You’ll never get bored in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is a city of history and is home to some of the best preserved Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings in Europe. While walking around the narrow streets of the old town, it’s not hard to imagine how life was 300 years ago – and it’s easy to understand why the HBO hit series ‘Game of Thrones’ chose to use Dubrovnik as location for the city of King’s Landing.
But it’s not all about history. Dubrovnik offers beaches, water sports, and night life, too.
Take a quick tour around the city in this video and read on below for Hobo Planet’s top 5 things to do in The Pearl of The Adriatic.
1. Walk the old city walls of Dubrovnik
One of the main attractions – if not the main attraction – of Dubrovnik is a walk along the top of the old city walls that still to this day encircles the city.
Dubrovnik dates more than a thousand years back in time, but it’s unclear if the city was founded in the 7th century by refugees from the nearby city of Epidaurum, or if the city was founded much earlier on by Greek sailors as a place for resting on the voyage between two other greek settlements, Budva and Korcula. One thing is for certain, though: In the 15th and 16th centuries the city was known for its wealth created by maritime trade. At that time rich cities always attracted bad guys, so the need for high and thick walls were obvious, and throughout history the walls have been reinforce more than once.
Still standing strong they are not used by soldiers keeping off pirates any more, but by tourists taking in the views of the medieval city from above.
Even though most of the UNESCO-protected city has been rebuild after the eight month of siege and bombings in 1991 and 1992 by the Yugoslav’s People’s Army, it’s still easy to see how much the bombs destroyed. Two thirds of the buildings in the old town was damaged, and if a roof looks new – as many of them do – it’s probably because it took a hit during the bombings.
The route on top of the wall is two kilometers long and can be done in just under an hour. Most people take their time though and spend a couple of hours on the walls.
Access points to the wall are at the inner side of the Pile Gate, near the Ploce Gate at Ul. Sv. Dominika, and at the Maritime Museum. The price for entry to the walls are 100 kunas per person.
2. Take the cable car
There’s nothing like seeing it all a little from above. In Dubrovnik you have the chance for doing exactly that. Not far from the Ploce Gate you can take the cable car to the top of mount Sdr that overlooks the entire city and offers splendid views of the old town.
The trip in the cable car, which is only a few minutes, takes you to a building that houses a souvenir shop and a restaurant with panorama views of the city.
There’s no kiosk where you can buy something to drink, so if you don’t want to sit down at the restaurant, you’ll have to bring water etc. with you.
Sunset is a popular time to visit the mountain top as the sun sets behind the city – not directly behind the old town but rather behind the Babin Kuk area and the Elaphiti Islands.
Expect some waiting time for the trip up if you go in the high season.
The price for the ride is 60 kunas for one way – it’s possible to drive or walk down – or 108 kunas for a return ticket.
You can read more and buy you ticket online here.
3. Enjoy the sunset from Buza Bar
Another great place in Dubrovnik to enjoy the sunset is the Buza Bar, which hangs of the cliffs on the outer side of the city walls. From here guests have a great panomaric view of the sea, the boats and the sunset.
In the old Dubrovnik dialect ‘buza’ means ‘hole’ and the bar’s nickname is – very fitting – ‘hole in the wall-bar’. Not very surprising, the entrance to the bar is a hole in the city wall. From here you walk down a flight of stairs and try to find a vacant table.
The staff is friendly, the ambience is laid back, and the view is great, but don’t expect a posh bar with champagne and oysters.
Wine is served in plastic cups, but that only adds to the down to earth feeling of the place.
Buza Bar is not only a popular place to go for a drink. During the day it’s also visited by andrenalin-seeking locals and tourists jumping into the sea from one of te steep cliffs localy known as The Lion.
It can be a bit tricky to find the bar, and it doesn’t make it easier that there is another almost identical bar also outside the city walls. Even the name is almost identical: Buza 2. The view is almost the same, but at Buza 2 drinks are served in glasses.
To find the original Buza Bar climb the Jezuit stairs from the Gundulics Square behind the cathedral and follow the cold drinks-signs along the city wall. If you get lost, just ask for directions – all the locals know where it is.
From the original Buza Bar it’s a three minuts walk along the city wall in the direction of Lokrum Island to Buza 2.
4. Soak up the sun
Some cities have it all. Interesting history, good food and beaches almost in the city center. In Spain, Barcelona has all this. In Croatia, it’s Dubrovnik.
Right outside the Ploce Gate on the southern side of the old town lies the most famous of the city’s many beaches, Banje Beach. Here you can soak up the sun in a deck chair while drinking a cocktail from the beach bar and watching the boats slowly sail into the old harbor of Dubrovnik.
After the sun sets the beach transforms into an open air night club for those wanting to dance the night away.
Are you into something a bit more secluded, head out to the Babin Kuk area to Coral Beach Club. Here you can do more or less the same as at Banje Beach – it’s just a bit more hidden and exclusive. That’s also shown in the price list. A deck chair is 140 kunas per day. There’s also a great restaurant if you want some food to accompany your cocktail.
Most of the beaches along the Dalmatian coast are pebble beaches, so bring your flip-flops as it really hurts to walk barefoot.
5. Be a captain for a day
Croatia is a nation of sailors, and while on the coast you’ll see hundreds of boats sailing around. It’s no different in Dubrovnik, and why not join the fun?
It’s possible to rent a boat and be captain for a day – at least if you have a boating license. If you don’t have a license, you can either choose to go in a boat with a small motor of five horse powers or you can rent a bigger boat with a skipper. You’ll kind of still be the captain because the skipper will go where you want to go.
Obvious destinations for your day on the sea are either the island of Lokrum south of Dubrovnik or the Elaphiti Islands north of the city. Here you can drop anchor in small, secluded bays and enjoy the sun and the water.
It’s also an option to go south along the coast to the town of Cavtat to have freshly caught fish for lunch.
Whatever you choose, remember a swimsuit, lots of sunscreen and a cooler with drinks.
There’s more than one place to rent a boat, but Gari Transfers seems to have gotten a lot of good reviews.