Wondering whether Dubrovnik is worth visiting? You’ve come to the right article!
Dubrovnik is a beautiful historic city on the southern coast of Croatia. The city has so many amazing areas to explore and the Old Town is the highlight. The wonderful medieval walls around the Old Town are so fascinating.
The city is infamous for its orange-coloured rooftops and amazing sea views. Dubrovnik really is beautiful and you can see why the destination has become so popular in recent years.
Dubrovnik is on the must-see destination list of many people, and was on mine for many years.
Having just come back from an amazing 10-day trip in Croatia, spending 3 days in Dubrovnik I feel well prepared to give all the answers you need to the question, “Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?”
Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?
The short answer to this question is: “Absolutely YES!”
Dubrovnik has so much to offer to visitors even if you can only stay for one day. The city has plenty of attractions to visit and there is an endless number of activities that you can book, particularly if you like being on the water.
No matter the time of year, Dubrovnik is always beautiful. The scenery from the walls of the city alone is enough to put a smile on your face. You are guaranteed to come away with some beautiful photographs from your trip to Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is home to numerous museums, galleries, and theatres, including the renowned Rector’s Palace and the Dubrovnik Cathedral, which features a variety of artistic performances. You can immerse yourself in the local culture through music, dance, and traditional cuisine.
With its crystal-clear waters and scenic beaches, the city offers excellent opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The iconic Lokrum Island, just a short ferry ride away, provides lush gardens, hiking trails, and a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Dubrovnik has a very intimate atmosphere and so is very romantic for couples. There are so many couple friendly things in the city and one of my favourites would be taking a private sunset cruise. Equally, with many water activities and beaches nearby you can also enjoy the city solo or with friends.
The city is easily accessible by foot and you will likely use little public transport. Unless travelling far outside the city, a hire car also isn’t necessary. The Old Town is a great location for walking around and you can easily spend hours inside the city’s walls.
Considering the question “Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?” is a lot more straightforward than considering if Zagreb is worth visiting. Dubrovnik should 100% be a no-brainer when travelling to Croatia!
Why Dubrovnik May Not Be Worth Visiting
While there are many affordable things to do in Dubrovnik it was by far the most expensive city that we visited. Meals were our biggest spend with even basic meals like a pizza costing €3-4 more than what we paid in the likes of Split and Zagreb. Souvenirs were also a considerably higher price.
The total we spent on accommodation for 3 nights was the highest of our stays and the guest house was the most basic. While it was only a short 10 minute bus journey from the Old Town, for what we paid, I would have expected to be closer.
Flights to Dubrovnik can be quite pricey as it is such a popular tourist spot. If you’re travelling the entire coast of Croatia then I highly recommend trying to fly into Zagreb as it is much cheaper. Travelling the coast by bus or coach tours will make up for the flight price.
Another reason Dubrovnik may not be worth visiting is that it can be very, very crowded. We visited in the shoulder season, half way through September and the city was still busier than I expected. I would recommend that you try to avoid Dubrovnik in the peak summer season as the number of tourists would be so overwhelming.
Visiting in quieter seasons will definitely alleviate the crowds but it may mean that you miss out on some great experiences that shut down after summer.
How Many Days is Enough in Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik can be explored in a day or 2 but staying for 4 or 5 days is best.
In 4 to 5 days you will be able to get a real feel for the history of the city, explore the Old Town’s best attractions, visit a beach and carry out a handful of water activities. You’ll have plenty of time to relax but enough on your itinerary that you don’t get bored.
With 5 days in Dubrovnik you’ll also have time to go further afield, visiting the likes of the Bay of Kotor or Mostar.
Dubrovnik serves as a gateway to the nearby islands, including Lokrum, which offers hiking trails, botanical gardens, and a tranquil escape from the city. A day trip to one of these islands is highly recommended.
Depending on how quickly you work through your list of things to do you may also have time to take a day trip further from Dubrovnik. Nearby attractions like Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor or the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina are popular for day trips.
You may even want to extend your stay in Dubrovnik to 5 or more days to allow you to carry out these trips.
When to Visit Dubrovnik
Deciding when to visit Dubrovnik depends on what activities you’re planning to do when you’re there. Here are the pros and cons of visiting in each season so you can decide when it would be best for you to visit.
The summer season of June to August is the peak season for Dubrovnik’s tourism. It is the busiest time of the year with both locals and holidaymakers heading to beaches to soak up the sun and heading to the islands.
The city’s beaches, outdoor cafes, and cultural attractions are in full swing. If you’re looking to soak up the sun, swim in the Adriatic Sea, and enjoy vibrant nightlife, summer is the best time to visit.
