10 Things To Know Before Visiting Dubrovnik | Croatia Travel Guide

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Before you pack your bags and set off for the stunning coastal city of Dubrovnik, there are a few key things you need to know before visiting to make the most of your visit. My guide has them all.

Croatia Travel Blog_Things To Know Before Visiting Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik isn’t just any city—it’s a snapshot of history wrapped in stunning coastal beauty. Perched on Croatia’s Adriatic edge, it’s a place where the past and present blend seamlessly, offering a treasure trove of experiences. With its iconic Old Town, encircled by massive stone walls and forts, Dubrovnik has rightfully earned its moniker as “The Pearl of the Adriatic.”

If you’re planning to visit, timing is everything. Dubrovnik has become a hotspot for travelers worldwide, partly due to its appearances in popular films and TV shows. The city buzzes with life during the summer months, making it crucial to book your stay and dining spots well in advance to avoid missing out.

But it’s not just about ticking off the sights. To truly appreciate Dubrovnik, mix up your itinerary. Balance your time between exploring its historical wonders and unwinding along the Dalmatian Coast’s inviting beaches. It’s this combination of adventure and relaxation that makes a trip here so rewarding.

Before you arrive, a little homework goes a long way. Brush up on the basics like the local currency (now the euro, remember?) and transport options. This prep work means you’ll spend less time fretting over details and more time soaking in the sights, tastes, and genuine hospitality Dubrovnik is famed for.

Remember, Dubrovnik isn’t just a destination; it’s an experience. With some thoughtful planning, you’re all set for an unforgettable journey through time and culture.


1. Things To Know About Dubrovnik’s Unique Geography

Diving into Dubrovnik starts with getting a grip on its unique spot on the map. It’s perched right on the Dalmatian coast, offering a mix of historic vibes in its Old Town and stunning seaside scenery. Plus, it’s a stone’s throw away from dreamy islands that are perfect for day trips.

Here are some some things you should know:

The Old Town And Its Walls

Is Dubrovnik expensive -

The heart of the action is the Old Town, a UNESCO gem that’s surrounded by huge stone walls from the 16th century. It’s like stepping back in time as you wander through lanes crammed with buildings that tell tales from the Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque periods.

Walking The City Walls

Dubrovnik, Croatia - a magnificent city known for its historic walls that encircle the enchanting old town. Walking along these walls provides breathtaking views of Dubrovnik's stunning architecture and the shimmer

Trekking along the city walls, you’ll get killer views of the Old Town and the endless Adriatic Sea. These walls run about 2 kilometers and were the city’s old-school defense system. Now, they’re a must-see, offering snapshots of history with every step.

Lokrum Island And The Adriatic Sea

Lokrum Island Dubrovnik - Croatia Travel Blog
Photo Credit

Hop on a boat to Lokrum Island, and in minutes, you’re in a different world. It’s all about nature here, with botanical gardens, friendly peacocks, and a mini lake called the Dead Sea. The views back to Dubrovnik are Instagram gold, making Lokrum a top pick for chilling out and capturing memories.

The Adriatic Sea itself is a big part of Dubrovnik’s charm. It’s all crystal-clear waters and opportunities for adventures, from swimming to sailing off to explore more islands. The sea’s not just a backdrop; it’s been key to Dubrovnik’s story, shaping its past and its present.

Dubrovnik’s geography makes it more than just a city; it’s an experience. Whether you’re exploring the ancient walls, chilling on Lokrum, or sailing the Adriatic, it’s a place where every corner promises something new.

2. Best Times To Visit Dubrovnik

Deciding when to drop by Dubrovnik isn’t just about slotting it into your calendar; it’s about syncing with the city’s vibes, weather, and the buzz of fellow travelers. Let’s break down everything you need to know to nail the timing for your trip.

Seasonal Weather

Best Beaches In Dubrovnik - Thatched canopies and awnings on the beach Copacabana Beach

Dubrovnik rolls out a classic Mediterranean climate, meaning you’ve got a full menu of seasonal flavors to choose from, impacting not just what you pack but what you’ll do. Summers here are prime time for beach lovers, with temperatures lounging in the 25 to 30°C range—perfect for soaking up the sun or diving into the Adriatic.

