1. Take the cable car over Dubrovnik
A slick modern cable car zips you up mighty Mount Srd. The city unfurls below like one of the exotic Oriental carpets that used to be traded through Dubrovnik when it was a hub on the Silk Route. It’s clear why Byron waxed lyrical as you peer down from the café or restaurant terrace. Don’t miss the old fortress that heroically held out against Serb forces during the 1990s war – it’s now a war museum.
Opening Hours: 9am-12am Tickets: 130 kn round-trip per adult, 60 kn round-trip per child, children under 4 go free Address: Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik
2. Walk the walls of the Old Town
Dubrovnik’s 2km long walls were never breached, and you can see why as you hike around the series of forts built into the already hulking walls. The best light is in early morning and late afternoon, and this is when the crowds are at their lightest too.
Address: Poljana Paska Miličevića, 20000, Dubrovnik
3. Stroll the Stradun
Take a wander along the old town’s main thoroughfare, the perfect spot to people watch. Pop on your glad rags and pose your way along, stopping off for a bijela kava (local café latte) on the way. If it’s hot, head to Dolce Vita just off the Stradun, which boasts the city’s finest sladoled (ice cream).
Address: Stradun, Dubrovnik
4. Take a religious ramble
Encourage your saintly side with a stroll through the old town’s religious ruins and relics. One of the most impressive is the grand Franciscan Monastery, home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy. At the other end of town is the 14th century Dominican Monastery, and in between these relgious houses lies St. Blaise’s Church with its sculpture depicting the city’s patron saint holding a model of the city.
Franciscan Monastery Opening Hours: Summer hours 9am-4pm, winter hours 9am-2pm Tickets: 30kn per adult, 15kn per child Address: Placa 2, Dubrovnik
St. Blaise’s Church Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9.30am-7pm, Sunday noon-5pm Address: Stradun, Dubrovnik
5. Savour Dalmatian cuisine
Forget the photo menu tourist haunts of Prijeko and head to the old town to take a table at Kopun instead, the name meaning ‘young rooster’ in Croation, a local specialty you can try here. For seafood, Bota Sare – renowned for cultivating oysters in nearby Ston – have opened an oyster and sushi bar, while for a romantic meal you can’t beat Prora Beach Restaurant, with epic views of the old town across the water and chef Peter Obad’s sublime Adriatic seafood.
6. Go Croatian wine-tasting
Over the last few years Dubrovnik’s finest grape juice for grown-ups, Malvasia (not to be confused with Malvasija from the rest of Croatia) has started to appear on restaurant menus. Nab this deliciously dry white when you can, or head out into the Konavle vineyards to seek it out yourself.
Tickets: From €50 per person, booking essential. Address: Pick up available from Dubrovnik hotels.
7. Go on a Game of Thrones tour
To Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik is the real life King’s Landing. Check out key locations including the Lovrijenac Fortress (the Red Keep) and the Minceta Tower, where Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen sought the entrance into the House of the Undying. There are plenty of organised GOT tours if you want the full show.
Opening Hours: The walks take 2 hours 30 minutes. Tickets: €54 per person, booking essential. Address: Pile Gate, Dubrovnik
8. Grab a cushion and a cocktail
Ok, so the brace of Buza bars are not easy to find – head behind the Jesuit Church and look for the scrawled ‘Buza’ signs – but it’s the best place to find a couple of cool bars to enjoy a sundowner (or several). Pick up a cushion, sit on the rocks, even pop in for a dip in the water. Buza means hole in Croatian and both bars literally lie through holes in the mighty city walls.
Opening Hours: 24 hours Address: Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik
9. Top up your tan on Banje Beach
You don’t get many sandy beaches in Croatia. Indeed, the immaculate white stuff at Dubrovnik’s Banje Beach has been shipped in, but no one seems to mind. The old town ramparts rise spectacularly in front of you and the slick Eastwest beach club here is on hand with loungers and lunches.
