Dubrovnik borders the warm Adriatic Sea, with Italy to the west and Montenegro to the east. It helps that this city is genuinely beautiful—its terracotta rooftops, limestone streets, rocky beaches, and bluer than blue waters put Dubrovnik, Croatia in a league of its own as a stop on any Mediterranean cruise. Small boats and cruise ships alike dock in the picturesque harbor, blending the culture of a seaside town with a major Croatian city. Dubrovnik’s Baroque charm will capture you even on the shortest day trip.
While on your Dubrovnik cruise, walk along the historic streets of Old Town, stopping in at a dive bar or at a sidewalk cafe along the way. Or, take a cable car up Mount Srd for a panoramic view of the city from the summit of a 412-mile high hill. The Old City Walls were featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and fans of the show flock to Dubrovnik each year to feel part of the action. Enjoy Dubrovnik’s vibrant arts and museum scene, stopping in at the Rector’s Palace and Cultural Historical Museum, or go island hopping via boat to experience the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Walk around these walls for views of the Adriatic Sea and these impressive fortifications dating back to the 10th century. These walls have protected Dubrovnik for centuries, and today you can enter the city through the entrance at Pile Gate and walk through history every step of the way. Soon, you’ll find yourself surrounded by cafes and restaurants beyond the city walls in Old Town.
It’s no secret Dubrovnik is famous for its fortresses and its resilience against sieges from the Venetians and countless others, and Fort Lovrijenac is just one impressive example. Take a Game of Thrones walking tour or an ancient history tour through Fort Lovrijenac, taking in its well-preserved limestone and views of Dubrovnik from the summit.
This Gothic church was built in 1225 as the highest point of the city walls, and is one of the oldest structures in Dubrovnik. Climb to the top for yet another incredible lookout point over the city’s harbor. More than just a monastery, be sure to stop inside the oldest pharmacy in Europe and the museum library located within.
Tour this 15th century palace while on your Dubrovnik cruise for an understanding of the area’s government. Each month, the nobility of Dubrovnik elected a rector to live and be confined within the palace. Today, it’s a museum where the rector’s private rooms, offices filled with portraits, and even a dungeon are restored and maintained for you to explore.
Don’t miss the best sightseeing of Dubrovnik’s red-roofed skyline. Burn off a little extra energy and climb hundreds of narrow steps to the highest point at Minceta Fortress, built in the 14th century and named for a noble family living in Dubrovnik.
One of Dubrovnik’s most famous landmarks is Onofrio’s Great Fountain, which originally served a critically important purpose of bringing fresh spring water into the city in the 13th century. Today, the fountain is part of a busy piazza where tourists rest between excursions and activities, bustling with activity.
There are typically events and festivals held along Stradun, the main drag of Old Town. The Stradun is less than a quarter mile of limestone pavement, but you’ll find Onofrio’s Fountain here along with endless shopping and dining options for travelers. Foot traffic is heavy here and the promenade can be slippery after rainy weather, but it’s a must-see stretch on your Dubrovnik cruise.
The intimidating drawbridge and Gothic archway acted as an entry point to Dubrovnik long before Games of Thrones filmed critical scenes there, but the extra exposure didn’t hurt Pile Gate’s appeal, either. As you explore the city on foot, enter through Pile Gate and imagine what things would have been like here during the 14th century.
A cable-car ride takes you nearly half a mile up to the top of Srd Hill in mere minutes. You can take the cable car back down or take a 30-minute hike back down into Old Town. This view is especially beautiful, because you can see more of the southern Dalmatian coast than nearly anywhere else in Dubrovnik.
If you find yourself with extra time in Croatia, reserve a spot on a ferry ride to Lokrum, where you’ll trade in your tours for an relaxed, unhurried afternoon on this island in the Adriatic Sea. The island is inhabited by a massive population of peacocks. While you’re there, sunbathe or swim, enjoying the peace and quiet of this car-free, unpopulated island.
