The Pearl of the Adriatic is so much more than Game of Thrones! This Medieval Old Town with its magnificent walls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by the cleanest, clearest seas we have ever swum in.
Top 10 things to do in Dubrovnik:
Walk the walls - the best way to get to know Dubrovnik is by walking around it, and the old walls give a brilliant view of the red roofs, church spires and narrow streets below. It's a 2km and will take about 2 hours or so, allowing plenty of time to stop and take photographs, or admire the view out to sea.
Visit Lovrijenac, or St Lawrence’s Fortress - dramatic Lovrijenac looms over the western walls of the Old Town, guarding the Pile Gate and western harbour. Game of Thrones fans might recognise it as the Red Keep, and it is now often used for theatre performances of Hamlet.
Ride the cable car up to Mt Srd - whisking you up to the summit of Mt Srd for jaw dropping panoramic views across the old town walls and the Adriatic, the cable car is the same burnished orange as the city's roof tiles. At the top there is viewing platform, a restaurant and a small but informative museum located inside the Napoleonic Fortress all about the Homeland Wars of the 90s. Walk beyond the museum and you can sit on the hillside to watch the sun set over the Elaphite Islands.
Cruise the Elaphite Islands - take a boat around this small archipelago just off the Croatian coast. We booked a day with Dubrovnik Boats (A -MA-ZING) for snorkelling, sunbathing and one of our travel highlights - experiencing the Blue Cave. You can read our blog about our day with Dubrovnik Boats HERE.
Take the walk of shame on the Jesuit Stairs - Shaaaame... shaaaaame... this elegant sweeping stone staircase, inspired by Rome's Spanish Steps, were used for one of the most famous Game of Thrones scenes: Cersei's naked walk of penance in season 5.
Enjoy a day on the beach! - The Adriatic coastline has some glorious beaches, and Dubrovnik has a lot of great choices. Banje Beach is the closest to the Old Town, with views of the walls. Sveti Jakov Beach (our favourite) is in a secluded bay down steep stairs with beach brollies to hire and a tiki bar serving cocktails. Bellevue Beach is sheltered beneath towering cliffs and has a cave you can swim into. Lapad Bay Beach has calm waters and a sandy bottom, and plenty of shops and eateries close by.
Rector's Palace - now the Cultural Historical Museum, this elegant building is well worth an explore. You can walk through the state rooms and prison cells - look out for a prisoner's graffiti and the eerie central staircase where the bannister is supported by marble hands!
Stroll the Stradun - this gorgeous pedestrianised main street is a popular tourist destination, full of souvenir shops, cafes, boutiques and ice cream parlours. The baroque buildings that line the wide street date from the 17th century, when the city was rebuilt following a devastating earthquake in 1667.
Explore Lush Lokrum - a short ferry ride from the Old Harbour is the botanical paradise of Lokrum island. Explore the monastery and fortress, swim off the rocky shore, stroll beneath the pine trees and take your photo on the Iron Throne.
Franciscan Monastery and pharmacy - tucked beneath the historic walls and opposite the Big Onofrio's Fountain is the Franciscan Monastery, home to the oldest still operating pharmacy in the world. There is a small museum with religious treasures and 14th century pharmaceutical tools, and the cloisters and garden are a calm oasis away from the main tourist drag of the main street.
Where to eat in Dubrovnik:
Orsan - located in the New Harbour and part of the yacht club, this is the perfect spot for a special dinner. Tables are placed outside on the wooden jetty while the boats clink and sway nearby. White tablecloths, impeccable service, exquisite seafood and very good local wines.
Sveti Jakov beach restaurant - situated right on the sand, you can watch the sunset over the water.
Ice cream Dubrovnik - Look for the blue and white striped canopy of the Ice cream Dubrovnik van on the Old Harbour, close to where the Lokrum ferry leaves from. We went here at least three times during our week in Dubrovnik - they have a huge range of flavours, generously served in a waffle cone. Try the fig cheesecake one!
How to get to Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik airport is about 9.5 miles from the city. You can also catch a fery from Bari, Italy. Dubrovnik doesn't have a train station!