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Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting? 15 Reasons to Visit Dubrovnik in 2024

You know when something doesn’t live up to the hype? Well, Dubrovnik is the exact opposite. I’ll be the first to tell you that I was skeptical of visiting the Pearl of the Adriatic.

Having lived in Croatia since 2014 and traveling extensively throughout the country, I had visited so many incredible and underrated destinations that I was almost certain Dubrovnik couldn’t live up to my expectations.

But I was wrong. As soon as I laid my eyes on its medieval stone walls in person, I was completely blown away. It was glorious and majestic, a testament to centuries of Croatian culture and history, and I couldn’t believe that I had been missing out on such a beautiful sight for so long.

So is Dubrovnik worth visiting? Absolutely!

However, you should be warned that not all times of the year will offer the same amazing experience I had. So if you want to know the best time to visit, or if you’re still on the fence about visiting, keep reading because I’ll be sharing the insider scoop on how to make the most out of your trip to Dubrovnik.

Why is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?

Dubrovnik is truly unlike anywhere else in Croatia.

Even before moving here permanently, I traveled to nearly every corner of the country. From its enchanting cobblestone streets that radiate history and the massive walls that guard the town to its sea of orange tiled rooftops and crystal blue waters, there’s just something so magical about Dubrovnik.

Still not convinced? Read on for 15 reasons to visit and things to do in Dubrovnik.

15 Reasons Dubrovnik is Worth Visiting

1. The Historic Old Town

Let’s start with the most obvious reason for visiting Dubrovnik. The historic Old Town is one of the major draws to this southern European town and once you’ve seen it in person, you’ll realize why it’s just so irresistible.

Take some time to get lost in the Old Town with no specific plan–let your curiosity lead the way as you meander down cobblestone streets that have been polished by millions of footsteps over the years.

The town is super compact and pedestrian-only, making it easy to explore on foot. As you stroll around, you’ll naturally stumble upon iconic sites like the Franciscan Monastery, Rector’s Palace, Jesuit Stairs, Onofrio’s Fountain, and the famous Stradun.

If it’s raining in Dubrovnik, pop into one of the countless museums or galleries in the town, including the Love Stories Museum or the Red History Museum.

If you want to dive deeper into the history of the Old Town, book a Dubrovnik walking tour with a licensed local guide.

Aerial view of Dubrovnik Old Town, with terracotta rooftops and ancient city walls visible, nestled against a backdrop of rolling green hills and the serene Adriatic Sea, framed by soft lavender blooms in the foreground.

2. Walk the City Walls

The second most obvious reason to visit Dubrovnik is to walk the city walls! If you only do one thing on this list when visiting Dubrovnik, let this be it!

The walls are seriously impressive, and well-worth the seemingly steep ticket price. Before sticker shock gets the best of you, know that your contribution goes directly toward preserving and maintaining the walls that date back to the 13th century.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik’s walls will certainly be a highlight of your visit to the city. Covering a span of around 2 kilometers, it usually takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to walk around the entire perimeter, including stopping for photos along the way.

There are a few entrances to the walls, so you don’t need to complete the entire loop if you don’t have time or don’t feel like it, but I highly recommend doing the full walk around. You’ll find several convenient spots to take breaks, use the restroom, and even buy something to drink on the walls.

The best time to visit the walls is early in the morning as soon as they open. This will guarantee you beat the crowds, and the heat, if visiting during the summertime. Alternatively, you can visit them in the late afternoon, about 2 hours before closing, and you’ll catch a gorgeous sunset from the walls!

Woman in a black and orange patterned dress walking along a cobblestone alleyway within Dubrovnik Old Town, with high stone walls and a vintage street lamp adding to the historic charm of the setting.
Wandering around Dubrovnik Old Town in November.

3. Explore Lovrijenac Fortress

When you purchase tickets to the city walls, you’ll also get access to the nearby Lovrijenac Fortress and you don’t want to miss that! Lovrijenac Fortress, also known as St. Lawrence’s Fortress, was built in the 11th century on a 37-meter-high cliff to protect the city from invasion.

