3 Days in Dubrovnik: Everything You Should Know
Every year, Dubrovnik attracts visitors from all over the globe looking to take in the cobbled streets, impeccably preserved medieval architecture, and fortresses that were used in the Game of Thrones television series. If you are jetting around Old Town looking for the corner where the Lannisters and Starks fought in the streets, you’ll want to store your luggage at one of Bounce’s Old Town storage facilities. But there is so much more to Dubrovnik than a few buildings you’ll recognize from your weekend-long HBO binge in 2015. Pristine beaches, amazing nightlife, and a criminally-underrated restaurant scene make this a can’t-miss trip.
There is something for basically everyone who is spending 3 days in Dubrovnik. Whether you’re into history, world-class seafood, clubbing, beaches, hiking, or Game of Thrones, you’ll be able to fill up three days with your favorite activities. Here is your Dubrovnik itinerary:
Catch Amazing Views of the Entire City With The Dubrovnik Cable Car
A great way to start your trip is to take in the breathtaking views of the entire city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dubrovnik is sandwiched between steep hills and the ocean, so heading to higher ground provides an excellent vantage point to get a sense of the place (and outrageously beautiful Instagrams). The Dubrovnik Cable Car is the best (and most fun) way to get to those perfect spots. For one, it doesn’t involve trekking up the entire hill, so you won’t tire your legs too early in the day. If you prefer to use your own two feet, this hillside trek is one of the best hikes in Dubrovnik. In the summer months, temperatures can get pretty warm, so tackling the hillside before the afternoon heat sets in is ideal.
The trip up only takes about 10 minutes by cable car, but you’ll be able to explore the hillside as long as you like. The views are breathtaking and the breeze off the Adriatic Sea is pleasant any time of year. You can visit the Imperial Fortress, which was built by the French in the 18th century. There is also a restaurant and cafe with amazing views and small bites if you want to make a whole morning of it.
Visit Sponza Palace
Just a few minutes away from the base of the cable car sits Sponza Palace, which is a resplendent landmark from the early 1500s. Because this was one of the few structures to survive the catastrophic earthquake of 1667, this is one of the last remaining renaissance buildings in Dubrovnik. The most beautiful features are the loggia, the gate, and its atrium. While it was originally intended as a venue for traders, bankers, and merchants to do business, Sponza Palace now functions as the city archives, with over 100,000 documents being preserved on the premises.
Visit The Dominican Monastery
Although heavily damaged, another survivor of the earthquake of 1667 is the Dominican Monastery, which is one of the largest buildings of its age in Dubrovnik. So large, in fact, that parts of the city walls needed to be altered just to fit the monastery in the city. While the reconstruction after the earthquake gave it some new features and a much-needed facelift, this is one of the most faithfully preserved landmarks in the city. The Gothic Cloister is world-renowned for its exquisite detail. There is also a wonderful museum with many paintings that date as far back as the 15th century.
Lunchtime or very early afternoon is the perfect time to go as this monastery can get quite crowded in the late afternoon. Another excellent destination is Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Benedictine Monastery.
Take a Dip At Banje Beach
While you will have plenty of options (and opportunities) for exploring historic landmarks, Dubrovnik’s pristine beaches are some of the best in Europe. Just outside the city walls and within walking distance from the Dominican Monastery is Banje Beach, which is famously one of the best in Croatia.
Banje Beach is the perfect place to relax and have a quick dip in the water, but there are also loads of water sports like kayaking, windsurfing, or jet skiing if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. There are restaurants and bars for enjoying a view with some wine or small plates, and, in classic Dubrovnik fashion, you can always join a dance party at one of the beachside clubs!
Banje Beach is one of the most kid-friendly places in Dubrovnik, as their interest in Monasteries and Gothic architecture will be exhausted at some point. There are far-flung areas of Dubrovnik beaches you can explore but that can take up the bulk of your day, these are better reserved for day trips.
Dinner at Bistro Revelin
Located near the Ploče Gate in the Eastern section of Old Town Dubrovnik, Bistro Revelin offers one of the most creative menus of any Dubrovnik restaurant. There is a huge focus on local ingredients and authentic flavors, but the owner and chef have given these classics a modern twist and paired them with an amazing wine menu. This is the perfect place for a relaxing dinner after a day on the rocky beaches or before a night out.
Start The Weekend Off With a Bang at Dubrovnik’s Best Nightclub
Depending on what you consider a nightclub, Dubrovnik's most famous dancing venue might be one of the oldest in the world, having first been constructed in the 16th century. The Revelin Rowers Re is located near the Ploče Gate and boasts some truly impressive historic architecture, with vaulted ceilings, stone walls (the original exposed brick), massive archways, and a gorgeous terrace. Massive DJ sets are held here, including the Higher Dubrovnik Music Festival. In the offseason, their New Year’s Eve party is one of the season’s highlights. This is the premier nightclub in Dubrovnik, and if you’re into that sort of thing, or have the “when in Rome” attitude, it’s a can’t miss activity for a night out in Dubrovnik.
Walk Around Stradun
Whether you intend to or not, you will most likely find yourself walking around Stradun, which is the longest and most iconic street in Dubrovnik Old Town. Depending on how last night’s clubbing went, it’s best to experience this street as early as possible, before hordes of other tourists from cruise ships swarm the place. The main stretch connects the Peskarija and Pile Gates and is lined with dozens of cafes, restaurants, and shops. Now might be the time for that hangover helper, because this is a great place to enjoy a pastry and espresso while appreciating the baroque architecture.
The street is entirely pedestrianized, so it’s convenient for an early morning stroll. Depending on the time of year, getting those steps in might help you break a sweat! Shopping around, you’ll find your standard stores selling Dubrovnik and Croatia-related collectibles and keepsakes. Some designer brands have opened outposts here as well, but that won’t take away from the absolutely stunning beauty of this historic part of Dubrovnik.
