Your guide to Dubrovnik! Dubrovnik is an amazing city. It is one of the most unique cities I have ever visited and I believe there probably isn’t another city like it. As soon as you top the hill and drive down the winding road along the coast into Dubrovnik it is like you are taken back in time. The castle walls that surround the city are so unique and beautifully laid against the gorgeous coast of the Adriatic Sea!
What to Do
1. Walking tour
As mentioned in most of my posts involving things to do in cities, I recommend a walking tour. Our tour was lead by a local gentleman who provided great history of the city. He told of the times when the city housed a majority of locals and how, now, many of the locals have left and spaces have been turned into AirBNBs or other rentals for tourists. He delved into the pros of having in the income form tourism, but the cons from losing the local feeling in Dubrovnik. Remember when you are traveling to be respectful of the locals; you are enjoying their home, so be mindful of your actions and try to have more of a positive influence than negative influence as you travel.
2. Ferry to Lokrum Island and explore the island
If you are looking at a panoramic view of Dubrovnik, you’ll notice the little island just of the coast. This is Lokrum Island, home to a monastery and botanical garden. You can take a boat to the island to tour the monastery; admission and the boat ride are 120 kunas
The monastery and botanical gardens were also used as a filming location for Game of Thrones as a stand-in for the city of Qarth.
P.S. This picture was taken from our AirBNB outside the city walls!
3. Sunset Kayak around Lokrum Island
Another way to get views of the sland is to take a kayaking tour around the island. The kayaks are tandem and the tour is around 4 hours, ending with a sunset view along the walls towering over the coastline. The island is home to several caves that have some of the bluest water I have ever seen with coral that makes the water almost purple looking. It is mesmerizing.
However, be prepared to work quite hard. You take one parked stop at a cave and zip into another along the way, but most of the time you are paddling against ocean waves. It isn’t for the faint of heart! But, that being said, there were families on the tour that made it all the way through the tour.
We booked through getyourguide.com for about $42 per person. We really enjoyed our particular tour guide!
4. Walk around the walls of the city
We actually did not opt to do this. We used our “activity budget” to kayak around Lokrum instead of walking the walls. However, there were many people who were walking the walls. It is about $30 to access the walls. Once you start your tour you can’t return if you leave. As mentioned my itinerary for Croatia post, I am not sure if we made the right choice not to tour the walls of the city! If anyone has incite on if it is worth the money, let me know!
P.S. That’s not me or my picture → 🙂 However, it gives a great image of the walls of the city and a great view of Lokrum Island!
5. Ride the Cable Car
This is something I wish we had done while in Dubrovnik. We decided since we had rode up to the top of the glacier in Austria that we would skip out. And I am in full regret! The cable car takes you to breathtaking views of the city. The cost is about 200 kn (~$28 USD) which you can purchase here.
Whichever activities you decide to do, just know that, aside from walking through the Old Town, most activities cost money. Pick which activities you want to do based on YOUR budget!
Where to stay
Guide to Dubrovnik accommodations! Staying close to the Old Town of Dubrovnik was a priority for us. We wanted to be able to walk from our place to downtown. This ended up being super beneficial! The roads are tiny and there is quite a bit of traffic, so I suggest staying as close to Old Town as possible.
With that being said, there are minimal hotels close to Old Town; most are further down the coast. Therefore, we opted to go with an Airbnb. The one we chose was an upstairs of a local man who helped take our car to the designated parking area (more on that later!). The AirBNB was outside of the walls of the city, up the hill, making for a convenient location and great views from the kitchen area!
If you are driving to Dubrovnik, prepare for poor parking and small streets. I recommend finding housing that has free parking. However, know that the parking may be a ways away! Our AirBNB had free parking but it was about a 30 minute walk from the house!! Once you arrive in Dubrovnik, you really won’t have to drive while there. All the attractions and activities we saw and did were in the Old City. Therefore, we didn’t move our car until we left two days later. If you aren’t already driving like we were, taking a bus may be a better option for you!
Guide to Dubrovnik food
Expect a vast selection of fresh seafood at most restaurants you choose to eat at! On night one, we did not have a reservation so we walked around until we found a restaurant with an open table. There were lots of options with similar food options. Dinner within the Old Town is rather pricey. Be prepared. There are a few outside the city walls that may be a bit cheaper!
One weird recommendation I’ll give: if you are traveling with a picky eater, have had a lot of seafood and want something more American OR if you are wanting something quick, I recommend Stay or Take Away in the Old Town.
I hate to keep harping on the Game of Thrones. However, Dubrovnik is a big deal in the list of GOT filming sights. It is none other than King’s Landing and for a good reason. As soon as you see the city you will understand why they chose this location! Therefore, you will see many filming locations around Dubrovnik and if you really are a fan, there are several GOT walking guides to show you which scenes were filmed where! If you don’t want to pay for a GOT-specific tour, our free walking tour also covered several filming locations.
Do you recognize the places below?
The Truth About Dubrovnik
For background knowledge, I had been told from a patient who had visited Croatia in the 90’s that it was a beautiful country and SO affordable. I expected to get so much bang for my buck! However, with fame comes hardship (or something like that). With the filming of Game of Thrones came a HUGE influx of tourism. With this came an increase in prices, naturally. So, while I was expecting to get some awesome seafood at low costs, it didn’t really happen.
Also, even visiting in October, which is considered off-season, the crowds were very large. No chance of getting pictures without tons of people unless you ventured around at night (which we did). In the summer, when cruise ships show up and dock, I was told that foot traffic has to be directed to prevent congestion.
Despite all of this, Dubrovnik is definitely worth it! We visited in October of 2019 and, if you are a fan of GOT, you know the big finale was in May of 2019. Hopefully this was the cause of the busyness during off-season and maybe the hype has died down enough to provide normal crowds and better conditions for exploring!
Guide to Dubrovnik recap!
Get excited about visiting Dubrovnik! It really is an amazing place. Take this guide to Dubrovnik and expand on it as you need and enjoy your time! Just know, that even if there isn’t a huge list of must-do activities, Dubrovnik is such an amazing city that you truly don’t HAVE to do much more than walk around in awe. It is simply beautiful.