Dubrovnik has long been known as the ‘Jewel of the Adriatic’ and over the past few years has shot to popularity thanks to being a major filming location in Game of Thrones. As you step through the Old City walls at Pile Gate you feel like you are entering into a medieval film set.
1. Walk the City walls
No trip to Dubrovnik is complete without walking the City Walls which circle this magnificent city. This walk will take around 1-2 hours, totally dependent on how many times you stop to take pics - in my case, a LOT. It’s a photographer’s dream with stunning vantage points over the city and the glistening Adriatic sea.
2. Eat at Kopun
Poljana Ruđera Boškovića 7, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Discover what Croatian food has to offer at Kopun. Kopun (meaning cockerel) is named after the speciality dish of cockerel that’s been handed down for centuries. Set in the heart of the city at the top of the Jesuit Steps and overlooking the slightly crumbling walls of Biskupsko Sjemenište (the Jesuit Church) you’d think somewhere like this might be a tourist trap, however the food was fantastic and service just as good.
3. Hire a boat
With such clear water, you can spot sea urchins and fish aplenty, even from the harbour. There’s plenty of boat options departing from Old Town Harbour. We rented one from nearby Lapad. Our skipper took us to the island of Lopud, and snorkelling at secluded spots including the Blue Cave, which after my initial fear of swimming under a rock to get into, was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the water.
4. Visit the Lovrijenac Fort
This one’s a must for GoT fans, the Lovrijenac Fort rises up from the cliffs and in my opinion has the best views over the City Walls and Old Town. The entrance fee for the fort is covered within the cost of the City Walls, so if you do the walls first, Lovrijenac is effectively free. (or do the fort first, and pay a top up to get into the City Walls). You can do both activities within a day, or spread them out between 2 days.
5. Escape the city in Lapad
Fancy escaping the city to a charming quiet town? Catch the number 6 bus from outside Pile Gate to the end of the line to find yourself in Lapad. If you’re staying in Dubrovnik longer, Lapad is the perfect place to base yourself, or just visit one evening to eat at one of the many lovely restaurants lining the main strip. Be sure to check out the Cave Bar whilst you’re there.
6. Do your own GoT tour
I’d intended to book an official GoT tour, but after an afternoon wandering, I realised how easy it is to find all the spots yourself. There’s the Jesuit Steps where Cersei did her Walk of Shame, Fort Lovrijenac is the Red Keep, Gradac Park is featured in the Purple Wedding episode where Joffrey gets poisoned… the list goes on. It’s really easy to find these places yourself, so soak up those King’s Landing vibes.
7. Ride the cable car (and visit the museum at the top)
Who doesn’t love a cable car? This one takes you to the top of Srd Hill, has magnificent views over the city and leaves you realising how small it is when seen from above. For those interested in history, the Fort Imperial houses The Homeland War Museum documenting the aggression of Serbia and Montenegro in the 1990’s. Theres a lot of information to take in, but also a documentary of stitched together news coverage which was really interesting.
8. Sample the local Pošip
Pošip is the local Croatian white wine, grown from the pošip grape, and - I won’t pretend I know anything about wine - just really delicious. There’s many little bars nestled down the side streets off the Stradun, so grab a glass, sit on the steps outside and watch the world go by.
9. Drink at Beach Bar Dodo
Šulić Beach, Ul. od Tabakarije 37, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
This great little bar is nestled in a bay overlooking Beach Šulić, and has some serious good vibes going on. It’s a perfect place to stop for a cold drink and some seafood (the prawns and calamari were amazing) between sightseeing.
10. Explore the backstreets of Dubrovnik
There’s something so charming about a quaint washing line full of clothes in the middle of a city. A few roads back from the Stradun, you will see signs of everyday life going on amongst the tourists. These backstreets, especially around Buže Gate are lovely to wander round and see how the locals are living.
I spent a week in Dubrovnik, but if you're short of time you can easily see the city in a few days, or for a longer stay (1 week+) explore nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina or Montenegro, both of which are on my list after enjoying Croatia so much.