Dubrovnik, Croatia is a fascinating city dominated by its Medieval Old Town which looks over the Adriatic Sea. Inside the high city walls of Dubrovnik, you’ll find stone palaces, ancient walls, churches, and fountains. You’ll also find crowds of tourists as many cruise ships stop here. There are so many things to do in Dubrovnik from exploring ancient palaces to taking a Game of Thrones Tour, to kayaking around city walls, to visiting Lokrum Island, to rock climbing and cooking classes.
Dubrovnik’s reputation as a filming location for Game of Thrones has added another layer of fascination to the city. As you wander through its narrow alleys and soak in the architectural marvels, you might recognize locations from scenes of the popular TV series. The city has gracefully embraced its newfound fame, but you’ll find that during high season, the crowds can be intense.
In this post, we’ll cover the best things to do in Dubrovnik from wandering the stone streets of Old Town, to where to swim in Dubrovnik, as well as activities and tours.
We also spent time checking out things to do in Split, (another GoT filming location), the town of Zadar, known for its epic sunsets, marveling at Plitvice Lakes National Park, and exploring the capital city of Zagreb.
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What is Dubrovnik Known For?
Dubrovnik, Croatia is known for its coastal location on the Adriatic Sea, and its Old Town surrounded by high walls which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Old Town has preserved medieval architecture, ancient walls, and enchanting narrow streets.
In recent years, Dubrovnik has gone from a hidden gem to a super popular destination due to its role as a prominent filming location for the HBO TV series Game of Thrones. Extending beyond the Old Town, Dubrovnik offers stunning coastal scenery, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant cultural scene that showcases local traditions, music, food and arts.
Consider a Dubrovnik Pass
The Dubrovnik Pass, or DuPass, is the digital version of the Dubrovnik Card and includes admission to popular attractions like the Dubrovnik City Walls, Rector’s Palace Museum, and more. A visit to the city walls will pay for the 1 Day Pass, so it will make sense for most visitors to get the pass. We’ve got all the details on the Dubrovnik Card– what it includes, what it costs, and how to use it.
Quick Guide: The Best Tours in Dubrovnik
Things to Do in Dubrovnik
There are so many things to do in Dubrovnik, whether you are looking for natural beauty, culture, or amazing traditional food. We’ve got all the things to do in Old Town, on the beaches, on the water, as well as outside of Old Town, including tours and activities around Dubrovnik from visiting ancient sites to rock climbing and sailing.
Old Town Dubrovnik: Inside the Medieval Walled City
These things to do in Dubrovnik are all in Stari Grad, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town. The Old Town is pedestrian only- cars are not allowed to enter.
1. Take a Walking Tour of Old Town
A walking tour is a great way to learn about the history of both Croatia and Dubrovnik and get a sense of the layout of the Old Town. We recommend starting your time in Dubrovnik with a walking tour so you can make plans to return to places that interest you.
There are many varieties of Dubrovnik walking tours– from classic history tours to hidden gems tours or ghost tours.
Our Top Pick: This Walking Tour is a 1 1/2 hour walking tour of Old Town which has almost 2,000 five-star reviews! You’ll learn about the ancient history of the city as well as the much more recent Homeland War in the 1990s.
Book Now: Walking Tour of Old Town
2. Enter Through Pile Gate
Pile Gate is the main entrance through the old city walls of Dubrovnik, into the Old Town. This entrance is accessible- you can either take the stairs or follow the ramp down and in. This gate is from the 15th century and originally had a wooden drawbridge which has been replaced with the stone walkway you see today. You’ll notice a statue of St. Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik right above the entrance.
3. Drink From Onofrio’s Fountain
This large, sixteen-sided, almost circular fountain has been providing water to the city since 1438. Feel free to fill your water bottle here, or just use your hand to take a sip.
This four-hour food tour through Old Town includes a range of Croatian delicacies, with at least five tastings along the way. From cheese and salami to Croatian wines and gelato, you’ll learn all about the cuisine of the region. This is a great tour to do at the start of your trip, as you’ll learn about the culture and have places you’ll want to return to!