Legend has it that the people of Dubrovnik discovered that the Venetians were planning to conquer their city and build a fortress in that very spot. Before the Venetians arrived, the locals quickly constructed an enormous fortress to trick their invaders, and it worked!

When the Venetians finally made it to Dubrovnik armed with troops and building materials, they were shocked to find the giant fortress already in place. They left, and Dubrovnik was saved from Venetian domination.

The mighty fortress still stands today, and houses a small chapel and courtyard, making it the perfect spot for a romantic fairytale wedding. Lovrijenac also hosts numerous theater performances and events throughout the year, and is a spectacular spot to snap photos.

Lovrijenac Fortress perched on a rugged cliff above the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, with dramatic clouds in the sky and jagged rocks emerging from the sea, capturing the historic and natural beauty of Dubrovnik's coastline.

4. Discover Game of Thrones Filming Locations

Fans of Game of Thrones will definitely agree that Dubrovnik is worth visiting! The city served as the film set for some of the most iconic sites from the HBO series, including King’s Landing, the Red Keep, and Black Water Bay.

While you could technically DIY your way around the main filming locations, I recommend taking a guided Game of Thrones tour if you want to fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the show.

Not only will your expert local guide show you the spots the show was filmed in, but they’ll also let you in on the secrets of its production as well as behind-the-scenes stories you otherwise wouldn’t be able to discover on your own.

🤩 Check prices and book a guided Game of Thrones Walking Tour!

A calico cat resting on the ancient stone steps of the Jesuit Staircase in Dubrovnik under a clear blue sky.

5. Take in the Panoramic Views From Mount Srd

For a unique perspective of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area, take the cable car ride up to Mount Srd. The ride to the top is only 3 minutes and 30 seconds, but the views at the summit are absolutely breathtaking. On a clear day, you can even see up to 60 kilometers away.

Once at the top, you can visit the 19th century Imperial Fortress for a historical experience or dine at the spectacular Panorama Restaurant (which is pretty epic at sunset). Just be sure to make a reservation on their website beforehand as it is a popular spot.

Tickets for the cable car ride are not cheap, so if you want to save some cash, you could hike up (although I only recommend doing this early in the morning when the temperature is still cool). Alternatively, you can drive up or take an Uber from Dubrovnik to the top and split the cost with your group.

You can also book round trip transfer to the top of Mount Srd in an air-conditioned vehicle with your own personal guide. Plus, you’ll get to stop at a few other locations along the way!

A woman in a red and black dress stands on Mount Srđ, overlooking the panoramic view of Dubrovnik's Old Town with its distinctive red roofs, the serene Adriatic Sea, and Lokrum Island in the distance, under a sky dotted with clouds.

6. Experience the Magic of Lokrum Island

Lokrum Island was one of my favorite places in Dubrovnik. This peaceful island is just a s15-minute boat ride away and offers plenty of activities such as swimming, hiking, kayaking and snorkeling.

Known for its beautiful botanical gardens where peacocks and fluffy bunny rabbits roam freely, Lokrum is a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. On the island, you’ll also find an old fort that was once used to quarantine visitors, a monastery, the iron throne from Game of Thrones, and even a saltwater lake known as the island’s very own Dead Sea.

You can totally organize a day trip to Lokrum on your own: just catch the ferry from the Old Town pier that leaves multiple times per day. Once on the island, you will have to pay an entrance fee (not included in the price of your ferry ticket) as the island itself is a Nature Reserve.

Buza na Lokrumu natural cave near Dubrovnik Croatia

7. Lounge on Postcard-Worthy Beaches

Although Dubrovnik is small, it has an impressive collection of beaches. Most of the beaches around the city are pebbled or rocky, so make sure you bring sandals or flip-flops if you want to walk around without hurting your feet.

Banje Beach is the most popular beach close to the Old Town. There, you can rent sun loungers and parasols as you swim and suntan against the backdrop of Dubrovnik’s magnificent city walls. Although it gets crowded here, it is by far one of most beautiful beaches in Dubrovnik.

