15 Helpful Tips For Your First Visit to Historic Dubrovnik Croatia

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After three weeks of island hopping around Croatia, Dubrovnik was our last stop before heading further south to Montenegro. Also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, this city by the sea draws in tourists from around the world year after year. From strolling through Dubrovnik old town and walking the ancient walls to cooling off at the nearby Dubrovnik beaches, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy. Hopefully, our Dubrovnik travel guide can be useful during your next visit!

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Dubrovnik Travel Guide General Information

Official Language: Croatian
Currency: Euros
How Long to Visit: 2+ Days
Airport: Dubrovnik Airport (DBV)
Best Time to Visit: May & June/September & October

First Impression: When first arriving in Dubrovnik we were hit with a harsh reality. There are sooo many tourists! We had read the warning before and expected it, but it was shocking seeing it in person. Still coming down from our relaxing trip through the islands in northern Croatia, things were now moving at a completely different pace.

The already packed city mixed with a few cruise ships in town almost turned us off completely. However, once we looked past the crowds and onto the architecture and history of the city it was easy to see why it’s referred to as the Pearl of the Adriatic!

Dubrovnik Travel Guide Visiting the Pearl of the Adriatic

15 Tips for Visiting Dubrovnik Croatia

1. Stay inside the City Walls

Although it may be a little pricier, staying inside the walls is so unique when you visit Dubrovnik. It’s honestly priceless to be able to walk out of your door and into the Dubrovnik old town. Spend the extra cash to stay inside the walls, you won’t regret it!

The one word of warning that we didn’t read in any Dubrovnik travel guides is to pack light. Depending on where in Dubrovnik old town your accommodation is you’ll have to carry your luggage up the steep steps of the Dubrovnik back streets.

Dubrovnik Old Town

2. Explore By Walking

Inside the city walls of Dubrovnik, there are no cars allowed. This makes it incredibly simple to walk the streets and explore the Pearl of the Adriatic.

Your walks will take you through the winding streets where you’ll see stunning medieval architecture from all angles. How cool is it to be able to stroll through one of the most historical places in the world?

→ Book a 1.5-Hour Old Town Guided Walking Tour of Dubrovnik

3. Get Around the City by Public Bus

There are multiple ways to get around when you visit Dubrovnik. You’ll find plenty to do and see inside the city walls, but if you want to venture out to the Dubrovnik beaches or other places then buses are readily available.

All the buses pick up right outside of the world-famous Pile Gate which makes it easy to get around. There is also a well placed tourist center that can help with information, day trip tips, and maps for your visit to the Pearl of the Adriatic.  

Croatia Coastline

4. Eat Local Fresh Seafood 

Like everywhere else in Croatia seafood is a way of life here. There are plenty of fancy restaurants throughout the city, and with that comes a hefty price tag. For us, there was no better place to chow down than at Barba. We ordered the calamari and the octopus sandwich which were out of this world delicious.

Visit Dubrovnik & Eat Seafood

5. Drink Red Wine

Nothing goes better with a Croatian sunset than a glass of wine, and you’ll get the very best of that when you visit Dubrovnik. Local wineries bring the godly drink to both the city and Dubrovnik beaches so they’ll be no shortage for you to enjoy.

No Dubrovnik travel guide would be complete without Plavic Mali. This is the most popular red wine in this region with the magical grapes growing up and down the coast of Dalmatia.

6. Hit the Dubrovnik Beaches

There isn’t much nature inside Dubrovnik old town, but it’s not far away! Croatia is world-famous for its beaches, so it’s no surprise that there are nice places to swim near the Pearl of the Adriatic.

Banje is the city beach and closest to the center of town. If you’re up for an adventure then you’ll find beautiful Sveti Jakov also only a 20 minute walk away. We discovered Sveti to be a local favorite and was rarely crowded even in the peak of summer.

7. Don’t Miss Walking the City Walls

If there’s one thing that’s a must do on your visit to Dubrovnik it’s walking the city walls. The tremendous walls that surround Dubrovnik old town are absolutely mind-blowing to set foot on. You’ll get to explore the ancient area and see Dubrovnik from above as people have for centuries.

While you’re up there you might as well get some incredible photos! Around every turn, you will get once in a lifetime views of the city and ocean in the distance. Here you can see why the “Pearl of the Adriatic” continues to be one of the most visited places in the world. Honestly, it will be hard to put down your camera!

