years. The Synagogue and Jewish Museum is thought to be the second-oldest of its kind in Europe. The country has a long-standing Jewish community who have enjoyed relative freedom here as other areas Europe infamously were turned against them.