Dubrovnik Travel Guide: Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik

With the promise to experience the picturesque and historic Dubrovnik Old Town, the Adriatic, the islands, and the Game of Thrones locations, we booked a trip to Dubrovnik this April. With brilliant weather complementing the town’s medieval outlook, we managed to experience what we set out to do, also with bonus and surprises along the way. In this guide, I will write about the best things to do in Dubrovnik and share with you some practical information to budget your trip to this majestic (and somewhat expensive) tourist destination.

Originally founded in the 7th century and known as “Ragusa,” Dubrovnik became a significant power in trade due to its prime location. Dubrovnik remained a major force until the 17th century, with the earthquake in 1667 triggering its decline. Owing much to its incredibly well-preserved ancient walls and medieval architecture, Dubrovnik is now a well-rising tourist destination. The city’s modern fame rose further as it was used as a backdrop for the famous TV series “Game of Thrones.”

Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik

1. Ploče Gate

Ploče Gate is the main entrance to Dubrovnik’s old town from the eastern side. As you enter, you immediately capture the historic essence of this place. It features a stone bridge and it was used for ceremonial entries to the city. Well, I surely felt ceremonial walking through the historic grandeur of this gate.

As you walk through, you are welcomed by a beautiful garden square that invites you to take in the views of the old town. You can get a good glance of the old town, the port area with lots of boats, the turquoise water of the Adriatic and the Lokrum island. Feel free to take tons of pictures here but save that iCloud storage, because more is yet to come.

Location: Vrata od Ploča, Ul. Vrata od Ploča, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia

2. Pile Gate

Pile Gate is a major landmark that you might pass through numerous times as you wander around the Old Town. It serves as the entrance to the Old Town from the western side.

With its military architecture, Pile Gate was primarily used as a defensive structure to protect Dubrovnik from potential invaders. The gate’s design also allowed guards to control the access of people entering Dubrovnik.

The Pile Gate area can be a busy place swarming with tourists. Just in front of Pile Gate is a bus station with numerous bus connections. Adjacent to Pile Gate, there is a park where you can picnic or seek shade under the trees to avoid the midday sun. Nearby, there is a square where you can enjoy views of the sea opening between the two walls, which you might recognize as the King’s Landing Harbour in “Game of Thrones.”

Location: Dubrovačke Gradske Zidine, 20000, Grad, Dubrovnik, Croatia

3. Stroll Around The Old Town

There is nothing better than strolling through the old towns of historic European cities, and what better place to do it than in Dubrovnik. As you walk along monuments that date back to as early as the twelfth century, it feels as if you are walking through a living museum.

Dubrovnik’s Old Town offers a ton of things to see and do. The churches, monasteries, and fountains, each reflecting a different architectural style (which I’m not adept at describing), rightfully place Dubrovnik among the most remarkable cities to visit in Europe. Keep an eye out for the cute cats you may find wandering the streets.

4. Walk the Dubrovnik City Walls

Dubrovnik’s city walls are among the most historic and well-preserved landmarks in Dubrovnik. Construction of the walls began as early as the tenth century and the renovation and modification works were carried out until the seventeenth century. They were primarily built to defend the city from potential attackers, such as the Venetians and the Ottomans.

Much credit to its historic city walls, Dubrovnik is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, offering a glimpse of the city’s past history to more than a million visitors every year. The walls stretch for a length of 2 kilometers, where you can walk while admiring the architecture of the Old Town and the picturesque setting, which flawlessly blends with the Adriatic Sea.

If you have a Dubrovnik City Pass (more about the pass below), you can enter the city walls for free. Otherwise, a single ticket for an adult to visit the city walls is 31 EUR, and reportedly goes up every year.

5. Take a Cable Car or Hike for The Best View of The Old Town

The best way to experience Dubrovnik is from a viewpoint atop the hill, where you can see the old town and its walls perfectly blend with the Adriatic Sea. Taking a cable car up to the viewpoint is a good way to experience that.

The cable car ticket for an adult is 27 EUR round trip and 15 EUR one way. The cost for children ( 4 – 12 years) is 7 EUR round trip and 4 EUR one way. The cable car is free for children up to 4 years old. The tickets can be purchased with cash or credit cards at the Lower Cable Car Station near the Ploče Gate.

The cable car operates from March to October, with its opening times varying based on the month. March (09h to 17h), April (09h to 21h), May (09h to 22h), June / July / August (09h to 24h), September (09h to 23h), and October (09h to 20h).

We did not take the cable car and chose the budget option to hike all the way up to the viewpoint. The hike really tested us, especially in the scorching heat. But, it offered the view of Dubrovnik old town in different angles, and we definitely loved that. 

Dubrovnik old town view best things to do
As you can see, the anti-light timing of the hike spoiled the party.

If you want to reach the viewpoint but do not want to pay for the cable car nor hike all the way, ordering a taxi with Bolt or Uber is a good option. If you are two or more people, the taxi will save you a significant amount compared to the cable car. I will write more about it in the “Getting Around Dubrovnik” section below.

