The city of Dubrovnik is located in the south of Croatia, along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It is famous for being a unique old town with stone walls and 16th-century architecture. Dubrovnik is also known for its turquoise water, terracotta rooftops, and baroque structures.
While many travelers come here for the wine, there is a myriad of activities to enjoy in this most-visited city of Croatia’s south region.
A few things to note before stepping off the ship in Dubrovnik is that the weather here is gorgeous, which attracts large crowds of tourists in the summer. Even with the hustle and bustle, there’s a reason so many people visit, so we suggest exploring the city — but make sure you’re prepared.
The Best Shore Excursions in Dubrovnik
1. City Walls of Dubrovnik
If you’ve ever watched Game of Thrones, you’ll surely recognize these iconic walls. The Iron Throne may not be available to visitors of this land, but stepping into the place where it is hosted is super cool. These domineering city walls have qualified the list of UNESCO, and their majesty is truly unmatched.
During your hour-or-so trip to the walls, you’ll likely see a significant bit of architecture and views of the water along the road.
Some Tips: Plan to visit in off-seasons if you can, as to avoid the crowds within Dubrovnik’s city walls. Make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen, and a camera.
2. Old Town
The intricate and unusual streets of Dubrovnik’s old town give you a feeling of a movie set. The buildings here boast 16th-century, baroque designs that take you back to the times of the renaissance. The architecture isn’t the only aspect of Dubrovnik holding a rich history, either.
Two of the most notable Croatian renaissance painters, Lovro Dobričević, Mihajlo Hamzić, and Nikola Božidarević, are native to the city.
To immerse yourself into the times of old, we suggest heading to Rector’s Palace. This gothic building is host to the city’s intriguing past.
Some Tips: Prepare for the crowds, and plan to visit some of the museums in the area.
3. St. John Fortress
This fortress is situated on the southeastern side of Dubrovnik’s port. It was used to protect the city and act as a defense for incoming ships. When soldiers used to get reports of possible danger, a heavy metal chain was lifted to tear the keels on the boats.
Aside from the history, the inside of this tower also has a little aquarium on the first floor and a maritime museum on the second.
Some More Information: This fort is open daily, except Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The entry ticket costs about $4.50.
4. Cable Car
If you want to experience the best view of Dubrovnik, you should head towards the crest of Mount Srd for a cable car ride. The pictures are just beyond amazing, as is the experience of going up 778 meters (that’s over 2,500 feet) in less than five minutes. Once you get to the tippy-top, there is also a café where you can eat or drink while soaking in the views.
Some More Information: The ticket for an adult is around $22 for adults and $9 for kids.
5. Lovrijenac Fort
This fort is often called ‘Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar,’ which lies 37 meters above sea level outside the western wall. The way the structure was built is very interesting. The walls which are facing towards the sea are 12 meters thick so that no enemy could attack their city, but the ones facing the land are only 60 centimeters thick.
Fun Fact: Anyone can rent the Lovrijenac Fort for a wedding for around $4,500.
6. Franciscan Monastery
Much like the cathedral, the earthquake that came in the 17th century destroyed the monastery as well. When it was reconstructed, the building took on a baroque style, but you can still find touches of gothic and Romanesque styles as well.
Some More Information: This monastery’s pharmacy is a must-see. It was built in 1317 and is the oldest operating pharmacy in the world. There’s also a library with over 20,000 books in it.
7. Dubrovnik Cathedral
The cathedral here serves as another example of absolutely stunning Baroque architecture. The cathedral was built in the 17th century following a massive earthquake which destroyed the city’s original church. The items found in the cathedral’s treasury are from the 1000s to the 1700s — and trust us when we say, it’s worth the look.
Some More Information: Admission is $3, and hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
8. Sponza Palace
Sponza Palace was built in the early 1500s and is one of Dubrovnik’s landmarks which survived the earthquake. We think this is probably due to the stable and mighty Corinthian columns which hold the building up.
Some More Information: You will find the Memorial Room of the Defenders of Dubrovnik inside, as well as the State Archives on the 1st and 2nd floor — which hold manuscripts over 1,000 years old.
9. Dubrovnik’s Beaches
We’ve made our way through some of the most prominent historical sites, but let’s not forget the beautiful Adriatic Sea. After a day of sightseeing, make sure you take some time to soak up the sun at one of this city’s stunning seaside spots.
Some of the famous beaches are:
- Banje Beach
- Sv. Jakov Beach
- Betina Cave Beach
- Sulici Beach
- Lapad Beach
- Dance Beach
- Copacabana Beach
- Sunj Beach
Some things that you need to keep in mind for a budgeted-trip to Dubrovnik is that public transport is cheap, so go for it, but don’t bargain with the drivers. Taxi cabs have fixed fare rates here, and there is no way to get around it.
While transportation is affordable, a lot of the cuisine can get quite pricey. We recommend you go for the street vendors or local markets. You’ll get some authentic food, and save a few bucks as well.
No matter where your day in Dubrovnik finds you, the beauty of this old city is sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.