If you’re willing to venture out a little further, it’s worth paying a visit to Sveti Jakov Beach, Dance Beach, Sulic Beach, and Bellevue Beach. I also recommend taking half a day to visit Pasjaca Beach. It’s about a 30-minute drive south of Dubrovnik, but it was voted the most beautiful beach in Europe and is truly the most one-of-a-kind beach I’ve ever been to in Croatia.

Woman standing with her hands on a white railing inside of a cave overlooking the sparkling turquoise waters of Pasjaca Beach down below.
Walking down to Pasjaca Beach near Dubrovnik.

8. Go on a Boat Tour to the Elafiti Islands

Depending on how many days in Dubrovnik you choose to spend, you might have time to visit the Elafiti Islands!

The Elafiti Islands are a small archipelago of 6 islands that stretch along the coast just north of Dubrovnik. The main islands in the archipelago to stay on and visit are Šipan, Lopud, and Koločep. Out of these 3 inhabited islands, 2 of them are entirely car-free (Lopud and Koločep)!

This makes visiting the Elafiti Islands extra special, as they are nothing like some of the famous beach towns known for their huge party scenes. While exploring the islands, you’ll get the chance to walk through ancient monasteries, discover castle ruins, and roam through ancient villages.

Of course, no visit to the Elafiti Islands would be complete without swimming and snorkeling! I recommend taking a guided tour where you’ll be able to visit hidden cliffside caves, swim in secluded bays, and chill out on the sandy shores of Sunj Beach.

🤩 Check Prices and book a boat tour to the Elafiti Islands!

A solitary sailboat anchored in the calm sea, captured at sunset with hues of soft pink and orange in the sky, and silhouettes of birds flying overhead, creating a peaceful maritime scene.

9. Kayak Around Cliffs

If you love an active vacation, one of the best things you can do in Dubrovnik is go on a kayaking tour around the city walls. Kayaking through the sapphire waters that surround the medieval city will give you an entirely different perspective of Dubrovnik’s dramatic coastline.

I recommend joining a sunset kayak tour, which will take you on a breathtaking paddle as the sky turns to shades of purples, pinks, and oranges, creating a surreal atmosphere. Your guide will take you to Lokrum Island and back, while uncovering hidden spots along the way.

This is such a fun experience that will definitely be a favorite memory from your trip to Dubrovnik.

🤩 Check prices and book a sunset kayak tour in Dubrovnik

View of Dubrovnik harbor through a stone balustrade cutout, showcasing a cluster of boats moored in the marina with the historic St. John Fortress standing majestically in the background, under a clear sky with a hint of greenery on the horizon.

10. Embark on a Buggy Safari Adventure

Gear up for an exhilarating Buggy Safari on Mount Srd! This unique tour is an exciting way to discover Dubrovnik’s spectacular surroundings.

Starting with a scenic drive up the coastal road, you’ll ascend to the top of Mount Srd, stopping for photos along the way. Once you reach the top, you’ll be met with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the city and the shimmering Adriatic Sea.

After that, you’ll venture off the beaten track into the heart of the mountain’s rugged landscape, exploring sites and hidden fortresses that are rarely seen by tourists. Think ex-mine fields, war sights, fortresses, and farms, all rolled into one unforgettable adventure.

So, if you’re looking to add a little excitement to your Dubrovnik trip, a Buggy Safari tour is a must-do!

🤩 Click Here to Book a Buggy Safari in Dubrovnik

11. Savor Oysters in Ston

Located just 60km north of Dubrovnik is the town of Ston, home to the second longest defense walls in Europe.

Standing strong since the 14th and 15th centuries, these remarkable fortifications span an impressive 7km. They served two main purposes: safeguarding the lucrative salt pans of Ston, which are still in operation to this day, and acting as the first line of defense for the vital port city of Dubrovnik.

Visitors can walk the walls that are now 5.5 kilometers long and link the town of Ston to Mali Ston, tour the salt pans to witness the traditional method of harvesting sea salt, and sample some of the best seafood in Croatia. This particular area is famous for its oyster and mussel farms, which thrive in the region’s mineral-rich waters.

