Top 10 activities for a summer holiday in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is the ultimate summer destination. The azure Adriatic waters glisten in the sun, the city’s dramatic historical centre beckons to all explorers, and the Dalmatian island-hopping opportunities are plenty.

Here’s what to see and do in Dubrovnik to make the most of your time there.


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This Croatian gem is a cinematic stunner that may become one of the most beautiful cities you’ve ever seen.

And to accompany your trip, there’s the homey, delicious local cuisine, which is an amalgam of big Slavic portions and a Mediterranean devotion to fresh ingredients.

While in Dubrovnik, try some mouthwatering local dishes with a Mediterranean taste

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Is Dubrovnik a good destination for family holidays with children? Yes, absolutely! The city is ideal for family holidays due to its safe environment, child-friendly attractions such as Game of Thrones tours, and its beautiful beaches and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Dubrovnik is a great destination for TV serial Games of Thrones fan

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While you can see the main sights and ride the cable car in a single day, we recommend spending two to three days in Dubrovnik.

Plan a few more days for slow travel around the region. That way, you’ll not have to rush your way through the gorgeous Old Town and will be able to visit the nearby islands as well.


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Explore Dubrovnik’s beautiful Old Town

Few destinations in the world have the looks of Dubrovnik. With its network of mighty walls, kaleidoscope of centuries-old churches, narrow medieval streets, and many noble palaces, it’s a gift that keeps on giving for anyone interested in history and beautiful places.

The view of Dubrovnik's Old Town red rooftops buildings

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It used to be a city-republic, after all. From 1358 to 1808, Dubrovnik served as the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, an aristocratic maritime power that ruled southern Dalmatia. While those days are now gone, the grandeur of yesteryear remains strongly ingrained in the city fabric.

The Onofrio's Large Fountain in the Dubrovnik's Old Town

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Part open-air museum, part energetic living town, Dubrovnik is a joy to explore.

Take a panoramic tour of the city walls, enter as many churches and monasteries as you can for magnificent interiors, have a relaxing stroll along the electric Stradun esplanade, and get lost in the maze of labyrinthine passages and alleyways.


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Discover the stunning beaches of Dubrovnik

In addition to all the historical grandeur, Dubrovnik is also an amazing beach destination. The turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea are irresistible, and you’ve got quite a choice when it comes to places for sunbathing and swimming.

Located right outside the epic Ploče Gate, the picturesque Banje beach comes with Croatia’s tiny trademark pebbles, nice views of the Old Town, and crowds during high season. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a quick swim.

Banje beach with a view of Dubrovnik's Old Town

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For a more tranquil experience, head further.

Sveti Jakov is one of those idyllic coved Adriatic beaches that are far enough away to avoid crowds and close enough to be considered a Dubrovnik beach.

For something truly secluded, try the Betina Cave beach, which can only be reached from the water.

The Betina Cave beach, which can only be reached from the water

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To the west, try Šulić Beach adjacent to Fort Lovrijenac for refreshing plunges after hot days of exploring the city.

Then there’s Danče Beach, where you can jump into the water from the rocks, and scenic Bellevue Beach serving the resort-filled neighbourhood of Montovjerna.

The scenic Bellevue Beach in the resort-filled Dubrovnik's neighbourhood of Montovjerna

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Experience the scenic islands near Dubrovnik

This city has an ace up its sleeve when it comes to providing a first-class Croatian experience.

Island-hopping in Dubrovnik is as straightforward as it gets; just hop on a ferry, and you’ll be enjoying pristine beaches on nearby islands in no time.

A 15-minute boat ride from the ancient Porat port takes you to Lokrum, a small islet boasting idyllic beaches, a botanical garden, an old Benedictine monastery, and scenic walking trails.

Lokrum Island is the closest and smallest of Dubrovnik's islands

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It’s a superb escape from the buzzy Old Town.

If you’re in the mood for a longer trip, the Elaphiti Islands are a gorgeous archipelago perfect for a day’s outing or a weekend getaway.

A trip to Elaphiti Islands is perfect for a day’s outing or a weekend getaway

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Ferries depart from Dubrovnik Port (located outside the Old Town, near the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Bridge), and a ride to the farthest island, Šipan, takes around an hour.

You’ll encounter magnificent panoramas, sleepy fishing villages, and hidden beaches.

Don’t miss the Blue Cave on Koločep Island – it’s quite a visual revelation.

Blue Cave is a must if you visit Koločep Island

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Find all the Game of Thrones locations

Nowadays it’s almost impossible to not mention Game of Thrones when talking about Dubrovnik.

The city played a big part in the world-building of the hit HBO series, serving as the city of King’s Landing. Untouched ancient heritage, epic views, and spectacular sea panoramas proved to be a fitting setting for this fantasy story.

The Jesuit Staircase from Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame from Game of Thrones

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If you’ve seen GoT, a visit here will make your heart race from the excitement of entering King’s Landing in real life.

You’ll recognise the Jesuit Staircase from Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame, Fort Lovrijenac stood in for the Red Keep, Minčeta Tower became the House of the Undying, and Lokrum Island ‘played’ the city of Qarth.

The Fort Lovrijenac in Game of Thrones stood in for the Red Keep

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Game of Thrones tours are very popular, and you can find plenty of them on international booking platforms as well as with local tour companies.

