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This is the perfect itinerary for two days in Dubrovnik (or more!) Read on for all of the details of what to do while you’re there, the best tours and attractions, where to stay, and additional ideas for an extended time there including some great tours basing yourself out of Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is a trendy destination as of late. But, let’s be honest you probably don’t want to spend your ENTIRE vacation or holiday in just Dubrovnik alone. (There’s a lot to see all over Croatia!) So, let’s maximize your 8 day Croatia itinerary and your time in the walled city of Dubrovnik.
Whether you are spending one day, two days, 3 days, 4 days, or more in Dubrovnik there is a lot to do both in Dubrovnik Old Town and beyond! Even just a weekend in Dubrovnik is well worth your time. Let’s dive into the details of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and how to spend at least two days exploring this gorgeous historic city on the Adriatic Ocean.
Dubrovnik is located in Southern Croatia in a region referred to as Dalmatia along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The most special thing about Dubrovnik is the walls surrounding the Old Town area that you can walk on! These tall stone walls were built in the 16th century to protect the city and its inhabitants.
Now the Old Town of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979. The city walls are over 1,940 m (6365 ft.) around the historic city. The uninterrupted city walls are flanked by three gates to enter the Old Town as well as stone fortresses. Each gate into the Old Town has unique characteristics.
Buza Gate is the northern entrance into Old Town Dubrovnik. When this was originally added to the walls in 1907 it was for Austrian soldiers. Up until that time, there were only two gates to the walled part of Dubrovnik.
Pile Gate is known as the main entrance into Dubrovnik’s Old Town. It is located on the western wall. It has both an inner and outer gate that date back to 1460 and 1537.
Ploče Gate like the Pile Gate has an inner and outer portion. It is located on the eastern portion of the Old Town walls. This gate also has a stone bridge. In the past, this bridge was actually a draw bridge.
The Stradun (or Placa) is the main pedestrian street or promenade going through Old Town Dubrovnik. It is located from Pile Gate to the old port. In this area, there are tons of shops and cafes.
The iconic Dubrovnik Bell Tower is located on Luža Square at the end of the Stradun. In between the Rector’s Palace and the city bell tower is the Dubrovnik City Hall or City Council Palace which was built in the 14th century.
Now that you know a little bit more about the city of Dubrovnik, let’s plan the logistics of your visit there like when to go and where to stay!
When to go
Visiting Dubrovnik will be the busiest during the peak summer months of June through July. We visited in early May and many locals and tour guides commented that the weather was already really hot and the amount of tourists was already more than normal.
It really depends on what type of experience you want. If you’re ok with large crowds and just want the really warm weather then by all means visit during summer. I prefer a little but thinner crowds, and warm weather (but not miserable!) so shoulder seasons are usually best for that. Visiting in April into early May I felt was a great time of year to go.
September and October at the end of the busy season while the weather is still beautiful but not as hot are great months to visit as well!
How to get there
You can arrive in Dubrovnik via ferry, airplane, bus, or car. Truly it depends on where you’re originating from prior as to what makes the most sense!
Since we visited Dubrovnik toward the end of our travels throughout Croatia, we had a car but returned it immediately when we got to Dubrovnik. (The car return was on the outskirts of the city so we ubered with a quick car ride to the appropriate gate in the Old Town.)
Ferries in Croatia connect Croatia with Italy, Split Croatia as well as several islands of Croatia to Dubrovnik. The ferry time from Dubrovnik to Split is just under 5 hours. (Drive time is faster at just under 3 hours and 232 km/~145 miles.)
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has five main areas or neighborhoods. The most famous is Old Town (the walled city.) Pile is a nearby neighborhood that is flanked by the Lovrijenac Fortress so it is just west of the Old Town area. To the east, is Ploce which is known for upscale hotels and sweeping views. Gruž is an area where more locals are present. There is a farmers market here and abundant transportation options. This is Dubrovnik’s main harbor area. Lapad has more of a local feel and stunning beaches. Babin Kuk is another area known for upscale hotels with jaw-dropping views out over the Adriatic Sea.
If it’s your first time in Dubrovnik, I recommend staying in Old Town. I will warn you though, be prepared to climb a lot of steps! My knee wasn’t happy after a few days in Dubrovnik so be sure you know that going in. If stairs may be an issue for you, it might not be the best idea to stay in Old Town.
