Dubrovnik – A guide to the Adriatic Pearl!

Dubrovnik croatia adriatic

Dubrovnik is one of the hottest Europe destinations, especially in summer. When you lay eyes on the impressive walled city, it is easy to see why! Bright orange terracotta roof tiles pop against the light stone walls and deep blue waters. The walled town is referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, and we think this nickname is apt. Wandering along the main streets, through the old town, and along the walls transports you back in time. Stepping outside of the walls are clifftop bars and great spots to swim. Dubrovnik has attractions for everyone, and we enjoyed our stay!

Dubrovnik has an interesting history, something we only touched the surface on during a walking tour, talking with locals, and research online. We particularly enjoyed the history about the rivalry between the Venetians and people of Dubrovnik. Additionally, the town surviving and being rebuilt after earthquakes and the war in Yugoslavia is also fascinating. For those interested in the history, we definitely recommend taking one of the many walking tours when you visit Dubrovnik.

A few of our Dubrovnik highlights and recommendations

Dubrovnik is full of attractions and things to do. You could easily spend weeks ‘ticking off’ all of the top sights, eating at the restaurants, completing the day trips and more. We spend 4 nights in Dubrovnik and found this an excellent amount of time to see some of the top sights and get a feel for the place.

The ‘Do Not Miss’ in Dubrovnik:

There are some many great things to do when you visit Dubrovnik. The list below are some of the moments and highlights we recommend that you MUST DO during your stay.

  • Walk the walls of Dubrovnik: Walking the walls transports you back in time, and gives you insight into the magnificence of Dubrovnik’s old city. This was one of the highlights of our trip! This is a popular and busy attraction, so make sure you arrive early. To see more stunning photos and get our tips on beating the crowd, read our thoughts on walking the Dubrovnik city walls.
  • Join a walking tour: Dubrovnik is a busy, bustling city with great history. We found a walking tour a great way of learning more and stepping a bit deeper into Dubrovnik.
  • Have a swim in the Adriatic sea: The water at Dubrovnik is wonderfully clear considering how busy the city is. Whilst not as warm as the shallower beaches along the coast, having regular swims was a highlight of our stay.
  • Watch the sparrows fly over the main street at dusk: Bathed in the golden glow of sunset, the main street of Dubrovnik is impressive. At dusk you will find 100s of sparrows flying in circles above the street. We found this enthralling and recommend it as something to check out during your stay.
  • Grab a drink at one of the many bars overlooking the water: Dubrovnik is situated right on the water, meaning you have countless options to sit and enjoy the view with a cold beverage. Check out our favourites below.

The Best Places to Swim in Dubrovnik:

Being a seaside city provides Dubrovnik with multiple options and locations for a quick dip, or a relax on the beach. There are a few swimming spots around the city and just outside the city walls. For true beach lovers, heading further out of the town, or on a day trip to the islands, may be a better options. Our favourite swimming locations in Dubrovnik are listed below:

  • Sulic Beach: This little beach was our favourite spot for a swim. Located only 5 minutes outside of the Pile Gate, Sulic Beach had clear waters, places to sunbake and a few great bars looking out over the water (more on that later). It is quite a small beach, but it makes up for it with the location and it’s charm. Definitely recommended if you want a swim in Dubrovnik.
  • Outside off the walls near the Harbour/Porporlea Pier: Walk outside the walls, past the quaint harbour, and around the the pier. You will be greeted views of Lokrum island, and find some platforms and rocks to get into the water from. A great spot for a swim.
  • Off the rocks at Buza Bar: For those looking to have fun cliff jumping in Dubrovnik, this is the place! This is less of a beach and more of a cliff jumping location. For those looking to swim/cliff jump in the incredible setting just outside the walls, it’s worth a look! Please note: cliff jumping has risks. This is not a recommendation to cliff jump. Please do so at your own risk. We take no responsibility for any injuries that may occur.

The Best Free Views of Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik is an impressive city to lay your eyes on. At every turn you are greeted with old buildings, bright roof tiles, or city views. As you climb some of the many stairs the views often increase, giving you sneak peaks of the city. The best views of the city come from Walking the walls and on the mountain above, however both are costly. If you are looking for our favourite free views check out our list below:

  • Stairs of Lovrijenac fortress: The fortress itself is worth of visiting (free when you buy the tickets to walks the walls). However, if you’re looking for a great free view of Dubrovnik, head to the starts of the fortress and you get a postcard image. Well worth it!
  • Adriatic views from Buza Bar: The views of the ocean from Buza Bar and the rocks below are stunning. Even if you’re not wanting to stop for a drink or swim, it’s worth checking in to enjoy the view.
  • In the main harbour: The main harbour in Dubrovnik’s Old Town is charming, and offers great views looking back at the town.
  • Outside of Ploce gate: Walk up through the Ploce gate and be treated to free views of the harbour and old town.

