10 things to do in Dubrovnik in a day, Croatia

10 things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is one of the most famous resort towns in Southern Europe. It’s small, so it can be explored on a few walks. The city will please both beach lovers and those who want to diversify leisure and admire examples of ancient architecture, museums, panoramic views.

The panorama of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Panorama

Explore the exhibitions in the museums of Dubrovnik

Despite its population of 40 thousand people, Dubrovnik has a dozen museums. You can start with the museum of archeology. Dalmatia has an interesting history, and various archaeological finds are exhibited there, but there is no permanent exhibition, which is good. It will be an occasion to visit it again. After visiting the archaeological museum, you should go to the ethnographic museum and get acquainted with the life of the Croatian people.

In a beautiful building with arches and columns is a museum of modern art. The terrace around it is decorated with various “mutilated” sculptures. The exposition occupies three floors. A good addition to it is an art gallery.

In Dubrovnik there is a house-museum of Marin Držić. He lived in the 16th century and went down in history as a poet and playwright. The exposition of the house-museum can be considered secondary, as well as those of the synagogue, the museum of nature and the studio of the artist Pulitic.

The city’s largest museum is the Rector’s Palace. During the years of independence the Rector was called the head of the city government, actually a prince. In its basement is an exhibition on the war in the early 1990s, while the other rooms have collections of rare and beautiful items, clothes, crockery and furniture.

The history of Dubrovnik has been linked with the sea at all times, so tourists should not pass by the interesting maritime museum.

In the city there are many ancient churches, one of them is orthodox, built in 1865-1877, and there is a small museum of icons.

Old quarter of Dubrovnik

Old Quarter of Dubrovnik

Take a walk in the Old Town

The Old Town in Dubrovnik is both interesting and photogenic, many of the buildings in it have an interesting history. The best place to start looking around is at the Pile Gates. In the morning or evening hours in the Old Town it is worth to walk along the famous walls.

Of the buildings of the city’s fortifications, the tallest and most beautiful at the same time is the Minceta Tower. It was built in the XV century and was originally square, and then it was transformed into a round one. The thickness of the masonry is 6 meters, so in the New Age, the tower was considered almost impregnable. Fans of “Game of Thrones” love to visit it. The Minchet Tower has two tiers, the lower has square loopholes and the upper resembles a chess piece “rook” with its jagged decoration. Of the other fortifications, the triangular Lovrijenac fort on one of the rocks is of interest.

The large and photogenic Onofrio fountain serves as a good landmark and meeting place for local youth.

The rocky coast of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik’s rocky coastline

Take a ride on the cable car

It is sometimes called the funicular. The cable car takes tourists to the observation platform of Mount Srdj. It is the only cable car on the entire Adriatic coast. The views from its cabins are fascinating. It was first opened in 1969, during the war in the 1990s it was closed and reopened in 2010. It consists of two cabins that accommodate 30 people. They move at a speed of 6.5 meters per second.

In an hour this type of transport carries about 500 people. The top station of the ropeway is located at an altitude of 405 meters above sea level. It offers panoramic views of the Dinaric highlands and the quarters of Old Dubrovnik. At the top station one can see the museum on the theme of military operations of the early 1990s. The ticket for adults costs 900 rubles, for pupils is half price, and for small children the lift is free.

Take a walk on the harbor

The Dubrovnik marina is called Gurj, and in 2010 a cruise port of the same name was built in the picturesque place with many yachts and barges. Often, huge white liners are docked there. All this looks very nice up close with small houses and their orange roofs. And all this is separated by the gulf from the opposite shore, where the bridge, named after the first president of independent Croatia – Franjo Tudjman, leads.

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The island of Lokrum and Dubrovnik

The Island of Lokrum and Dubrovnik

Visit the islands of Lokrum and Lopud

One kilometer from Dubrovnik is the island of Lokrum, well visible from the city. The island has an interesting history, at different times it was visited by Richard the Lionheart, the Habsburgs and Bonaparte. On the island you can see the monastery, which is about 1000 years old. One of its attractions are peacocks – they walk peacefully along the paths of the island. Tourists should ascend to a height of 91 meters to the old fort, which offers a beautiful view of Dubrovnik. Get to the island by water cab, it departs every hour and travels about 10 minutes.

