The Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Rustic ramparts, pebbled beaches and fine dining: welcome to Dubrovnik.
Its name may sound like a nuclear outpost in the USSR, but this charming little town by the sea is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. And it’s in Croatia, of course. Much of the city centre is a UNESCO site, and it once rivalled Venice for affluence and political import. Wander through the cobbled lanes and feel the history in a town responsible (that sounds accusatory, but shouldn't) for many of Croatia’s most famous poets, artists and scientists.
But that’s all ancient (and modern) history. Today, the town is also known for its gorgeous red-tiled roofs, magnificent seaport and pebble beaches on the Adriatic Sea. All sorts of activities will keep a family (or individual – we don’t discriminate against lone travellers) entertained for days. Cliff jumping, swimming and water sports are among the more active things to do in Dubrovnik, while seafood restaurants and charming cafés fill the old town. You’ve got a great range of things to do in Dubrovnik, so the Plum Guide is on hand to whittle it down somewhat. Hooray.
Go to the beach (and island)
Forgive us for being a tad obvious, but we couldn’t avoid mention of the beaches on a list of things to do in Dubrovnik. It’s one of the main draws to this Adriatic resort hub, with the Lapad Beach perhaps the most famous and popular. Extended on a headland in the town’s suburbs, the strand is made up of pebbles and provides stunning views of the surrounding green cliffs in the distance. Relax on a towel and work on your tan during the hot, sunny Croatian summer. Recharge your batteries after all that hard sunbathing work with a meal at the seafood restaurant by the beach. Beside the bay, there are several concrete beaches with ladders down into the water.
The Banje Beach is pretty central, and has its own private section for a fee. Enjoy the seclusion in this spacious pebbled stretch, with a vista of the Old Town district and its fortifications in the distance. Look out towards the picturesque Lokrum Island and play beach volleyball, mini football or water polo. Make it out to Lokrum Island for its Dead Sea, which is about as close as it gets to its iconic Israeli namesake. While on the island, stroll through the Botanical Garden, visit the Fort Royal and see the Church of Annunciation.
Follow the ramparts
The Old Town district is surrounded by medieval crumbling walls, which make for a popular walking route. Luckily, there are plenty of gaps in the walls, in case you need to get out. Visitors walk along the tops of the walls for excellent views of everything inside and outside of them. The Minceta Tower is the tallest part of the ramparts, built in the 1300s to protect the city from any attacks. Climb to the terrace at the top for wonderful views of the city and the sea.
See the Old Town
Dubrovnik's Old Town is one of the most popular places to visit in Croatia and certainly one of the most interesting things to do in Dubrovnik. There are countless attractions to see here. Check out the War Photo Limited that pieces together wars through photography. The Dubrovnik Synagogue has a key role for the region’s Jewish community, while the Church of Saint Blaise has been a key part of Christianity since its construction here in the early 1700s. The Dominican Monastery is another highlight, dating back to the 15th century.
Of course, as gorgeous as it all is, you can’t just keep looking at old religious things all day – the kids have got grandma and grandpa for that. Head to the eastern promontory of the Old Town for the Dubrovnik Aquarium, which has a dark exposed brick interior containing well-lit tanks of fish and big aquatic creatures… all the stuff you might hope to see in an aquarium.
Try the cuisine
We Plum Guiders take our food seriously. So seriously in fact, that we’re going to recommend only the very best restaurants in Dubrovnik. We’re talking exclusive, fine-dining establishments with the best reputations in town. The Nautika Restaurant is a landmark unto itself, overlooking cliffs, stacks and other rock formations in the sea. It serves up a great blend of Croatian and European dishes.
For something a little different, look to the Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota and tuck into your rice in this elegant and rustic setting. The Forty Four Restaurant and the Restaurant Dubrovnik are further options for elegant eating. If you’re with your kids, throw all the elegance out the window and start looking for a place that won’t throw you out. Hey, that’s not entirely fair, you can still find an elegant spot to host your wayward and raucous family. The Tavern Arka Restaurant has a great children’s menu, and even better views of the bay. The Konoba Dubrava and the Dingdong Korean Restaurant are also great options whether you're with children or not.
Now you know the best things to do in Dubrovnik, it's time to find your ideal home. Plum Guide's lodgings have each been vetted by professional home critics, so whether you're lusting after the pool and gardens at Tartufi or you'd like to stay in the Croatian countryside at Shadow Artist, you know you're in for a great night's sleep wherever you decide to stay.