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  • Carnival-Breeze-Croatia-Dubrovnik - Cruise to lovely Dubrovnik, Croatia, on Carnival Breeze.
  • Dubrovnik-historic-columns - Columns line a historic building in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-spire - A bell tower overlooks the bay in Old Dubrovnik.
  • rector-palace-dubrovnik-croatia - Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik-steeple.jpg - Church and state intermix at the edge of Old Dubrovnik overlooking the bay. The small harbor once rivaled the larger seaport of Venice.
  • Dubrovnik-Croatia-seascape - Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a SeaDream Cruise destination
  • Tere-Moana-Dubrovnik-cliffside - Stroll around Dubrovnik, Croatia, and check out the centuries-old fortifications during your itinerary on Tere Moana.
  • Dubrovnik-cathedral - Cathedral at nightfall in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik-street - A Dubrovnik street scene on a rainy evening.
  • cathedral-dubrovnik-croatia - Pipe organ in a cathedral in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Royal-Clipper-in-Dubrovnik -   Royal Clipper, the world's only five-masted full-rigged sailing cruise ship, moored off Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik-cannon.jpg - A cannon on one of Dubrovnik's ancient walls once defended the city.
  • Dubrovnik-collonnade.jpg - Ancient columns line the front of Sponza Palace. The State Archives are housed here and the ground floor is occupied by the Museum of the Dubrovnik Defenders.
  • Dubrovnik-Croatia-from-above - A cruise aboard Tere Moana takes you to historic Dubrovnik, Croatia, Europe's best-preserved walled city.
  • Dubrovnik-alleyway - Alleyway and shops in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik-harbor - The harbor in Dubrovnik still sports 15th century fortifications.
  • Tere-Moana-Dubrovnik-kayaks - A fun way to see Dubrovnik, Croatia, is by kayak during your Tere Moana cruise.
  • Dubrovnik-architecture - A cruise aboard Tere Moana takes you to medieval Dubrovnik, Croatia, Europe's best-preserved walled city.
  • cafe-dubrovnik-croatia - Café in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Carnival-Breeze-in-Dubrovnik - Carnival Breeze docks in historic Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik-pillar.jpg -
  • Dubrovnik-shoreline.jpg -  The coastline of Dubrovnik harbor on an overcast day.
  • Dubrovnik-statue.jpg - The statue of a religious figure inside the walls of Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-street.jpg - One of the charming cobblestone streets in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-turret.jpg - A medieval-era turret shows signs of its age atop the garrison at Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-wall-sculpture.jpg - A sculpture affixed to a water fountain in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Game-of-Thrones.jpg - A shop dedicated to fans of TV's "Game of Thrones." Some locations on the show are filmed in Dubrovnik.
  • Inside-Old-Dubrovnik.jpg - The view from atop the fortress walls in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-archway.jpg - Angels adorn an archway in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-battlements.jpg - Old Dubrovnik's walled compound, completed in the 13th century and later reinforced, has a circumference of more than a mile and a half.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-bells.jpg - Church bells overlooking Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-belltower.jpg - A bell tower at the edge of Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-eatery.jpg - Konoba Dalmatino, at Ul. Miha Pracata 6, regarded as one of the best eateries in Old Dubrovnik, serves Mediterranean fare such as cheeses, prosciutto, soup, calamari and mussels.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-fountain.jpg -  Fresh water runs through many of the centuries-old fountains in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-main-gate.jpg -  Pile Gate, the entrance to the old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-main-thoroughfare.jpg - The main thoroughfare of Old Dubrovnik is festooned for the holidays.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-pastry-shop.jpg - Pastries in the window of a bakery on Old Dubrovnik's main street.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-statue.jpg -  Statue of Ivan Gundulic, a public figure of the 1600s, at the Gunduliceva poljana Market, Dubrovnik.
  • Inside-Old-Dubrovnik-1.jpg -  A centuries-old basilica, including a weather vane at its apex, in Old Dubrovnik.
  • saint-statue.jpg -  A niched statue of Saint Joseph holding the infant Jesus in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-at-holidays.jpg - Old Dubrovnik gets ready for the Christmas holidays.
  • Dubrovnik-from-watchtower.jpg - Dubrovnik as seen through a guard's watchtower.