We stayed at La Vita e Bella III. Which was a private room (more of an air B n B type experience.) There were 3 or 4 rooms managed by the same people. Most accommodations within Old Town will require stairs and are smaller. (Which is something to keep in mind!) They gave us great directions though of what specific gate (Buza gate) to arrive at and how to navigate to the doors (with the least amount of steps with our luggage.)
How to get around
Once you’ve arrived in Dubrovnik, you really don’t need a car to get around. The Old Town is pedestrian only. But, you can also grab a quick Uber if you’d like to go beyond the Old Town. There are also public buses that can get you where you need to go.
How many days in Dubrovnik
You will want to stay in Dubrovnik for at least two days. Two days will allow you to see many of the main sights and experience all that Dubrovnik has to offer!
However, extending your time in Dubrovnik to 3, 4, or 5 days will allow for some beach time and other activities. To explore the outskirts of the city or venture to Lokrum island. Maybe even take a day out on the water on a boat.
Things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is full of historic things to do so if you’re wondering what to do in Dubrovnik in 2 days (one day, 3 days, or beyond) keep reading for some great suggestions!
One of my biggest travel tips for Dubrovnik is to consider purchasing a Dubrovnik pass. The Dubrovnik pass has different options. You can purchase a 1 day, 3 day, or 7 day pass. This will include (during that timeframe) 9 historically significant monuments in Dubrovnik. It also includes the use of buses on the public transportation system.
City Walls Dubrovnik
Walking the city walls is one of the things you definitely have to do when visiting Dubrovnik. It offers amazing views out over Old Town, the Adriatic Sea, and the nearby fortresses. But even in early May, the sun was no joke! I put on a ton of sunscreen and I was fried!
It depends on how fast you walk along the walls but I would allow a solid half day if you take your time. It can easily take 4-5 hours when you’re stopping for photos and just admiring the view. There are also a few places along the walls that serve juices, espresso, and cocktails.
The city walls are one way, so take your time admiring all of the views. You will enter the walls near the Pile gate and pay the admission price. (This is included in a Dubrovnik pass if you purchased this.)
If you purchase a ticket to the city walls, you can also access the fortresses Lovrijenac and Bokar. Fort Bokar is the first fort you’ll see on the city walls once you continue the circuit from Pile Gate.
Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress can be seen across the bay from the Dubrovnik city walls. It’s located outside of the Western walls of the Old Town. Sometimes this fortress is referred to as Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar.
You can visit Fort Lovrijenac with a city walls ticket or a combined Dubrovnik Pass.
Stroll the Streets
Everywhere you turn in Dubrovnik is picturesque. From walking down the cobbled stone streets to the reddish-orange rooftops from the city walls, there are so many gorgeous views.
The first stroll through Dubrovnik I was enamored by all of the cute stairwells with flowers and how aesthetic it was. You can’t go wrong wandering around Dubrovnik to take in your pretty surroundings.
Visit Rector’s Palace
Rector’s Palace is a historic museum located in a beautiful historic building. Just seeing the structure itself makes it worth a visit.
Built in the 15th century, it represents the history of Old Town Dubrovnik. Constructed in Gothic with Rennaisance and Baroque reconstructions it is a stunning piece of architecture.
Church of St. Blaise
Since the 10th century, St. Blaise has been recognized as the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Admission to this church is free. It truly is a sight to be seen at night when it is illuminated.
Inside the domed structure, there is a 15th-century gold-plated statue by the main altar. This depicts St. Blaise and it has survived several earthquakes and fires over the years.
Otherwise referred to as The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Dubrovnik Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
This cathedral houses within the treasury over 130 relics of saints dating back to the 11th century.
These impressive stairs l are one of the most impressive displays of Baroque architecture in the city of Dubrovnik. When you walk up the staircase you will be in Boškovićeva Poljana (Bošković Square). This square is flanked by the Jesuit church of St. Ignatius.
This staircase was used in the filming of the Game of Thrones. You’ll recognize the steps from Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame scene.
To visit Lokrum Island you will need to take a ferry from Dubrovnik Old Town. During the summer months, a boat leaves every half hour to the island. It takes around 15 minutes to get there. You could also choose to kayak to the island on a tour or by renting a kayak.
The island has a stunning botanical garden with peacocks. So, it feels like a private lush and shady oasis with all of the trees.
There is also a Benedictine Monastery on the island that you can visit on the island.
Or, if you’d like to relax on the beach to swim and snorkel this is a great place to do that as well!
