Dubrovnik Uncovered: Exploring the Pearl of the Adriatic

Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a mesmerising city tucked away on the southern tip of Croatia‘s stunning coastline. Steeped in history, the city’s captivating architecture, cobblestone streets, crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views offer a magical experience for visitors- and especially Game of Thrones fans! From exploring the ancient city walls and fortresses to discovering hidden gems and filming locations, this article will guide you through the wonders of Dubrovnik.

Exploring the City Walls and Fortresses of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik City Walls
Dubrovnik City Walls

One of the most iconic attractions in Dubrovnik is its magnificent city walls. These ancient fortifications, dating back to the 13th century, offer a panoramic view of the city and the Adriatic Sea. The walls took around four centuries to construct, and are best explored on a walking tour. Tours cater to various preferences, but some of the best options to consider are Game of Thrones themed tours, combo tours (including other attractions) and sunset tours so you can see the city lit up at night.

Fort Lovrijenac, a mighty fortress that stands proudly on a cliff overlooking the sea, is another of the city’s most iconic attractions. This fortress has played a crucial role in Dubrovnik’s history and also served as a filming location for Game of Thrones. Entry is included in City Walls admission tickets, and the fortress is also a main feature on guided tours.

Consider the following tours:

Other fortresses that are worthwhile seeing include Fort Imperial on Mount Srđ, now a symbol of the city’s defence during the Croatian War of Independence from1991-1995, Fort Bokar, which was built in the fifteenth century to defend Pile Gate, and the Minceta Tower, the highest point along the City Walls.

Strolling along Stradun – Dubrovnik’s main street

overhead shot of Stradun in Dubrovnik

Stradun, the main street of Dubrovnik, is a bustling thoroughfare that stretches from Pile Gate to the Old Port. Lined with charming shops, cafes, and restaurants, this pedestrian street (also known as Placa) is the heart and soul of the city.

Take a leisurely stroll, soak in the vibrant atmosphere, and indulge in some retail therapy. The street is particularly lively at night during the summer, and is especially popular amongst young people and tourists. Don’t miss the famous Onofrio’s Fountain, an impressive Renaissance structure that has been quenching the thirst of visitors for centuries.

Discovering Dubrovnik’s iconic landmarks – Pile Gate, Sponza Palace, and Orlando’s Column

Bridge to Pile Gate entrance to Dubrovnik Old Town
Bridge to Pile Gate

Dubrovnik is home to numerous landmarks. Begin your exploration at Pile Gate, which having been constructed in the fifteenth century serves as the main entrance to the Old Town. Marvel at its grandeur and pass through to enter a world of wonder.

Adjacent to Pile Gate, you’ll find the stunning Sponza Palace, a masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. This palace now houses the Dubrovnik State Archives, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich history. There is a small admission to pay on entry, although the memorial room is free.

Nearby, you’ll come across Orlando’s Column, an iconic monument that pays homage to the city’s medieval hero. Dating back to 1418, the column stand in front of the Church of St. Blaise, and is a feature on most historical walking tours.

Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik

Jesuit Stairs in Dubrovnik
Jesuit Stairs, used to film Cersei’s Walk of Shame

Dubrovnik has gained international fame as a filming location for the hit TV series Game of Thrones. As you explore the city, you’ll recognise familiar scenes from the show. Famous filming locations include the following:

  • Fort Lovrijenac, which served as the imposing Red Keep in King’s Landing
  • Jesuit Stairs, the location of Cersei’s Walk of Shame
  • Trsteno Arboretum, where scenes of the Palace Gardens in King’s Landing were filmed
  • Lokrum, known to fans as Qarth, where Daenerys found shelter in season two following the death of Khal Drogo

You can also sit on and take pictures with the original Iron Throne. The throne was donated by HBO to the city of Dubrovnik, and now resides in the Lokrum Island Visitor Centre. There is a replica located in the Old Town which is often featured on GoT guided tours (as well as one in Split) but a visit to see the real thing is definitely worth it.

Guided tours are a great way to walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters as you explore the stunning locations of the most memorable scenes. They also provide the opportunity to ask questions and find out behind the scenes information, with guides having an impressive amount of both knowledge and experience. Click here for a range of tour options, catering to all budgets.

Dubrovnik’s art and history

Dubrovnik tourist information point
Dubrovnik tourist information point

For art enthusiasts and history buffs, Dubrovnik offers an array of museums and galleries to explore. A Dubrovnik Pass is worth looking into if you intend to explore the city’s cultural offerings, and last one, three or seven days. Passes can be purchased at tourist information points around the city (there’s one conveniently located at the western gate of the Old Town) where you can find information about which attractions are included.

