Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, here are the things to do in Dubrovnik in 1 day, a coastal city in the Dalmatia region that you’ll fall in love with.
Dubrovnik is called the Pearl of the Adriatic and is a small city of 42,000 inhabitants. But its main wealth and attraction lies in the beauty of its historic centre, surrounded by walls, at the foot of Mount Srd (often translated as Sergio or Sergius) and facing the Adriatic Sea.
The city is very well-preserved, despite having been bombed by the Serbs during the Yugoslav war on December 6, 1991.
Dubrovnik was declared a demilitarised zone from 1975. Then, as there was no Croatian military to defend it from any attack, the bombing by land, air and sea during the war badly damaged the historic centre.
At the entrance, there is a map showing where the bombs hit the historic centre. The damage to the buildings has been repaired and is now in perfect condition.
🔘 Check out the rest of the World Heritage Sites we have visited.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
Ideally, you should stay inside the walled area, but keep in mind that prices are higher than outside and that many hotels are accessed by steep stairs.
For those going in July and August, peak season, booking in advance is almost obligatory as the city fills up with tourists. Out of season, there is no problem getting rooms or hotels without a reservation.
Another alternative is to stay in the surroundings of Dubrovnik Old Town, such as Lapad or Gruž Harbour, where prices are lower and there is a better chance of getting accommodation without a reservation in high season.
Our recommendations for where to stay in Dubrovnik are as follows:
- Guesthouse Rustico: within the walled area, housed in a 14th century building. Nicely decorated rooms with original stone walls. Just metres from the main street.
- Hostel Angelina Old Town: one of the cheapest options inside the walls. Private rooms with shared bathroom and bunk beds in a shared room. Clean and comfortable.
- Hostel 365 For U: accommodation with new facilities, one and a half kilometres from the walled area. Simple private and shared rooms. If you are travelling on a budget this is an excellent alternative.
Need more options? Check these hotels in Dubrovnik.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Things to do in Dubrovnik in 1 day
Walking through its narrow streets does not take long and can be done in a day. But we recommend staying at least 2 days to enjoy the city to its fullest.
Map – things to do in Dubrovnik in 1 day
1) Walking around Dubrovnik’s city walls
The medieval city walls surround the entire old town of Dubrovnik. Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, they are 2 km long and up to 25 metres high in some sections, and can be walked almost completely.
From them, you can see the orange roofs of the historic centre, the old harbour and the Adriatic Sea. Some of the defensive constructions that stand out on the wall are the Minčeta Tower and Bokar Fort at either end of the Pile Gate, and St. John’s Fort at the opposite end, next to the Old Harbour. Outside the city walls, the Revelin and Lovrjenac Forts, which will be mentioned later, also played a crucial role in the defence of Dubrovnik.
The access to the city walls is located next to the Pile Gate, the place that welcomes you to the historic centre.
🚩 Entrance fee to Dubrovnik’s City Walls (2021): 200 kuna (approx. 27 € – 30 USD).
2) Strolling through the narrow streets of the old town
Full of history, churches, monuments, squares and, above all, many hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars, the narrow streets of Dubrovnik’s old town are the perfect place to get lost and, while you’re at it, enjoy a bite to eat or a drink.
The main street is called Stradun, which is the widest and the first street you will step on if you enter through the Pile Gate. The most beautiful thing for us are the narrow uphill streets, full of steps and with many little corners where you can stop to take pictures.
- Guided Walking Tour of Dubrovnik. Learn all the details of the Old City with a specialized guide.
3) Relaxing on Luža Square
The aforementioned Stradum Street starts at the Pile Gate and ends at the eastern side at Luza Square. On your way there, you will see the 30-metre high Clock Tower, which dates back to the mid-15th century. Its bell is still in use today and is rung every o’clock by two bronze figures called Zelenci.
Once there, Luza Square appears in front of you, surrounded by monuments and historical buildings that were part of ancient Ragusa. Some of them are:
- Orlando’s column, in the centre of the square, was the place where the edicts used to be communicated to the population. This column is adorned with the figure of a knight named Rolando or Orlando, who is a symbol of freedom and independence.
- Sponza Palace, with its characteristic arches to the left of the Clock Tower, is the site of the former customs house, school, storehouse, mint and bank, and today houses the Dubrovnik Archives;
- The Church of St. Blaise, behind Orlando’s Column, was built in the early 18th century and is dedicated to the patron saint of the city.
4) Admire the Dubrovnik Cathedral of the Assumption
Baroque in style, this beautiful cathedral was rebuilt during the 17th century after the earthquake that struck the city. Inside, relics from past centuries are kept. Among them, the most important (as it is a first order relic) is a wooden part of the Vera Cruz or Holy Cross, the one with which, according to Christian tradition, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. For the locals, though, the most precious objects are the gold-plated body parts of their patron saint, San Blas.
🚩 While access to the Cathedral is free, entry to the Dubrovnik Cathedral treasury is not. You have to pay around 40 kuna to enter (2021), about €5.
If you walk along the city walls, the cathedral stands out in the old town with its impressive blue dome.
5) Visit the Rector’s Palace
One of the most representative buildings to see in Dubrovnik in one day, it was used as the seat of the government of what was once Ragusa. This place also suffered the effects of the devastating earthquake that hit the city, although today it looks splendid after the restoration process.