  • Summer (June – August): think sun, sea, and sunscreen
  • Spring (March – May) & Autumn (September – November): cooler, comfy temps for exploring
  • Winter (December – February): chillier, with a side of brisk Bora winds, especially noticeable in Dubrovnik in October

Crowds And Peak Seasons

Time in Dubrovnik Crowds

As with any hotspot, Dubrovnik’s tourist traffic hits its stride from June through August. Brimming with energy and packed with visitors, the Dubrovnik Old Town is a testament to the city’s historic charm.  This is the time for vibrant street life, full patios, and buzzing beaches, but it also means more competition for spots at top sites and eateries.

If you’re after a quieter Dubrovnik, the shoulder seasons are your friend. During spring and autumn seasons, Dubrovnik tends to be less crowded; this lets you meander more freely through its charming cobblestoned streets, especially in the Dubrovnik Old Town. October is a sweet spot, offering the last warm whispers of summer without the peak season’s hustle.

Here’s the crowd calendar at a glance:

  • High Season (June – August): high tourist density, book ahead
  • Shoulder Season (March – May & September – November): easier breathing space, less hustle
  • Low Season (December – February): the quietest time, with a more local feel, though some spots might take a winter break

Cruise Ship Crowds

Croatia Dubrovnik Cruise Port - Sightseeing

Dubrovnik’s tourist scene hits its peak from June to August, bustling with visitors and vibrant street life. This period brings the challenge of navigating through crowds, especially with the arrival of cruise ships that add to the daily influx of tourists.

For a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. October is particularly appealing, offering mild weather with fewer visitors.

Cruise Ship Impact

Cruise ships significantly contribute to the crowds, particularly in the high season. These vessels bring a surge of day-trippers, crowding the Old Town and main attractions.

Tips For Avoiding Cruise Ship Crowds:

  • Visit popular sites early in the morning or late in the afternoon to dodge the peak times for cruise visitors
  • Check cruise ship schedules online to plan your city explorations on less busy days
  • Explore lesser-known areas or plan day trips outside the city when large ships are docked

Adjusting your visit to account for cruise ship schedules and peak tourist times can help ensure a more enjoyable Dubrovnik experience.

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3. Where To Stay In Dubrovnik

Choosing where to bunk in Dubrovnik boils down to this: crave the vibe of centuries-old streets or prefer a calm spot a bit away from the main buzz? Let’s dive into what each choice offers.

Options Inside The Old Town

Croatia Travel Blog_Where To Stay In Dubrovnik_Prijeko Palace
Photo Credit: Prijeko Palace

Staying inside the old city is like living in a postcard. It’s perfect for first-timers or anyone who wants to soak up Dubrovnik’s historic atmosphere 24/7. Imagine starting your day with the sound of church bells, grabbing a coffee in a cozy café, and then stepping right onto those shiny limestone paths.


  • Historical Vibe: sleeping in a place with so much history is downright cool
  • Everything’s Close: all the big sights are just a walk away


  • It Can Get Loud: those charming streets aren’t immune to the buzz of nightlife
  • Crowd Central: peak season means lots of people, right outside your door

Accommodations in the Old Town range from charming B&Bs to swanky hotels. Just remember, the quaint streets and limited space mean you might have to maneuver through narrow alleys with your luggage.

Accommodation Beyond the City Walls

An aerial view of a hotel on an island in Croatia, the perfect place to stay in Dubrovnik.
Photo Credit: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace

Step just outside the city walls, and the vibe changes. Neighborhoods like Lapad and Ploče offer a different taste of Dubrovnik life, with more room to breathe and less hustle and bustle. Here’s the lowdown:


  • Super family-friendly, complete with beaches and a place to stroll.
  • You’ll find everything from hotels to private rentals, fitting any budget.


