One day in Dubrovnik: Old Town, Game of Thrones and Boats.

One day in Dubrovnik: Old Town, Game of Thrones and Boats.

If you are visiting Dubrovnik for the day you need to read this guide to Dubrovnik so you can plan your itinerary, so you do not miss anything and get the best experience from your trip to Dubrovnik.

Have you been to Dubrovnik for a holiday if so, apart from the old town what else did you see, get in contact and let me know for my future trips?

If you are lucky enough to have a few days in Dubrovnik you are going to have so much fun as there are lots of things to do in Dubrovnik whether you want to sunbath looking at the gorgeous clear waters or you want to walk along the city walls there is something in this Croatian City for everyone.

dubrovnik in 1 day

About Dubrovnik

The city dates to the 7th century and is built on a cliff. It currently has around 40k inhabitants. It is also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. There is one main street in the old town with lots of side streets which are steep in some places as you would expect with it being built on a cliff.

It is nice to wander around and get lost as you will only be lost for a few minutes as the streets are only small but just strolling around looking at the houses is really interesting as it is so pretty.

In the 20th century the monarchy opened the city to tourists and the tourism in Dubrovnik started to grow. Especially in 2019 as the tv drama Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik, so fans of Games of Thrones are flocking to the city to see familiar places.

Dubrovnik is quite a commercialised place and is geared up for the tourist experience. Since the war in the 90s it is now a safe place to visit and is getting more popular every day.

Language is Croatian but nearly everyone speaks English I didnt have any difficulties communicating when I was in Dubrovnik

How to get to Dubrovnik

Arrive in Dubrovnik by Road

I visited Dubrovnik as part of a Balkans road trip, so I crossed the border from Bosnia and Herzegovina which was easy.

You can also do days trip from other places in Croatia and Montenegro if you are having a holiday somewhere close, I would recommend visiting Dubrovnik for the day as it really is beautiful.

croatia border

Get to Dubrovnik by water

I am also going on a sailing trip around Croatia later this year and will be stopping in Dubrovnik again so I will update you when I have been for the second time in case I have missed anything and also give you information from the perspective of arriving by water.

Cruise ships dock in Dubrovnik. This article is great if your cruise ship is stopping in Dubrovnik as you will only have a couple of hours to explore so if you carry on reading this article, I will give you the highlights and what you must see in Dubrovnik.

The main cruise season is May to Oct but there are all year-round cruises that visit Dubrovnik and other Croatia coastal areas.

As with any town if there is a cruiseship in port it will be a lot busier at peak times. When I visited there were two large cruise ships and several smaller ships in port and the old town was very busy with group tours.

Tip: visit old town if possible after 4pm when cruise ships has left

Fly to Dubrovnik

The international Dubrovnik Airport is also referred to as Čilipi Airport, is located approximately 15.5 km (9.5 mi) from Dubrovnik city centre, near Čilipi.

There are a few budget airlines that fly to Dubrovnik. The second time I visited Dubrovnik I flew with EasyJet from Gatwick in London. At the moment you can only fly into Dubronvnik from European countries so if you are flying from USA or Asia then I would recommend flying into London or Amsterdam and getting a budget flight.

Dubrovnik airport is quite small. I had assistance booked but I didnt require it. There was a short walk and one flight of stairs to get from the gate to passport control and then it was straight through to bag collection. 

There is a shuttle bus to the town which is easy to purchase. When you get to arrivals you will see a blue desk saying shuttle bus. A one way ticket was 53 Kuna (about £6.35) the ticket office spoke English and it was easy to purchase a ticket. There are two stops one in the Old town and one at the port.

The shuttle bus pulls up directly outside the exit door. The bus was busy but it was worth the price if travelling solo as a taxi was estimated at about 35euros.

When is the best time to visit Dubrovnik

You can visit Dubrovnik all year round and visiting in the winter will give you a totally difference experience of visiting in the summer months.

I would personally avoid August but if this is the only time that you can visit just be prepared for the crowds and heat.

In the winter it is less busy, and more locals explore the city.

A good time to visit is September and October when there are less cruise ships in port, but the waters are still warm enough to swim. I visited the second time in September and it was still pleasent weather although a week later the weather had turned in Croatia and started raining and got cooler. The main season for Croatia ends mid September so things were starting to close during my trip in Croatia. 

I visited in May and it was sunny and warn tshirt weather. I did a boat trip and people went swimming in the water they said it was cold but soon warmed up when they were swimming, they were a lot braver than me. I just dipped my toes in but when I go in September I will try the swimming.

It might even be cool to visit Dubrovnik at Christmas. It won’t be sunbathing weather, but they have Christmas festivities which look fun, I love Christmas and would like to be somewhere else to see how they celebrate.

If you are in Dubrovnik over night or later in the evening you will get to see how pretty the old town is lit up at night.

Money in Dubrovnik

The local currency is the Croatian Kuna (HRK) you can find the current exchange rate here it was about £1 to 8.25hrk when I visited.

Euros are accepted, there were a few ATMs before the entrance to the Old town and a money exchange. Cards were also accepted in a lot of the shops and restaurants.