A little farther from the city, five kilometers to the northwest, is the island of Lopud. Its area is 4.3 km and the length of the coastline is 14.6 km. It has more than 20 churches and a Franciscan monastery. At the end of the 19th century, a park was established in one of its villas, where various tropical plants, such as cacti and bamboo, still grow to this day. There are one-day excursions to the island from Dubrovnik. You can swim at the beach of Shun in the bay of the southeastern part of the island.

The walls and old buildings of Dubrovnik

The walls of Dubrovnik and the old buildings

Buy Croatian souvenirs

Dubrovnik is a tourist town, so you can buy almost all kinds of typical Croatian souvenirs there. From the most banal, such as magnets, to more advanced. The country has an interesting history since the antiquity, so it is worth to buy historical literature in the Croatian language, which is not so difficult to understand.

Food and Drink

You can buy and bring Croatian alcohol in Dubrovnik. The best option, as wines, vodka “Lozavac”, liquor “Moraskino”, rakija long enough to keep.

Olives grow in Croatia, so you can bring olive oil along with the wine. In a solution of this oil is soaked “Pag cheese” – a delicacy from the island of Pag. From Dubrovnik you can bring delicious Croatian sausages and truffles.

In Croatia, they make wonderful sweets. For example, it is worth buying “Paprenjaci” gingerbread, as well as fig jam, mountain honey from calendula flowers, spicy chocolate with peppers, cakes “Licitar heart”. The latter is a heart of various sizes, the kind of which, according to Croatian tradition, is given as a date present.

Tourists in Dubrovnik

Tourists in Dubrovnik

Other souvenirs

Of the pleasant little things to buy in Dubrovnik is the Morcic keychain, which represents the head of a Moor in a white turban. One of the iconic vessels of this Slavic country is the Vuchedol dove. It looks like a bizarre figurine of a bird on three legs. This souvenir is quite fragile, you should keep this in mind when transporting it. Other nice miniatures that Croats make are jars of sea salt, colored candles, miniature houses, jewelry. If Russia is famous for Vologda lace, Croatia is famous for Dalmatian lace. They are made in the city of Trogir.

As a souvenir for your boss or business partner you should bring a fountain pen or automatic pen “Nalivpero”. It was invented by the Croatian engineering nugget Slavoljub Pencal, who died about 100 years ago.

Another accessory invented by Croats is the tie. It has long been part of the national costume and military uniform. The fashion for a tie from Croatia was adopted by the French, and therefore in many languages, this element of clothing is called “kravat”, that is, from the word “Croatian”. In Dubrovnik there is a large selection of ties, you can even buy a whole set.

Croatia is famous for its stone crafts. One of the famous ornamental material is the Brač stone from the island of Brač. Products from it are very diverse, for example, you can buy a clock with a dial made of stone.

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In many of the souvenir stores in Dubrovnik you can smell the lavender. A large center of its production is the island of Hvar. It is worth bringing lavender oil, bouquets for furniture, bags of grass under the pillow.

For books in Dubrovnik the tourist can go to the bookstore. In Croatian it is called “Knjizara”. Textbooks are sold in “Skolska knjiga” in the historic center. To the north of the historic center there is a bookstore “Verbum”.

In Dubrovnik many goods produced in EU countries are sold, which are not found in Russia, also because of the sanctions. The main retail chains that are present in the city are Pemo, Tommy, Konzun.

The Dubrovnik Cafe

Cafes in Dubrovnik

Taste Croatian Cuisine

Although the country is Slavic, but its cuisine is very different from the usual Eastern European. It is more like Italian, Greek and generally refers to the Balkan cuisine. Croatia can interest gourmets with its wines, oysters, seafood, meat delicacies and truffles.

Not only fish are caught near Dubrovnik, but also oysters, for which the small town of Ston is famous. The tourist should try these dishes:

  • Burek. A type of puff pastry with cheese or meat.
  • Prsut. A ham of pork smoked over charcoal or dried in the sun.
  • Manistra (Maneshtra). So may call a thick soup with beans and stewed vegetables.
  • Strukli. Cheese roll.
  • Visovacke begovice. Meat of young lamb with sour sheep’s milk.
  • Chobana with zloniachina. Pork with spicy spices.

The country is also famous for its alcohol. For example, they call young homemade wine “tochno”, and plum brandy – “pluvovica”, rakija on herbs – “travarica”. Of the local beers it is worth noting “Karlovacko”, and of the liquors – “Maraskino” and “Pelinkovac”. Croatian desserts contain nuts, dried fruits and honey instead of sugar.