  • Close to the beach, with killer views back towards the Old Town.
  • Accommodation options range from affordable to outright luxurious.

Deciding where to stay in Dubrovnik means weighing the excitement of city life against the peace of a quieter retreat. Both Lapad and Ploče, along with other areas beyond the Old Town, offer easy public transport to get you back to the heart of the action, ensuring you get the best of both worlds.

4. Currency And Expenses (Yes, Dubrovnik Is Expensive)

Heading to Dubrovnik? Let’s talk money, so you’re all set to dive into the city’s vibe without getting side-tracked by unexpected costs.

Euro Is In, Kuna Is Out

Euros in Croatia - Currency in Croatia

Big news: Croatia said hello to the euro in 2023. That’s right, the euro is now the official currency here, simplifying things for many travelers. Gone are the days of juggling conversions from kuna to your home currency.

While this switch makes it easier to budget your trip, especially if you’re already familiar with the euro, don’t forget to check the latest exchange rates before you go.

Smart Spending In Dubrovnik

Croatia Travel Blog_Best Restaurants In Dubrovnik_Klarisa Restaurant
Photo Credit: Klarisa Restaurant

There’s no secret here—Dubrovnik isn’t the cheapest spot on the map. But with a bit of planning, you can make the most of your visit. Start by setting a daily budget, considering what you’ll spend on your stay, grub, sights, and those can-not-resist buys.

Here’s a quick breakdown to give you an idea:

  • Stay: there’s a range from wallet-friendly hostels to splurge-worthy hotels
  • Food: grabbing a bite? An affordable eatery might set you back about 75 euros for a meal, while a fancier dinner could be around 250 euros
  • Sights: entry fees here, entry fees there—it adds up. Pick your top spots to keep expenses in check

Dubrovnik’s charm isn’t all about spending, though. Plenty of its beauty is free—just walking the ancient streets is a treat. That said, if you’re here for the seafood and local wines (and why wouldn’t you be?), make sure your budget’s got room for these must-tries.

For your Dubrovnik travel, although cards are widely accepted, having a bit of cash is advisable when shopping in smaller stores or to avoid card fees.

5. Getting Around Dubrovnik

Getting around Dubrovnik is a breeze, thanks to its straightforward public transport and the pedestrian-friendly Old Town. Here’s how you can best navigate through this stunning city by the Adriatic.

Public Transport

Croatia Bus Information

The backbone of Dubrovnik’s public transport is its bus network, efficient and wallet-friendly. Buses are your best bet for hitting up different neighborhoods, beaches, and must-see spots.

Pro tip: snag your bus tickets at kiosks or newsstands to save a few coins over buying them directly from the bus driver. You can easily find up-to-date prices and schedules online or at bus stops.

If you’re coming or going to Dubrovnik Airport, the airport shuttle is your friend. It’s timed with incoming flights, so you’re not left hanging after you land. Taxis are there too but expect to pay more compared to the shuttle.

Exploring On Foot

Dubrovnik West Pier - Blackwater Bay Dock_Croatia Game Of Thrones Locationsjpg (1)

To really capture the essence of Dubrovnik, you’ve got to explore on foot. The Old Town is a car-free zone, letting you meander through its alleys and streets without care for traffic. A walk along the famed city walls is non-negotiable for its stunning views over the rooftops and the sea.

Comfortable footwear is a must—those picturesque cobblestones and staircases aren’t as kind on your feet as they are on the eyes. Wandering through Dubrovnik’s historic core, with its blend of architecture and cozy cafes, is like stepping back in time.

Just keep a map close because it’s all too easy (and fun) to get lost.

For jaunts beyond the Old Town or if you’re looking to cover ground more quickly, circle back to public buses or catch a taxi for a straightforward trip.

6. Things To Do In Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, a city bursting with sights and stories, is a playground for the curious and the adventurous. Between its ancient walls and crystal-clear seas, here are the must-visit spots that promise unforgettable experiences.