I heard the Dubrovnik was expensive to be honest I didnt notice I guess compared to other Balkan countries we had visited on this trip then it was more expensive but compared to the UK and other tourist destinations I didn’t think it was too overboard. I got an ice cream for about £2.50 might seem a lot but it was big and delicious and so worth it.

If you are planning on going inside the churches and such then it might be worth getting a Dubrovnik card which can save you money for sightseeing and it also include public transport.

Public Toilets in Dubrovnik

There were two public toilets before the entrance to the old town which cost 7HRK or 1 Euro you needed the correct money as it is a turnstile.

Though they are manned the people were not able to give change and even if you had 2 euros for two people, they would not take the coins and let you in which was annoying when we were desperate to pee.

I would recommend carrying euro coins if you are travelling Croatia in case you need the toilet.

There is also one public toilet in the old town. It is an excuse to sit and have a coffee if you need to go to the toilet and don’t want to pay for the privilege.

Getting around Dubrovnik

How accessible is Dubrovnik

There are some parts of the old town that are not accessible. If you want to walk on the walls there are several stairs to climb. Also had to go down a few stairs to get into the old town however it was so packed with tourists it was very slow going so I took my time and managed it OK.

The old town has cobbles in some places and there were steeper alleys, but I avoided these, and you can stick to the main street which is flat.

Things to do in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Old Town

If you are only in the city for one day then you need to head to the Old Town. 

Today only 1000 people live in the Old Town, 5 years ago this was about 5000, now it is considered too noisy and doesnt suit the needs of a normal resident as it is full of souvenir shops and restaurants. 

The soul of the city has gone since the locals moved away. Although if you visit Dubrovnik in winter months there will be more locals than tourists.

The architecture of the old town has an Italian influence. The main street is Stradun it is a pedestrianised road, so you only must worry about being knocked over by other tourists and it does get busy so be prepared for a little manoeuvring to avoid walking into someone.

steep streets in dubrovnik

looks down the lanes in dubrovnik

Onofrio’s Fountain

The Onofrio’s Fountain was built in 1438 and is a spring water fountain. The fountain is just inside the entrance to the old town so is it hard to see because it is where all the tourist groups start, we got a better view when we were leaving the old town later in the afternoon.

fountain in Dubrovnik

City Bell Tower

The city bell tower is at the end of the main street, dates from 15th century and is 31 metres high.

bell tower in dubrovnik

Old Town City Walls

The old town is surrounded by city walls with four main gates. Pile gate is pretty if you get a chance to look at it without being pushed through by the crowds, it is a drawbridge gate and worth taking a few seconds if you can to look at it.

Like so many places in the Balkans The Old Town and parts of the walls were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979
The walls are open all year round and it takes about 1.5 hours to do the full circuit of 1940 metres. It is the best way to get views over the Adriatic Sea and the old town and it is a complex system of forts, bastions, casemates, towers and detached forts so there is plenty to see. You can walk along the walls for a fee.

stairs to city walls in dubrovnik

The city walls are 82 feet high and date back to the 7th century. Enter the walls from pile gate and there is a tourist office where you can buy tickets. The ticket only lets you do the walk once I personally think it is expensive currently it is 29euros to walk on a wall, so I didn’t bother.

However, if you have walked on the city walls and think it is worth it please do let me know and I will do it on my next visit to Dubrovnik

If you are staying in Dubrovnik, then aim to walk on the city walls in the early morning or late afternoon also to avoid the crowds from the cruise ships and the mid-day sun as there is little shade along the walls.

Churches in the Old Town

Considering the Old town is not that large there are a lot of churches and places of worship. Religion is very strong in the city and walking around the old town you can see these St. Blasius Church, St. Ignatius Church, Church of Holy Savior, Orthodox Church, Dominican Monastery, Franciscan Monastery, The Synagogue.

church in dubronovik

St Claire convent is now a resturant but has so much history. It used to be the home of abandoned children.

Dominican Monastery

If you’re a fan of Games of Thrones you might recognise the Dominican Monastery

Jesuit Staircase & St. Ignatius Church

These stairs are a beauty and were modelled after the Spanish Steps in Rome. Another place that was filmed for games of thrones. How I know all this, and I have still not seen the tv series is because it kept being mentioned when I was there. Mainly because the final was about to be aired and because I was on a tour of 46 people where half of them were huge GOT fans and kept talking about it. 

If you are a fan, then check out doing a game of thrones tour 

You can go inside the church.

Rectors Palace

Rectors palace is typical architecture in this area. If you are walking through the old town then you are going to come across it. You can visit the museum inside for a fee. It has been an armoury, a watch house and a prison.

rectors palace in dubrovnik

Outdoor venues

Park Orsula is an open-air live music venue about 3km from the old town. There is also an outdoor cinema, Slavica, located in the Boninovo area of the city. It has beautiful views over the water and what’s better that being so close to the sea and watching a film. It is only open in the summer and depends on the weather.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik and it is now a popular place to visit by game of thrones fans so they can re-enact the iconic scenes at places where the TV series was filmed.

