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What to do while on holidays in Dubrovnik for the day
Written by Travel Writer Ashley.
When I first found out Dubrovnik was going to be the last port on my Mediterranean cruise, my only thought was, “where is that again…? Croatia had never been on my radar, and I knew nothing about it. If it’s one of your cruise ports, you may not either. Don’t blow it off though or you’ll regret it.
If you’re going to be on holidays in Dubrovnik, and only have one day, like I did, you’ll want to head straight to the Stari Grad (Old Town). When arriving at the Old Town, all you need are your own two feet. Much like Venice, Dubrovnik is a walking city, and inside the walls, it is free of vehicular traffic.
Photo Credit Adriatic Images
How to get to Dubrovnik Old Town from your cruise ship
If you’re arriving on a larger ship – which most will be – you’ll be docking in Gruz Harbor which is about 15 minutes away from the Old Town. Many ships will offer a free shuttle from the harbor that drops you off directly in front of Pile Gate. If your cruise line does not offer this, there will be buses and taxis readily available. The port also has several little souvenir stands and reasonably inexpensive wifi.
When I arrived in Dubrovnik, our shipped docked at 7 am and we were due back on board at 6 pm. Given travel time to and from the Old Town, and allowing time to embark and disembark the ship, we had approximately ten hours to explore.
Having just one day – or ten hours – to explore one place can be disheartening, but don’t be fooled and think you still can’t experience much of what Dubrovnik has to offer. You can.
Here’s how I (and you can too!) made the most of my day in Dubrovnik
Kayak the Adriatic
Take a half day tour starting in a small port to the right of Pile Gate. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience as you’ll be accompanied by instructors and other non-experienced kayakers. On this tour, you will paddle around Lokrum Island and stop at a hidden cave beach called Betina. It’s at Betina that you take a break, do some snorkeling, cliff jumping and eat lunch. Most tour operators provide lunch in the tour fee, which means more to explore and less time waiting in line to be served. Your arms will be tired, but you’ll love every minute of the view of the Adriatic.
How to book a kayak tour
When you step off your shuttle bus in front of Pile Gate, there will be several providers advertising these tours. They are usually holding a kayak paddle – so you can’t miss them. I suggest signing up for your tour and then planning the rest of your day around it. There are two-time slots each lasting three hours.
How much is the kayak tour
Tours cost $45 USD / 33 Euro per person. If there is a group of you, you can ask for a discount, like we did and saved a little holiday money. Our tour included lunch, but not all do – so be sure to ask if yours does.
Walk the walls – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Old City of Dubrovnik has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. What defines the Old City are the ancient walls that surround it. The walls were built between the 13th and 16th century, as fortification of the city. You literally feel like you are stepping back in time when you walk the length of the walls, and through the Old City. It’s perched up high on the walls of the old city, that you’ll get the best view of the city below and a breathtaking view out over the Adriatic Sea.
How much does it cost to walk the walls in Dubrovnik?
For around $15 USD / 10 Euro you can walk the walls for as long as you want and trust me, you want to stay up there all day. The entrance fees are used by the local society for repairs and maintenance of the walls. You can purchase tickets at the entrance, which is just through Pile Gate to your immediate left. Follow the staircase up, and onto the walls.
Wander the Gunduliceva Poljana Market
One of my favorite things to do in a new place is visit an outdoor market. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in a new place. While on holidays in Dubrovnik, you will find the oldest market in Dubrovnik Inside the Old City. Known as, Gunduliceva Poljana Market. This market is located by the Rector’s Palace and Cathedral. Gunduliceva Poljana market has been operating, in this location since 1892. Offering all seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheese, olives, honey, and spices. It’s here you can also purchase many homemade souvenirs. My favorites were the olive oils and lavender scented items.
Explore the Alleyways and Enjoy the Medieval Architecture
Because you’re inside the old walls, you can’t get lost so put down your map and wander about. There is plenty of culture and history with churches centuries old and a number of beautiful fountains. Make sure to check out the Rector’s Palace, the Franciscan Monastery, and the Friars Minor Pharmacy-the third oldest operating pharmacy in the entire world. Be sure to head to the opposite side of the walls from Pile Gate, across to the Old Harbour. Here there are boats, restaurants, and a seafood market.
On my cruise, I was excited to be visiting Venice, Rome, and Florence, and had not given Dubrovnik much thought. Once in the Old City, I was taken by surprise, and I fell in love with Croatia. I’m now making plans to spend my holidays in Croatia next year. There are just so many other amazing places in Croatia to explore.
Where to eat and drink in Dubrovnik?
Here we help you find where to stay in Dubrovnik. Here are some tips on where to eat and drink in Dubrovnik | A photography holiday in Dubrovnik and an itinerary for Dubrovnik that will knock your socks off.
Have you been to Dubrovnik? What would you add to this list?
Photo credit Michael Cavén
What to do in Dubrovnik
Are you not sure what to do in Dubrovnik? Your holiday in Dubrovnik has so many choices; there are so many Dubrovnik sights, not even we’ve experienced all that Dubrovnik has on offer. Key highlights include:
- A Guide on What to do in Dubrovnik
- 3-day Dubrovnik holiday like no other
- 10 Things to Know About Visiting Dubrovnik
- How to spend one day in Dubrovnik
- Enjoy photography holiday in Dubrovnik
- Be inspired by these photos of Dubrovnik
- Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Check our guide to best restaurants in Dubrovnik – it also has a list of bars in Dubrovnik in case you like to drink after a hard day sightseeing.