Dubrovnik Cable Car
The cable car up Mt. Srd in Dubrovnik was a skip for us. It was really expensive and a short trip. Instead, we took an Uber to the Bonsaka viewpoint on Mount Srd for sunset.
It really is an amazing sweeping view of Old Town Dubrovnik and beyond. So, whether you take the cable car or Uber like us, I would check it out!
Visit the nearby Elafiti islands located northwest of Dubrovnik. There are a total of six islands, however the three most popular to visit are Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan.
Cars aren’t allowed on Kolocep or Lopud so it makes it a really tranquil place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the packed streets in Dubrovnik.
Take a tour
There are many Croatia tours available both in Dubrovnik and originating from Dubrovnik. From walking tours, to Game of Thrones tours, to day trips from Dubrovnik to explore nearby Montenegro. If you’re in Dubrovnik for 2 or more days, definitely include a tour in your Dubrovnik itinerary.
Game of Thrones Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has become more and more popular due to the HBO series, Game of Thrones. Much of the filming occurred in Dubrovnik as well as other locations throughout Croatia. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, visiting Dubrovnik is a must!
Some of the notable locations in Dubrovnik from the TV series include the Jesuit staircase, the Lovrijenac fortress, and many others throughout the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Since the Old Town survives on tourism, while the filming was occurring they didn’t close down areas of the city. We learned about that and more on the Game of Thrones Tour we went on.
Where to eat in Dubrovnik
My husband and I are somewhat obsessed with the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil. So, we watch and pin a lot of the amazing restaurants he goes to for our travels as inspiration. We visited one of the spots in Dubrovnik and it was so amazing! So we’ll start there.
Barba is a family owned seafood restaurant located in Dubrovnik. The main thing we really wanted to try was the Octopus burger. It’s a casual restaurant without reservations and you can eat in or choose to take away.
We ended up ordering the mixed food platter which included a burger of our choice (octopus) on a cuttlefish ink bun, a generous portion of fried calamari, bread with homemade tuna pate and anchovies, octopus salad, prawn tempura, and oysters (you can choose fresh or fried).
Glam Bar is a great spot to have some drinks later at night. They specialize in Croatian craft beer. Our favorite was a smoothie sour from Pulfer Brewery that had pineapple, mango, peach, and coconut flavors. (A tropical flavor explosion!)
I’ve only ever had a true smoothie sour-style beer in the States so it was awesome to stumble upon one in Croatia as it’s one of my favorite styles of beer.
DBC (Dubrovnik Beer Company)
Dubrovnik Beer Company is located outside of the Old Town area of Dubrovnik. We caught a quick Uber from Buza Gate to go have a few brews here. It was really busy with both locals and tourists alike. Offering some standard beer styles such as a lager, pale ales, milk stout, and a New England IPA.
Moskar Street Food
Moskar Street Food is a small restaurant located in the heart of Old Town Dubrovnik. Focusing on Mediterranean cuisine many of the dishes are seafood. There is also a great selection of local wine.
We were walking by this restaurant and saw how amazing the food looked so we were lucky enough to snag a table from a group that had just left. According to our server, the menu changes regularly. We enjoyed fresh oysters, a seafood platter, and a local white wine.
Gianni’s Ice Cream
Gianni If you’re looking for a sweet treat in Dubrovnik, Gianni’s is the spot! Tucked in a corner close to the outskirts of the Old Town walls, take your ice cream to go or hang out at one of the tables outside.
Buza Bar is a well known cliffside bar located just outside of the walls along the sea. You can actually see this bar from the city walls if you choose to do the walls circuit while in Dubrovnik.
Many people will jump into the ocean on the other side of this bar from the rocky cliffs.
What to do in Dubrovnik in Two Days
With two days in Dubrovnik the main attractions that are an absolute must include the city walls and forts. Visiting the historic churches and structures in Old Town and taking a walking tour of the city. Having some great meals (Barba and Glam bar were our absolute favorites!)
Beyond two days if you’re spending 3 or more in Dubrovnik. Take a longer day trip to nearby Montenegro or spending a full day exploring Lokrum Island would be lovely. Even getting out to the outer neighborhoods in Dubrovnik that are known for amazing views and beaches to relax and unwind. (Plus take a break from climbing all of the steps in Old Town!)
Croatian Cities: Zagreb vs. Dubrovnik vs. Split
The popular Croatian cities of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Split are so different it’s hard to compare them. However, these are the most popular spots to visit whether you’re in Croatia for only 3-4 days or spending 7 to 8 days in Croatia you’ll likely visit at least one of these cities. Let’s compare the differences between the three.
