The ancient walled, medieval city of Dubrovnik is one of Europe’s most popular cultural hotspots to visit. Most recently, vacationers have flocked to the city because of the UNESCO world heritage site’s starring role as King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and as a location for Hollywood blockbusters, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Robin Hood: Origins. But aside from its silver screen fame, this city’s rich history, dating back hundreds of years, ensures there is plenty to see and experience while on vacation here. From the Gothic, Medieval, and Baroque architecture of the palaces, churches, and monasteries housed within Dubrovnik’s old town Stari Grad, to the museums, open-air markets, and seaside restaurants; sightseeing is high on the agenda when visiting the Pearl of the Adriatic. That’s if you can tear yourself away from the many beaches and rocky coves.
There is so much to see on foot in Dubrovnik that walking through the medieval city’s cobbled streets is a pleasure that’s hard to beat. The city gets very busy during July and August and it pays to get up early to do see all Dubrovnik has to offer. A wonderful way to see the city from a new viewpoint is to walk along the top of the old town’s walls. An audio tour is available from the main entrance of the Pile Gate and the two-kilometer walk takes about two hours to complete. If you want to get even higher, take a cable car up to Mount Strad to see the entire vista of the city laid out before you.
Architecture buffs will enjoy the Sponza Palace, Rector’s Palace and the Dominican monastery for their gothic splendor. The Maritime Museum is where all naval historians should head to discover the history of the Republic of Ragusa’s extensive naval power.
There are plenty of great shopping opportunities in Dubrovnik. Head to the Gunduliceva Poljana open-air market and stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, and dried figs that are perfect for alfresco picnics. The market also sells locally produced lavender oils and embroidered linens which make excellent gifts. If you’d like to take home some regional wines, olive oil, honey or rakija (locally produced fruit brandy), look out for Dubrovacka Kuca, a store close to St Dominic’s Tower in the Old Town. There are plenty of designer boutiques for a little sartorial thrill too – Maria Concept Store is one of the best, selling Saint Laurent and Givenchy to name a few.
There is a very established café culture in Dubrovnik. Stradun Street is the epicenter for cafes and gelaterias, making it the perfect place for a pit stop on a day’s sightseeing tour. For more elaborate meals, there are multiple options on every street corner. With local seafood a must-try, make a date to visit Prora at the Hotel Excelsior. It’s a waterfront restaurant serving classic local dishes such as squid ink risotto, fried calamari, and fresh oysters. Honeymooners may want to visit Nautika, near the Pile Gate – it’s been voted the 6th most romantic restaurant in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, as its small terraces look out over the bay and its traditional Croatian dishes are delicious. Sushi fans will love Bota, a small terraced restaurant near the Cathedral which serves fresh Oysters and sushi.
Dubrovnik sunsets are legendary, and what better way to watch the sun go down than with a cocktail in hand? Look out for Buza, a tiny bar built into the rocks and accessed through a hole in the old town wall. It’s a low-key venue with tables dotted all over the rocks by the sea, serving spritz cocktails, chilled pilsner lagers, and rakija fruit brandies.
If sampling a glass or two of Croatian wine is appealing, cut a dash to La Bodega, a chic bar with an extensive wine list, set over four floors in a 17th century stone building. For evenings with musical accompaniment, make a plan to go to the Troubadour Hard Jazz Cafe, which offers live music every night of the week during the summer season.
The beauty of Dubrovnik is that there are so many rocky coves and small pebble beaches to discover and claim as your own. Hiring a boat is the easiest way to explore the coastline independently (your Luxury Resorts concierge will be able to help you with this) but there are some popular beaches to lounge on during your stay, too. The most loved is Banje; it’s a pebbly and sandy beach with deck chairs that can be rented from the East-West Beach Club. The Coral Beach Club is also worth a visit. It’s a sandy beach with large sun loungers and an open-air bar with cocktails served straight to your chair. A twenty-minute walk from Banje beach, along a pine tree-fringed path, leads to Sveti Jakov, a sand and shingle beach with views of Lokum island and close to the Hotel Villa Dubrovnik for a quick lunch pit stop. Large family parties should check out Copacabana beach, set in the Valamar Hotel complex which is one of the city’s largest pebble beaches and is popular for its shallow waters.
There is plenty to see outside of the city limits and whether you want to jump in a car or hire a boat, these little excursions can be achieved within a day. Food lovers should head to the Peljesac Peninsula to sample fresh oysters and local wines. The Mali Ston bay within the peninsula is home to the rare European flat oyster and is worth making the trip to sample this delicacy alone.
Close to the city is the Saints Hill Winery, which is loved for its crisp rosé wine and fantastic restaurant. If you and your vacation crew want to take to the waters, there are regular 15-minute ferry rides from the Old Town Port to Lokrum island. Its botanical islands are the perfect way to while away an afternoon.
With hilltop views, easy access to beaches, and luxurious interiors, our elegant homes on the Dubrovnik Riviera are the ultimate home-away-from-home.
Renting villas in Dubrovnik is a great way to ensure large vacation parties, whether family or friends, have their needs met completely. Many of the modern apartments and villas are set into the hillside with panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, while still being close enough to walk into Stari Grad within minutes. Landscaped gardens, open plan terraces, private swimming pools and outdoor kitchens are just some of the features you can look forward to. Secret pebble or sandy beaches can be reached by steps or pine tree-lined paths from the villas, meaning midnight dips are very much on the menu.
Eight kilometers north of Dubrovnik lies Zaton Bay a horseshoe-shaped bay lined with pine trees, little pebble coves, and secret swimming spots. From the 15th century onwards it was where the nobility of Dubrovnik vacationed, making ourZaton Bay vacation rentals a truly wonderful proposition. Step forward the Villa Pugliesi; a 15th-century summer residence renovated with all the modern amenities vacation parties of 14 could need. Think terraced Mediterranean gardens, private pool, fountain, central library and private chapel. The front terraces overlook the Zaton Bay and the Elaphiti islands, while Konavle village with its local eateries and vineyards are just a quick drive away.