Stone-paved path leading to the historic main gate of Ston, Croatia, with the Croatian flag flying above. The gate is flanked by lush green trees and a clear blue sky, highlighting the town's ancient architecture and tranquil surroundings.

12. Discover the Romantic Charm of Cavtat

Cavtat, a darling seaside village just south of Dubrovnik, is the epitome of Adriatic charm. This Croatian hidden gem, nestled in a tranquil bay and embraced by fragrant pine forests, offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling energy of Dubrovnik.

Cavtat’s coastline is adorned with lovely pebble beaches and rustic rocky coves, perfect for a day of sunbathing or a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. The blend of natural beauty, historical architecture, and the gentle hum of village life make Cavtat an ideal day trip from Dubrovnik.

Getting there is a breeze – a scenic 45-minute boat ride from Dubrovnik will land you in this serene haven, and tickets are reasonably priced.

Cavtat can even be an alternative to staying in Dubrovnik’s Old Town if you prefer a more laidback and relaxed atmosphere.

Tranquil seaside view of Cavtat, Croatia, with small boats gently bobbing in the harbor, framed by lush greenery, against a backdrop of charming houses with red roofs and the Dinaric Alps in the distance, under a clear evening sky.

13. Experience the Nightlife

Is Dubrovnik good for nightlife? Yes!

While the city might not have a huge amount of clubbing options, there are a ton of cool bars where you can enjoy a night out. From cozy wine bars and Irish pubs to beach clubs and cliffside cocktail bars, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes.

One bar that should be on your list is Buza Bar, a hidden spot perched right outside the city walls just above the sea. Cave Bar is also a cool, modern spot that has been carved into an actual cave.

If you want to go clubbing, you can’t go wrong with Culture Club Revelin. This venue is housed in.a 16th-century fortress located in the historic Old Town and offers world-class DJs, live performances, and themed nights. For some LGBTQ-friendly fun, check out MILK fun area & cocktails.

There are also a number of bar crawls that you can join which is a great option if you’re traveling solo in Croatia and want to meet other people.

14. Take a Day Trip to Mljet Island

Just a short ferry ride away from Dubrovnik lies the emerald sanctuary of Mljet-one of the greenest islands in Croatia. Covered in lush pine forests, 1/3 of this island is made up of a national park that includes two saltwater lakes, endless hiking and cycling trails, and pristine beaches.

Totally different from the other islands you’ll encounter in Croatia, Mljet is a place where time stands still. Old-school signs still point to restaurants and accommodations, and even older cars cruise lazily along the one main road. No wild parties, no traffic rush, just pure laidback island vibes.

There are countless things to do on Mljet, and if you have time, I actually recommend spending a few days here.

You can also take a guided boat tour to Mljet National Park while stopping at a few other islands. This tour looks particularly awesome as it takes you to Odysseus Cave (my favorite spot on Mljet), snorkeling around Kolocep Island, and even includes a special visit to the Blue Cave.

🤩 Check prices and book a boat tour to Mljet National Park

A woman in an orange swimsuit reclining on a makeshift wooden bench under a shade sail, with a rustic stone hut beside her, all set against the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea near Mljet, creating a serene and secluded getaway ambiance.

15. Take a Day Trip to a Nearby Country

Dubrovnik’s strategic location at Croatia’s southern edge opens up a world of travel possibilities. If you want to sample a different country or new culture without straying too far, consider day trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro or Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Whether you join a guided tour or venture out with a rental car, these neighboring countries are both easily accessible from Dubrovnik.

This is a great option if you’re short on vacation time and want to pack as much as you can into your stay, or if you have a few extra days in Dubrovnik and want to explore more of the surrounding area.

Day trip to Kotor & Perast, Montenegro

A mere 2 hours’ drive from Dubrovnik lies the enchanting town of Kotor in Montenegro. This charming coastal town, nestled at the base of towering limestone cliffs, is a blend of beauty and historical depth. Its labyrinth of winding streets and medieval architecture is straight out of a storybook.

