Dubrovnik On a Rainy Day: 10 Things To Do
So your worst fears have come to fruition. After all the weather app-checking and painstaking packing decisions. After calculating the number of rainy days in the month you planned on visiting. After the praying and wishful thinking. After everything, it finally rained in Dubrovnik. While this city specializes in good weather, the winter and spring months tend to bring a few rainy days every month.
This Adriatic paradise has some of the best beaches, landmarks, and most gorgeous exterior architecture in all of Europe, but thankfully there are plenty of excellent indoor options for waiting out the rain. Because there is so much to do and see, planning for at least three days in Dubrovnik is extremely wise. Hopefully, the weather will allow for must-do activities like walking the city walls, hitting Banje Beach, or taking the cable car for the best views of the coastline and Old Town on other days of your trip. But for when the skies have opened up, it’s good to know where to seek shelter.
You should also think about shelter for your bags. Visit a Bounce luggage storage locker in Dubrovnik and your bags can stay dry too. Here are the best things to do in Dubrovnik on a rainy day:
Visit The Red History Museum
In the wake of the World Wars in Europe, Croatia and its Balkan neighbors were left as a unified communist republic. Because daily life was starkly different between the socialist countries and their western counterparts, historians have taken to documenting the relics of these eras to preserve our understanding. Museums that offer a glimpse into the design and aesthetics of this period, and the “snapshot” approach that creates a unique museum experience are popping up all over Eastern Europe. The Red History Museum of Dubrovnik is one of the foremost institutions in this field, and rain or sunshine is absolutely worth a visit.
This is one of the best museums in Dubrovnik and it focuses on everything from the rise of Tito to the communist regime’s specific impact on Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coastline. You’ll find cars manufactured in Yugoslavia, pictures from journalists, and many other items that tell the story of communism in Croatia. The Red History Museum’s gift shop is cooler than most, with Yugoslav-era versions of Coca-Cola, Fanta, and other brands all having unique designs.
Located outside of Old Town near Bounce’s storage location on Josip Jelačića Street, this is a convenient spot to wait out a rainstorm, and you can leave your luggage so it’s easier to maneuver around the museum. The museum is open between 9 AM and 10 PM, so you can plan your trip around the rain! Admission is less than $10, and children under 8 are allowed in for free.
Dubrovnik is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world, and its historical heritage is prominently displayed in its incredible churches. Old Town is dotted with monasteries, churches, palaces, and other religious sites. One of the most famous is the Dominican Monastery, which is one of the most visited landmarks in all of Croatia.
Like other Old Town landmarks, it was depicted in the Game of Thrones TV series (more than one important character has been killed off there). Come for the Kings Landing callbacks, stay for the gorgeous architecture and historical significance. The Dominican Monastery’s museum boasts some of the best 12th-century religious pieces, as well as hundreds of paintings and priceless relics.
The Dominican Monastery’s prime location near busy streets like Stradun and the Cable Car makes it a perfect spot to wait out the rain.
Gornji Ugao Tower Archeological Museum
Excavators have recently uncovered a trove of historical discoveries on the Gornji Ugao Tower, located on the northwest part of the city walls. While historians had seemingly known everything about Old Town and its story (the city is so well preserved that you don’t need many excavations to uncover the history of Dubrovnik), there is evidence of a previously-unknown foundry built in the 15th century. Because of these recent discoveries, the site has been turned into a museum and exhibit detailing the archaeological process of exploring this discovery. Across several levels of the tower, visitors can witness archaeology happening in real-time. The story of the tower, the earthquake of 1667 that almost destroyed it, and how these experts explore history is detailed by knowledgeable guides. Almost the entire experience can be had inside, so it’s a perfect place to take cover from the rain and truly learn something.
Take the Family to an Escape Room
While you might be able to find an addictive mystery-solving mission everywhere from Oklahoma City to Miami Beach back in the states, this is still an incredibly fun option for the family when your day trip, beach, or island plans have been derailed by a rainy day. Luckily, Dubrovnik has one of the most interesting escape rooms you’ll find anywhere. The team at Puzzle Punks has created a Dubrovnik-specific escape room that allows you to choose your own unique adventure. You can choose between the “escape from Kings Landing” option if you’re one of the many visitors that has spent their trip fantasizing about Game of Thrones scenes. There is also the treasure-hunting game, where you search the nooks and crannies of Old Town for gold and jewels, like the Adriatic pirates of old. The games last 60 minutes and are perfect for spending some time on a rainy day with the whole family.
This is one of the most highly-recommended stops in Dubrovnik, even when the weather is absolutely perfect. The Rector is a now-defunct appointed official that oversees the city on behalf of a foreign Empire. In Dubrovnik’s case, the Emperor of Venice ruled over the city when this gorgeous and ornate palace was constructed in the 1200s. Obviously, the politics of Croatia and Dubrovnik have changed quite a bit, but the city’s knack for preservation has allowed this site to endure and become a must-see landmark.
The Rector’s Palace is open from 9 am - 6 pm every day. It is in a prime location in Old Town near hundreds of landmarks and all the best art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and souvenir shopping. This is a great place to stop by to wait out rainy days, and if you’re particularly into history, you can explore for the better part of an afternoon. Some of the best shopping in town is here too, so if the weather changes, you can always get a little retail therapy while you're here.