  • Dubrovnik-gate-weights.jpg - The impressive metal weights at the entrance of Pile Gale in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-lookout.jpg - A look at the lookout tower at the top of the Old Dubrovnik fortress.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-main-thoroughfare-1.jpg - The main thoroughfare of Old Dubrovnik, seen from above, is decorated for Christmas.
  • Dubrovnik-towers-&-rooftops.jpg - Dubrovnik's striking cityscape dates to the Middle Ages.
  • Dubrovnik-walkway.jpg - A tranquil stone walkway just outside the main entrance to Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-and-bay.jpg - The bay meets the edge of Dubrovnik and its charming orange-clad clay rooftops.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-2.jpg - A cannon is part of the defense Old Dubrovnik used throughout the ages.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-3.jpg - Dubrovnik's striking cityscape. Lord Byron gave Dubrovnik its nickname, “The Pearl of the Adriatic.”
  • Old-Dubrovnik-4.jpg - The fall of Constantinople in 1453 lit a fire under the locals to start fortifying Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-classic-building.jpg - A classic building in Old Dubrovnik, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-fortification.jpg - A fortress served as the first line of defense, just outside the main walls of Old Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-fortress-2.jpg - A close-up of the fortress atop a promenade guarding Dubrovnik.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-landscape.jpg - Dubrovnik's striking cityscape dates to the Middle Ages.
  • View-from-watchtower.jpg - A view of the fortress from a watchtower along the top of Old Dubrovnik's perimeter.
  • Old-Dubrovnik-medieval-turret.jpg - A medieval-era turret shows signs of its age atop the fortifications of Old Dubrovnik.
  • Ponant-Yacht-Cruise-Croatia.jpg - Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia on a Ponant Yacht Cruise & Expedition.
  • dubrovnik-cannon-lookout.jpg - A cannon on one of the ramparts that have protected Dubrovnik since the 12th century.
  • Dubrovnik-exterior-walls.jpg - A look at the imposing fortified walls of Dubrovnik.
  • Viking-Star-in-Dubrovnik - Viking Star in historic Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Ponant-Croatia-Dubrovnik.jpg - Step back in time in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on your Ponant cruise.
  • Dubrovnik-battlements-2 - The waterfront lining the battlements along history-filled Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-Dalmatino - JD Lasica: "We thought we had made a discovery in Dalmatino, a charming eatery in Old Dubrovnik, until we saw the Rick Steves newspaper clipping on the way out."
  • Christmas-ornaments-in-Dubrovnik.jpg - Christmas ornaments line a shop's shelves during the holidays in Dubrovnik.
  • Croata-scarves.jpg - Shop for high-end accessories such as scarves at Croata on the Strada, the main road in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-Croata-shopkeeper.jpg - The shopkeeper, a native Croatian, in the fashion store Croata in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Croata-ties.jpg - Men's ties for sale at Croata, 2 Pred Dvorom (Stari grad), Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik-alleyway.jpg - One of the dozens of alleyways that connect to the main walkways in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-basketball-court.jpg - A paved basketball court provided a contrast to centuries-old buildings in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-battlement.jpg -  A medieval tower and battlements that once stood guard over Dubrovnik, City of Stone and Light. The walls rise 25 meters high (82 feet) in some places.
  • Dubrovnik-battlement-staircase.jpg - Stone staircases line the entire perimeter of Old Dubrovnik, giving visitors a fine vantage point to take in the city's sights.
  • Dubrovnik-bells.jpg - A bell tower in Old Dubrovnik looks out over more modern houses.
  • Dubrovnik-Renaissance-Church-of-the-Holy-Savior.jpg - The centuries-old Renaissance Church of the Holy Savior, one of the buildings that escaped the 1667 earthquake that destroyed three-quarters of Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-buildings.jpg - A building in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-cityscape-2.jpg - A thicket of buildings in Old Dubrovnik gives way to the Renaissance Church of the Holy Savior, left.
  • Dubrovnik-cityscape.jpg - Orange-tiled houses line the hillsides of Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-column-detail.jpg - Detail of a decorative column in Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-dome.jpg - A dome rises from the center of Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-fortress.jpg - Stone walls served as the first line of defense around the perimeter of Old Dubrovnik.
  • Dubrovnik-lookout-point.jpg - A lookout point along the medieval battlements of Old Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik travel guide: What to do & see

