Learn about the best things to do in Dubrovnik in one day, a picturesque medieval spectacle on the Adriatic! A city trip to Dubrovnik? A clear YES! Don’t miss this fascinating city if you are traveling in the Balkans. Dubrovnik has countless sights and so much places to visit as the UNESCO World Heritage Stari Grad (old town) with its sea of orange roofs and the unique city wall. The small streets exude medieval flair on every street corner and have much more to offer than filming locations from Game of Thrones. Even if you have only one day in Dubrovnik, this travel guide will help you get around.
What do you learn in this article?
BIG5 Things to do in Dubrovnik
You don’t want to miss any attraction? Find your checklists, travel guide & tips for the Dubrovnik city trip here:
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Speed Date
The scenery is simply awesome! Huge city walls in combination with the turquoise blue sea – unbeatable!
Totally overrun with tourism, not only since booming cruise tourism and Game of Thrones
Start early in the morning when the crusaders are still at breakfast
In the high season at 40 degrees in the shadow at an externally determined pace to be moved (deliberately passive verb form)
Don’t tell your mother:
The vacation budget is already decimated here, even if Mutti gave you a few euros earlier.
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Rapid Fire Q&A
- Dubrovnik, expensive and crowded – is it still worth the trip? – Decisive yes, there is so much to discover and the city wall over the turquoise blue sea is unique.
- Should you pay the ~ 30 euros per person for the city wall? – A clear YES! from my position
- Is one day enough for Dubrovnik? – Yes, but preferably with an overnight stay and departure in the late afternoon
- I only hear the city walls and the old town, does Dubrovnik have more to offer? – Definitely, variety offers boat trips to the nearby islands, a trip / hike up Mount Srd or relaxing in other parts of the city
- I don’t want to climb the wall, what else can I see in the old town? – There is sooo much to discover, almost in every house. A walk to the harbor, the Onofrio fountain, the Sponza palace or the cathedral are particularly recommended.
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Orga
Best travel time
You have good, warm weather in Dubrovnik from April to October. However, it can get very hot in July & August.
Arrival & Departure
Visa: Check here, whether you need a visa for Croatia with your passport
- Flight: Dubrovnik has its own airport (IATA: DBV). Possibly. cheaper: arrival via Tivat / Montenegro Airport (TIV)
- Bus: From / to Saravejo via Mostar (several times a day; ~ 6:30 hours; 13-19 euros). Avoid driving via Neum (Bosnia) if possible, otherwise you will have 3 border crossings on a bus trip
- Bus: From / to Montenegro, e.g. Herceg Novi, Kotor or Budva (several times a day; 2 hours from Kotor, 6-18 euros)
Are you interested in a Balkan road trip? Have a look here: Balkans Road trip – Incredibly versatile adventure
- Recommended location: Accommodation in the old town is very practical as everything is within walking distance
- Budget: Hostel Angelina Old Town (Plovani Skalini 17 / a, old town, 20000 Dubrovnik, ~ 35 € dormitory, ~ 80 € double room); I stayed there myself, the many locations right in the city center and well-equipped apartments are practical
- Medium: City Center Rooms (Vara 3, Old Town, 20000 Dubrovnik, ~ 100 €); cozy, nicely furnished guesthouse directly in the Stari Grad
- Medium: Villa Four Winds (Kuniceva 23, old town, 20000 Dubrovnik, ~ 130 €), the rooms with city views are located in an old stone house
- Noble: Soleil Luxury Rooms Old Town (15 Prijeko ulica, old town, 20000 Dubrovnik, ~ 190 €), in this 4* guesthouse with city view rooms you will lack nothing – of course in the best location
In Croatia you pay with the Croatian Kuna (HRK / Kn)
Withdrawing money: No problem, ATMs are everywhere in the city (but be careful: everywhere a hefty fee in Croatia!)
Beer indicator: In the supermarket ~1.00 euros, in the restaurant >3.50 euros
Taxi costs: 1 kilometer ~ 8 kuna (= 1.10 euros). The old town is not accessible for vehicles, you drive through the city to the Pile Gate.
Alternative: the public bus network (15 kuna for the complete single trip)
- You will find a large selection of restaurants in Prijeko ul. like the Dalmatino Dubrovnik or Lanii restaurant.
- Restaurant Barba (Boškovićeva ul. 5, 20000, Dubrovnik), inexpensive fish restaurant, just right if you fancy snacks to take away
- Kopun restaurant (Poljana Ruđera Boškovića 7, 20000, Dubrovnik), medium to high price range in a great location on the square in front of the Jesuit monastery. The specialty is – as the name suggests – capon.
