15 things to see and do in and around Dubrovnik
Referred to as the “pearl of the Adriatic”, there’s quite a bit to do in Dubrovnik especially if you have the time. If you’re planning a visit, here’s 15 things to see and do in and around Dubrovnik.
Take a day trip to Šipan island
As the largest of the Elaphiti Islands and with the most inhabitants, Šipan is simply gorgeous. It takes just over an hour to reach the island by boat from Dubrovnik’s main harbour in Gruz (not to be confused with its Old Port Harbour).
The earliest boat leaves at 9am although that depends on the day you’re going. It can vary. Check the ferry lines for more up-to-the-minute information.
Many of the boats to the island will most likely stop at Kolocep and Lopud before finally reaching Šipan. Both Kolocep and Lopud make up the other two Elaphiti Islands which are permanently inhabited, like Šipan.
The harbour, Sudurad, is so picturesque with all the boats dotted around. It was definitely pleasant to stroll around.
While I was on the island of Šipan, I spent some time at BOWA…. which is up next!
Spend a day at BOWA Restaurant
Nestled in Vrbova Bay on the island of Šipan, is BOWA Restaurant. It’s been built on an old boat dock from the 18th century.
BOWA stands for “The Best of What’s Around” and what makes the restaurant unique is it’s food and location. It truly is a hidden gem by the sea.
All of its dishes are created using fruit, vegetables and herbs hand-picked from BOWA’s own garden, while fresh fish is caught daily.
A visit here will offer something a little off the tourist track for you. A little taste of paradise on Croatia’s coast. Read how I spent a day at BOWA Restaurant Dubrovnik.
Visit the town of Cavtat
If you want to get away from the busy town of Dubrovnik, why not spend a few hours in the village of Cavtat.
Cavtat is about a 25 to 30 minute drive away from Dubrovnik town. You could rent a car, scooter, take the number 10 bus or even take a boat to Cavat from the old port!
When you get to Cavtat, take a walk around the harbour across from the bus stop like I did. It was a really pleasant stroll and you have a great view across the waterfront. You could also venture to the other side where you’ll find some beautiful yachts of all shapes and sizes. You can spend time there literally watch the boats sail by. There’s also St Nicholas’ Church and the Monastery, Our Lady of the Snow, to visit.
Eat an octopus burger at Barba
Barba opened six years ago and has since become a popular place to stop and try an octopus burger. Yes, that’s right an octopus burger!
I’d already tried Octopus for the first time on my visit to BOWA (link to article), so I thought why not try it again!
Although known for its octopus burger, Barba has two others to choose from; tuna and shrimp. You can have a burger on its own or get the meal which comes with fries and onion rings.
The burgers are huge and should fill you up nicely after a long day walking around Dubrovnik’s Old town.
Make sure you stop by!
Visit the abandoned resort hotels in Kupari
If you want to see something a little different, visit the abandoned resorts around Kupari beach. Not too long ago, Kupari was a tourist complex. Five large hotels, including the Grand Hotel, were built around the shores of the beach. It became a popular destination for army officers and their families.
The Croatian War of Independence between 1991-1995 changed all that. The war saw the beautiful bustling complex destroyed. Bombs burnt out each one of the hotels leaving just the shells of what they used to be behind.
Now, if you walk up to Kupari beach from the main road, you may get a little eerie feeling… Well, until you see the beach come into view. These grand hotels are still abandoned and have never been restored to their former glory.
Walk Dubrovnik city walls
One of the things I’m sure you’ll already have thought about doing in Dubrovnik, is to walk along the city walls. Its one of the most popular things to do while in the town.
If you do so, I’d suggest starting out as early as you can to avoid the crowds — unless you want to go up before sunset.
The views all the way around are really amazing and you get a birds eye view of the town below. Aside from the well known buildings like Rectors Palace and Onofrio’s fountain, there are also many homes tucked away behind the main streets of the town. I certainly didn’t except to pass a school along the way – students focusing while tourists gazed in.
Along the Dubrovnik walls walkways, you’ll find a few restaurants, cafes and bars to stop at.
Grab a gelato ice at Peppinos or Gossip
If you’re visiting in the summer months, here are a couple of places to grab a gelato along the way.
Along Stradun, the main shopping street in the Old Town, is where you’ll find Gossip – an ice cream and drink shop. They have a nice variety of ice creams to choose from including cheesecake, Kinder Bueno, Melon (which I had), yoghurt cherry, lemon and Oreo.
Peppinos is located on the adjacent to Stradun. It’s a very narrow, crowded street and you could almost miss the entrance if it wasn’t for the fact it was so busy. The queue was outside the door! Peppinos boasts 28 varieties of ice cream which is always changing!
Visit the farmers market in the square
If you wander past Rectors Palace, upholstered stumble across a farmers market right inside Gundridge square. Its on Poljana Gunećeva street.
Selling everything from fresh fruit, honey, lavender bags and incense, to dried fruits and nuts, the market is pleasant to walk through and has some beautiful homemade goods to purchase too.
Chill out at Banje Beach Bar
Banje Beach is a restaurant, lounge and night club located by the sea. Its just on the outskirts of the Old Town.
You can spend time lounging inside or out or down by the beach, or visit later when Banje turns into a open-air night club from. The club usually opens from April.
Rectors Palace is one of the most important public buildings in the Dubrovnik. It boats a collection of religious art from the 15th and 16th centuries – all mostly in late Gothic and Renaissance style. For many centuries, Rectors Palace was the seat of political power in the Dubrovnik Republic.
As well as the collections, you’ll find a court chamber from the courthouse at Rectors Palace in the 18th century. The bench and railing in the picture below, both derive from that time.
Watch the sunset at Panorama Bar
After catching the Dubrovnik Cable Car to the top of Mount Srd Hill, make your way to Panorama Bar. This bar offers some of the most beautiful views over Dubrovnik’s Old Town, especially at sunset. The view below really is something to capture.
You can eat in the Panorama restaurant, visit the shop, grab a drink at the bar or just go to see the view. Make sure you go up to the highest viewing platform but to be honest, the view from any point in Panorama really is amazing!
Take a glass bottom boat ride
See beneath the sea and take a glass bottom boat ride around Dubrovnik!
The boats leave from the old port which is not far from the Polce gate entrance. The boat will take you round the port and Lockrum island for about 35-40 minutes, depending on which company you choose.
The price for the tour I went on was 75 Kuna (about 10 Euros at the time). You’ll find many companies offering similar tours. You can also take a boat to visit Mlini or Cavtat, nearby villages.
Loverejenic is a fort located just outside the city walls. If you already have a ticket for the Dubrovnik Walls, you can also use it to get into Lovrejenic for free. It’s a bit like a combination ticket.
To take advantage of the dual entry, you just have to visit Lovrejenic fort within 72 hours of walking the city walls – or vice versa. If you don’t have a ticket, the entrance fee is 50 Kuna (about £6 at the time I visited).
Stop for a drink at Buža Bar
One of the coolest spots I came across while wandering through the old town was Buža Bar. It’s tucked away off one of the side streets.
It’s a nice place with a beautiful view while you have a drink. There’s also a lower terrace where you can sunbathe or take a dip in the sea.
Stroll around the Old Port Harbour
Built in the 15 century, the Old Port Harbour, is where you’ll find mini trips and tours around Dubrovnik like the glass bottom boat ride I went on or water taxis to nearby villages. Its not far from the Polce Gate entrance. Aside from tour companies you’ll also find a handful of restaurants and cafes.
Now you’re armed with a few things for you to do if you plan to visit Dubrovnik!
Let me know how your trip goes!