Address: Frana Supila 10 | West entrance to the Old City, Dubrovnik
10. Shop off Stradun
The shops on the Stradun are unashamedly geared towards cruise ship passengers. For better souvenirs and local handicrafts head instead into the little lanes in search of jewellers and crafts shops. Simona and Marko offer handmade jewellery at Dubrovnik Treasures.
11. Kayak to Lokrum
Known in Game of Thrones as Qarth, the forested isle of Lokrum tempts just a short way off the shores of the mainland. You can take a boat trip over, but savvy visitors venture out by sea kayak and enjoy unbeatable views of the old town on the way back.
Opening Hours: Seasonal dates between April and October Tickets: €47 per person
12. Daytrip to the fortress of Lovrijenac
Whilst an outing to Lovrijenac is included in the Game of Thrones tour, it’s worth seeing even if you don’t care about the Lannisters. Archaeologists have dated the fortress as far back as 1018, being an instrumental defensive lookout for Croatia’s army. It’s quite a walk up to the top to see the ‘Lizard’ cannon, but it’s worth it for the views of the Adriatic.
Opening Hours: 8am-6pm daily Tickets: 120kn per adult, 30kn per child, included in the price of the Wall tickets. Address: Ul. od Tabakarije 29, 20000, Dubrovnik
13. Escape to Mljet
15 miles away from the walls of Dubrovnik, you’ll find this little gem of an island, surrounding by the deep blue Adriatic. If you’re in Dubrovnik for more than a few days, or you’re looking for the next stop, consider a few days here hiking and cycling through the Mljet National Park. Rent out kayaks, swim and laze your summer away on one of Dubrovnik’s prettiest neighbours.
How to get to Mljet from Dubrovnik: Ferries depart from Dubrovnik to Polace (Mljet) daily, and the trip takes 2 hours. See the timetable here. Where to stay on Mljet If you’re staying on Mljet for more than one night, check out Hotel Odisej. They’ll be able to help you organise tours and bicycles rentals on the island. Address: Mljet, Croatia
14. Find Dubrovnik’s Cathedral
Much of Dubrovnik feels medieval in it’s architecture, but the Baroque cathedral brings a touch of the sixteenth century to it. It was badly damaged in the fifteenth century, then redesigned by Italian architects Andrea Buffalini and Paolo Andreotti. The real treasures lie inside the Cathedral’s treasury, where you can gaze on centuries of gold and silver relics (said to be the bones of saints, encased inside precious metals).
Opening Hours: 8am-7.30pm Tickets: Free to enter Address: Kneza Damjana Jude 1, Dubrovnik
15. Get green-fingered in Arboretum Trsteno
Just 18km north of Dubrovnik, you’ll find the imperial gardens of Trsteno. The gardens used to belong to the Gučetić-Gozze family, who requested that all of their ship captains return from their travels with seeds and flowers from different locations. The garden was first founded in the thirteenth century, and since then has withstood attacks from Serbian and Montenegro war boats. It’s estimated that only 20% of the vegetation is left, but you’ll still wonder at the palms, banana trees and magnolias as you relax in the gardens.
Opening Hours: May-October 7am-7pm, November-April 8am-4pm Tickets: 45kn per person, children go free Address: 20233, Trsteno, Croatia
How to get to Dubrovnik
You can fly direct to Dubrovnik, Croatia, from London, Leeds, Manchester, Belfast, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham and Bristol. If your city isn’t listed, many airlines offer connecting flights to Dubrovnik from the U.K.
Where to stay on a city break in Dubrovnik
If you’re looking for a hostel:
For clean and comfortable facilities in a cracking location, Hostel Angelina is your best bet.
If you’re looking for a hotel:
Romantic breaks start in Hotel Kazbek . This is a 5-star option with a sauna and pool on site.
If you’re looking for luxury:
When you combine a nineteenth century building, a location in the centre of the Old Town and an amazing spa, you end up with the Hilton Dubrovnik .