our guide

The vibe

The extraordinary beauty of Dubrovnik, "city made of stone and light," has inspired countless poetic exclamations. A beautiful walled city of cobblestone streets, dramatic stone ramparts, fortresses and medieval buildings with orange-tiled roofs, Dubrovnik is also a place to enjoy such Mediterranean pleasures as outdoor cafes, beaches and water sports. No wonder it’s a favorite port of call for cruise ships on Mediterranean itineraries — as well as the setting for King’s Landing on “Game of Thrones.” 

Dubrovnik's Adriatic waters show off perfect shades of blue, and  sunsets are wild as seen from atop 14th-century city walls. Little wonder that in 1979, the Dubrovnik was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cruise ships that call on Dubrovnik

Top reasons to go

  • One of the world’s most evocative fortified cities, it’s a living museum of medieval architecture.
  • Breathtaking geological setting of cliffs, intriguing offshore islands and secluded beaches.
  • The chance to discover Croatian culture, including local foods and wines.
  • With little effort, you can find a hillside cafe and enjoy a scenic lunch overlooking the Old Town and harbor.

Top things to do & see in Dubrovnik

Old City

Looking for the right mix of culture, history and a bit of the commercial to keep you grounded? The walled Stari Grad, or Old Town, is the answer. The main street here, referred to as both the Placa and the Stradun, runs from the Pile Gate to the Old Port at the tip of the peninsula.

Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Inga Vuljanko Desnica / Creative Commons BY-SARector's Palace in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The walled city is filled with medieval sites to explore, including the 14th-century Franciscan Monastery and adjoining pharmacy, dating to 1317 and considered among the oldest in the world. Other highlights include the Rector’s Palace, a 15th-century Gothic-Renaissance governmental building that is now a museum; and the 15th-century Synagogue, the second oldest Sephardic synagogue in Europe. Another Renaissance highlight is the Sponza Palace, which dates from the 16th century and is currently used to house the National Archives. The St. Saviour Church is another remnant of the Renaissance period, and is located next to the Franciscan Monastery.

Another of the city’s sights is St. Blaise's church, built in the 18th century in honor of Dubrovnik's patron saint. Dubrovnik's baroque cathedral was built in the 18th century and houses a treasury with relics of St. Blaise.

City walls

Stairways enable visitors to walk along the stone walls encircling the city, affording great views of the red-tiled buildings and the sea below.

Museum of Modern Art

Just east of the Old City, the waterfront Museum of Modern Art is the place to see work by major Croatian artists.

Cavtat

Excursion boats leave from the harbor to the medieval town of Cavtat and its beach area on the Rat peninsula.

Beaches

Dubronik offers many places for soaking up the sun and enjoying a swim in the Adriatic, though you won't find Caribbean-style sandy beaches here. Best bets include pebble beach Banje, Dubrovnik's main public beach that's a short walk from the Old City. There is also Copacabana Beach, a small stony beach that's part of the Elaphiti Islands.

Stroll around Dubrovnik, Croatia, and check out the centuries-old fortifications.
Roger Paperno for Paul Gauguin C / Courtesy of Pacific Beachcombers/Paul Gauguin CruisesStroll around Dubrovnik, Croatia, and check out the centuries-old fortifications.

Lokum Island 

Lokum Island, a short ferry ride from the Old Harbor in the bay of Dubrovnik, is a wooded island that contains a beach, a fortress, a botanical garden and a monastery.

Sea kayaking

Many cruise lines offer kayaking tours that include the chance to paddle alongside the Old City walls and stop for a swim in a secluded cave.

Shopping

Locally made lace, hand-carved wooden toys, jewelry and watercolors are among the items to look for.

Events

The annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival runs from mid-July to late August and attracts thousands of artists from around the world. Concerts, games and theatrical performances take over the city. 

Don’t miss

Many cruise lines offer a Taste of Croatia tour, which will include the chance to taste local wines, visit with a local family and have a lunch of typical Croatian foods.

Family-friendly options

Located in the medieval Fort of St. John, the Dubrovnik Aquarium has exhibits devoted to the marine life of the Adriatic. The adjacent Dubrovnik Maritime Museum is filled with artifacts pertaining to the history of this ancient port city. 

