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20 Things To Do in Dubrovnik
Once Croatia’s best-kept secret, Dubrovnik is rapidly rising in the ranks of European vacation destinations. Our checklist of 20 things to do in Dubrovnik is the perfect place to start planning your trip to this gem of the Dalmatian Coast.
1. Drive the Dalmatian Coast
The meandering drive into Dubrovnik affords spectacular views of the Dalmatian coastline, the city’s charming villas and the multitude of islands peppered along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The roads are well travelled, safe, and in great condition. Be prepared for an intense rush when you first spot Dubrovnik’s picturesque harbour, terra cotta coloured roofs and historic walls for the first time.
2. Walk the Historic Dubrovnik City Walls
Stretching for nearly two kilometres, the walls surrounding Dubrovnik’s Old Town-a UNESCO World Heritage Site-were built between the 12th and 17th centuries. If you’re up for a challenge, climb the steps of Minceta Tower-a fort flanked by the walls-to get an unforgettable view of Dubrovnik with Lokrum Island in the background. The small fee to gain access to the wall is worth every Croatian Kuna!
3. Savour Dubrovnik’s cuisine
Dubrovnik is a seafood-lover’s paradise! Tuck into a succulent tuna steak at Srd’s mountaintop Panorama Restaurant, which affords a spectacular view of the city below, or indulge in some calamari bread served with black olive crusted cod at the elegant and refined Konoba Posat, just outside of the old city walls. Make sure you get your dose of crni rižoto (black risotto, shown here)-a traditional dish that derives its jet-black colour from cuttlefish and squid ink. Dobar tek! (That’s Croatian for “bon appetit”!)
4. Get Goosebumps on the Cable Car to Srd
Srd is a mountain that towers 400 metres over the city of Dubrovnik. The fastest-and most thrilling-way to get to the top is by taking the cable cars that run from Dubrovnik to the summit and back regularly. Prepare for goosebumps as you rapidly ascend and the sun bleached red roofs of Dubrovnik give way to the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea and its many islands.
5. Stand at the Summit of Srd
Srd was a strategic point for Napoleon in the early 1800s, when French forces occupied much of present-day Croatia. The view from the top of Srd is nothing short of astounding. The rugged mountains and hills further inland, Lokrum Island, the Elaphiti Island chain and the colourful Old Town-all laid out below in a feast for the eyes.
6. Take a Guided Tour of Dubrovnik
If you’re a history buff and want to get to know the many secrets, mysteries, and quirks of Dubrovnik, take a guided tour. Local tour guides are passionate about their city and are happy to provide an insider’s view of life in Dubrovnik. They can also answer any questions you might have, recommend local cuisine, hot spots, and give you advice on how to best spend your time. A good strategy is to check out reviews of local tour guides ahead of time. For a variety of different tour guide options, visit www.dubrovnik-tourist-guides.com.
7. Spot Game of Thrones Filming Locations
Dubrovnik doubles as King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms in the smash hit novel and television series, Game of Thrones. Fans flock to Dubrovnik in search of the filming locations of the fictional Red Keep and House of the Undying, and to re-enact Cersei’s Walk of Shame starting at the baroque staircase in Dubrovnik’s Old Town (shown here). Game of Thrones has become such a draw to Dubrovnik that various tours are dedicated solely to exploring filming locations throughout the city!
8. Wander the Side Streets of Old Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a densely packed collection of historic stone apartment buildings, churches, museums and shops. The main artery of the old city, called Stradun (or Placa Street), gives way to a multitude of side streets and walkways crammed with a delightful assortment of boutique shops, art galleries and restaurants. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk the cobblestoned steps on the north side of Stradun-they instantly take you back several centuries to the time when Dubrovnik wasn’t a Croatian tourist destination, but the bustling capital of the Republic of Ragusa.
9. Lounge in Luxury at Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik
If you appreciate luxury, comfort and eye-popping views of the sea, check yourself into the Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik, a hotel located just west of the old city. Large terraces overlooking the Adriatic Sea and floor-to-ceiling windows serve as the backdrop to spacious, well-appointed rooms with world-class amenities.
10. Grab an Ice Cream in Dubrovnik’s Old Town Harbour
Ice cream is the only accessory you’ll need for a leisurely afternoon stroll along the pier at Dubrovnik’s Old Town. The sight of the charming white boats bobbing in the harbour set against the rustic archways of Dubrovnik’s city walls evokes an undeniable sense of calm and serenity.