6. Take a Full Day 3-Islands Tour

A full-day boat tour to the three Elaphiti Islands, namely Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan, is an activity I highly recommend during your trip to Dubrovnik. You sail through the sea and spend some time on each of the islands that you visit. On Lopud Island, where there’s a nice sandy beach, the boat stops for 3 hours for you to enjoy as you please. Swimming and lying on the beach with some beers could be a great way to relax.

The boating tour normally costs 60 EUR. For that price, you will also receive lunch on the boat and unlimited drinks (water, soft drinks, iced tea, and wine). You can also pack picnics for yourself to enjoy on the islands.

There will be multiple groups organizing the tours, and I would suggest going with the well-established ones. They know the drill, they are professional, and you don’t risk going wrong. We booked our tour with Dubrovnik Boat Tours and we absolutely loved it. You can reach them through their website.

The boat normally leaves from Port Gruž in Dubrovnik at 9 AM and you return to the same port at 6 PM. They also offer a pickup option for some additional fee, or you can directly visit the port in the morning.

7. Take a Short Panorama Boat Tour

If you have limited time in Dubrovnik and cannot afford to spend a day away from this lovely city, taking a short panoramic boat cruise could be a good option for you. The boat tour will provide you with a unique experience of observing the impressive city walls and the coastline of Dubrovnik.

The panoramic boat tour will cost you 15 EUR and lasts for about 45 minutes. It typically starts from the Old Town port and takes you along the coastline of the Dubrovnik Old Town, past Lokrum Island, and to the southern part of the city, Zlatni Potok.

dubrovnik old town boat tour

8. Explore the Game of Thrones Locations

For “Game of Thrones” buffs, Dubrovnik is a treasure trove. Cersei’s walk of shame took place on the Jesuit Stairs, and other locations such as the harbor of King’s Landing can be seen as you stroll through the Old Town.

Many “Game of Thrones” tours are available where guides will take you through the Old Town, showing you the filming locations while providing behind-the-scenes stories. Some tours offer the opportunity to sit on a replica of the Iron Throne and take a picture. 

You could also sit on the replica of the Iron Throne in one of the official GOT Merchandise shops in Dubrovnik Old Town by either buying a souvenir or paying at least 10 EUR.

Nothing to do with GOT, these were the scenes from the Old Town.

9. Visit Lokrum Island

Lokrum Island is just a 10-minute boat ride from Dubrovnik Old Town. The island is popular for its biodiversity and is often referred to as the green jewel of Dubrovnik, where visitors go to relax. The island features a unique saltwater lake known as the Dead Sea (Mrtvo More), which is a popular swimming spot.

It costs 27 EUR per person (adults) for the round-trip ferry ride and entry to the island. You can buy the tickets at tourist stalls near the Old Town harbor.

Take note, Game of Thrones fans: within the Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island, you can find the original Iron Throne! The Iron Throne, which was used for the series, was gifted by HBO to the city of Dubrovnik after the series was completed. You can sit on the throne and take pictures at no additional cost.

10. See The Old Town During Sunrise and Sunset

Observing sunrise and sunset with Dubrovnik’s backdrop is one of the great experiences to have during your trip.

You can observe the sunset from a viewpoint that is quite literally named Sunset Viewpoint. The viewpoint is located atop the hill, which you can reach by cable car, hike, or taxi. I would advise arriving there at least 30 minutes early and staying until it gets darker and the lights of the old town start shining brightly. It’s a view to behold.

Observing sunrise is a bit tricky as the sun rises from the other side of the city, covered by the hills. One good place we found was to sit near the port area, observing the sunrise colors blending with the sea. You can also just roam around Pile Gate and Fort Lovrijenac to see the morning colors with the Old Town’s backdrop.

11. Walk up to The Fort Lovrijenac

The Venetian army wanted to build a fort in the same spot where Fort Lovrijenac stands today. Threatened by the plan of the Venetians to monitor and possibly attack Dubrovnik in the future, the people of Dubrovnik built a fort within three months to keep this from happening. And, they succeeded quite remarkably.

Fort Lovrijenac is located in a picturesque setting. A short hike to the fort offers a great view of the city walls and some rooftops of the Old Town.

Entrance to Fort Lovrijenac is free if you hold the Dubrovnik Pass or a ticket to the city walls. Otherwise, an entrance fee of 7 EUR is required to visit the Fort.

We did not go in as the view outside the entrance (shared below) was pretty impressive as well.

View of Dubrovnik Old Town from Fort Loverijenac

Dubrovnik Pass

Dubrovnik Pass is a special travel pass that offers you free public transportation and discounts on many tourist activities in Dubrovnik. You can purchase the city pass for either 24 hours, 72 hours, or for an entire week.

Following are the main benefits of the Dubrovnik Pass.

  • Free transportation on all the public buses in Dubrovnik.
  • Free entry to the Dubrovnik City walls and the Fort Lovrijenac. And a few more museums.
  • Discount offers on some tourist activities.

What is the Cost of a Dubrovnik Pass?