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. It is situated more inland and in the northern part of the country. There is a lot of history and beauty in the city of Zagreb. If you’re into museums, there are a lot of museums in Zagreb!
Dubrovnik is most well known as a medieval walled city. This area of Dubrovnik is Old Town and is the most historic area of the city. There are outlying neighborhoods that have stunning beaches and more to offer. Most tourists will visit and stay in the Old Town but don’t let that deter you from exploring beyond!
Split like Dubrovnik is also on the Adriatic Sea. It is located along the coast and due to the bustling port area known as a great place to base yourself to explore the nearby Croatian islands. Some nearby islands that you can reach via ferry include Hvar, Brac, and Bisevo (including the famous Blue Cave!). Split is a very popular destination in the summer months for boating!
Dubrovnik FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?
Yes! Dubrovnik is a beautiful historic walled city that is worth exploring. Just strolling through the streets is stunning. There are many amazing restaurants and places to have a drink within Dubrovnik. It is also a great spot to base yourself for day trips throughout Croatia or the nearby country of Montenegro.
How many days do you need in Dubrovnik, Croatia?
Spend at least two days in Dubrovnik. With two days you can hit many of the highlights of the city but also take a day trip if you wish to do so. Three to four days in Dubrovnik would be a perfect amount of time to not feel rushed but get a really great sense of the city.
Can you spend a week in Dubrovnik?
Yes, absolutely! If you have a week in Dubrovnik you’ll be able to explore the Old Town at a slower pace. Make a trip to Lokrum Island. Visit nearby Montenegro and explore all of the five neighborhoods and areas that make up Dubrovnik. You could even split up accommodations and stay nearby the beach and also in Old Town.
Is Split or Dubrovnik better?
Both Split and Dubrovnik are amazing for different reasons. Split is awesome as more of a port city to explore both the historic area and visit nearby Croatian islands. Dubrovnik’s Old Town and traversing the medieval walls was an unforgettable experience. Both Dubrovnik and Split should be included in your Croatia travels!
How long is the ferry ride from Split to Dubrovnik?
Typically it’s about 4 and a half to 6 hours. However, ferry sailing times can vary depending on the time of the year and the ferry operator. It’s best to check directly with the ferry companies to confirm. It will depend on what type of ferry and if there are any stops along the journey.
How long is the ferry ride from Venice to Dubrovnik?
The ferry ride from Venice to Dubrovnik is 3 to 3 ½ hours of sailing duration. This is if you’re taking a direct ferry from Venice to Dubrovnik. It depends on which company you’re going with. Currently, there are two companies offering direct routes from Venice to Dubrovnik. Venezia lines and Kompas.
Is Dubrovnik expensive?
Dubrovnik is the most expensive city in Croatia. (Based on the cities that we visited during 8 days there.) The most expensive part about Dubrovnik was lodging in the Old Town and dining out. But, there are plenty of budget-friendly options! It will be the most expensive city you visit in Croatia, though.
Can you visit Montenegro from Dubrovnik?
Yes. Montenegro is in very close proximity to Dubrovnik. Many tour companies offer day tours to Montenegro and will pick you up from your accommodation in Dubrovnik. Driving in Montenegro is a little dicey, but if you’re brave you could possibly rent a car and drive there for the day. Just don’t forget to bring your passport!
Is 3 days enough in Dubrovnik?
Three days is a perfect amount of time to spend in Dubrovnik! You will be able to leisurely explore the main sights of Old Town Dubrovnik while also exploring beyond to the other neighborhoods of Dubrovnik. It will allow you to take a day trip and spend some time in the surrounding area of Dubrovnik.
Conclusion Two Days in Dubrovnik
When visiting Croatia, spending at least two days in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik is a must to include in your itinerary! Walking the city walls, going on a tour or two, and enjoying some amazing cuisine. Dubrovnik truly is a gem along the Adriatic Sea that you don’t want to miss.
One of the biggest mistakes we made while visiting Dubrovnik was not buying the Dubrovnik pass. If you’re going to explore the city walls, visit the fortress and Rectors Palace it will be a cost savings to just purchase the pass!
If you’re extending your time in Croatia beyond Dubrovnik, visit Split, Krka National Park, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and Zagreb! For more details on spending 8 days in Croatia, check out my full itinerary!