However, prices shoot sky high in summer. Everywhere is crowded and thanks to climate change, if 2023 is anything to go by then July is just too hot. Spending out hundreds to then be told to stay indoors because the temperatures outside are dangerous wouldn’t be fun.
If you can help it, visiting on either side of the hottest month would hopefully promise you more enjoyable temperatures.
The shoulder seasons are the most preferable times to visit Dubrovnik. April to May and September to October are the shoulder seasons in Dubrovnik’s tourism. These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices compared to the summer peak season.
The sea is still warm enough for swimming, and you can explore the city comfortably without the summer heat. These months are also perfect for sightseeing and great for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and want to explore Dubrovnik’s historic sites without the summer crowds.
However, visiting too early or too late in the shoulder seasons could mean that some experiences are not operating or there are fewer businesses open. Make sure that you don’t go too early or too late to the city if you’re looking for experiences that would be available in the peak season without the crowds.
Dubrovnik is much quieter during the winter, making it a peaceful destination for those seeking a tranquil getaway. Hotel rates are at their lowest. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind cooler temperatures, winter can be a great time to visit. You’ll have the city’s attractions largely to yourself, and you can enjoy the local culture without the crowds.
I’d suggest needing less time in the city if visiting in winter as you are unlikely going to need time to enjoy the nearby beaches or be able to book water activities.
The best time to visit Dubrovnik is definitely in the shoulder seasons if you time it right. I found a September trip to be a great time of year as the summer weather was still carrying on and the experiences were still open for business even if there was still a decent number of tourists about.
Things To Do in Dubrovnik
- Walk the Dubrovnik City Walls – Climbing and walking the Old Town city walls is a must-do activity in Dubrovnik. The walls offer incredible views of the buildings in the Old Town and across the Adriatic Sea. The photographs that you can get from on top of the walls are unmatched. While quite pricey, the walls are a great experience that you should have even if you’re only in Dubrovnik for a day.
- Visit Rector’s Palace – Rector’s Palace is included in the Dubrovnik Pass and so should be visited if you have paid for it. The palace has exhibits which date the history of the city and give wonderful insights into the culture. The stunning Gothic-Renaissance palace once served as the residence of the Republic of Ragusa’s elected rector, who acted as the city-state’s head of state.
- Ride the Dubrovnik Cable Car – Taking a ride on the Dubrovnik cable car is a thrilling experience that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. The cable car, which departs from the base station just a short walk from the Old Town, transports visitors to the summit of Mount Srđ in a matter of minutes. It can be quite expensive and isn’t included in any discount cards but the views are well worth the money.
- Swim in the Adriatic Sea – There are many opportunities along the Dalmatian Coast to have a swim in the Adriatic Sea but choosing to swim in Dubrovnik will mean you have chosen the most crystal clear water to swim in. The water is perfect for snorkelling and there is a high chance that you’ll be able to see colourful fish.
- Sunbathe on Dubrovnik’s best beach – There is a long-standing debate on which beach in Dubrovnik is the best, and in my opinion, you can’t go wrong with Bellevue Beach. This gorgeous beach made up of pebbles is in a cove surrounded by stunning cliff faces. And if this isn’t enough, there’s a sea cave which you can explore.
- Take a Kayaking Tour – Kayaking in Dubrovnik is one of the best things you can do to check out the beautiful coastline and get that little bit of adrenaline everyone seeks on a trip. There are lots of kayaking tours, most of which will visit Betina Cave beach which is only accessible from the water, in other words, you need a cave.
- Visit Fort Lovrijenac – Included in your ticket to the Dubrovnik City Walls is entry to Fort Lovrijenac, located just outside the city walls on a separate bit of land overlooking the city. To be honest, there’s not too much to see in the fort itself, but the views you get over Dubrovnik are to die for. Simply beautiful.
- Take a Walking Tour – It would be a shame to visit a city with as much history as Dubrovnik without taking a walking tour. I recommend taking a free walking tour where you simply tip the guide what you see appropriate. It’s one of the best ways to learn about Dubrovnik.
- Enjoy a Lavender Gelato – Croatia has an obsession with lavender and it’s clear to see when visiting Dubrovnik. Every souvenir shop has something related to nice-smelling flowers. There are also plenty of delicious gelaterias in Dubrovnik, most of which offer lavender-flavoured gelato. It’s quite unique in taste, but tasty nonetheless.
- Take a Ferry to Lokrum Island – Just off the coast of Dubrovnik is Lokrum Island, an island nature reserve with incredible natural beauty. From the botanical gardens to the endless greenery, a day trip to Lokrum Island is filled with nature. Not to mention the free-roaming peacocks on the island!