Lunch at Trattoria Carmen
Just off the main street near the Rector’s Palace, another solid historic site to check out, is one of the best places for a quick but delicious lunch in Old Town. Trattoria Carmen offers classic Italian cuisine in a no-rush, no-frills setting. There is dining on the sidewalk available, and a nice list of wines. Their rotating menu is small but covers your bases. Things like their octopus fritters can be shared, but there are salads and lighter pasta that are perfect for a quick, elevated lunch. Don’t sleep on their authentic Croatian dishes too!
Visit The Fort of St. John
After you’ve fortified yourself with lunch, head to the eastern edge of Old Town to check out one of the best forts in Dubrovnik, and that’s saying something considering there are dozens of forts in the region. While the outside of the imposing structure is most impressive, there is a museum on the upper level that details the rich maritime history of the city. The lower area has a display of the aquatic wildlife that surrounds Dubrovnik, with exotic fish and seahorses prominently featured. The gorgeous views of Old Town and refreshing Adriatic sea breeze make this a landmark where you can sit and relax for an hour or so.
Lokrum Island Hopping
The Dalmatian coast is dotted with hundreds of beautiful, tiny Islands that are amazing to explore. Right off the coast, you’ll find Lokrum Island, which is easily accessible from Dubrovnik. The Old Town Port has ferries that shuttle sightseers and adventurers out to this little slice of paradise. The main attraction is Fort Royal Castle, which Napoleon's troops built to defend Dubrovnik's harbor. The views are hard to beat, and the crowds are shockingly small for how amazing Lokrum Island is to visit. Looking for an active vacation? You can even rent a sea kayak and paddle your way out to the island!
Have a Drink and Enjoy Amazing Views at Buza Bar
Located on the southern wall, Buza Bar boasts stellar views of the Adriatic Sea, Old Town, and surrounding landscapes. When we say this bar is on the old City Walls, we mean literally. If you’re from the US, it will seem impossible that an establishment could actually be located here. If you’re one of the many Game of Thrones fans making their pilgrimage to Dubrovnik, this is the closest you’ll ever get to Tyrion Lannister drinking wine on the walls of King’s Landing.
Grab an Authentic Brunch at Dubravka 1836 Restaurant and Café
To start off the last of your three days in Dubrovnik, head to one of the city’s best brunch spots. Dubravka 1836 is located near the western entrance of Old Town (stop by the Pile Gate on your way in), and serves some of the most authentic Croatian brunch bites in the city. A Dalmatian classic, the smoked ham, cheese, and breadboard is the perfect plate to share with the table. There are delicious marmalades, butter, and honey to drizzle on house-baked pastries and bread.
Get Those Steps In At The Old Town Walls
Without a doubt, you’ll be familiar with the Old Town’s ancient city walls by the third day of your trip. While this might seem like the first thing you should tackle after arriving in Dubrovnik, walking the city walls towards the end of your trip gives you an opportunity to appreciate the city after you’ve had a chance to experience it. You’ll have vantage points of the clock tower, city center, Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, Monasteries, streets, and palaces you’ve been in. It’s a nice way to reminisce about your trip, and an even better way to work off some of the wine and meat skewers you’ve consumed over the past few days.
Some of the best landmarks to look out for are Revelin, Fort Lovrijenac, Bokar Tower, Minceta Tower, and St. John’s Fortress. The various gates around the city are also fun to hang out at and people-watch. The whole wall can take a while to circumnavigate, and the change in elevation can make it a deceptively great workout. Just beware of the sun!
Visit Fort Lovrijenac
Another Game of Thrones location, Fort Lovrijenac is located just outside of Old Town’s western entrance. The crowds are usually preoccupied inside the city walls and on Banje Beach, so this can be a comfortable place to visit. That doesn’t mean the sights and locale aren’t incredible. This 14th-century fortification is located on a towering craggy outpost, with great views of Old Town and the surrounding coastline. The ticket for admission to the Dubrovnik city walls includes the fort, so it’s best to tackle these on the same day.
Take a Dip at Danče Beach
At this point, you’ve been sightseeing under the Adriatic sun for a few hours. Located in the shadows of Fort Lovrijenac is the charming (and mostly empty) Danče Beach. While less popular than Banje, this little hideaway is perfect for a relaxing stroll or dip to cool down.
Treat Yourself to Dinner (and Wine) at One of Dubrovnik’s Best Restaurants
It’s never a bad idea to go out with a bang, so hitting up one of the nicest restaurants in Dubrovnik is a great way to cap off the trip. Posat Restaurant is a prominent fixture in the Dubrovnik dining scene, and its menu of Mediterranean classics has a modern twist. Their wine list? It’ll be hard to find a better selection of Balkan and European wines anywhere.
While the food and drinks are stellar, Posat’s location and views are truly unforgettable. The views of the Pile Gate and Old Town Walls are complemented with excellent vantage points for the Bokar and Minčets Fortresses. It’s a unique setting where you’ll want to extend the meal to savor every last second (and drop of Croatian wine).
Whether you got to this walled city from Dubrovnik Ferry Port or the airport, the “pearl of the Adriatic” is one of the world’s most iconic bucket-list destinations. The walled Old Town quarter makes Dubrovnik one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, and that’s saying something.
Some travelers think three days in any city is too much. Even for a city as small as Dubrovnik, it’s nowhere near enough. While this guide has covered a lot of your bases and led you to some less obvious gems, there are so many incredible adventures to be had for your 3 days in Dubrovnik's Old Town that you can easily fill another four or five days and not be bored. But spending your time wisely is important when planning a trip, so do yourself a favor and drop the luggage at a trusty Bounce storage facility, and get to exploring!