It’s easy to see why Dubrovnik is known as The Pearl of the Adriatic. You’ll fall in love with the city as soon as you walk through the gates of Old Town! Below you’ll find some of my favorite activities from our trip this April. Make sure to check out my previous post “The best time of year to visit Dubrovnik” for tips on when to go, what to pack, and other useful info for those staying outside of the city center.
1. Walk the city walls
The walls of Dubrovnik are its most recognizable landmark and should not be missed! If you go to this city without walking the walls you will regret it—don’t miss out on these amazing views! The walls are 2 kilometers long and you can walk the entire length; there are 3 entrances but it’s best to start at the main entrance located at the beginning of Stradun, the city’s main avenue (once you pass through Pile Gate into Old Town). You can get your tickets at this entrance—it costs about €20 (they should accept card or Kuna). If you have limited time in Dubrovnik and have to choose between the funicular and the walls, I’d choose the walls for sure!
2. Visit the island of Lokrum (GOT fans listen up!)
Here’s a funny story for you—locals say the mayor of Dubrovnik was so thrilled with the success of Game of Thrones (if you didn’t know several important scenes from the series were shot in Dubrovnik) that he actually bought the Iron Throne for the city. So where did he put it? On the island of Lokrum!
Lokrum is a quick 10 minute boat ride from the old port of Dubrovnik. You can show up to the port and buy your ticket (€15 roundtrip) when you want to go—I believe there’s a boat every hour until 5pm. Once you arrive to the island you’ll notice there are tons of bunnies and peacocks roaming freely (random) and there’s also a botanical garden, nature trail, swimming spots and a tower you can visit too. This post has some good info on things to do on the island.
Javi and I disembarked from the boat and wandered up the trails with the signs pointing to “Game of Thrones”. We found a large stone building with an open door and entered. There were recordings of the GOT cast talking about their experiences filming in the city, and in the back of the room there it was…the Iron Throne!
We were thrilled to have the throne all to ourselves and spent a good 30 minutes snapping photos of each other in various, obnoxious poses. We spent 2 hours on the island and it was enough time to hike the trails to the tower and visit the botanical garden. It’s so close to Dubrovnik you really have no excuse not to go. 😉
3. Consume all beer & oysters in sight
Oysters are one of the city’s star products—and they’re so dang fresh! You can’t go to this city without trying some local seafood. I also loved trying some of the local beers…with every meal. 😉 Some of my favorites include, Osječko is the first Croatian beer ever produced (1697)), Karlovačko the national beer of Croatia, and Ožujsko—the most popular beer in Croatia (with 10 bottles being consumed every second).
If you have a sweet tooth stop by Dolce Vita, a little sweet shop with killer crepes, cakes and ice-cream (and everything is super cheap). It’s a local favorite and always crowded so be prepared to wait if you want a table.
Also, just between you and me, I was told Croatian wine is nice, but it’s more expensive than Spanish wine and it’s not as good—so my advice is to stick with beer.
4. Get lost in Old Town
There are so many beautiful buildings and monuments to see in Dubrovnik—you can learn more about all of the best ones (in my opinion) in this post. My favorite moments in the city involved strolling around aimlessly with Javi, getting lost in the labyrinth of little winding streets, and enjoying our beautiful surroundings.
5. Watch the sunset with a bottle of wine (or beer)
We discovered a fantastic viewpoint of the city while getting lost. There was a couple drinking a bottle of wine and watching the sun set over the water…I remember thinking to myself, “I should have thought of that”, so I’m stealing it for my blog. Someone do this and send me a pic!
You can find the viewpoint by taking one of the streets up into the residential part of Dubrovnik (outside Old Town). Ul. Zrinsko Frankopanska is the name of the street that runs perpendicular to the little street where the lookout point is. You’ll just have to get lost yourself to find it. 😉
6. Take a day trip from the city
Dubrovnik is fantastic, but it’s also small, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of some of the nearby destinations. I had the chance to do excursions to the Elaphiti Islands and visit the countries of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.
My favorite stops were Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Our Lady of the Rocks in the Bay of Kotor (Montenegro)—I’m just excited I can finally say I’ve been to someplace featured on Atlas Obscura—and Kotor (city) in Montenegro.
You can rent a car and drive to these destinations yourself—Mostar and Kotor/Our Lady of the Rocks are each within 2 hours from the city. Keep in mind you’ll have to pass through border control so bring your passport or ID card. There’s also tons of local tour companies offering these excursions if you don’t feel like driving.