This tour gets lots of 5-star reviews and includes a maximum of 8 travelers. Vegetarian options are available (let them know ahead of time), and children are welcome.
Book Now: Food Tour of Old Town
5. Walk the City Walls
Don’t skip walking a loop of Dubrovnik’s iconic, ancient city walls. You’ll want to start in the morning (right at the 8 am opening) to avoid the heat and the crowds. There is an entrance right after you enter the city through Pile Gate, but we recommend crossing the city and using the entrance on St. Dominics Street. This area is less crowded. You’ll start your walk with amazing views over the Old Port of Dubrovnik and out to Lokrum Island.
You can purchase tickets for the city walls right as you enter, or use your Dubrovnik Pass. Expect to spend about two hours walking the walls, there are places to stop and get a drink or use a bathroom along the way. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and sunscreen, as it can get quite hot.
6. Climb to Fort Lovrijenac
Your ticket to climb the city walls also includes access to the Lovrijenac Fortress- which is a separate part of the Old Town defense system. This fortress has recently become more popular since it was the filming location of the Game of Thrones “Red Keep”.
Also called St. Lawrence Fortress, it has a triangular shape and walls up to 12 meters thick. You’ll find the only way to access it is via almost 200 steps. The inscription above the entrance reads: “Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro” which translates as “Freedom must not be sold for all the gold in the world”. Your climb will be rewarded with wonderful views back over the old city.
7. Wander the Stradun in Old Town
One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is wander the stone streets of the Old Town. The area isn’t huge, and you’ll soon find yourself circling around. There are narrow alleys off the main wide pedestrian boulevard, called the Stradun or Placa. You’ll find cafes, fancy restaurants, and artsy shops to explore.
8. Visit Orlando’s Column
This famous column was erected in 1418. It features a knight in Medieval armor, representing Orlando, who supposedly saved Dubrovnik from invasion. This column, sitting in Luža Square next to Sponzia Palace and St. Blaise’s Church, is the center of the opening ceremonies for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
9. Take a Game of Thrones Tour
Dubrovnik was a major location for filming the hit TV series Game of Thrones, acting as the main setting for the city of Westeros. We’ve rounded up the best Game of Thrones Tours in Dubrovnik, from day-long trips to the best GoT filming locations to 2-hour Game of Thrones walking tours.
Our Top Pick is Total Game of Thrones Experience which is a 7 1/2 hour tour and includes Game of Thrones filming locations in Old Town, Lokrum Island, Arboretum, and Mt. Srd.
Book our Top Pick: Total Game of Thrones Experience
10. Enjoy Coffee from Cogito Coffee
This was our favorite coffee spot in Dubrovnik- it’s down an alley, south of the Old Town Port, and feels tucked away from all the crowds. There are only a few seats, but you’ll gaze into the artsy shop across and watch a few cats play, and take a quiet moment. Also, their fruity iced teas are delicious. Stajeva ul. 5
11. Explore the Franciscan Monastery & Pharmacy
The pharmacy inside the Franciscan Monastery was founded in 1317- making it one of the oldest in Europe. You can see the old weighing systems and other small displays. The Monastery itself is worth a visit- the cloister has a beautiful courtyard with double pillared columns. On the opposite walls, you’ll find dozens of frescos depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi. There is a small charge to enter (about 5€) or use your Dubrovnik Pass.
12. Balance on the Maskeron
Along the Stradun, just past the entrance to the Franciscan Monastery, you’ll find the Dubrovnik Maskeron- a small stone with a face on it protruding from the wall. A “maskeron” is a face that is supposed to frighten away evil spirits. Legend says that if you balance on this stone, facing the wall, and manage to take your shirt off, you will be lucky in love. No one is sure where the story comes from, but give it a try! It’s harder than it looks to balance facing the wall.