Address: Marojice Kaboge 5, Dubrovnik, Croatia
For a higher-end, luxury dining experience, head to Old Town’s Restaurant Dubrovnik. They put a Mediterranean spin on classic Croatian dishes, with a special focus on local seafood. Try the beef tartare, the ceviche “Dubrovnik style”, or mains like the sea bass fillet served with swiss chard and potatoes, or the duck breast with rosemary and dried plum sauce.
Address: Shtikovica 24a, Zaton Veliki, Dubrovnik 20235, Croatia
This family-run restaurant is known as one of the top restaurants in Dubrovnik for their service and their passion for Croatian food. The menu here is inspired by and emulates five regions of Croatia, including their typical dishes and desserts. Truffle pasta, beef stew, fried frog legs, and other local seafood rule the menu.
Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota
Address: Od Pustijerne b.b., Dubrovnik, Croatia
Another gem in Old Town is Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota, which is voted the No. 2 restaurant in Dubrovnik currently. For moderately priced sushi and Japanese food, come here for lunch, dinner, or simply to sling back oysters and have a cold drink while on a break from sightseeing.
Soul Caffe & Rakhija Bar
Address: 5 Uska ulica, Dubrovnik, 20000, Croatia
By day, it’s a sleepy cafe tucked in an alleyway along the Stradun. By night, jazz and cocktails are the primary draw for visitors to Soul Caffe. While you’re on your cruise to Dubrovnik, Croatia, stop in here for date night drinks.
Dubrovnik wasn’t always its name, but the city was established in the 7th century as “Ragusa”. The city’s fortifications and walled structures protected it from invasions, making Dubrovnik a site of refuge from invasions by outside groups. Dubrovnik was an independent republic that traded with major countries and whose significance in trade and commerce rivaled Venice at its heyday.
Dubrovnik was brought under the umbrella of the Byzantine empire during the 12th century, and later was occupied by the Venetians, who completed construction on parts of Old Town Dubrovnik that stand to this day. In 1667, the city was devastated by an earthquake and lost much of its strength. Unable to fight off the French invasion by Napoleon, Dubrovnik fell to the French, and then was bundled into Austria-Hungary in 1815.
The city became part of Croatia after World War I, and was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Then, in 1991, Dubrovnik was heavily attacked once Yugoslavia broke apart. This siege destroyed parts of Old Town, and the city struggled with getting tourists to return in light of the bombings. Today, Dubrovnik has to carefully manage its influx of tourists, as its grown in popularity as a tourist destination steadily throughout the 21st century.
At Dubrovnik, you’ll likely dock at the port of Gruz, which is just two miles north of the town’s center. Shuttles are available to take you into Old Town, or you can hail a taxi from the pier. The bus station can also be found walking distance from Gruz. All ferries depart from Gruz harbor. Some cruise lines will take you to Old Town from small boats, which feels like a step back in time as you approach and enter the city’s fortified walls.
One of the best ways to get around in Dubrovnik is via bus, which run frequently in the city. It’s a 25 minute ride from the bus station back to the Port of Gruz. To get to Pile Gate in Dubrovnik, which is a famous entrance and drawbridge into Old Town, take a 1A, 3, 6, or 9 bus. Taxis are also available to get around locally, too.
Go along Placa Stradun for jewelry shopping and souvenirs, or head into Old Town for more variety of shops offering everything from locally paintings to an entire Museum Shop, where you can buy replicas of famous Croatian art exhibits and plenty of history and art books along with it. Meander through the open air market near the Gruz Port to find locally-sourced, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and natural goods.
ATMs are spread across Old Town Dubrovnik, making it easy to withdraw a little extra cash as you need it. The official currency of Croatia is the Kuna (HRK), and it’s encouraged to carry a little cash to cover a meal, coffee, or a drink out at smaller places. You may not get a good rate of exchange when you pay with Euros while on your Dubrovnik cruise. Tipping isn’t required, but you can tip 10% for excellent service, or round up to the nearest Kuna while at a bar or restaurant.