City Walls

Dubrovnik old town city walls. Minceta Tower - Game of Thrones

No trip to Dubrovnik is complete without a trek along the city walls. This 2km fortress not only encircles the Old Town but also stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing breathtaking views of the city and sea. These walls tell tales of Dubrovnik’s past prowess and perseverance.

Cable Car To Mount Srđ

Cable Car in Dubrovnik

For a view that’ll have you reaching for your camera, take the cable car up Mount Srđ. In just four minutes, you’ll be looking down at the Old Town and the Elaphiti Islands from a whole new perspective.

Don’t miss Fort Imperial at the summit, a historic symbol of the city’s defense during the Croatian War of Independence.

Game Of Thrones Locations

Game Of Thrones Dubrovnik - Red Keep (1)

For the Thrones enthusiasts, Dubrovnik is a real-life King’s Landing, hosting many iconic scenes from the series. Explore Fort Lovrijenac and the winding city streets to stand where characters from the Seven Kingdoms once plotted and battled.

Lokrum Island

Day Trips From Dubrovnik - Lokrum Island

Just a quick boat ride away, Lokrum Island offers more than just a Game of Thrones backdrop. It’s a peaceful retreat known for its lush botanical gardens, ancient monastery, and the friendly peacocks that roam free.

It’s the perfect spot for a day of exploration, relaxation, and swimming, giving you a break from the city’s pace while holding its own in beauty and history.

7. Eating Out In Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik’s dining scene is a flavorful testament to its coastal charm and rich culinary heritage. Here’s the lowdown on diving into the local food culture and finding the best spots to eat.

Local Cuisine To Eat In Dubrovnik

Montenegro Souvenirs_What to Buy in Montenegro _ Prsut

This city is a hotspot for seafood lovers, serving up everything with a Mediterranean flair—imagine dishes drenched in olive oil, sprinkled with herbs, and laced with garlic.

Don’t leave without trying Zagorski Strukli, a comfort food masterpiece involving pastry filled with cheese, which can be either boiled or baked.

Then there’s Dalmatian pršut, hailed as one of the best things to try in Dubrovnik, a dry-cured ham that rivals Italy’s prosciutto in flavor. Kick off any meal with this savory delight paired with some of the local cheeses.

And for something truly iconic, dive into a plate of black risotto. Its dark hue comes from cuttlefish ink, offering a taste of the sea in every bite.


Restaurant Recommendations

Best Restaurants In Dubrovnik_Panorama

Panorama Restaurant is not to be missed for its stunning city views and fresh seafood dishes, easily reached via the Dubrovnik Cable Car.

For those seeking the essence of Dubrovnik’s culinary scene:

  • Traditional Dishes: hunt down eateries that pride themselves on Dalmatian cuisine for a genuine taste of the region
  • Seafood Staples: opt for places that boast about their catch of the day. Freshness is key here

Dubrovnik might be small, but it packs a punch with its food offerings. From upscale dining to cozy taverns, there’s a plate for every palate, offering a delicious way to tap into the local culture and traditions.

8. Cultural Insights To Know Before You Go

Dubrovnik, a cultural powerhouse, is indeed one of the best places in Croatia, boasting vibrant festivals to an engaging art scene, all set against a backdrop of stunning medieval architecture.

The Dubrovnik Card is your golden ticket, offering access to museums, galleries, and public transport.

Festivals And Events

A day in Dubrovnik wouldn’t be complete without immersing yourself in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival that showcases live performances throughout the city’s historic venues from July to August.

And don’t miss the Feast of St. Blaise on February 3rd—a vibrant display of tradition with processions and local festivities celebrating the city’s patron saint.

Arts And Museums

Games of Thrones Locations Croatia - Atrium, Rector's palace, Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Dubrovnik History Museum in the Rector’s Palace is a treasure trove of artifacts that tell the tale of the Republic of Ragusa’s splendor.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik (MOMAD) blends contemporary art with the city’s historic essence, featuring works by Croatian and international artists that capture the spirit of Dubrovnik.