11. Take a Boat Trip to Sipan Island
Sipan, the largest island in the Elaphiti Island archipelago, is approximately one hour from Dubrovnik by boat. Make sure you visit the charming village of Sudurad, one of Sipan’s two ports, nestled among the island’s incredible array of palm, olive and citrus trees. The old shops and apartments hug the quaint harbour, giving way to the prominent old Skocibuha Family house in the centre of town. Visit the Jadrolinija Ferry website for schedules to and from Sudurad.
12. Get your Party on at Club Revelin
Revelin is a sprawling 500-year-old fortress situated just inside Dubrovnik’s Old Town. While its days as a military installation have long since passed, it’s recently been reimagined as a unique party venue. Leading DJs and music artists perform here regularly to capacity crowds, making it one of Europe’s top dance clubs. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience epic beats amidst ancient stone pillars illuminated by blacklights, strobes and lasers.
13. Uncork a Bottle of Croatian Wine
Lush vineyards stretch across Croatia, from the Dalmatian Coast to the plains of the Danube river basin. Plavac Mali, a commonly-grown grape, makes for flavourful, berry-like wines with a peppery bouquet. Pick up a bottle at a local Konzum store in Dubrovnik for only a few dollars, but beware-often times, it has a higher alcohol content than Canadian tourists might be used to. If you’re a serious oenophile, be sure to check out Dubrovnik’s annual springtime wine festival, Festiwine.
14. Visit Istanbul en route to Dubrovnik
Turkish Airlines‘ new Istanbul-Dubrovnik route operates four times a week. This means Canadians can get to and from Dubrovnik via Istanbul-one of Europe’s (and Asia’s!) largest and most storied cities. In fact, if you have a layover between six and 24 hours, you’re encouraged take advantage of free and comprehensive tours of Istanbul originating from the airport. Check out http://www.istanbulinhours.com for more.
15. Treat yourself to Business Class
Business Class on Turkish Airlines can turn the trek to Dubrovnik into a true highlight of your trip. Seats easily recline into full-length beds, the WIFI is remarkably fast, and handsomely dressed chefs serve meals of a caliber you’d never thought possible on a plane. Flight staff are attentive and charming, and the in-flight entertainment is top-notch.
16. Take a Stroll Down Dubrovnik’s Placa Street
Stradun (also known as Placa Street) has been Dubrovnik’s main artery since the 13th century. Since it’s a pedestrian-only street, you’re able to roam as you please to experience Onofrio Fountain, charming souvenir shops, restaurants and Orlando’s Column. For an exceptional Stradun experience, schedule your stroll just as the sun dips below the horizon, when the streetlights come to life and and make the lustrous limestone pavement glow. It’s a walk to remember!
17. Cruise the Adriatic
If you have the chance to hire a boat for an afternoon, take it! The vista inland from the sea provides yet another unforgettable perspective on Dubrovnik. As your boat glides past Franjo Tudman Bridge to the north, take in the Elaphiti Island chain: each island layered one in front of the other, before opening up to a breathtaking expanse of the Adriatic.
18. Sunbathe at Dubrovnik’s Lokrum Island Beaches
A quick ferry ride from the Old Harbour, Lokrum Island provides a welcome breather from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. Like the coastline, the beaches here are rocky, but they get deep quickly and the water is crystal clear. If you’re a free spirit and like to avoid tan lines, the southeast side of the island features a “Free Body Movement” beach where swimsuits are optional.
19. Catch a Performance at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Dubrovnik’s dynamic arts scene, striking vistas and storied venues all come together in the summer months for Dubrovnik’s Summer Festival. Choirs sing at the Franciscan Church, Croatian Folk Dancers perform on Revelin’s roof terrace, and actors perform Shakespearean masterpieces at Dubrovnik’s iconic Lovrijenac fortress. It’s a true showcase of what makes Dubrovnik an enchanting destination.
20. Venture beyond Dubrovnik’s City Walls
Dubrovnik is so much more that what’s inside the Old City walls. Once you’ve thoroughly explored the Old Town, venture beyond the walls and take in the city’s bustling, palm-decked promenades, streets, restaurants and parks. The view of imposing Minceta Tower against the backdrop of Srd is truly Instagram worthy, as are the beautifully manicured gardens of Gradac Park.