Dubrovnik, Croatia travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights


This is the classic Dubrovnik experience, and it's well worth the HRK250 ($50) ticket price to do it: walking the old city walls. Dubrovnik's Old Town is encircled by almost two kilometres of towering walls built between the 12th and 17th centuries. This edifice has withstood many sieges throughout history, as recently as the Croatian War of Independence in 1991. After extensive restoration efforts the walls are back to their original glory, and a walk around here is a window into everything that makes this city great, from incredible coastal views, to brushes with daily Dubrovnik life, to endless Old Town vistas, and, happily, a bar right in the middle where you can sit down with a cold drink and ponder the magnificence.

See visitdubrovnik.hr


Speaking of bars around the city walls, you don't have to spend long in Dubrovnik before you start hearing rumours of a secret location. There's this bar, people will say. It's outside the city walls, clinging to the rocks. You find it through this hidden doorway on the southern edge of the Old Town. That bar is called Buza Bar. And it's not actually that difficult to find. Get Google Maps out and follow along, you'll be fine. Enter through that secret doorway and emerge from the shadows of the Old Town into the splendour of the Adriatic coast, to a laidback place with cold drinks and incredible views and plenty of rocks to jump off if you fancy a swim.

See buza-bar.business.site


There's a certain charm to staying at a guesthouse within Dubrovnik's city walls; however, if you're after a larger hotel with all of the amenities that includes, you will have to look outside the Old Town. One of the best of the latter is Hotel Kompas, a smart, modern four-star property in touristy though beautiful Lapad Bay, about four kilometres from the Old Town. The coastal views from Kompas, from the rooms and from the shared facilities, are incredible and worth the stay on their own, though the snappy pool, sundeck, spa and restaurant are also attractive.

See adriaticluxuryhotels.com


Lapad beach satmay28croatia Dubrovnik Croatia One & Only ; text by Ben Groundwater
cr: iStock (reuse permitted, no syndication) 

Photo: iStock

Speaking of Lapad, if you're after a beachy outing during your stay in Dubrovnik, this is your spot. Yes, the beach is a European beach, which means you're lying on pebbles instead of soft sand, but this is one truly beautiful spot to escape the bulk of the Dubrovnik crowds. Take a dip in the clear waters, catch a few rays on the pebbles, go for a stroll along the boardwalk that wraps around the headland, and then check out one of the many restaurants, both Croatian and international, you'll find hugging the shoreline.

See visitdubrovnik.hr



Walk the Dubrovnik city walls in the late afternoon, as the sun kisses horizon, and you'll smell something: smoke. Charring meat. Roasting vegetables. That will be the delicious cooking aromas emanating from Lady Pi-Pi, a rooftop restaurant right by the city walls, a space dominated by the pyramid shape of a parrilla, or wood-fired grill. Dinner decision made: follow your nose. Lady Pi-Pi specialises in all things grilled, from fish to local Cepavi sausages to steaks and more. This is a classy though still quite laidback little eatery that makes for the perfect evening outing. No website


Croatia does a great line in quirky museums. You may have heard of Zagreb's Museum of Broken Relationships, a collection of mementos from romantic partnerships that went south. Dubrovnik, meanwhile, has the Museum of Selfie & Memories, dedicated to providing its visitors with quirky and interesting locations to take selfies. Is this a vain indulgence? A sign of the coming demise of humanity as it disappears up its own posterior? Or a harmless quirk? You'll have to judge for yourself. Or, just go to one of Dubrovnik's many serious museums.

See selfiemuseumdubrovnik.hr


You've walked the city walls by now, you've seen the Dubrovnik Old Town from every conceivable angle. Although … have you? Because there's one more viewpoint that everyone should check out, and that's at Fort Imperial, a Napoleonic castle built high on a hillside, accessible via cable car. This speedy, modern gondola runs from close to the Old Town all the way to 400 metres above sea level, at the fort. The view from here is a jaw-dropper. And while your mouth is dangling open, fill it with some food at the Panorama restaurant on-site.

See dubrovnikcablecar.com


Croatia. South Dalmatia. General view of Dubrovnik - Fortresses Lovrijenac (left side) and Bokar seen from south old walls (it is on UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979) satmay28croatia Dubrovnik Croatia One & Only ; text by Ben Groundwater
cr: iStock (reuse permitted, no syndication) 

Photo: iStock

Game of Thrones fans, bring along your favourite "I heart Jon Snow" T-shirt and take your pick in Dubrovnik. This is the city that famously acted as Kings Landing in the phenomenally popular (though, if we're allowed to say, ultimately disappointing) fantasy TV series. Film locations here include Lovrijenac Fort, aka the Red Keep (pictured above), Dubrovnik West Pier, which functioned as Blackwater Bay, and Fort Bokar, on the city walls, which was a classic for Kings Landing exterior shots.

See visitdubrovnik.hr


Dubrovnik is an exclave, a territory entirely surrounded by another country, or countries. It's a long, thin strip of Croatia cut off from the rest of its mother country by Bosnia and Herzegovina, which commands a thin slice of coastline to Dubrovnik's north-west. That slice is called Neum, and those hoping to tick another country off their list can take a little daytrip. There's not a huge amount to do here other than more beach-lying and juice-drinking – but hey, new country.

See tourismbih.com

The writer travelled with assistance from Emerald Cruises.