13. Visit Dubrovnik Cathedral
The Dubrovnik Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral with a storied history. After Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked on Lokrum Island in 1192, he vowed to build a church on the spot where he was saved. The inhabitants of Dubrovnik convinced him to do that in the city, rather than on the island. This cathedral, however, was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1667. It was rebuilt by an Italian architect in the Baroque style and completed in 1713. Look for a multi-paneled painting of the Assumption of the Virgin by Titian behind the main altar.
While entry to the Cathedral is free of charge, to enter the Dubrovnik Cathedral Treasury, you’ll need to pay several euros. There you’ll find 132 relics of saints including the gold-plated arm, leg, and skull of Dubrovnik’s patron saint, Saint Blaise.
14. Snap Pics at the Museum of Selfies
The kids had so much fun here! This museum is really a series of small setups for taking funny photos- from a ball pit to a bathtub with gold bars. A nice indoor diversion on a hot day.
15. Snack on a Traditional Burek
Bureks are traditional pastries filled with meat, cheese, or other fillings. You’ll also see these on restaurant menus, often curled into a roll rather than as a straight stick. Stop by Holy Burek for a delicious, hot Croatian snack. Ul. od Puča 22.
16. Visit the Church of St. Blaise
The Church of St. Blaise faces right onto the Stradun, with Orlando’s Column in front. Named for Dubrovnik’s patron saint, the church here previously was damaged in the earthquake of 1667, and then destroyed by fire in 1706. Everything was lost in the fire except the silver statue of St. Blaise which was miraculously unharmed.
You can enter this ornate Baroque church at no charge, look for the famous statue in a high niche on the altar.
17. Climb the Jesuit Stairs
Leading up to the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius, this famous wide Baroque staircase is sometimes called the “Spanish Steps” of Dubrovnik. They are even more famous for being the site of the “Walk of Shame” scene in Game of Thrones, season five.
18. Visit the Church of St. Ignatius
Designed by Andrea Pozzo, and completed in 1725, this Jesuit Church at the top of the Jesuit Stairs is quite ornate inside. Its belfry also holds the oldest bell in Dubrovnik, cast in 1355.
19. Explore the Museum of Natural History
A traditional Museum of National History with a collection dating back to 1872. You’ll find a collection of seashells, as well as taxidermied specimens ranging from sea turtles to monk seals.
20. Visit the Rectors Palace Museum
The Rector’s Palace is a fun museum for all ages. It’s housed in a beautiful building with a main courtyard and exterior staircase. You’ll often see people stopping to rest in its shaded portico. This palace was originally built to be the home for the rector- who served for only one month and was only allowed to leave the property for official duties.
The lower exhibits range from weapons to locked treasury boxes. The upper floors showcase period rooms with fine furnishings and paintings. You’ll probably spend about an hour in the whole space, but the diverse exhibits keep it interesting.
The lower courtyard also makes a great concert venue. From the upper windows, you have great views of the Dubrovnik Cathedral. Included in the Dubrovnik Pass, or tickets are 15€ per adult, family ticket 35€.
21. Visit the Maritime Museum
This museum is just as it sounds- full of model ships, paintings, and other maritime paraphernalia that showcase how important the sea is in the history of Dubrovnik. Included in the Dubrovnik Pass or 10€ adults, or 25€ family ticket (two adults and kids under age 14).
22. Rub Marin Držić nose for Good Luck
A statue of playwright Marin Držić sits just to the side of the Rector’s Palace. Called “Dubrovnik’s Shakespeare”, legend has it rubbing his nose is good luck and means you will return to Dubrovnik. Locals aren’t sure when this started, but you can’t miss his shiny nose, and it can’t hurt to give it a try!
23. Visit Marin Držić House
This townhouse is where the 16th-century playwright and poet Marin Držić was born. He is Croatia’s most famous playwright but only became so well regarded after his death. He was a bit eccentric in life, at one point attempting to overthrow the Ragusa government of Dubrovnik, and gaining the nickname “the Otter” due to how often he wore furs. His comedies are often performed at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
The museum itself is a bit eccentric and includes full-size representations of his most famous characters, and details about his life, including a bedroom and study on the upper floors. Široka ul. 7.
