Travel Guide to Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Rachael Funk


Nestled in southern Croatia on the coast of the sparkling Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a taste of Mediterranean history. This charming city captures the heart with its breathtaking old town filled with white limestone streets and ancient city walls. Offering plenty to do for every traveler, Dubrovnik is a must-see destination while you are in Europe.


What to Know

Dubrovnik is an irrepressible city which was founded in the 7th century as a refuge for residents fleeing advancing barbarians. The city has seen natural disasters, foreign invasions, and an ever-changing list of rulers. Embodying their ancient motto of “Liberty is not well sold for all the gold,” the resilient city of Dubrovnik has survived devastating blows throughout history and recovered gracefully every time, preserving their history and identity through the entire journey.

After receiving the moniker, “the pearl of the Adriatic” by Lord Byron, Dubrovnik saw the beginnings of its early tourism. After 1945, the city gained notoriety as an exceptional travel destination and was added to UNESCO’s world heritage list in 1979. In the early 90s, Dubrovnik endured yet another catastrophe when it was damaged by heavy artillery attacks and the resulting fires. UNESCO was able to spearhead reconstruction efforts and restored Dubrovnik back to the glory it once knew. The city is also a popular destination for Game of Thrones fans.


When to Go

Though undeniably gorgeous year-round, the best time to see the city is during the “shoulder season” months. These include May and June as well as September and October. These are the months when you can avoid the height (and heat!) of the crowded tourist season.


How to Get Around

Within the city walls of the old town, you won’t find any cars, so be sure to bring practical walking shoes while you’re within the borders of the UNESCO site. The main form of transportation in the rest of the city is an extensive bus network which connects to all parts of the city. The buses operate in 20 to 30 minute intervals, but service does stop for 3-4 hours in the early morning. You can find 24-hour taxi service there as well.


Where to Eat

One thing’s for sure: when you’re in Dubrovnik, you’ll have no trouble finding fresh seafood! Enjoy a glass or two of wine made from the local vineyards to round out you gastronomic experience. For those who aren’t wild about seafood, there are still plenty of places to find something delicious to rave about.


What to See

Dubrovnik Cable Car

A ride in this bright orange box is an easy way to get some of the best views of the city. The original cable cars were shut down in the early 90s due to the bombing, but made a triumphant return in 2010. The three-minute ride will whisk you up the side of the mountain, showcasing a panorama of the city and sea the whole way up Srd Hill. Once you’ve reached the top, you can snap your photos, then enjoy a leisurely 30-minute hike back down the hill, which will bring you to the old town city walls.

City walls

One of Dubrovnik’s most famous features, the ancient walls have protected the city for centuries. Walk the length between forts or simply enjoy the vantage point. In the summer, Shakespeare plays and other performances can be seen at select forts along the wall. Be sure to bring sun protection and something to drink, as there is very little shade to be found atop the walls!

Old Town

A trip to Dubrovnik wouldn’t be complete without a jaunt through the old town! A world within the walls is waiting to be discovered by those who visit. Here is where you will find the classic attractions such as the Franciscan Monastery, Rector’s Palace, and Dubrovnik Cathedral. The well-preserved city is full of places to pick up a few souvenirs, savor a cup of coffee, and examine the architecture.


Tips and Tricks

  • To avoid the densely packed crowds in the city, hit the old town after 4:00 pm or, if you can, after 6:00pm. Many of the city’s visitors arrive by cruise ship, which usually only dock for a day and begin departing between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

  • To save money on transport, download the Uber app. Much of Dubrovnik is serviced by UberX, which generally costs less than hiring a local taxi.

  • The water in Dubrovnik is perfectly safe to drink. Save yourself the expense of buying bottled water by bringing a reusable bottle along.

  • Avoid ATMs on Pile. During the tourist season, transaction fees can skyrocket to over $10 USD.


Day Trips

Island of Mljet

Take off for a day to the island of Mljet! It will take between two and two and a half hours to reach the island by ferry. Well worth the travel time, you will be able to explore the national park, take a dip in the vibrant saltwater lakes, and be enchanted by the same natural beauty that legend says captured Odysseus for seven years.

Mostar

A fairytale-like city in Bosnia, Mostar is famous for its iconic Stari Most or “Old Bridge.” Here, you can indulge in stream-side restaurants, be charmed by the majestic architecture, and contemplate the city’s dark past. Be sure to save some time to visit Neretva, where you can participate in water sports such as rafting, kitesurfing, and more!

Kravice Waterfalls

Hidden among the lush forests of Bosnia, this natural wonder is sure to create unforgettable travel memories. The 82-foot falls create a dramatic scene for visitors. Take a dip, take a photo, and take your time to enjoy this breathtaking location.

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