Every year thousands of tourists pilgrim to Dubrovnik and big percent comes back. If you’ve ever seen just a picture of Dubrovnik you are probably not wondering why. Rather you’ve decided to come and take a piece of that Adriatic heaven.
In the last several years a big negative connotation is related to Dubrovnik – crowd, crowd, crowd. And yes, that is true. If you come in the wrong time a day you might be overwhelmed with the amount of people you see. However, if you are not a cruise ship passenger you can arrange your schedule in order to get the best out of your visit. Here is the list of top things to do in Dubrovnik with tips how to avoid Dubrovnik crowds.
Dubrovnik Old Town
Dubrovnik Old town, a diamond in the rough with centuries old layers of art and architecture, is a number one thing to do in Dubrovnik. Allow yourself to get lost in the streets discovering museums, churches and charming terraces.
Best time to visit the Old Town would be in the afternoon when cruise ship passengers leave the town. This will give you plenty of time to visit museums and when it gets dark experience the city by night.
You can enter the Old Town through three entrances – Pile Gate on the west, Ploče Gate on the east and Buža Gate on the north, Pile Gate being the main city gate.
Start your sightseeing on the main street – Stradun and walk your way through small narrow streets.
While roaming the streets you will see Dubrovnik has many churches with a wide variety of gothic, renaissance and baroque stylistic elements.
Even if you are not a big fan of church architecture, monumental facades will definitely catch your attention.
I recommend you visiting Franciscan and Dominican Monasteries. Franciscan Monastery is a complex from 14th century with beautiful late Romanesque cloister and oldest working pharmacy in the world. Dominican Monastery, established in 13th century will amaze you with Gothic and Early-Ranaissance cloister and art collection housing paintings made by Paolo Veneziano and Tizian. Here you will also find one of the greatest collections of local artist in Dubrovnik such as Vlaho Bukovac, Nikola Božidarević, Mihajl Hamzić, Ivo Dulčić and Lovre Dobričević.
Two most notable buildings of secular architecture are Sponsa Palace – 16th century palace in Gothic-Renaissance style and Rector’s Palace – Gothic-Renaissance building with baroque additions which today houses Cultural – History Museum.
Other interesting museums to visit in the Old Town are Ethnographic Museum, Maritime Museum and Archeological Museum.
Dubrovnik City Walls
Walk along Dubrovnik City Walls is a must do. Be aware that it includes many steps therefore it is not suitable for people with disabilities.
There are two entrances / exits – one on the western gates and one on the eastern gates. This means you can do just half the walk in case you get tired but I recommend doing the full circle – it is definitely worth it.
In summer months best time to visit city walls is early morning or late afternoon. Make sure to bring water bottle with you. There are several rest stops where you can buy refreshment but those are way overpriced.
Walk will take around one to two hours depending on how many photo stops you make and you will want to make many, trust me! Views from the city walls are breathtaking!
One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is visit to Lokrum Island. Lokrum is a beautiful small island conveniently located a short 15 minute boat ride from Old Harbour in Dubrovnik Old Town. You can get there by public boat which operates every half an hour. This is the ideal way of spending the morning when a big cruise ship is in town.
Half a day is plenty of time for sightseeing the island and swim in crystal clear water.
This charming uninhabited island with no cars offers unique experience of enjoying in silence while walking through exotic plants gardens alongside with peacocks and rabbits.
Walk through Benedictine complex of Romanesque-Gothic basilica and Gothic-Renaissance monastery will take you back in time while climb to Fort Royal on the highest peak of the island will give you beautiful panoramic view.
On the southern part of the island you will find Dead Sea (Mrtvo More) – salty lake linked to the open sea which children will adore. Cliff beach on the southeast part of the island is reserved for nudists – excellent way to get rid of tan –lines.
Experience the most beautiful sunset from Srdj mountain
Srdj is a low, 412 meter high, mountain which offers the best view on Dubrovnik Old Town and surrounding area.
It is accessible by car, cable car and you can even hike there. Most tourists opt for cable car which takes you from the old town to the top of the mountain in just several minutes.
Once there you can tako numerous panoramic photos, enjoy your meal in what is probably restaurant with the best view in Croatia and visit the Museum of Homeland war.
The best time to go up is just before the sunset. This way you can enjoy beautiful play of colours while sun drops over the Old Town and Elaphiti islands.
If you are planing your visit to Dubrovnik you probably searched for the most popular beaches in Dubrovnik. What you most likely found out is that everybody claims they know the best beach to visit. The truth is, it all depends on your taste.
One thing is sure, you will not find private silent beach anywhere in Dubrovnik city limits. Even the most amazing remote beaches like St.Jacob Beach get packed with people during summer months.
If you made your peace with this here are some beaches to consider. Banje Beach is the main city beach not far from Ploce Gate and while some think it is overcrowded I personally love it.
In the Lapad area you will find many well maintained beaches with good facilities and great offer. One thing many are not aware of is that you are free to use any hotel beach even if you are not a guest.
If none of this sounds good for you I urge you to visit Lokrum Island or Elaphite Islands and find you private little piece of heaven by the sea.
Day trips from Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik surroundings offers a vast variety of day trip choices.
If you are one of those travelers who want to see as much as they can in a limited amount of time, position of Dubrovnik enables you to visit two more countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina on the east or Montenegro on the south.
Dubrovnik to Mostar day trip will give you the opportunity to explore a unique blend of Moorish, Christian, and Muslim culture while visit to Kravica Waterfalls can be a good alternative to Plitvice Lakes National Park. If you decide to go from Dubrovnik to Montenegro, day trip to Kotor is way to go. Remember that for all this excursions from Dubrovnik you will need to have your passport with you.
If you don’t want to spend too much time driving visit the southernmost region of Croatia – Konavle Valley with the city of Cavtat. My personal favourite day trip from Dubrovnik is the one which takes you to the wine region of Peljesac Peninsula.
One of the top things to do in Dubrovnik is boat trip to Elaphiti islands – a small archipelago stretching northwest of Dubrovnik. Here you can enjoy untouched nature, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood away from crowds of Dubrovnik.
PHOTO: Flickr, Pixabay