24. Stand in Line for Ice Cream or Gelato
There are lots of options for ice cream and gelato in Old Town Dubrovnik, but there are two places we highly recommend, and there will probably be a line for both.
Gianni’s Ice Cream has a handful of flavors at any one time (12 or so, the better to not be overwhelmed). You can choose from classics like Strawberry Sorbet, or more avant-garde flavors like Peanut Butter Rosehip Jam.
Peppito’s Gelato Garden is also a great choice- we loved the Lemon Pie and the Tiramisu flavors here.
Whichever one you choose (or both?) grab a cone to go and sit on the circular back stairs of the Dominican Monastery to enjoy your treat.
25. Visit Sponza Palace
Sponza Palace is a Gothic-Renaissance-style palace built in the 16th Century. It originally served as both an arsenal and the mint. On the outside, you’ll see a statue of St. Blaise, Dubrovniks’ patron saint. You can only visit the ground floor, there may be a charge depending on the exhibit there.
26. Visit the Ethnographic Museum
This museum is housed in the Rupe, a series of old underground grain storage holes. The first floor is devoted to exhibitions around grain storage, the upper floors focus on traditional Croatian culture. There are some interesting traditional costumes, as well as some lace and needlework collections. Included in the Dubrovnik Pass, or adults 8€, family ticket 20€.
Outside of Old Town: Dubrovnik and Nearby
These experiences and activities are outside of the historic Old Town. You’ll get to experience another part of Dubrovnik and interact with more locals.
This cooking class gets rave reviews! You’ll drive out into the countryside to meet your chef, then help to cook a four-course meal including typical dishes like peka and ražnjići, Of course, you’ll finish the evening by enjoying the meal you helped prepare.
You’ll meet a local family and tour their farm, learning more about Croatian culture and food. Limited to 8 travelers.
Book Now: Traditional Croatian Cooking Class
28. Go Modern at MOMAD: Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
This museum is three floors in a gorgeous old palace just past Banje Beach. When you purchase your ticket here (20€ adults), you also get access to 8 other museums and galleries around the city, including the Rector’s Palace. Or use the Dubrovnik Pass.
The third floor has a temporary exhibition, and the bottom two floors are permanent displays of Croatian artists with an emphasis on photography. The museum is not huge, which makes it perfect for a family visit and a nice change of pace from all the ancient history in the Old Town.
Look for the sign “Umjetnicka Galeria” on the front stone wall, before entering a lovely stone courtyard. Ul. Frana Suplia 23.
29. Go Rock Climbing
This half-day rock climbing trip takes you just outside Dubrovnik where you’ll climb a limestone rock- there are different routes for different experience levels, and safety is a top priority. No experience is necessary.
Maximum of 8 travelers per group, with grades ranging from 4b to 7a. Instruction, harness, rock climbing shoes, and a helmet are all included with this four-hour tour.
Book Now: Half Day Rock Climbing
30. Take the Dubrovnik Cable Car at Sunset
Opened in 1969, the Dubrovnik Cable Car takes you to the top of Srd Hill for views overlooking the old city. It is fabulous at sunset! The ride is not cheap, 27€ per adult round trip. On a clear day, they claim you can see 37 miles! Some of the longer Game of Thrones tours include a trip to the top of Mt. Srd in their tours.
31. Learn at the Museum of the Homeland War
This museum in Fort Imperial at the top of Mt. Srd chronicles the Homeland War of 1991-1995 when almost 60% of Dubroviks Old Town buildings were damaged by bombs.
32. Learn about Yugoslavia at the Red History Museum
The Red History Museum is focused on life in Croatia while it was part of communist-ruled Yugoslavia from 1945-1990. Explore rooms furnished from the communist period, learn about the secret police, and what life was like during this time. This museum opened in 2019 as an interactive experience of everyday life in communist Yugoslavia. Svetog Kriza 3. Adults 9€, Kids 10 and under are free.