Exploring Dubrovnik’s cultural landscape is not just about seeing; it’s about experiencing the heartbeat of the city. Through its festivals, art, and museums, you connect with the past and present of this Adriatic jewel.

9. Day Trips And Excursions

Dubrovnik isn’t just a gateway to the rich tapestry of Croatia; it’s the perfect starting point for diving into the diverse beauty and history of the Balkans. Heading out to Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina brings a whole new set of landscapes, stories, and cultures to add to your adventure.

Adventures In Montenegro

Things to do in Kotor Bay - Lion over looking Perast

A hop, skip, and a jump from Dubrovnik, Montenegro beckons with its stunning coast and historical gems. If you’re looking for the best things to do on your trip from Dubrovnik, here’s what’s on tap:

A drive or bus ride to Montenegro can zip by in one to two hours, making it an easy day trip. Just remember, an early start is key to soaking up all the sights.

Exploring Bosnia & Herzegovina

One day in Mostar - Aerial view of the old town of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Straddling the East and West, Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a unique blend of cultures and histories that’s utterly captivating. Don’t miss:

Crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina does mean navigating border controls, so a bit of patience goes a long way. But the sights and experiences waiting on the other side? Totally worth it.

10. How To Blend In and Avoid Looking Like A Complete Tourist

Let’s face it: Dubrovnik, with its jaw-dropping beauty and historic charm, can make any of us whip out our cameras faster than you can say “Game of Thrones location.” But if you’re aiming to blend in a bit more with the savvy locals and avoid the wide-eyed tourist look, here are a few tongue-in-cheek tips:

  • Pretend you know exactly where you’re going, even if you’ve circled the same alley three times. Confidence is key!
  • Develop a sudden interest in obscure historical facts, so when you’re gazing up at the city walls, you look profoundly thoughtful rather than bewildered
  • Wear comfortable shoes, but claim they’re a fashion statement when, really, it’s just about surviving those cobblestone streets
  • Try to pronounce “Živjeli!” (cheers) without sounding like you’re sneezing. It’s the perfect way to impress locals at the bar
  • And lastly, if you can’t resist taking a selfie with every picturesque view, at least whisper “for cultural immersion purposes only” to anyone raising an eyebrow

Remember, the goal is to enjoy the magic of Dubrovnik while embracing the quirks of travel. Who knows? You might just blend in so well that they’ll ask you for directions!

Things To Know Before Visiting Dubrovnik FAQs

Before diving into Dubrovnik’s charming cobblestone streets and crystal-clear Adriatic waters, it’s wise to get answers to some common queries that could shape your travel experience.


What are the top attractions to visit in Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a top attraction with its ancient city walls and Fort Lovrijenac.

Don’t miss the stunning views from the Dubrovnik Cable Car.

Can you recommend some local dishes to try while in Dubrovnik?

Definitely try the seafood in Dubrovnik; local dishes like black risotto and buzara-style mussels are both delicious and emblematic of the region’s cuisine.

What type of transportation options are available when traveling from Dubrovnik to Split?

You have several options: take a bus for a scenic ride along the coast, hop on a ferry for a leisurely sea journey, or rent a car for flexibility and the opportunity to explore small towns en route.

What are some tips for solo female travelers to stay safe in Dubrovnik?

Stay in well-lit, populated areas at night and always be aware of your belongings. Dubrovnik is generally safe but practicing common sense safety is advised as in any travel destination.

Are there any specific cultural norms or etiquettes I should be aware of while visiting Dubrovnik?

Respect local customs by dressing modestly when visiting religious sites. Also, a simple greeting in Croatian, like ‘dobar dan‘ for good day, goes a long way in showing respect to locals.

How does the cost of visiting Dubrovnik compare to other European destinations?

Dubrovnik can be more expensive than some other European cities, especially during peak tourist season. Planning and booking in advance can help manage costs better.

Comments (4)

  1. It’s not flat! If you stay at a holiday apartment, you’ll likely have a decent hike down to the city and UPHILL back home.

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I am planning my trip to Dubrovnik and it’s really nice to read.

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