History museums

Rector’s Palace, a cultural hub that showcases the city’s history and art through various exhibitions, is one of the most popular options. The Maritime Museum is also highly rated, especially given Dubrovnik’s position on the coast, and is a must visit along with the Rector’s Palace if you only have a few days in the city.

History buffs will love Dubrovnik’s offerings. The Rupe Ethnographic Museum showcases the granary and information about agriculture across the region, while the Upper Corner Tower Foundry Museum is dedicated to the region’s industrial history. If you’re interested in natural history, check out the Archeological Museum or Dubrovnik Natural History Museum.

If you’re interested in Croatia’s more recent history, the Homeland War Museum located in the Imperial Fort on Mount Srđ commemorates the Croatian War for Independence during the 1990s, while the Red History Museum, which is around a thirty minute walk from the Old Town, depicts Dubrovnik’s existence under Communism. War Photo Limited is another interesting museum, this time located in the Old Town. The exhibition is dedicated to photojournalism and depicts the horrors of conflict and wartime.

Art galleries and offbeat attractions

For art enthusiasts, the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik (MOMAD) is a treasure trove of contemporary Croatian art. Meanwhile, the House of Marin Držić, one of Croatia’s most famous writers, is a hidden gem.

For a more offbeat experience, visit the Love Stories Museum (grab your skip the line admission ticket here). The museum is dedicated to love stories from around the world, as well as local folklore and TV love stories. Additionally, the Museum Of Selfies & Memories features interactive exhibits and selfie opportunities (get your ticket here) while the Indian Motorcycle Museum Dubrovnik, located in the Old Town, features one of the biggest collections of Indian Motorcycles in the world.

Exploring Dubrovnik’s religious sites – The Dubrovnik Cathedral, Monasteries, and Churches

Dubrovnik Cathedral at night
Dubrovnik Cathedral at night

Dubrovnik is home to several religious sites that showcase the city’s deep-rooted spirituality and architectural beauty. The Dubrovnik Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and is the seat of the Diocese of Dubrovnik. Step inside to admire its stunning interior and the treasury that houses a collection of religious artifacts.

The city is also home to several serene monasteries, which house stunning libraries and tranquil cloisters. The Franciscan Church and Monastery is notably home to one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, while the Dominican Monastery boasts a rich collection of art and jewellery. The Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary on the island of Lokrum is also worth a visit; believed to be cursed by monks who were forced out by the French army in the eighteenth century, the ruins are open to curious visitors year-round.

Don’t forget to visit the Church of St. Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik. The Church is located in the Old Town just metres from the previously mentioned Orlando’s Column. Most walking tours will feature the site, along with information about its history.

Outdoor Adventures and Water Activities in Dubrovnik

Kayaking in Dubrovnik
Kayaking in Dubrovnik around Fort Bokar

Beyond its historical and cultural attractions, Dubrovnik offers a plethora of outdoor adventures and water activities. While water activities are best during summer months when the water is warm, consider the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn for activities such as hiking and biking. The weather won’t be as hot, so the activities shouldn’t be as difficult, and the city will be less crowded. You can also save money this way, as local guides and vendors tend to drop their prices when there are less tourists.

Remember to check pick-up and drop-off points when booking tours and activities, as well as making sure activity providers can meet accessibility requirements. You should also check individual tour requirements, for example, if you need a driving license or a certain level of physical fitness.

Outdoor Adventures

Take a cable car ride to the top of Mount Srđ and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and the Adriatic Sea, or appreciate the same views on a ziplining adventure (prices starting from £52.05 per person). Further adventure activities in and around Dubrovnik include hiking, biking, horse-riding, rock-climbing and quad biking.

For those looking for a more relaxed experience, this Dubrovnik: Panoramic Sightseeing Tour features an air-conditioned vehicle and an experienced guide. The Dubrovnik: Sunset Panorama Tour with Glass of Wine is another great option, especially for your first night in the city.

Water Activities

If you’re interested in exploring the city from the water, embark on a kayaking tour around the city walls and explore hidden caves and secluded beaches. Experienced kayakers can hire equipment and explore independently, while novices can choose from a variety of guided tour options to suit their preferences and ability levels.

With its crystal-clear waters, Dubrovnik is also a paradise for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts. Many full and half day boat tours provide snorkelling equipment free of charge. You can also pick a tour based on the itinerary, with many featuring popular swimming and diving spots such as the Elaphiti Islands and the famous Blue Cave.

Check out this Boat Tour to Mljet National Park & 3 Islands with prices starting at £132.26. The tour features park admission tickets, as well as opportunities for swimming, cliff jumping and snorkelling, and a visit to the Blue Cave. This Full Day Sailing Tour To Elafiti Islands is also a great option, offering swimming and snorkelling opportunities with prices starting at £96.99. Viator has hundreds of options if you’re interested in exploring Dubrovnik’s waters.

