Dubrovnik, Croatia Cruise Port Guide

The ancient walled city of Dubrovnik basks on the coast of southern Croatia, surrounded on three sides by the sparkling Adriatic Sea. The entire Old Town is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and when you visit as part of your Dubrovnik cruise, you’ll see why. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into an exquisite living museum of stone palaces, ornate churches, and ancient mansions.

You’ll have a chance to immerse yourself in the city’s Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque splendor. Wander along the Stradun, a stately stone boulevard. Peek into grand palaces, and stroll chunky ramparts, taking in the jumble of terracotta rooftops below you. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors on a kayak trip around the towering walls. Ride the cable car up Srd Hill for stupendous views, or head across to sleepy Lokrum Island to swim off the rocks in the crystal clear sea. On a Europe cruise to Dubrovnik, you’ll be charmed by this remarkable city.

Cruises to Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Dubrovnik

The Old City Walls

Dubrovnik is encircled by medieval ramparts connected by a series of towers. Strolling this vast wall gives you dramatic views down over the rooftops of the town and out to the glittering Adriatic beyond. You’ll also have a great view of the imposing Fort Lovrijenac, perched on a rocky headland next to the old city. After your walk, find your way through a tiny passageway to Buza, a rustic bar clinging to the rocks beneath the massive walls, for cold drinks and a chance to jump into the sea.

Franciscan Church & Monastery

The imposing complex of this 13th-century friary lies at one end of the Stradun boulevard and blends Romanesque and Gothic styles. Explore inside to see a collection of relics, chalices, and old paintings. Sit for a while in the beautiful cloister, a tiny oasis shaded by orange and palm trees, surrounded by slender, intricately carved columns. Drop into the old pharmacy, dating back to the 14th century, and buy some of the deliciously fragranced products to take home.

The Rector’s Palace and Cultural Historical Museum

This late 15th-century Gothic-Renaissance palace is where the rector of the city, who governed Dubrovnik, would live. Each rector was confined to the palace for a period of one month. Today, the palace serves as the Cultural History Museum. A collection of some 20,000 items including coins, statues, coats of arms, weapons, photographs, and textiles chart the history of the city from the 14th to the 20th centuries. 

Things to Do in Dubrovnik

Stroll Along Historic Stradun

Stradun is the wide, elegant boulevard that bisects the Old Town of Dubrovnik, connecting the Pile and Ploce Gates, its smooth limestone gleaming in the sunlight. At one end is Onofrio’s Great Fountain, which has supplied spring water to the city since the 13th century. Stradun is lined with magnificent palaces, shops, and restaurants. Explore some of the shaded side alleys to find the most authentic places, and as part of your walk, visit the Franciscan Monastery and St. Blaise Church.

Ride the Cable Car to the Top of Srd Hill

For the best shot of the old city from above, ride the cable car to the top of Srd Hill, behind Dubrovnik. At the top, visit the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence, housed in the Fort Imperial. This fascinating display tells the story of the Balkans conflict from 1991 to 1995 via TV footage, documents, and photographs. Afterward, you could hike down to the city in 30 minutes with more time en route to take in those beautiful views.

Take a Ferry to the Island of Lokrum

On a hot day, jump on the ferry to sleepy Lokrum, a wooded island just 10 minutes by boat from Dubrovnik. Snooze on the rocks shaded by pine trees, wander through the botanical garden, and explore the ancient monastery. You’ll find a few cafés and restaurants, although locals prefer to take a picnic. There’s a large population of peacocks on Lokrum, adding an air of exoticism.

Top Food & Drink in Dubrovnik

You’ll find plenty of establishments serving authentic Croatian cuisine on your Dubrovnik cruise. At the most simple level, order a platter of Dalmatian ham and the salty local cheese and enjoy it with a crisp Pošip white from the island of Korcula. This makes an excellent lunch. You could also try the local specialty, a velvety squid ink risotto, which is jet black (check your teeth after eating this as your smile can be alarming for a few moments). 

Pašticada is marinated, herb-stuffed beef, slow-cooked and served with pasta or gnocchi; you will find a lot of pasta on menus as Italy is not far away. Fresh fish is available everywhere, too, from sea bass and tuna to fresh oysters from the nearby town of Ston. Save space for dessert—look out for delicious dishes such as orange and olive cake, flaky apple or cherry strudel, and the ubiquitous gelato.

Culture & History of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik was established in the 7th century as Ragusa, an independent republic that rivaled Venice for its riches. 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 the Old Town that stand to this day. In 1667, the city was devastated by an earthquake and lost much of its power. Unable to fight off the French invasion by Napoleon, Dubrovnik fell to the French and was bundled into Austria-Hungary in 1815.

The city became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after WWII, a period that ended after the 1991-1995 Balkans conflict, which resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia. The city suffered significant shelling during a seven-month siege in 1991; many of the houses you see today have new roofs following the war.

Today, the city enjoys spectacular success as both a tourist destination and a film location. Despite the fact that they are massively outnumbered by visitors in summer, locals are friendly and welcoming. During your visit, try to embrace fjaka, a Croatian concept of doing very little in a pleasurable way and living in the moment.

Dubrovnik Cruise Port Facilities & Location

Ships dock at Gruz, in the modern part of Dubrovnik, just a couple of miles from the Old Town. 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 within walking distance from Gruz. Ferries to the nearby islands (apart from Lokrum) depart from Gruz Port. While there are plenty of shops and restaurants in Gruz, the vast majority of visitors head straight to the Old Town. At the port itself, you’ll find restrooms and ATMs.

Transportation in Dubrovnik

Within the city walls, the only way to get around is on foot, as almost the entire area is car-free. Transportation options to head further afield includes public buses that run to and from Gruz Port, where ships dock, or taxi, of which there are many. Ferries to Lokrum depart from the Old Town Port, and the cable car to Mount Srd is just inland of the Old Town, around 10 minutes’ walk from the Pile or Ploče Gates.

Shopping in Dubrovnik

There’s no shortage of shops in Dubrovnik. Things to buy include traditional Konavle jewelry, Croatian wines, products made from local lavender, silk ties, and locally made footwear. Entire shops are dedicated to merchandise related to the many movies and TV shows shot here. For something more authentic, visit the Pharmacy in the Franciscan Church, where the products are hand made; the delicate orange blossom face cream, for example, is exquisite.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The official currency of Croatia is the Kuna (HRK), although you will see prices in Euros as well. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the exchange rate before going shopping. Most places accept credit cards, although you will need cash for shopping in markets. There are plenty of ATMs in the city.

There is a tipping culture in Croatia, but not a big one. Tip 10% for good service in a restaurant, and the equivalent of 5 or 10 Euros to a good tour guide.

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