In Dubrovnik you should pay attention to such places:

  • Lokanda Peskarija. It serves Dalmatian dishes, sometimes in pots.
  • La Luna. Pizzeria.
  • Marco Polo. An excellent restaurant with a varied menu.
  • Nishta. Vegetarian restaurant, also serves vegan dishes.

A bird’s eye view of Dubrovnik:

Go to Bosnia and Herzegovina

If you drive from Dubrovnik 100 kilometers to the northwest, the road ends up in a small piece of territory that belongs to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On a piece of land about 10 kilometers long is the resort town of Neum. After it, the territory of Croatia starts again. The town itself is Croatian in spirit, and almost all the population is Catholic. It does not have a Muslim flavor typical of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Neum is worth a visit to add to your collection of visited countries and seaside resorts, because there are many Croatian or Italian, and Bosnian one.

Go to Montenegro

It is only 40 kilometers from Dubrovnik to the smallest Slavic country in terms of area and population. Buses go to Herceg Novi, Kotor and Budva. Thus, the tourist can admire the famous Bay of Kotor from both sides. Herceg Novi is a small town, which is realistic to walk around on foot. Its attractions include: Savin Monastery, the fortresses of Kanli Kula and Spagnola. The old town is quite nice, with a museum, parks, and the villa of Marshal Tito.

The walls of Dubrovnik

The walls of Dubrovnik

Take a tour of the Croatian Riviera

As part of a day trip or excursion from Dubrovnik, it is quite possible to make a foray into one of the smaller resort towns nearby. Swim, sunbathe and do some sightseeing. For example, Ston, situated 50 km to the north of Dubrovnik, is an interesting town for its archaeological finds and defensive works. The local walls are 5 kilometers long and are considered to be the longest in Europe, although the fact is questionable, considering the size of the Kremlin in Smolensk and the walls of Constantinople in Istanbul.

Near the town of Ston is Prapratno, where the ferries to the island of Mljet operate. It is considered the most wooded of all the Croatian Dalmatian islands. From the middle of the XIV to the beginning of the XIX century, it was part of the Dubrovnik Republic. The island has only about 1000 inhabitants, but there is a national park with lakes and a medieval monastery of St. Mary.

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You can take a night trip from Dubrovnik to the island of Korcula, where the ferry takes you from the town of Orebic on the picturesque peninsula Pleševac.

Another interesting place to visit is the island of Sipan with its ancient churches. It is about 20 km from Dubrovnik and can be reached by ferry.

40 km to the south of the city is the southernmost village of Croatia – Molunat. It has a population of about 200 people, a campsite, a small church, hostels, cafes and a couple of islands in the bay.

What to see in Dubrovnik in 1 day

Dubrovnik in a Day

Dubrovnik is a small town in Renaissance Croatia, one of the sites protected by UNESCO. There are many ancient architectural monuments, churches, fortresses and palaces, and the Mediterranean nature is strikingly beautiful.

The city became world famous after the filming of scenes from the TV series “Game of Thrones” here. Many scenes of King’s Landing were filmed here. For English-speaking groups there are even special excursions to the filming locations of the most popular TV series of our time.

For a more complete travel experience, it is better to make a list of sights to see beforehand. In Dubrovnik there are a lot of them, but you can choose the most interesting to keep in one day.

What to see first of all:

The acquaintance with the city is better to start with its old part. From the port there are bus routes 1 (A, B, C, D) and 3.

Stone Bridge

Stone Bridge

The starting point of the route is the ancient Stone Bridge, which leads to the Pile Gates. The bridge acquired its present appearance after 1397, when the characteristic arches were rebuilt. Today there is a lush garden under the bridge.

Pile Gates

Pile Gates

Ancient Gate to the Old City

Stone Bridge

Gate

The stone gate is located on the site of the former fortress of Pile in 972, which was destroyed in 1818. It survives as it was rebuilt in 1573, in the Gothic tower style with an arch and sculpture of St. Blasius of Sebastia, the patron saint of Dubrovnik.

Lovrijenac Fortress

Lovrijenac Fortress

Fort through the wall of the old town

On the observation deck

Fort of St. Lawrence

The second name of the fortress is the Fort of St. Lawrence or “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”. The triangular structure with three terraces is situated on a cliff 37 meters above sea level and is a part of the city walls. The thickness of the outer walls of the fort is 12 meters. The courtyard with majestic arches has parapets from which you can enjoy the sea scenery. Since 1950, Lovrijenac has hosted an annual summer theater festival.