If you’re interested in visiting Mljet National Park, you can find out more information in our article From Plitvice to Krka: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Croatia’s Breathtaking National Parks.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, try cliff jumping or jet skiing along the beautiful coastline. One of the top spots for cliff jumping is Buža Bar, located just outside the city walls. The bar serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and is a great place for enjoying the water as well as sunset views.

Accommodation options in Dubrovnik

Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. From luxurious hotels and private villas with stunning sea views to cosy guesthouses and backpacker hostels tucked away in the narrow streets of the Old Town, you’ll find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate. Consider staying within the city walls for a truly immersive experience, or opt for a beachfront resort to enjoy the sun and sea.

On Booking.com, the following 5 star options are most popular:

On Hostelworld.com, the following options (with both dorms and private rooms available) are most popular:

Transportation in Dubrovnik

aerial shot of boats in Dubrovnik
Sailing in Dubrovnik

Getting around Dubrovnik is a breeze, thanks to its well-connected transportation system. The city has an efficient bus network that covers all major attractions and suburbs. Taxis are also readily available, as well as Uber and Bolt. Exploring the Old Town is best done on foot, as vehicles are not allowed within the city walls.

Croatia as a country has a pretty good tourism infrastructure, so travelling to surrounding areas isn’t too difficult. However, if you’d prefer to explore independently, check out Discover Cars or Rentalcars for good deals.

Given Dubrovnik’s position on the coast, exploring the city and surrounding areas by boat is also a convenient option. You can take a scenic dinnertime cruise, or tour the perimeter of the city walls from the water.

Nearby islands, as well as Montenegro to the south and the coastal cities of Zadar and Split to the north, can all be easily reached within a few hours from the port. Getyourguide has a range of cruise and boat tour options, ranging from catamaran group tours to luxury speedboat hire.

Day Trips and Excursions from Dubrovnik

Bay of Kotor in Montenegro
Bay of Kotor

While Dubrovnik itself is a treasure trove of wonders, it also serves as a gateway to several stunning destinations nearby. Take a day trip to the idyllic island of Lokrum, which can be reached in around fifteen minutes by boat for under ten euros. Explore its lush botanical gardens, swim in the clear blue waters, and encounter peacocks roaming freely.

You can also visit the charming town of Cavtat, known for its picturesque harbour and beautiful promenade. Cavtat is reachable by both boat and bus in under an hour, also for less than ten euros (even in high season).

Additionally, the nearby Elaphiti Islands offer a serene retreat with their pristine beaches and quaint villages. The islands, as well as Hvar and Mljet National Park, are easily reached by boat. There are a range of options to get there, including guided tours, tours that feature kayaking, snorkelling and paddle boarding options, or ferry rides for those who prefer to explore independently.

Beyond Croatia’s borders, day trips to Kravice Waterfalls and Mostar in Bosnia, as well as the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, are also popular and affordable. Mostar can be reached by bus, independently or on a guided tour, or by private transfer. The Bay of Kotor, Europe’s southernmost fjord, can be reached either by bus or boat, with a range of tour options or independently.

Safety tips for visiting Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is generally a safe city for tourists, but it’s always wise to take precautions. Firstly, keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded areas. You can do this by not leaving bags unattended, for example when you go to the bathroom at a restaurant, and by wearing your bag/purse across your chest rather than simply over your shoulder. Pickpockets can work in groups to target tourists, so keep your wits about you if someone strikes up a conversation in a crowded place.

Secondly, stay hydrated during the summer months and wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. Temperatures can reach 30°C/86°F, so try to plan your activities accordingly. For example, book any walking tours during the morning or evening when you won’t be as exposed to the sun. You can also plan to have lunch at a waterfront establishment or beach club with umbrellas. This way, you can sit in the shade and take a dip in the water to cool off between courses.

Thirdly, respect the local customs and traditions, and adhere to any guidelines or restrictions in place. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, for example by covering your shoulders and thighs. You should also wear a mask in crowded indoor areas if there are signs directing you to do so.

By being mindful of your surroundings and following these safety tips, you can ensure a memorable and worry-free visit to Dubrovnik.

If you require emergency assistance in Dubrovnik, dial 112 to contact emergency services.


Dubrovnik truly lives up to its reputation as the Pearl of the Adriatic. With its fascinating history, breathtaking architecture, and stunning natural beauty, this city offers a magical experience. Whether you’re exploring the ancient city walls, discovering hidden gems, or indulging in outdoor adventures, Dubrovnik will leave an indelible mark on your heart.

CTA: Start planning your visit to Dubrovnik today and uncover the magic of the Adriatic jewel. Head to Skyscanner to find flights, book your tickets, find the perfect accommodation, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top