Dubrovnik is a city that is constantly evolving. After being a city-state for over 450 years, the town is ancient and one of the oldest in the Balkans.
Unfortunately, many think of the region still being war-torn, but those times were well over 20 years ago in the 1990s. Today, Dubrovnik is becoming a hotspot for travelers. With its beautiful architecture, friendly locals, incredible seafood, and laid back way of life, it’s no wonder that Dubrovnik is high on any travelers bucket list.
Most visit during summer, but I’d recommend heading there in either early Spring or in Fall when the crowds calm down. You’ll be able to get so much out of your experience in the “Pearl Of The Adriatic”.
Here are the 5 best things to do in Dubrovnik:
When people think of Dubrovnik, they immediately think of Old Town. The UNESCO World Heritage site was originally built in the 13th Century and made Dubrovnik an important port on the Dalmatian coast.
The Old Town was damaged by an earthquake in 1667 and a lot of the town had to be rebuilt. The war in the 1990s also destroyed parts of the Old Town, but you would never know it today. The interesting part about this area is that it features many different architectural styles such as Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.
The city today is looking at ways to reduce the number of visitors coming to this part of Dubrovnik. Still, if you have a chance to visit Dubrovnik, you have to walk around Old Town. Be sure to take an after-dinner stroll, it is magical.
This ancient island was first mentioned in writing in the year 1023, but has always been in the background of Old Town. Today, however, the UNESCO World Heritage site is now having its moment in the spotlight.
Only a short 15 minute ferry ride away or a longer kayak ride, Lokrum has plenty to offer those that visit. One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive on the island is the peacocks that greet you. They were brought onto the island well over 100 years ago and now they are all over.
Be sure to see the ruins of the old Benedictine Monastery that was originally built during the Medieval period. They are a little difficult to find, but if you walk around long enough, it’s impossible to not run into them. The flora and fauna are protected so that’s why you’ll notice that nothing is trimmed or cut.
Overall, Lokrum Island is a fascinating day trip to take from Dubrovnik and is certainly not to be missed.
War Photo Limited
Unfortunately, many people think that Croatia is a war-torn country. Sure, it had its issues over 20 years ago, but today, you’d have no idea when you visit.
The political situation in the Balkans is extremely complicated so I’d recommend that everyone take a visit to War Photo Limited to learn more about the history of the region. Starting with the end of Yugoslavia, you’ll learn why Balkans entered a war and how it got to where it is today.
While most museums have a lot of reading to do, War Photo Limited walks you through the history using pictures. They currently have a fascinating exhibit on how Kosovo won their independence and what that means for the world.
Beyond the breakup of Yugoslavia, War Photo Limited explores other wars from around the world. They do a great job of objectively explaining the conflict and what the current situation is in these regions.
Be sure to stop by for an afternoon and soak in the work from some of the best photojournalists on Earth.
Hike To The Peak (Mount Srd)
Once you’ve properly explored the smaller streets of Dubrovnik, it is time to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Mount Srd looms over the northern part of Dubrovnik and is the tallest peak at 412 meters (1,315 feet).
Depending on how active you want to be getting to the top, there are 3 ways to access the peak. The first way up is via cable car that leaves from Petra Kresimira Street and takes a few minutes to reach the top. The second way up is with a car. The final (and best way up in my opinion) is to walk up.
The hike takes about 90 minutes but offers stunning views of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea below. The path starts at Jadranska Cesta so you’ll have to walk a good bit just to get to the trailhead.
I would recommend doing this trail earlier in the morning since the second part of the trail offers no protection from the sun. Be prepared with sunblock, water, and a hat if you choose to hike it in summer. At the top is Fort Imperial, which offers incredible views as your reward.
If you have time, be sure to check out the Museum of Croatian War of Independence. The museum walks you through how Croatia achieved its independence during the 1990s and houses over 500 different pieces from its history.
Mount Srd is well worth the trip up and is so much more than just incredible pictures for your next Instagram post.
If you haven’t had enough nature yet, be sure to head to the oldest arboretum in the world. Located just 30 minutes north of Dubrovnik city center, Trsteno Arboretum was built in the 15th Century by a local family who wanted sailors to bring back seeds and plants with them from their travels.
Some of you might recognize it from a little show called Game Of Thrones as it has served as one of the many filming locations in and around Dubrovnik. Among the plants from around the world, there are beautiful sculptures and works of art.
After you’ve had enough of walking around the gardens, take a dip in the sea and cool off. In my opinion, there is no better to watch the sunset than at Trsteno.
Suggested next reading: The Best Croatian Islands You Need To Visit