Our Favourite Bars in Dubrovnik:

The old town of Dubrovnik offers a multitude of stunning bars to have a drink and relax. Inside the walls, by the beach, or outside the walls.. there’s many great options. Take a look at some of the ones we recommend below.

  • Dodo Bar: Located at Sulic Beach, this beach bar had great vibes. A good choice for a morning coffee or even better for an afternoon beverage. We loved spending golden hour here with a Spritz and a snack.
  • Buza Bar: Boasting arguably the most impressive setting of all the bars in Dubrovnik, Buza Bar is worth checking out. Step through a little gap the walls and down onto the terrace with sweeping ocean views. You pay a ‘location tax’ when buying the drinks (they aren’t cheap).
  • Zox Box Rooftop: Located near the famous steps from the ‘Shame’ scene in Game of Thrones, this little rooftop has great views and excellent vibes!
  • The bar at Porporela pier: This little bar is tucked around the corner of the city walls just past the port. It’s small, unassuming, but situated right on the water. Usually only running in the evenings, this bar doesn’t takes only cash. Be prepared for low key, but excellent vibes, sounds of the ocean, and often music playing. We enjoyed a warm summers night here people watching!

Coffee in Dubrovnik:

Head to Cogito Coffee for the best caffeine hit in the old town. Located down near the harbour and maritime museum down an unassuming alleyway, this cafe is worth checking out for the coffee lovers. Don’t expect a stunning cafe, but the cute outdoor garden is great to sit in. It’s not the cheapest coffee we have had on our travels so far, but it was excellent.

A Few Cheap Eats in Dubrovnik:

Okay, brace yourself.. Dubrovnik is very expensive to eat out. We found this city to be one of the most expensive for dining out on our travels so far. To combat this, we hit up some of the options below!

  • Supermarkets: We try to hit up the local supermarkets when we arrive in a town. Our go-to options are the breakfasts (typically yoghurt, fruit, oats) and then we try to cook a meal or 2 depending on our accommodation. Even grabbing a few snacks and breakfast here can save you a lot of $$.
  • Bakeries: The bakeries provide a cheap option to grab a bite on the go. We both loved a tasty Burek (traditional savoury pastry with meat/fillings). In the city walls is Holy Burek (~40-50kn per Burek) and outside the town a bit is Rusica (~16-18kn per Burek). Generally, getting 5-15minutes out of the old town will give you cheaper prices.

Top Tips for Dubrovnik:

  • Walk the walls early in the morning: This was one of the highlights! However, getting up early, and starting the wall walk when it opens (8am) is our TOP TIP for Dubrovnik. Beat the crowds and the heat. Read more about this recommendation here.
  • Buy your own drinks from the supermarket and sit on the rocks: We loved the clifftop and beachside bars, however we didn't love the price-tags. Head to the local supermarket, grab a few drinks for a fraction of the price, and go sit on the rocks to enjoy the vibe.
  • Expect Dubrovnik to be expensive! Okay, this isn't as much of a tip as it is a heads up so that you're prepared. Eating in the old town will cost you. An example of this is the cost of pizza. We regularly saw Margarita pizza for between 100-150 kn (20-30 AUD) with meat and seafood even more.
  • Eat cheaply with supermarkets and bakeries: Dubrovnik isn't cheap as mentioned above, so saving money where you can is a great option. Bakeries and the supermarket were our 'go-to' options.
  • Get into the old town early to beat the crowds: The Dubrovnik Old Town can get busy, especially if a cruise or two are parked in the port. Head into the old town early, spend a few hours wandering the streets, then hit the beaches when the crowds roll in.
  • Have your accommodation in the old town (or close by): We loved staying inside the old town walls. This allowed us to get into the town early (see above), but also head back to our accommodation multiple times per day to have breaks, especially in the heat of the day.
  • Step off the 'main roads' to get quiet streets: The main promenades and streets in Dubrovnik are seriously impressive, but they also get busy! However, ducking down a side alleyway you can be surprise to find significantly less people. This is great to escape the crowds, see some of the town without the madness, and take a few photos.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik is a tourist hot-spot, so there's accommodation options aplenty. We loved our little stay inside the city walls, however it appears to no longer be up on the AirBnb site. We have checked out a few well located, highly rated options inside or adjacent to the city walls that may be of interest:

Want to look at other accommodation options in Dubrovnik?


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