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Activities
- Take a tour of the city walls and the Lovrijenac fortress – bitter for the budget, but absolutely worth it
- Enjoy the sunset with your own picnic set on the rocks near Sveta Marija west of the old town
- Stroll along the Stradun and then relax at the old harbor
- Cool your feet in the sea – in the bay at the west harbor between the city walls and the fortress
- Hike up Mount Srđ to Fort Imperial (Utvrda Imperial) – or take the cable car comfortably
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Photo spots
- From the Lovrijenac fortress to the city walls and the bay at the western harbor
- Climb the towers of the rear citywall for pictures down to the old town
- From the middle of the Stradun towards Pile Tor – ideally in the light of the late afternoon sun before sunset
- From the mountain top of Srđ with a great panoramic view of Dubrovnik and especially the Stari Grad
- Discover the forest below the Lovrijenac fortress – great color contrasts with the turquoise blue sea
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Things to do off the beaten track
- Escape the tourist crowds on the island of Lokrum – just a stone’s throw from the old harbor, there is a lot to discover on the island
- Brief reminder, there is also a Dubrovnik outside the famous city walls, for example on the lush green peninsula of Babin Kuk
- Kayak tour around the city walls – amazing perspective of the city walls from the sea level
- Sail to the island of Mljet – Peaceful and extensive nature directly on the Adriatic await you in the Mljet National Park
- Visit the Gornji Ugao Museum and immerse yourself in the city history of Dubrovnik
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Culinary journey
- Fish / seafood – mandatory for a coastal city! For example, in Gradska Kavanva right on the harbor. For those particularly keen to experiment: Black squid risotto
- Dalmatinski pršut – lightly smoked regional raw ham
- A big ice cream in the waffle as a reward for the long and hot city wall hike – e.g. Ice cream parlor Sladoledarna on the Stradun
- Local Dalmatian wine – a dream after a long day on the wall
- Grill specialties – like everywhere in the Balkans! If you can’t decide at all: just order a mixed grill
- Attention bargain hunters: A breakfast picnic from the “Konzum” supermarket on the market square saves time in the early morning and money
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Communication
- thank you – hvala
- yes – da
- no – ne
- hello – bok / dobar dan
- good bye – pozdrav / zbogom
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Helpful Websites / Links
- Official Website of Visit Dubrovnik
- Online booking of the useful Dubrovnik Card – the city wall is included here
- Booking Game of Thrones tours – if not in Dubrovnik, where then?
BIG5 Dubrovnik – Overview Map with all things to do
A perfect day in Dubrovnik 🇭🇷 – here is your overview:
Best suited for screenshots 📷📝
Your morning in Dubrovnik
- Tour on the impressive City Walls
- Climb the Lovrijenac fortress
Your afternoon in Dubrovnik
- Relax at the West Harbor
- Enjoy the view from the mountain Srđ
Your evening in Dubrovnik
- Tour in the Stari Grad (old town)
- Enjoy Stradun in the sunset
In addition to the BIG5, I have summarized the Dubrovnik sights and the circular route for you in an overview map:
Click on the icon at the top left to use the full range of map options!
Things to do in Dubrovnik for your perfect day
No, it does not say “Dubrovnik in 2020 A.D.”. “Dubrovnik n.d.K.” fits better here and “n.GOT”. Dubrovnik in 2020 after the arrival of the cruise ships and after “Game of Thrones“. How would tourism life in Dubrovnik have looked before these milestones? A great city on the Adriatic, sometimes still an insider tip. No crowds in the streets or especially on the city wall. And today? Crowds of people, colorful flags of the crusader groups everywhere when walking through the country.
The timing is everything: Visiting the city in May before the hot summer high season and climbing the walls in the early morning, when the horde of cruise tourists is still having breakfast, is a smart move! Additional goal: Visit the fortress on the mountain with a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding islands.
But should the city be canceled due to the onslaught of tourists? In my view definitely not, the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is far too impressive for that.
Is it expensive? – Yes! Is it very touristy and crowded? – Yes! Would you recommend it anyway? – Absolutely!
Things to do in Dubrovnik in the morning
The early bird on the city wall
The city wall opens at 8:00 a.m. So go ahead, get out of bed and start here in front of the crowds! Sporty and sporty for vacation, but in this case it is worth moving to another day. It is best to buy something for breakfast in the Konzum supermarket on the market square (Gundulićeva poljana 11), for those who can not help it, there is still a delicious espresso or coffee togo on the way.
And let’s go to the wall. There are two different staircases, we start directly at the Pile Gate. I also recommend this to you, because in the following section the wall has quite narrow passages that you would rather experience early in the morning without the tourist crowds! If we are so early, then please this part of the wall without crowding. The wall is around two kilometers (!) Long, up to 6 meters thick and 25 meters high – and completely preserved and accessible!
Entry for tourist pleasure? About 30 euros! 30 euros per person? For us, this is equivalent to three cozy accommodations in Bosnia. The price curve of the Balkan trip definitely has a significant upward movement in Dubrovnik.
But of course we pay the proud price. “When in Rome” … or in Dubrovnik.
And what should I say? WOW! The view from the wall of the orange roof sea or on the other side the bright turquoise Adriatic Sea with the fortress Llovrijenac in the background. Hammer. There is a completely different perspective from above than from the streets of the city.
And the “Early Bird” plan works: only a few people climb up at the same time. Relaxed running at your own pace on the approximately 2 km long wall and you can take great pictures without unwanted background models.
