Dubrovnik, Croatia is maybe the most beautiful city in the Mediterranean. One can be easily overwhelmed with the variety of things to do in Dubrovnik. Therefore we compiled this collection of our top 7 great things to do in this beautiful city.
Short flight through history
The history of Dubrovnik began in the 7th century when a group of refugees from Epidaurus established a small village on the islet called Laus (translates to rock in Greek). Centuries of peace and prosperity allowed the Republic of Ragusa (ancient Dubrovnik) to flourish as a merchant hub in the Mediterranean.
In April 1667 a massive earthquake hit Dubrovnik. Sadly about 5,000 inhabitants died and much of the city was destroyed. This marked the decline of the city. Consequently when Napoleon entered the city in in 1806 he encountered little resistance. The Republic of Ragusa officially broke down in 1808 and susequently the city became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1815 shortly after Napoleon’s fall.
After World War I Dubrovnik grew into Croatia being part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. This formation later turned into Yugoslavia after World War II. During the Croatian War of Independence Dubrovnik witnessed considerable shelling by the Serbs, sieging the city for seven months in 1991/2. The old town suffered considerable damage. Luckily people quickly restored the Old Town after WWII ended. Today the Old Town of Dubrovnik is an UNESCO World Heritage site attracting more and more visitors each year.
7 things to do in Dubrovnik
It doesn’t really matter if you visit the city for the first time or the thousendst. Especially the view on the Old Town never fails to impress the visitors with its beauty.
1. Being an early bird
Dubrovnik is so crowded in high season that it’s sometimes impossible to enjoy the Old Town without being squeezed. Although Dubrovnik considers limiting the amount of people being allowed into the old town at once, there is an easy way to avoid the crowds. Get up early and be in the old town by 7 am. The reward is to have the most popular spots for oneself. Stroll around and observe the locals starting their business at the market and the cafés. Besides the empty streets the temperature is also considerably lower during early hours, hence you can enjoy the city without getting too exhausted.
We all know how places struggle with the amount of tourists coming through each day. Check out our blog post on the impact of influencers on delicate sites.
2. Start your day with a coffee at the cliffs
During your morning stroll through the old city get a coffee at the Bard Mala Buza, a café during the day and a bar during the night. Go there early and join the café’s staff for a swim in the Adriatic. The atmosphere is easy and relaxed since the majority of guests is still about to arrive. What a perfect start into the day!
3. The Game of Thrones sites as a must thing to do when in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is like a fantasy world for all visitors but for fans of the Game of Thrones it is far more than only a spectacular city. Dubrovnik was set for the Game of Thrones capital Westeros – Kings Landing. Get into the Game of Thrones feeling and visit all the remarkable spots where the series was shot. Down below you find our three most favorite places featured on Game of Thrones.
Jesuit Staircase: The steps of the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing. The most memorable scene in season five when Cersei Lannister is forced to walk naked through the streets of King’s Landing. Start at the top of the Jesuit Staircase and walk all the way down. Additionally continue the “Walk of Shame” all the way down to Stadun.
Seaside Walls: Are the King’s Landing walls. Tyrion Lannister commanded the defense of Kings Landing from this walls during the Battle of the Blackwater.
Fort Lawrence: Is King’s Landing famous Red Keep. The fort sits at the western side of the Old Town, outside the city walls on a 37 meters high cliff. Carsei fare welled Myrcella from the little harbor beneath it.
4. Enjoy a sundowner at Lapad Bay
The Banje Beach close to the Old Town is for sure the most popular beach in Dubrovnik. Unlike the Banje Beach the Lapad Bay is definitely more authentic. Enjoy a sundowner in one of the cafés at Lapad Bay or just jump into the water for a sunset dip.
5. Walk around the Old City walls
You can’t visit Dubrovnik without walking around the city walls. From the top of the walls the view over the Old Town and the Adriatic is priceless. Four towers guard the city walls, one in each corner. The Minceta Tower protects the landward edge, the Bokar Tower and Fort Lawrence guard the West and the seaside, additionally Fort St John protects the East and the Old Harbor. Enter the wall at the Maritime Museum as this entrance appears leass busy. However there is also an entrance at the Pile Gate, probably the most famous and busiest of all. You can also use the Ploce side entrace utilizing the advantage of getting the steepest part out of the way first. Don’t underestimate the climb, it can be quite exhausting especially on a hot day.
6. View the sunset from above
Interested in a romantic getaway? First get dinner to go in one of the small street restaurants in the Old Town. Secondly take the cable car up to Mount Srd. You find the station of the cable car on the northern side of the city walls. During summer the cable car operates until midnight. This gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the whole sunset view and the illuminated old town.
A museum is located close to the cable car station on Mount Srd. The museum shows an exhebition on Dubrovnik during the Homeland war. You find there plenty of graphic and written information on the Dubrovnik siege and the reconstruction of the city after the war.
7. Optional Activity to do in Dubrovnik: Dive a ship wrec
You hold an advanced diving license? Great! Don’t miss out to dive the wreck of the Taranto. The wreck lies only a 10 minutes boat ride away from the old town and is worth a visit. The Taranto, a merchant ship built in 1899, hit a mine during WWII whilst carrying flour and tractors to Dubrovnik. Two tractors still sit on the seabed as testimony of this ill-fated journey. Already at a depth of 10 meters you come across the ship’s bow. As the Taranto now sits at a 45 degree angle, the dive will take you down towards the ship’s steam engine and futher down to the stern which is located at a depth of around 40 to 50 meters on the seabed. This dive is unfortunately for advanced divers only.