- Walk the Stradun – Stradun is the main street in Dubrovnik’s Old Town and one that you’ll likely have seen in lots of pictures. Walking along the street and taking and taking in all of the towers and impressive architecture is a must-do. Along with the street performers and bustlers, it’s a street jam-packed with atmosphere.
- Visit the Franciscan Church and Monastery – The Franciscan Church and Monastery is a building with a wealth of history dating back to the 14th Century. It’s made up of a friary, church, library and a pharmacy. The museum is also world-renowned and many consider it a “must-do”. It’s also included in the Dubrovnik Pass which means you can enter for free.
- Take a Sunset Boat Cruise – One of my favourite memories from visiting Dubrovnik was taking a sunset boat tour. We took a tour with Rewind Dubrovnik and had the most amazing time ever. Watching the sunset over the blue waves on one side with a view of Dubrovnik on the other is a true pinch-yourself moment.
- Take a Game of Thrones Tour – Aside from the orange-roofed buildings, Dubrovnik is best known for being the filming site for an abundance of scenes in the popular series, “Game of Thrones”. There are lots of Game of Thrones locations in Dubrovnik to check out, and it’s pretty cool seeing the original sites of so many iconic scenes.
- Shop for Souvenirs – Last but by no means least, shop for souvenirs in Dubrovnik. While a trip to Dubrovnik is unforgettable and creates endless memories, there’s no better way to solidify the trip in your memory than with a Dubrovnik souvenir. There are tons of options to choose from. Magnets, lavender, keyrings, postcards, all the usual souvenirs. Or how about a tie? Did you know Croatia invented the necktie?
Why is Dubrovnik so Popular?
Dubrovnik’s popularity can be put down to many different factors. Tourism in the city has steadily risen over a number of years as more and more flights to the city have become available and more cruise ships have started docking along the Adriatic Coast.
First and foremost, Dubrovnik’s stunning architecture and historical significance make it a must-visit city. The well-preserved medieval Old Town, encircled by huge stone walls, transports visitors back in time. Its picturesque streets, charming squares, and ancient churches provide a glimpse into the city’s rich history.
Naturally, the surrounding area of the city is so beautiful and inviting. Dubrovnik boasts crystal-clear waters, inviting beaches, and pleasant Mediterranean weather, making it an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports during the summer months. Many travellers arrive in the city solely to enjoy the crystal beaches which give a great opportunity for snorkelling.
You can easily embark on day trips to nearby islands, such as Lokrum and the Elaphiti Islands, or explore the stunning coastline and neighbouring countries like Montenegro. Its location on the Dalmatian Coast means that the city is a guaranteed visit on many people’s travel bucket lists.
A key reason for Dubrovnik’s popularity is that the city was the filming location for the hit-series ‘Game of Thrones’. There are many tours in the city which showcase key locations that are featured in the show. You’ll also find plenty of themed souvenirs while in the city.
FAQs: Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?
Below are some questions related to “Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?” along with my answers to each question.
Is Dubrovnik worth the hype?
Yes, Dubrovnik is worth the hype, without a doubt. It’s one of the best destinations to visit in Croatia. Its stunning medieval walls, picturesque old town, and breathtaking Adriatic views make it a must-visit city.
What is so special about Dubrovnik?
There are lots of things about Dubrovnik which are special. The unique blend of history, architecture, and coastal beauty creates a mesmerizing atmosphere in the city. Walking the walls of Dubrovnik is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
Is Dubrovnik good for tourists?
Absolutely, in fact, Dubrovnik is more suited towards tourists than locals. Dubrovnik offers a wide range of attractions, including historical sites, beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and delicious cuisine, all of which come together to guarantee an enjoyable experience for tourists.
Is Split or Dubrovnik better?
Both cities have their own charm. Split boasts a lively atmosphere and has Diocletian’s Palace, while Dubrovnik offers a more picturesque, well-preserved old town with, of course, the infamous Walls of Dubrovnik. Both are incredible and it’s down to personal preference.
Conclusion: Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?
And there you have it, a complete guide to “Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?“
Remember, my answer is yes, Dubrovnik is worth visiting.
The charm is Dubrovnik is indescribable and you need to be there to really experience it for yourself. Simply walking along the streets in the Old Town is a magical moment.
It’s such a cliche, but there really is something for everyone in Dubrovnik.
From the unmissable Dubrovnik City Walls to lesser-known spots like Betina Cave Beach, Dubrovnik has a bit of everything, and that’s why I say yes, Dubrovnik is worth visiting.
Enjoy your trip to Dubrovnik, it’s an amazing place!