I personally have never seen Game of Thrones, but everyone is talking about it at the moment as it has just had it final series that I might have to watch it to see what all the hype is about.

Anyway, the people in my group who did the Game of Thrones tour said it was good and they could spot places from the series.

There were a couple of Game of Thrones merchandise shops in the old town.

places to get game of thrones merchandise

Red Fort

Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress, often called “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”, is a fortress and theater outside the western wall of the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. This was also used for filming Games of Thrones. It is a climb to get to and is free if you have paid to walk on the ancient city walls. It is a wonderful pace to go to get amazing views in Dubrovnik.

Cable Car

You can get a Cable car to top of Srd but do check if it is working as at the time of writing this post it was out of order.  and the only way to get to the top of Srd is to hike, to get amazing panoramic views of the city and Adriatic. There is also a restaurant at the top for a cold beer as you are going to need it after the hike. Plus, there is a war museum.

The cable car station is a few minutes’ walk from the old town, and it takes 4 minutes to get to the top. This is something I am going to do when I visit Dubrovnik for the 2nd time in September if it is working by then.

Rent a Kayak

When I was doing something a little less energetic by having a cold beer at the Buza bar I watched kayakers going by. You can hire a kayak from west harbour there are several companies offering kayaks, you can book online before you go or wait until you get to the harbour.

Beaches

If you are done with sightseeing and the weather is nice which is probably will be if you are visiting in the summer, then how about heading to a beach. There are several beaches in Dubrovnik that you can walk to or get public transport or a taxi. There were pentyl of taxis in the main area of the town. Check out Sveti jovac beach, Banje beach, Pasjaca Beach, and Dance beach.

Boat trips

If you are going to do a boat trip in Dubrovnik aim for one where you will see the sunset. My boat trip came back to Dubrovnik at sunset and it was so beautiful.

I did a lovely boat trip. It cost 35euros 260 Kuna and was worth the money. We had free red and white wine and coke or water. They played music on the way back and it turned into quite a party boat, but it was amazing to see the sunset.
We went to an island which had no cars and hardly any tourists, it was such a contrast to Dubrovnik and was a nice place to escape the mad crowds. We got to swim in the lagoon and sunbathe on the beach.

There are several different boat trips to meet everyone’s budget and requirements so just pick the right one for you.

Food and Drink in Dubrovnik

There are many restaurants and cafes, there are a lot serving seafood. I visited Amoret which didn’t have an extensive menu but the food that they served was good quality.

side streets in dobrovnik are queiter

I had a tuna salad and it was nice and light for the heat and it was actually one of the best salads I have had in a long time, maybe because it is not something I would normally order but I will be going back on my next visit. It was also in a great location we sat outside and did some people watching whilst having our meal. The waiters were so friendly and made us feel welcome and even though we ate in the main square in what looked like a popular Restaurant as there were very few empty seats it was reasonably priced.

The outside seats are covered however there was only one table when we arrived, and it was half in the sun due to the time of the day however when another table because free our waiter moved us and then we were all in the shade.

One place that I highly recommend is Mala Buza caffe bar. This bar has the most amazing view. I am so glad my friend knew about this place as I would never have found it as it is through what looks like a private doorway and once you go through it opens onto the beautiful Adriatic Sea. They only have drinks and don’t have a toilet, but you must go here and have a cold beer watching the boats and kayaks go past.

cold beer in dubronovik

cool bar in dubronovik

view from bar in dubrovnik

There are lots of Ice cream vendors and it wasn’t as expensive as I thought. There is an ice cream shop just inside the old town and the queue was quite long not sure if it was because it was the best or the first one. There are others if you are looking for a shorter queue.

having an ice cream in dubrovnik

Day trip from Dubrovnik

If you have more than one day in Dubrovnik or you have visited before and looking for something different to do, then how about a day trip.

Lokrum Island

Is where to go for a shot in the iron throne from got which is currently in the Benedictine monastery which dates to 1023 and is also worth a look around. The island also has some beautiful beaches so if you have been to the old town abd looking for something else to do in Dubrovnik then you should get the ferry over to Lokrum island. There are lots of ferries each day which leaves from the old town port. – get current link and prices

If you want to get a ferry from Dubrovnik to another island its likely they will leave from Gruz ferry port 

Cavtat

You can visit Cavtat on a local bus number 10 which run every hour and takes about 10 minutes. Cavtat is a pretty town.

Cilipi is about 8km away from Cavtat, and local bus 11 runs between the two and on Sunday mornings (in spring/summer/early autumn), locals in traditional costume gather in the main square to sing and dance.

Lapad

Lapad 4km from old town takes 45 minutes to walk or a 15minutr bus ride

Montenegro

Kotor is similar to Dubrovnik as it has an old town surrounded by walls.

Bosnia

Visit Mostar for something totally different to Dubrovnik

Have you been to Dubrovnik? What did you get up to please get in contact and show me.

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Originally posted in May 2019 and updated in September 2019 after a second visit to Dubrovnik.

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