City walls

The Wall Around the Old City

Powerful Walls

Wide walls of antiquity

Wide walls of antiquity

In Dubrovnik, the city walls themselves are an important attraction. The fortified two-kilometer walls with defensive bastions, towers and citadels, which date back to the 10th century, encircle the old city, making it look like a fort. The walls are 6 meters thick and 25 meters high. Today, the Fortress walls are the cultural and historical heritage of the country and a stunning viewing platform.

  • Entrance fee: 150 kuna (50 kuna for children)

Minceta Tower

Minchet Tower

The round tower of Mincheta is the highest point of the northern fortress of the city with the same name. It is one of the symbols of the invincibility of Dubrovnik and at the same time is a great observation platform with unparalleled views of the city and the sea. The tower was erected in 1319, and originally it was square in shape, getting its present appearance in 1461.

Onofrio Fountain

View from the top of the fountain square

Bas-reliefs on the fountain

Onofrio Fountain

The ancient Onofrio fountain was built in 1438 as part of the town’s aqueduct, supplying the town with water from the mountain spring. The structure has a 16-sided design and is decorated with fanciful bas-reliefs – masks of human and animal heads, from which water flows. Until today, the fountain functions properly. According to legend, the local water is able to grant wishes.

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Church of the Holy Savior

Church of Our Savior

The current temple was built in 1520 in gratitude to God for salvation from the earthquake. The monumental white-stone eclectic building has a façade with stained glass windows and portals.

Franciscan Monastery

Monastery

The Franciscan monastery was built in the 14th century, and its inner courtyard is a model of Romanesque buildings of Southern Dalmatia. The monastery is a complex of church, bell tower and cellular buildings. After the earthquake of 1667 the church left only one Gothic southern portal with ancient statues. In the courtyard there is a monastery garden, where even today the monks grow medicinal herbs and prepare medicinal drugs that can be bought in the monastery’s pharmacy, opened back in 1317. A large Renaissance hall houses an exhibition-collection of religious objects and works of art.

Stradun Street

Stradun street

Beginning of Stradun Street

Evening stroll along the street

View of the street from the wall

The ancient 300-meter street of the city is a former sea strait: it was filled in and paved with limestone. The avenue with baroque buildings stretches from the Pile Gates to the Ploce Gates, crossing the old town. Today Stradun is the main street of the old part of Dubrovnik and its main traffic artery. Tourists will be amazed by the abundance of cozy cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops and luxury boutiques, musicians and artists’ performances.

Luža Square

The colorful square is situated not far from Stradun Street. It got its original name from the city’s 15th century bell tower – Luža, which in Croatian sounds like “open loge”. It used to be a place where townspeople flocked to solve important problems to the ringing of bells. The imposing size of the square is a real kaleidoscope of buildings of different architectural styles and eras, from the 15th to the 18th century. Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance – these styles surprisingly organically combine in the same place, as well as buildings built at different times by different masters.

Sponza Palace

Exterior view of the palace

Inside of Sponza

Sponza Palace

The palace has quite a rich past: once it was the residence of state departments, then the mint, armory, and treasury. Today the building houses the city’s historical archive. All the splendor of the architecture of the palace opens from the courtyard.

Church of St. Vlasius

Temple of Vlasius

The temple from the 18th century was founded in honor of the patron of the city – St. Blasius. It is his figure of silver adorns the church in the Baroque style, topped with a huge dome. The interior space is permeated with colored rays of the sun thanks to the ancient stained-glass windows. Here you can see a sculpture of St. Vlasija with a medieval model of Dubrovnik, an antique organ and paintings in gilded frames.

Orlando Column

Monument in the Square

Monument to Orlando

Orlando Column

This landmark is often used by locals as a meeting place. The medieval monument is named after the knight Ronald, the hero of the poem “The Song of Ronald” – it is his image that adorns the monument. In ancient times, the arm of the stone knight was a measure of length, it was called the Elbow of Dubrovnik and was equal to 51.2 cm.

The Rector’s Palace

Princely Palace

It was built in the 15th century as a residence for the princes where they worked and lived. Now there is a Museum of Urban History and a monument to the wealthy sailor Miho Pratsat. In the museum you can admire the paintings of Dalmatian and Venetian masters, and in the court chapel and the guardhouse – original antique furnishings, household items, paintings and antiques.