Nowadays, it houses the Museum of History. Not only can you admire its central courtyard and the different rooms of this Gothic-Renaissance building, but you can also take a historical tour through different works of art, vintage furniture, ancient artefacts, coin collection and much more. If you’re a fan of GOT, you’ll notice that scenes from the series have been filmed in this building, especially in the staircase in the centre (see here).
🚩 Entrance fee to the Rector’s Palace (2021): around 100 kuna, about €15. You can only take photos
6) Head to the Old Harbour
Situated on the western side of the old town, it is a good place to stroll around, watch the yachts and small boats bob on the sea, and stop for a snack in a restaurant. From here, boats depart for excursions, for example to the island of Lokrum.
7) Lovrjenac Fortress
This fortress is located in a privileged spot outside Dubrovnik’s city walls. Although its function today is limited to hosting tourists and those interested in the plays that are often staged here, this fortress once resisted Venetian occupation. The Venetians wanted to build a fortress on this very site to secure their conquest, but the locals resisted.
One of the places from which you can admire this fortress is the so-called West Harbour, which, together with the fortress, appears in the Game of Thrones series.
8) Dubrovnik Beaches
If you have more than a day in the city, it’s best to relax on one of the beautiful, crystal-clear beaches just 10 minutes from the old town. Calm but crowded, they are pebble beaches like most Croatian beaches.
Some of the most popular beaches are:
- Banje beach, the first beach heading south.
- Sveti Jakob (St. Jacob) beach, the most remote but quiet beach
- Šulić beach, on the northern side of the Lovrjenac fortress.
- Danče beach, a little further north from the previous beach.
From the old town itself you can cross the wall, head for some of the bars and take a dip. It is not a beach as such, but it is possible to do so.
9) Excursion to Lokrum Island
Lokrum is a small uninhabited island whose location just 15 minutes by boat from Dubrovnik makes it perfect for a day trip. On the island there are not only beautiful beaches, but also some ruins from the different eras the city has been through, from the Venetians to the Austrians.
10) Viewpoints in the old town of Dubrovnik
Although the views of the old town from the city walls are very beautiful, there is a free viewpoint outside the city walls, which can be reached by walking up the narrow streets that start from the Minceta Tower.
There you reach a terrace with a great view of the entire walled city with its photogenic orange roofs contrasting the blue sea and the wooded island of Lokrum. Even better is that there are no crowds at all, so you can take pictures in peace. Tip: Go before sundown!
We didn’t continue our ascent, but you can follow a calvary-style route that takes you to the top of Mount Srd. There, as well as getting a bird’s eye view of Dubrovnik, you’ll find the Croatian War of Independence Museum, another interesting place to see in Dubrovnik.
11) Game of Thrones fan? This is the place for you
The Game of Thrones series is already long over, but there are those who still miss the characters, the story and also the spectacular locations where it was filmed. Dubrovnik was the setting for the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, King’s Landing, located on the east coast of Westeros in the Blackwater Bay. Many of the streets of Dubrovnik were used for filming scenes from the series.
Check here for Game of Thrones related tours and book your place so you don’t miss any detail of your favourite series:
- Game of Thrones Tour.
- Combo: Dubrovnik City and Game of Thrones Tour.
- Game Of Thrones Dubrovnik Cruise, boarding the boat of Daenerys Targaryen.
12) Around Dubrovnik
There are many day trips from Dubrovnik that generally include sightseeing in the surrounding countries. Here are some of the things you can do from Dubrovnik if you stay in the city for a few days:
- Kotor Bay Day Trip (Montenegro).
- Excursion to Mostar and the Kravice waterfalls (Bosnia).
- Kolocep Blue Cave & Lopud Island Boat Tour (Elaphite Islands).
- Korčula Island Day Trip.
Useful information to visit Dubrovnik
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– Getting to Dubrovnik
There are several options for getting to Dubrovnik.
The airport is located 20 km from Dubrovnik, and it takes around 30 minutes to get there. In high season, there are frequent flights from various European airports.
Public transport operates between the airport and the city centre, such as bus lines 11, 27 and 38. But if you are travelling with children, with lots of luggage or just looking for comfort, you can hire a transfer in advance that will drop you off at the door of your hotel.
🚐 If you want to hire a transfer from/to Dubrovnik airport, check here.
Both ferries and cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean Sea arrive at the port of Gruž, about 2 km north of the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
Ferries arrive here from other parts of Croatia, as well as ferries connecting Dubrovnik with Italian cities such as Bari.
One of the ferry company that travel to Dubrovnik is Jadrolinija. Bear in mind that if you are travelling in high season it is best to book your tickets to Dubrovnik, as well as those to other Croatian cities, well in advance.
🚢 Search here for ferry tickets with OMIO, buy yours and travel!
By bus or car
Other options are to travel overland, either by bus or car. Between the region to which Dubrovnik belongs and the rest of Croatia, there is a small strip of land belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Buses usually skip this part and travel by ferry, but cars usually cross the border with all the time it takes.
Dubrovnik Bus Central Station is located in Gruž, by the port.
🚗 Search here for the best car rental prices; and travel at your own pace!
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
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- Train Tickets with OMIO
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- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
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