But you can also spend nothing and do a self-guided tour. There are many maps with GoT locations online, and the majority of the sites are located within the Old Town limits.


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Embark on an adventurous kayaking journey

When you’re surrounded by such sheer epicness, there’s an urge to have an adventure of your own.

Kayaking is among the top things to do in Dubrovnik. It lets you see the towering fortresses and monumental walls from a different perspective and, with some extra paddling, even reach Lokrum Island by yourself.

Kayaking is among the top things to do in Dubrovnik

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Tours usually depart from Pile Bay and make a stop for swimming at Betina Cave.

It’s best to start early in the morning to avoid the heat. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen. The weather in Dubrovnik reaches its scorching, sunny peak in July and August, so keep that in mind when planning a kayaking trip.

A stop for swimming at Betina Cave during the kayaking tour in Dubrovnik

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Ride Dubrovnik’s cable car

The geography of Dubrovnik is as stunning as its red rooftop silhouette. The Dinaric Alps surround the city, and Mount Srđ is the one peak you should definitely visit.

A panoramic view of Dubrovnik city from Mount Srđ

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An ultra-photogenic ride on the cable car will take you to the top. As you ascend, the walled glory of Dubrovnik unfolds at your feet, the Adriatic Sea becomes even more picturesque, and your breath will definitely be taken away.

The aptly named Panorama Restaurant awaits at the summit and boasts a phenomenal terrace.

A phenomenal terrace of Panorama restaurant with a view of Dubrovnik city

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Also, the Homeland War Museum provides information about the tragic events of the 1990s and the destruction the city suffered from the bombings.

For the most adventurous spirits, there’s the Panorama Zipline for an even more thrilling way to savour the vistas.


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Indulge in mouthwatering local dishes

While Dubrovnik is best known for its historical locations, this city is also a perfect foodie destination.

The local cuisine features an enticing symphony of flavours that enthrals diners with the taste of olive oil, the scent of mandarins, the freshness of seafood, the aroma of Malvasia grapes, and the sweetness of wholesome desserts.

Fresh seafood dish and wine at the Nautika restaurant in Dubrovnik

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In addition to general Dalmatian traditions, make sure to also try the specialties of Dubrovnik.

For example, raw Ston oysters served with a sprinkle of lemon juice. Or mouthwatering šporki makaruli (meaning ‘dirty macaroni’), which is Dubrovnik’s answer to Italian pasta served with beef sauce.

Raw Ston oysters served with a sprinkle of lemon juice

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Buzara-style mussels is another fantastic dish that’s delicious in its simplicity. Accompany your feast with a dry wine or sweet Prošek wine made from Dubrovnik Malvasia.

And certainly don’t miss the opportunity to try rožata, a crème brûlée-like dessert that’s sure to delight your taste buds.

Rozata - a crème brûlée-like dessert from Croatia

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Step into the natural paradise of Mljet National Park

Get a full Adriatic experience by going on a boat tour to Mljet National Park, which, simply put, looks like paradise.

Located north of Dubrovnik, it’s an amazing destination for a day trip filled with fresh air. According to legend, even Odysseus stopped by this area on his journey home. Look for the eponymous cave where the war hero supposedly took shelter.

Legends say that Odysseus used a cave in the Mljet National Park as a shelter

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Whether or not the story is true, Mljet is a mythic kingdom of nature. Its two saltwater lakes are perfect for kayaking, and there are also miles of panoramic walking trails through the untouched pine tree forest.

Sign up for a tour from Dubrovnik, which usually includes a visit to the Elaphiti Islands and making stops for swimming.

Alternatively, there’s a ferry that stops at Sobra, the only port on the island of Mljet.

Panoramic view of Mljet island

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Engage in the local culture

With a population of only 42,000 people, Dubrovnik may be a small town, but its cultural agenda is packed with traditional celebrations, festivals, concerts, and other unique happenings.

This is a year-round destination where there’s always something going on.

Dubrovnik is a great all-year-round destination

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Throughout the summer, Dubrovnik hosts a series of concerts and music events featuring local and international artists.

These events cover various genres, including classical, jazz, rock, and traditional Croatian music, thus providing entertainment for a wide range of audiences.

Enjoy an evening at the Dubrovnik's Coral Beach Club

Photo source: Tripadvisor

In July and August, you’ve also got the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which turns the city into one big stage and showcases various cultural performances, such as music, dance, and theatre.

These events are family-friendly and serve as a great invitation to finally book that flight ticket to this marvellous city.


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Enjoy Dubrovnik’s laid-back nightlife

Let’s make it clear: Dubrovnik is no Ibiza or Malta. You won’t find raucous streets packed with tacky nightclubs here. In Dubrovnik, it’s more about relaxed cocktail-sipping on a hidden terrace on the rocks next to the ancient city walls, such as at Bard.

A hidden Bard terrace on the rocks next to the ancient city walls

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You sort of have to know where to go here. For example, head to Culture Club Revelin to party under the Renaissance arches of a 15th-century fortress.

Another place where the historical context is complemented bizarrely well by modern-day bass thumping is the old barracks-turned-nightclub Club Lazareti.

And of course, there are always the numerous wine bars for late-night drinks in the soulful atmosphere of the stunning Old Town.

People enjoy an evening on a narrow Dubrovnik street

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Cover photo source: Unsplash
Text by Pavlo Fedykovych

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