This 2-hour electric tuk-tuk tour will show you some of Dubrovnik outside the old city. This small vehicle holds a maximum of four passengers, so you are guaranteed a small group tour.
You’ll cross the Franjo Tudjman bridge with beautiful views of the Dubrovnik Port, then travel up Mt. Srd, with several stops along the way, ending at the top of the cable car route.
Book Now: Tuk Tuk Tour of Dubrovnik
34. Visit Lokrum Island
Lokrum Island is visible from the walls of the Old Town. This nearby island is a nature preserve. With its shaded paths, it feels a world away from the buzz of Dubrovnik. On the island, you can sit on the real Iron Throne from Game of Thrones, climb to the center of the island for views of Dubrovnik, or play in shallow rock pools by the sea.
Ferries leave every half hour from the Dubrovnik Port for the 15-minute ride over to Lokrum Island, you must leave at the end of the day. Don’t miss our full guide to visiting Lokrum Island.
Things to Do in Dubrovnik: On the Water
From sailing to snorkeling to exploring all the islands close to Dubrovnik, there are so many things to do in Dubrovnik on the water.
35. Go Sea Kayaking
You can take a sea kayaking tour, or rent by the hour. To reach the kayak launch, head down the stairs just before the drawbridge to Pile Gate in the Old Town. Betina Cave is a lovely cave and beach area only accessed from the water. You can paddle here, park your kayak, and take a swim in the beautiful waters.
In 2023, prices for renting a double kayak in the high season were 30€ for the first hour, and 15€ for the second hour. They provide lifejackets and a wet bag for your things.
The half-day kayaking tour lasts about 3 hours and includes kayaking around Lokrum Island while learning about the history of Dubrovnik. You’ll visit Betina Cave and have a break for swimming and snorkeling. You’ll even have a chance to try cliff jumping if you like!
This tour gets more than 500 5-star reviews. This is a lot of kayaking, and the current and swell can be strong, especially when returning to Dubrovnik. This tour is best for fit travelers though a lot of kayaking experience is not necessary.
Book Now: Half-Day Sea Kayaking Tour
This half-day tour takes you to the iconic Blue Cave on the island of Koločep. You’ll visit three other caves where you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel, before spending an hour at Šunj Beach which is best reached on foot or from the sea.
This tour is limited to 12 passengers, so you’ll truly enjoy this half-day out on the ocean around Dubrovnik. Includes drinks, and you are also welcome to bring your own! Some travelers report that the current near the caves can be strong, so this tour is best for strong swimmers.
Take a sunset cruise on a wooden-masted 16th-century ‘karaka’ replica ship. You’ll have views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and Lokrum Island as you sip champagne. Enjoy watching the sunset from this old-school galleon before returning to the Old Port.
The minimum age for this tour is 16 years old. This is a large boat that can accommodate over 100 travelers.
Book Now: Sunset Karaka Cruise
Prefer a sailboat all to yourself? This sailboat accommodates up to 12 travelers, but it will only be your group. You’ll explore the Elaphiti Islands including sea caves and quiet beaches, with time for swimming and snorkeling.
This trip leaves from the Bay of Lapad and can include a visit to the Blue Cave. You can also learn about sailing from the skipper on this journey if you like.
Book Now: Private Half-Day Sailing Adventure
Where to Swim in Dubrovnik
There are many options for swimming in and around Dubrovnik, some are more family-friendly than others. Here are some of the best beaches to visit in Dubrovnik.
40. Lay Out on Banje Beach
Banje Beach is a very popular beach just a ten-minute walk from the Old Town. As you walk east of Old Town along the coast, you’ll see a sign above some stone steps leading down to the water that reads “Banje Beach Restaurant – Lounge- Club”. Follow these steps down to the pebble beach.
You can rent an umbrella and chair (about $40 USD for two chairs and an umbrella). At the end of the beach club, there is a small area you can put down a towel without renting a chair. There are servers walking around, although the drinks are not cheap (around $15 USD per drink).