This boat tour from Dubrovnik to Montenegro is an awesome and affordable way to travel down the Adriatic Coast. You’ll get to see Boka Kotorska Bay, wander around Kotor, and explore the charming old town of Perast.

🤩 Check prices & availability for a Montenegro Boat Tour from Dubrovnik

Day trip to Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Another option is to take a day trip to Mostar in the neighboring country of Bosnia & Herzegovina. This town is known for its iconic medieval bridge “Stari Most” that connects both sides of the ancient town.

The atmosphere here is superbly unique and you can feel the blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Stroll through the vibrant bazaar, where the scent of Turkish coffee fills the air, and browse for unique handmade crafts.

While in the region, don’t miss a chance to visit the Kravica Waterfalls, often likened to a mini version of Krka National Park but you can actually swim here! These falls are a natural wonder and provide a refreshing escape, especially during the warmer months. If you don’t have your own rental car, this tour includes a visit to Kravica as well.

🤩 Check prices & availability for a day trip to Kravica Waterfalls & Mostar from Dubrovnik

Old Bridge in Mostar on a day trip from Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Travel Tips

Now that we’ve covered the top reasons to visit Dubrovnik, here are a few tips to ensure you have the best possible time in the city.

  • Avoid peak season: If you can, try and plan your trip to Dubrovnik around shoulder season. This means the months of April, May, September, and October. The reason for this is that there are typically less tourists during these times, and you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience. The weather is still beautiful during these months, and you’ll be able to avoid the crowds. Plus, there are often great deals on hotels, flights, and other activities during shoulder season.
  • Stay outside of the Old Town: It’s no lie that the old city can get super busy in the summertime. If you want to have a peaceful place to retreat to after a long day of sightseeing and rubbing shoulders with other tourists, consider staying outside of the Old Town. My recommendation would be Cavtat as it offers the same charm of Dubrovnik but with a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Plan your sightseeing around cruises: When cruise ships roll into town, the Old Town can get crazy busy. I’d suggest planning your sightseeing activities around them, and maybe even skipping out of town during the day when there’s a big ship coming in. That way, you can come back in the early evening and enjoy the beautiful Old Town without the crowds.

FAQs

What is so special about Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik is renowned for its stunning Old Town surrounded by seriously impressive massive stone walls dating back to the 13th century. Its a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts well-preserved buildings and street layout reflect a rich architectural and cultural history. Plus, it served as one of the main filming locations for Game of Thrones and other movies like Star Wars.

Why do people go to Dubrovnik?

People visit Dubrovnik for its historical significance, unique medieval architecture, picturesque beaches, and sunny Mediterranean climate. It’s also popular among Game of Thrones fans as a key filming location.

How many days in Dubrovnik do you need?

Ideally, I recommend spending at least 3 days in Dubrovnik. This gives you enough time to explore the Old Town and all of its major sites, visit the beaches, and take a day trip to nearby islands or coastal towns.

Is it better to go to Split or Dubrovnik?

Split and Dubrovnik are very different, so it really depends on personal preferences. Dubrovnik is famous for its historic walls and old-world charm, while Split is a modern, working city that was built around the ancient Diocletian’s Palace. Find out whether Split or Dubrovnik is a better fit for you.

The Verdict: Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?

So, is Dubrovnik worth a visit? Absolutely.

This city goes beyond just its postcard-perfect views; it’s a place where history and culture come alive against the backdrop of the stunning Adriatic Sea. From wandering the ancient city walls to exploring the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town, there’s an undeniable charm that Dubrovnik offers.

I hope this Dubrovnik travel guide has convinced you to finally start planning that trip to Dubrovnik! Before you go, find the perfect place to stay with these charming boutique hotels in Dubrovnik.

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Croatia Travel Planning Guide

💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).

🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!

🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.

📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!

🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.

🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.

🚗  Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)

💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!

🪪 Do I need a visa for Croatia?
Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.

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