War Photography Museum
While Dubrovnik is an unfathomably beautiful place, there is no getting around the history of Croatia, Yugoslavia, and the Balkans. During the 1990s, the region was the setting for the bloodiest war in Europe since World War II. While many of the wounds have healed throughout the former Yugoslavia, there are many museums that have documented the conflict in great detail. One of the best examples of these is War Photo Limited, which is a gallery and museum displaying some of the best photos taken by war journalists during the Croatian war against Serbia. The content of the exhibits may be heavy, but it’s an important part of Croatia’s history. The museum itself is open from 10 am to 10 pm every day of the week, and its Old Town location makes it a perfect place to seek shelter while taking in some history. Admission is $10 for adults, which is more than worth it for the incredible education and perspective these photos and exhibits provide.
Wait Out The Rainy Day And Enjoy Croatian Coffee Culture
This might already be your go-to plan for waiting out a rainy day, but don’t sleep on the sneaky-good Croatian coffee culture. Old Town has dozens of incredible and authentic cafes where you can sip on a delicious warm cup of coffee and watch the (hopefully not torrential) rain pass through Dubrovnik.
In Croatia, the ritual of sitting with loved ones at a café has an elevated place for locals. And with the beautiful and delicious coffee on offer in Dubrovnik, this is most certainly the case. While the local tradition is to spend hours and hours at the café chatting quietly and sipping on coffee or tea, you can always pop into a local coffee shop during a rain storm or dry off for a little while. The best cafes in Dubrovnik Old Town are Café Festival, Gianni, and Glam Bar.
If it’s raining in the morning, probably the best way to start your day in Old Town would be the Franciscan Monastery, which is located near the Western Gate and Pile Gate (where most visitors enter the walled city). It’s perfect for heading to the Western Gate, exploring the entirely covered monastery, seeing its incredible selection of relics, and then heading into Old Town to enjoy the most iconic tourist area in Croatia.
This is an actual functioning cloister and monastery. There are friars and nuns who are living and working in the monastery, which is rare for such a busy tourist area. While this may feel strange, they are actually a friendly complement to the experience, but refrain from asking for selfies as they are human beings and not statues or relics! In that department, the monastery is chock full of frescoes, and authentic relics. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable, with full detail of the monastery’s history all the way up to the modern era.
The monastery itself is very comfortable to visit, with air conditioning on every level. It’s open between 9 am and 6 pm every day.
Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
If you’ve done Dubrovnik right during your trip, you will have done more than just get your steps in. This is one of the best cities in Europe for walking around. So when the rain has you stuck inside, pamper yourself with a massage appointment or manicure to treat those achy feet. Most luxury hotels have a spa or beauty salons that are open to the public where you can reserve any one of their treatments. The most popular spas in the city centre are Touch of Thai Massage, ICONA Boutique Spa, Hotel Bellevue, Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, and Hotel Excelsior. Getting spa treatments like a massage, facial, or manicure is a great way to pamper yourself while you wait for the rain to pass, and Dubrovnik is certainly not short of rainy day options.
Explore Dubrovnik’s Wine Scene
Anyone familiar with Game of Thrones knows that basically, every scene that doesn't involve bloody battles or dragons eating people has at least one character swirling and sipping a goblet of wine. Channel that energy on your day off by exploring Dubrovnik wine bars and sampling choice vintages of a rich wine heritage. Malvazija Wine Bar is a great place to start. They have an incredible menu of amazing food from the Dubrovnik countryside, with an amazing selection of Croatian and Balkan cheese. Most nights, there is a live jazz band, so even travelers who don’t love wine have something to enjoy! If wine is your thing, you’re in luck, because they have one of the best lists in all of Croatia.
One of the most highly acclaimed wine bars in Dubrovnik is Razonoda. While there may be comparable menus throughout Dubrovnik, the staff is what makes this Old Town haunt a wine connoisseur destination. Sommelier-level knowledge and a rare approachability help drinkers navigate the seriously underrated Croatian winemaking tradition.
Another spot to hit up is D’Vino Wine Bar. They are located in the heart of Old Town, just a few minutes on foot from War Photo Limited. They specialize in outstanding charcuterie boards, and their wine cellar boasts some of the most sought-after Croatian wines. If the rain clears up but you’re looking to keep drinking, check out Buza Bar on the city walls for the best views of the city. You can also find some of Dubrovnik's tasty street food along this route. If you want to explore the countryside, you can always take a day trip to one of the many vineyards within an hour of Dubrovnik's historical centre.
While spending your time indoors is never an ideal way to spend a precious vacation day, there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself in Dubrovnik on a rainy day. The city’s amazing history provides ample opportunity to explore Dubrovnik museums, and the unique coffee and wine culture are perfect for sipping and enjoying an afternoon out of the rain. While most months offer unbeatable weather where you’ll find yourself on a day trip up the coast, enjoying the beach, or walking the city walls, when it rains, you get wet. Luckily, you have plenty of options!