The swimming area is roped off to separate it from any boats. It’s shallow, clear, and pleasant. This beach does get busy, but it’s a wonderful respite from the heat of the city.
41. Jump from the South Side of the Walls
There are several places to jump into the ocean from the south side of Old Town. There are rocky outcroppings that people jump from, then use ladders to climb out. This might be great for older kids who are strong swimmers, but not for young families.
42. Lounge at Lapad Beach
This is a lovely stretch of pebble beach north of Old Town. At the entrance to the beach is the Sunset Beach Club, but keep walking in and you can put a towel down on the rocks. Take a walk around the bay on the Lapad Promenade, and stop at Cave Bar More for a fun drink in one of the alcoves of the cave.
When you’ve had enough time on the beach, walk into town for dinner at Shizuku (Japanese), or Pizzeria Papillon. Head back to Lapad Beach to catch the sunset before calling it a day.
43. Get Ritzy at Copacabana Beach
North from Lapad Beach, you’ll find Copacabana Beach. Here you’ll find beach clubs with lounge chairs and cocktails. This is a more upscale, pebbly beach where people go to get away from the noise of the city.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
We recommend staying close to, but outside the walls of the old town when visiting Dubrovnik with kids. You can choose between renting an apartment which allows you to cook for yourself, and therefore save money on food, versus a hotel with a pool where you can cool off during hot afternoons.
This lovely three-bedroom apartment is just above Old Town- getting to it is a walk uphill, but you’ll have amazing views. The entrance is close to the main stairs leading to Pile Gate. With three large bedrooms, a private garden, and a terrace with sea views, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy the city.
Book Now: Three-Bedroom Apartment with Garden
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik
There are a lot of restaurant options in Dubrovnik, but we found that many of them in the Old Town were quite expensive. We made a list of all the best budget-friendly places to eat in Dubrovnik, from traditional food in the Old Town to a cave bar at the beach.
When is the Best Time to Visit Dubrovnik?
The best time to visit Dubrovnik is in the Spring or Fall. During the summer, the crowds are quite thick, and the heat is quite strong. While it’s a great time to enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean, you’d be better off visiting with fewer crowds.
We visited in August and found the sometimes 100-degree (and humid) heat, combined with the crowds to be draining. There are plenty of alleyways and back cafes to get away from the larger crowds, but you’ll have a better experience without having to deal with them.
However, summer (early July to the end of August) is also the time of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. This festival brings many cultural performances to the city. From performances of Hamlet to orchestras and other musical concerts, there’s a lot going on. Most of these begin around 9 pm when the heat of the day has passed. For us, this was too late for our kids to start a concert. If you have older kids, you should consider the advantages of visiting during this time.
How Many Days Should I Spend in Dubrovnik?
We recommend 3-4 days in Dubrovnik. To see the major sites of Old Town takes 1-2 days, depending on what interests you, your speed, and how much time you’d like to spend sitting at a cafe taking in the views.
Add in a day or two for trips to Lokrum Island or the Elafiti Islands, and some beach time to relax. We spent a week, with breaks in the afternoons to cool off from the heat, and did not run out of things to do.
FAQ: Things to Do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is the most expensive city in Croatia that we visited. Coming directly from Mostar, Bosnia, the prices were a bit of a shock. However, compared to European capitals like Paris or London, Dubrovnik is still a deal. Prices drop sharply when you leave the Old Town.
Yes, you will need some cash in Dubrovnik. The official currency changed to the Euro in January 2023.
You’ll find some tour operators and smaller cafes or ice cream shops only take cash. For example, kayaks rented in person by the Old Town walls must be paid in cash.
Yes, Uber is available in Dubrovnik. We found Uber very handy for getting to and from the bus station. You may also find it useful to get away from Old Town- for example, to visit Lapad Beach and its surrounding restaurants.
There You Have It: Things to Do in Dubrovnik Croatia
There are so many wonderful things to do in Dubrovnik, from learning both ancient and recent history at museums to the historic sites of Old Town to rock climbing or sailing to nearby islands.