Sitting on the clearest blue waters, the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik, is an architectural marvel. With its baroque medieval buildings - most of which feature the hallmark red roofs - pristine limestone streets and charming little islands, it’s easy to see why it’s fast becoming one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations. Here is a list of best things to do in the capital of Croatia, as recommended by our travel experts Gina and Yashi who have tried them first-hand.
Set sail from the Old Town harbour in Dubrovnik and glide along the picturesque Dalmatian Coast, where you will encounter a cluster of islands and islets covered by carpets of lush greenery. Most notable are the Elafiti Islands – the most well-known of which are Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan – which provide a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Choose from a half-day or full-day tour, departing from the Gruz Port, approximately 3km northwest of the Old Town. Kolocep has caves that you can swim into and explore while Lopud has a sandy beach to relax on. Sipan, the largest of the islands, is home to two villages, fringed by olive trees and beautiful beaches.
The view of Dubrovnik from the top of Mt Srd is so arresting it begs belief. Best experienced at sunset, the cable car takes you 778m above the old town for unparalleled panoramic views of the city. Enjoy a cocktail while sitting at the top of the mountain over the surreal scenery or take a closer look at the city from above through the lens of the telescopes on the terraces at the top. The aptly-named ‘Panoramic’ restaurant that sits at the summit serves fresh seafood and great wine and is a romantic dinner spot.
While there’s no age restriction to Dubrovnik’s buggy safari tour, it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. This bumpy, adrenaline-filled activity packs in a punch, giving you a chance to drive off-road for an hour, see old war fortresses, ex-mine fields and a 360 view of Dubrovnik from a different - but equally spectacular - angle to the cable car (which you will have to take to the top of Mt Srd for this tour). One of the most fascinating sights on the tour is seeing the Dinaric Alps stretch out across Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro and the most exhilarating, heart-in-mouth moment is arguably going across the seesaw car ramp halfway through your rocky ride. Be warned - you will get a little dusty so you won’t want to wear your best clothes for this.
Dubrovnik’s sea of red-roofed buildings looks spectacular as you paddle away from it in a kayak. Glide past the old walls along the coast of Dubrovnik until you reach the Betina cave beach where you can stop for a break and take a dip (or snorkel) in the crystal-clear waters. Afterwards, head to the nearby Lokrum Island for a tour of its pretty coastline by kayak. As well as getting a work-out, you’ll learn a lot during this stimulating three-hour tour, as your guide tells you about the world’s first quarantine and the legend of the Lokrum Curse – the story that Lokrum Island was cursed by monks from the Benedictine monastery, condemning anyone who owns it to eternal damnation.
Luckily, that doesn’t include visitors to the island, so you are free to enjoy its natural beauty and see animals like peacocks and rabbits, visit the ruins of the Benedictine monastery and go swimming and snorkelling (although you should note that some parts are for naturalists). The waves of the sea surrounding Dubrovnik are gentle so this tour is suitable even for complete beginners.
You can’t take a look at the white-washed 11th-century set-up of this city without wanting to know more about its history. Learn about the 16th-century Sponza Palace, which once served as a trading centre and is one of the few buildings that survived the 1667 earthquake, the Church of St Blaise (who allegedly once saved the city from Venetian forces) and see the Baroque Jesuit steps immortalised in Game of Thrones. Avid fans can do a Game of Thrones city tour to see famous sights of the fictional King’s Landing which was filmed in the capital.
Step back in time in Dubrovnik’s Old Town and go on your own sea-faring or high-altitude adventure in Croatia’s enticing capital – explore our Croatia itineraries or call our experts on 020 7337 9010 or make an enquiry.