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Virgin Mary Assumption Cathedral

This splendid Baroque cathedral was built between 1672 and 1731 on the site of an older temple. The church is in the shape of a Latin cross with three high naves. You can see the priceless art treasures: paintings by Dalmatian and Italian painters from the 16th and 18th centuries, Titian’s work “Assumption of Virgin Mary” from 1552, collection of church utensils that numbers 200 exhibits, including a part of the Holy Cross. The sacristy contains fragments of relics of St. Vlach, and in the western part of the nave is a statue of the Blessed Virgin to help with drought.

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Fortress of St. John

Fortress of St. John

One of the largest forts in Croatia has been under construction for about 300 years, since 1346. Inside the formidable edifice today you can see old ship flags, navigational instruments, anchors, steering wheels, and visit the aquarium on the first floor with sea creatures: lobsters, seahorses, turtles, etc.

Mount Srg

Srdge Mountain

The elevator on the mountain

View of Dubrovnik from the mountain

Srdj Lookout

At the foot of this mountain stands Dubrovnik. At various times, the 413-meter-high Srdg was the city’s defensive point, and in 1810 Napoleon ordered the construction of the Fort Imperial here. Now there is a museum of the Civil War inside the fort. There is a cable car or a 2 km long footpath to get to the top and admire the beautiful scenery of the city and the Adriatic coast.

Island of Lokrum

Island of Lokrum from the city wall

Holiday on the island of Lokrum

Island beach

View from the Srdj Mountain

The island is a botanical garden with rich flora and fauna: there is a wonderful salt lake Dead, there grow olives, conifers and lemon trees, exotic plants, live peacocks and tame hares. Locum has several rocky and sandy beaches, including nudist beaches where you can relax and swim. You can also visit the 91-meter Napoleonic fort and the monastery, converted into a restaurant. The island is 10 minutes from the old town and can be reached by boat.

Ploce Gates

Ploce Gates

It is the eastern entrance to the old part of the city. Its inner and outer portals, the adjoining stone bridge across the moat and the wooden bridge were built between 1449 and 1450. It offers a wonderful view of the port below the Old Town.

Church of Saint Sebastian

Church of St. Sebastian

At the entrance to the Ploce Gate is the small medieval church of St. Sebastian, built in 1466. The structure originally served the townspeople as a refuge from the plague. In the 15th century it was home to a guild of cannons, and in the 19th century to a prison. Today it houses the Sebastian Gallery, which hosts cultural events and exhibitions.

The bell tower

The 35 meter Bell Tower

On top of the 35-meter structure are green statues with bronze jacks, ringing a huge bell every hour, which weighs over 2 tons.

Fort Revelin

Fort Revelin

Another fort in the city dates from the 16th century, it is surrounded by three moats and the sea from the outside. This fort made the city’s defenses invulnerable. In summer, Revelin is a site for festivals and theatrical performances.

Dominican Monastery

Monastery

The monastery, built in the 14th century, previously served a defensive function as well – its walls were built at the same time as the city’s fortress walls. Today the monastery keeps samples of church paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries in the Venetian style, ancient sculptures and precious utensils. The real gem of the collection is a painting of Mary Magdalene by Titian. In the grounds of the monastery there is a temple from the 14th century that houses one of the largest crucifixes in Europe.

Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius

Church of St. Ignatius

The active 18th-century Jesuit church is among the most beautiful buildings in the city. Next to the temple, located on Gundulic Square, there is a Baroque staircase that leads to Ruger Boskovic Square and the Jesuit school.

Fort Bokar

Fort Bokar

Once a massive fortification, it is now the venue of an annual music and theater festival. The three-story fortress was founded in 1472 to protect the bridge and the main entrance to the city. There are guided tours for tourists, during which you can explore the grounds and small interior rooms.

Synagogue

Synagogue

Built in 1408, the synagogue has not changed its appearance. Inside, you can admire the 19th-century furnishings – a plafond painted with stars of David, massive candlesticks. Currently the church is open and there is a museum devoted to the history of the local Jewish community.

Things to visit with children

Walks with children in Dubrovnik

Walks through the old Dubrovnik can be combined with a visit to the maritime museum and the aquarium in the fortress of St. John. This is home to many representatives of the aquatic world of the Mediterranean. Here, adults and children alike throw coins for good luck. For older children, it is interesting to admire the old ship utensils.

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