It is all too easy to believe the stories that I have heard and read: High season, preferably a few cruise ships in the harbor. Thousands of people crowd the wall, run and enjoy the great views at your own pace? Rivet! Add to that the raging sun at 40 degrees – up here, of course, without shadow. Congratulations!
And this scenario applies not only to the narrow top of the wall, but also to the wide Stradun Boulevard through the city. The wall is a one-way street, so luckily no flood of people comes towards it.
If you are more interested in the City walls, go on reading here:
- Dubrovnik City Walls – everything you need to know
- 5 Tips how to enjoy the City Walls of Dubrovnik alone
Things to do in Dubrovnik: The city harbor
During your hike over the wall, you will automatically pass the city port through the one-way operation – not to be confused with the commercial and cruise port Gruž. The arsenal with its three vaulted arches immediately catches the eye. Formerly the important shipyard for the construction and repair of warships, it is still used today for the maintenance of small boats – and above all as a restaurant and café with a special atmosphere. The harbor is framed by the fortresses Revelin and Sveti Ivan.
Climb the Lovrijenac fortress
The ticket price for the city wall also includes entry to the Lovrijenac Fortress (Croatian: Tvrđava Lovrijenac), which proudly rests on the other side of a small bay. You should definitely take this little hike around the western harbor, the fortress – or rather the view – is one of the highlights of Dubrovnik.
The first parts of the mighty fortifications date back to the 11th century. With their large cannons, they played an important role in defending the city. No wonder that the walls on the lake side are sometimes 12 meters thick!
Inside is a square courtyard with large vaults, Game of Thrones fans known as the Red Keep, the king’s residence.
It is no wonder that you encounter a particularly large number of Game of Thrones tours here, which can be easily recognized by the photo book that the guides have ready to have the right scene in the series for every location.
From the fortress you have a magnificent view of the old town and the sea.
Things to do in Dubrovnik in the afternoon
Relax at the Western Habour
How about a little break? In the small bay between the fortress and the city wall, the western harbor, you can relax, sit in the sun, hold your feet in the water. Anyone who has brought something from the supermarket can have a meal or drink here, otherwise there is no lack of gastronomic offerings.
Now you have a few alternatives, depending on what you’re particularly interested in:
Go on a tour of discovery in the extensive old town
The pearl of the Adriatic has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
In the imposing “Stari Grad” – meaning old town – you will find important monuments from different eras such as the Middle Ages, Baroque and Renaissance.
You can start your discovery tour at Pile Gate. The large Onofrio fountain with its 16 gargoyles immediately catches the eye. At the Church of the Redeemer Sveti Spas, the main street down Stradun is always towards the bell tower. To the left, the Luža bell towerlied and the Sponza Palace offer great photo opportunities, to the right the Roland column.
You can now go out through the Ploče or Fish market gate to the city harbor or turn right, past the Main guard and the town hall to the cathedral. Also check out the places on the southern city wall behind the cathedral. From here, continue your journey of discovery through the narrow streets, it is incredibly fun to stroll around comfortably without a specific destination.
Go to the lofty heights of Mount Srd
If you are still motivated for another trip, I recommend a hike or cable car ride to the fortress on the Srđ mountain high above the city. The view is unbeatable and there are significantly fewer tourists up here.
If you want to walk upstairs, I recommend the late afternoon when the sun is not burning so strongly. As soon as you are out of the forest, the path offers little shady places. Above you can reward yourself for the climb in the catering trade.
OR do you prefer to take the afternoon off after a long sightseeing morning? Explore the cozy squares of the old town and the many small streets. There is so much to discover and the right restaurant for every taste. Or how about a coffee or a large ice cream on one of the seats?
Things to do in Dubrovnik in the evening
Discover culinary delights in the Stari Grad
Highly recommended: A short walk along Stradun Boulevard in the sunset to the harbor. The sun colors the houses and paving stones in an incredibly beautiful warm light.
Now it’s time to relax from a busy day of sightseeing with lots of people and high temperatures. You absolutely deserve the glass of wine! The culinary offer is huge and there is something for every budget.
You will find a large selection of restaurants in Prijeko ul. like the Dalmatino Dubrovnik or Lanii restaurant.
In addition, we recommend the Barba restaurant (Boškovićeva ul. 5, 20000, Dubrovnik), an inexpensive fish restaurant, just right if you fancy snacks to take away.
The Kopun restaurant (Poljana Ruđera Boškovića 7, 20000, Dubrovnik) is in the medium to high price range, with a great location on the square in front of the Jesuit monastery. The specialty is – as the name suggests – capon.
Do you have more time for sightseeing in Dubrovnik?
Perfect, there are so much more things to do in Dubrovnik! There is also a lot to discover outside of the impressive city walls:
Take a boat tour or sailing trip right outside the city walls.
Sail to the islands of Lokrum, Mjlet or the Ephalites.
You see, even if you have only one day in Dubrovnik, it’s absolutely worth it! Are the suitcases for the Balkans already packed? 🇭🇷
Are you interested in a Balkan road trip? Have a look here: Balkans Road trip – Incredibly versatile adventure