→ Dubrovnik City Walls: Epic Guide to the Best Stops & Viewpoints

Exploring the Pearl of the Adriatic

8. Visit the Maritime Museum

As you can imagine, finding history in Dubrovnik is a piece of cake. Simply walking around Dubrovnik old town is enough, but there are many museums to enjoy as well.

One of the most interesting to see when you visit Dubrovnik is the Maritime Museum. Located inside St. John’s Fortress, you’ll learn about Croatia’s world famous seafarers and explorers who dominated the oceans for hundreds of years.

Visit Dubrovnik Travel Guide

9. Hop on the Dubrovnik Cable Car

Walking the wall is a must, but to truly get the best view of the city you may need to get higher up! The Dubrovnik cable car will take you to the top of Srd Hill for sweeping views of Croatia’s national treasure.

10. Watch the Sunset from the Wall Bar

One of the coolest parts about visiting Dubrovnik will be the bars and restaurants in and around the wall. At some of these spots, you will even find rocks to cliff jump off into the water. If you’re looking for a unique experience literally just outside of Dubrovnik old town, this is it! So walk around the wall along the ocean and enjoy a drink with a view of the Adriatic Sea.

Cafe Buza - Hole in the Wall Bar Dubrovnik

11. Walk through the City at Night

You may be exhausted after exploring so much during the day, but save some energy for nighttime when you visit Dubrovnik! The city comes alive at night, and seeing all the restaurants and streets light up is a sight to see. Also, you’ll find this is a nice opportunity to escape the heat during the summer months.

12. Embrace Game of Thrones

Shame Shame Shame!! Yes, that’s all we could think of as we walked down the now infamous Jesuit stairs that descend into Gundulic Square. As much as we wanted to stay out of the tourist scene on our visit, it’s hard when you’re constantly passing through scenes from the best show on television. Many tours are available for GOT lovers, and you’ll see people taking photos at all the popular spots from “King’s Landing.”

Book a 2-Hour Game of Thrones Walking Tour

Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Travel Guide

13. Plan Your Day Around the Crowds 

On that note, do your best to avoid the crowds when you visit Dubrovnik. Although it may be unavoidable in such a touristic city, you can time your day in such a manner to make it more tolerable. For example, don’t walk the wall in the middle of the day. Maybe instead hit the Dubrovnik beaches, and save the wall tour for sunset.

Dubrovnik Old Town Crowds

14. Take a Day Trip To Mostar

Interestingly enough, one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most famous towns is just a day trip away. Many tours are available for a great price out of Dubrovnik old town to this cultural center.

What makes this Mostar so appealing is that you have such different food, culture, and history right at your fingertips. So hopefully our Dubrovnik travel guide can lead you to other amazing world heritage sites like this one!

→ Book a Mostar Full-Day Trip from Dubrovnik

15. Continue On to the Croatian Islands or Montenegro 

Due to its location and high tourist traffic, Dubrovnik is a great jumping-off point to other European countries. The airport is only 20 minutes from Dubrovnik old town.

Additionally, places like Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina are also just a bus ride away. You can even catch a boat out to one of the many beautiful Croatian Islands from here if you didn’t get enough of the Dubrovnik beaches!

Have any questions about our Dubrovnik travel guide, how to get around, visiting Dubrovnik Old Town, or your own Croatia tips? Leave us a comment at the bottom of this post!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where To Stay In Dubrovnik Croatia

Ultra Luxury – Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Get the luxury you’re used and all the amenities right on the doorstep of Dubrovnik old town. This Hilton branch has whatever you need for a relaxing time in Croatia, while still being close to all the action.

Fun Vacation – Scalini Palace – Set right in the heart of Dubrovnik, Scalini Palace is the perfect spot for couples and travelers alike. Take in the view of the city from your balcony with a glass of wine, and enjoy every aspect the Pearl of the Adriatic has to offer.

Hostel Life – Hostel Angelina Old Town – As one of the only hostels within the city walls, you won’t find a better deal for this area when you visit Dubrovnik. It’s also located only 600 meters from Banje as well as other Dubrovnik beaches.

For more places to stay in Dubrovnik Croatia you can explore the latest prices here!

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Dubrovnik Croatia Things To Do Travel Guide

Croatia Travel Planning 

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Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a blue cave 5 islands tour from Split, go sea kayaking in Dubrovnik, or take a day trip to the famous Krka National Park

 Flights: We always find great flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Croatia, you can even take your car on the ferries so you have wheels for the different islands! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

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