Dubrovnik Pass will cost you 35 EUR for one day, 45 EUR for 3 days, and 55 EUR for 7 days. You can either buy the Dubrovnik Pass online or physically from the Tourist Information Center near the Pile Gate.

Is Dubrovnik Pass Worth it?

I would say the Dubrovnik Pass is only worth it if you plan to visit the Dubrovnik City walls. A single ticket to the city walls costs 31 EUR by itself, so buying a Dubrovnik Pass could be a good idea to save some money and explore other free attractions. If you don’t have plans to visit the City walls, then you do not need a Dubrovnik Pass.

Getting Around Dubrovnik

You can get around Dubrovnik using public buses. You can find the timetable and routes on their official website, Libertas Dubrovnik. They also have an app, but unfortunately, it does not show real-time transport options. You can only view the timetable from the app as well.

A single ride bus ticket costs only 1.73 EUR if bought from a ticket counter, and 1.99 EUR if bought directly on the bus. Carry cash for the bus tickets, although some of them also accept Mastercards. A 24-hour ticket can be purchased for 5.36 EUR.

Taxis are surprisingly cheap in Dubrovnik, so you may also opt for taxi rides during your stay. Bolt and Uber offer taxi services at affordable prices. To give you an example, we took a 10-kilometer ride with Bolt Economy for just 9 EUR.

If you download the app for the first time, both apps have some offers for you, which can reduce your fare even further.

Best Time to Travel to Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is extremely hot and crowded in Summer, peaking almost 40 degrees on some days. That said, Dubrovnik is the kind of place that shines on sunlight. If you don’t want to risk the weather and don’t mind the scorching heat, Summer months can be great for your visit.

The months of late April to June or late August to November could be a calmer time to explore the city. The weather is favorable and the crowd is less. The Sun could also be warm enough to give you an escape from Northern Europe’s winter.

Suggested Expenses for Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is an expensive tourist city. Finding affordable accommodation or finding a reasonable place to eat, everything is really challenging. The ticket prices for major attractions are really expensive and if you try to do everything, you might go well beyond your budget.

Dubrovnik is more affordable when you travel outside the peak summer months. In the months of April / May, or September / October, you may find better deals for your trip.

If you plan smartly, you can aim to explore Dubrovnik for less than 60 EUR per day.

Roundtrip flight: 30-50 EUR

We booked our round-trip flights from Memmingen Airport to Dubrovnik Airport for 35 EUR with Ryanair. A small bag should suffice and you can carry a jacket with you in case the weather gets chilly in the evening.

Accommodation: 20-40 EUR per night

If you are a solo traveler, you can stay in a variety of hostels that offer accommodation for only 20-40 EUR per night. 

If you are two people or a group, you can also find cheaper accommodation on Booking.com or Airbnb. Try to find a place away from the Old Town as they tend to be comparatively nicer and cheaper.

We booked a 3-night stay in the neighborhood of Srebreno (10 km from Dubrovnik) for just 94 EUR (47 EUR per person). It only took us 20 minutes by bus to get to Dubrovnik so we didn’t mind that at all. 

This was just 10 minutes walk from our accommodation.

Food: 20-30 EUR per day

For food, it is best you only splurge money for one good food a day and save by opting for groceries and takeaways at other times.

We struggled hard to find a reasonably priced menu so we opted for takeaways (and the island tour lunch) during our trip. 

Pile Snack Bar, located near the Pile Gate is my recommended place for takeaway. It was almost always crowded and we had to stay in line for at least 20 minutes to place and receive our orders. They offer 3 EUR sandwiches, 4 EUR hot dogs, and 7 EUR burgers. You can picnic in the park near the Pile Gate.

Miscellaneous: 10-15 EUR per day

You can’t control miscellaneous expenses while traveling. You may see Luka Modric’s Croatia jersey and buy it, or you might like the sweets in the busy squares and try them; it’s all part of the script. Just make sure to keep a daily log to stay aware of your expenses so you can plan better for the next day.

Practical Tips to Save Money

  • Studenac supermarket is available in many places, also nearby the Old Town. Buying groceries and having a picnic would be a good idea to save money on food expenses.
  • The ice-cream shop just in front of the Pile Gate tasted great and is a budget-friendly option for you. They provide 3 scoops of ice cream for just 5 EUR. Location: Brsalje ul., 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Don’t eat in the main areas as the prices are quite costly. Looking for eating options well away from the Old Town would be great to find a more affordable place to eat.
  • Recommendations for Bakeries: Mlinar (multiple locations – loved their Cappuccino),  Bobis Bakery (near the Gruž Port)
  • Recommendation for Takeaway: Sandwich Bar Pile (200m walk from the Pile Gate, Location: Ul. branitelja Dubrovnika 13, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia)
  • Recommendation for Pizza: Tuttobene (in the Old Town)

If you like my Dubrovnik budget travel guide, please share it with your friends who are soon planning a trip to Dubrovnik.


I love traveling and I love writing about it. It's my sincere hope that through my content, you will find some helpful information and inspiration for your own travels. :)

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