Let's preface it like this: no matter what you came to Dubrovnik for: fantastic Adriatic sea, impressive mountains, breathtaking nature or probably Dubrovnik's spectacular Old town -- you will never leave unsatisfied! Croatia's southernmost corner is a stunning spot to explore for absolutely every one.
Dubrovnik might be small, but it's just packed with eye-catching attractions: pretty coastal settlements overlooking the royal blue Adriatic Sea, lovely islands with swanky beaches, nice and shady promenades with plenty of coffee shops. What not to miss while visiting the Pearl of the Adriatic?
Here are the 10 best things to see and experience if you have got at least several days in Dubrovnik:
The UNESCO-protected Old town.
It's easy to see why Dubrovnik's main attraction is always included in the most popular cruise ship routes. The elegant Baroque architecture surrounded by water and backed up by mountains looks like a perfect romantic getaway. Through the years it has gained a reputation of a must-see destination of the Adriatic.
The glamorous and laid back Elafiti islands
The Elafiti archipelago is actually so close to Dubrovnik that it just screams for at least a short half day boat trip. The favourite summer retreat for the local Dubrovnik nobility, the Elafites boast some really good sandy beaches, lush Mediterranean vegetation and charming rural vibe. Treat yourself to a comfortable speedboat ride, enjoy a really relaxing island-style atmosphere and make some great swim stops while doing your island hopping.
Southeast off Dubrovnik: Župa and Cavtat
Dubrovnik is all about its lovely subburbs! Župa Dubrvačka is a bunch of several small picturesque settlements located just some 10 km from the city, down the main Montenegro-bound road. It has become a rapidly developing resort with excellent infrastructure, attractive long waterfront and traditional stone facades. The ancient town of Cavtat is situated right beside the airport, and is widely known as an exceptionally elegant holiday destination with aromatic pine trees and swanky yachts anchored along the sea promenade.
Since Dubrovnik is located a stone's throw from both Bosnian and Montenegrin borders, why not take the opportunity and add up two more countries to your trip. The fortified city of Kotor acts as gatekeeper to the UNESCO Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Visiting the much more oriental city of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina is a unique chance to experience the eclectic culture of the Balkans.
There are Renaissance gardens and Renaissance gardens. Vegetation and history blend in equal measure in the most-visited arboretum in the region, situated in the village of Trsteno, some 20 km northwest of Dubrovnik. The arboretum displays more than 300 different species of plants and trees - it's a great place to be on a hot summer day!
Lesser-known and a true Dubrovnik riviera highlight, the village of Slano is nestled on a small picturesque bay about 35 km northwest of the city. The sea is always calm here, that's why the town is predominantly known for its relaxed beach life and popular watersports like paddle board and kayaking. So if you have a couple of more days in Dubrovnik - defintiely give Slano a shot!
Srđ – the best sunset location
For all panorama lovers mount Srđ is a must! If you don't have that much time to explore the area around Dubrovnik and prefer to stick to the city itself – take the cable car to the 415 m viewpoint that literally crowns Dubrovnik. If the weather is fine and the the air is clear, on sunset the view extends further north, over the Elafiti archipelago and a part of the Pelješac penninsula.
Lapad: one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Dubrovnik
Thought the Old town is indisputably the main focus of attraction for Dubrovnik visitors, give other areas within the city a try as well! Lapad is located just 3 km away from the old core. Being the main hotel area, this part of town has tons of nice cafes, restaurants and pubs. You will also appreciate the amazing beaches and plenty of nice and shady walking spots.
No Dubrovnik trip is complete without visiting a local food market and trying local delicacies. Gruž is the port area and the business centre of Dubrovnik. Walking distance to the Old town. Visit the morning market in Gruž, situated just opposite the harbour, for fresh fish and seafood, homemade fruit and vegetables as well as great local wine.
Sveti Jakov neighbourhood
Located just some 15 min walk from the Ploće gate, Sveti Jakov is a poshy greenish quarter. Some people call its beach the best swimming area within Dubrovnik, offering a perfect view over the wooded island of Lokrum (which is also totally worth a visit!). Not far from the church you will find the abandoned hotel Belvedere which was heavily damaged during the war of 90s.