Best bets for dining

For good local seafood in the Old City, try Kamenice, which is known for its fresh oysters and platters of fried calamari. Just outside the city walls and next to the central fish market, Lokanda Peskarija serves many of its dishes in traditional black pots. A good seafood eatery is Atlas Club Nautika, located in the renovated 1800s Nautika Academy. In the Gruz Harbor area, Taverna Otto (in Croatian) is known for its Mediterranean dishes prepared with fresh ingredients.

A newcomer receiving raves in Old Town is Portrait, an Adriatic gourmet journey. Pergola has a knack for making perfect gnocchi. In the mood for vegetarian? Try Chinese Restaurant Shanghai. Want casual? Try The Sesame Tavern, which specializes in Dalmatian dishes, or grab a quick sandwich at Buffet Skola.

Alleyway and shops in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Dom Crossley / Creative Commons BYAlleyway and shops in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Best time to go

The climate along the Dubrovnik Region is a typical Mediterranean one, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit, with plenty of mild, sunny days. The summer high season can be overrun with visitors. Winters are fairly mild, but rainy spells do occur.

Fun facts

  • The necktie was invented in Croatia.
  • Dubrovnik, which was an independent state at the time, was the first nation to recognize the United States after the Revolutionary War.
  • Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century by Romans.

When you arrive

Docking information

Large cruise ships dock at Gruz Harbor along the street Gruska Obala, about 1.5 miles or 15 minutes away from Dubrovnik’s Old City. Most ships provide free shuttle service to the Old City, but taxi service is also available. The rate for a ride into town is 10 Euros each way and can be paid in Euros. Small ships are sometimes able to dock in Old Harbor, just steps from the main attractions.

Getting around

The walled Old City, where the main sites are located, is a pedestrian-only area. Public boat service to the offshore islands is available from the Old Harbor. The best way to see the city is by taxi; taxis can be found in front of the bus station, ferry terminal and the Pile Gate. There are several buses that are constantly running in Dubrovnik. 

Need to know

Documents: U.S. and Canadian citizens will need a valid passport.

Store hours: Shops and department stores are open from 8 am to 8 pm and in tourist areas they are usually open seven days a week.

Tipping: There are no set rules or amounts regarding who and how much to tip in Croatia. For restaurants it’s common to tip 10%, even if a service fee is already included in the bill. Above and beyond this, tips are appreciated but not expected.

Dress: The streets in the old town can be quite slippery (especially if it's raining), so wear comfortable walking shoes with proper tread.

Language: Croatian is the official language, but many people speak at least some English.

Currency: The Kuna is the local currency. Note: The Croatian Kuno is not exchangeable outside of Croatia. You can often either pay with Euro or by credit card without getting ripped off by exchange rates.

Safety: Dubrovnik placed in third on TripAdvisor’s 2012 list of the world’s safest cities. It's generally safe, though the usual precautions should be taken to protect yourself from pickpocketing.

Your take

Have you been to Dubrovnik? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight?

ShoreFox contributed to this guide. 

miles to go!

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Maria Lenhart
I am a veteran travel writer who has enjoyed reporting on destinations far and near for many publications. My favorite way to travel is on board a ship, no matter where it's going. 

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Overheard

 “The city's cultural highlight is the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival. A variety of open-air classical concerts, ballet, and theatrical performances are held at various venues within the walls, and the city becomes a riot of folklore, traditional dresses, midnight performances, and music.”

Fodor’s Travel 

“Off the Dalmatian Coast, Hvar is known for its relaxed lifestyle, lavender fields, olive groves, and sublime beaches. It's where you'll find Dubovica Beach, with pebbles in place of sand, gin-clear water, and a waterfront restaurant.”

Travel + Leisure

 “No visit to Dubrovnik would be complete without a walk around the spectacular city walls, the finest in the world.”

Lonely Planet

“Beyond the beach on Brac I find more surprises. Five minutes to the east is the photogenic village of Bol.  Outdoor restaurants line this waterfront, with only a few nods to tourism. So picturesque is this island, I end up spending hours photographing the town of Supetar, which every guidebook I'd read said to skip over.”

Islands magazine

“Sample Adriatic-prawn ceviche at Azur, an al fresco restaurant inside the famous stone walls of the old city, before stocking up on traditional hand-painted silk from the Konavle region at AR Atelier.”

Travel + Leisure

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