View of the sea in front of Dubrovnik City Walls with hills in the background on a clear day

From Hiking to Water Sports: Enjoying Outdoor Activities in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik offers a wealth of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts. From hiking through breathtaking landscapes to engaging in thrilling water sports, the historic city, located right on the southern tip of Croatia‘s coastline, is a paradise for nature lovers. Its diverse range of offerings include hiking, quad biking and water sports, catering to all levels of fitness and interests.

Read on for information such as where to go to enjoy the top outdoor activities in Dubrovnik, details on the activities themselves, as well as booking tours and safety considerations.

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Best locations for outdoor activities in and around Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik offers a number of outdoor activities. The most popular are hiking up to Mount Srđ, relaxing on the beaches, and enjoying water activities along the coast of the city.

However, while Dubrovnik itself offers a plethora of outdoor activities, the wider region really shines when it comes to outdoor offerings. Firstly, the countryside surrounding the city offers opportunities for hiking, biking, quad biking and exploring the numerous vineyards.

Secondly, the nearby city of Cavtat is also great for its beaches. They’re usually less crowded than the beaches in Dubrovnik, and can be a better option for families. Cavtat is reachable within thirty minutes by road or ferry, and has all the necessary amenities, including bars, restaurants and shops.

Thirdly, Lokrum, with its lush vegetation and tranquil beaches, is a popular choice for hiking and swimming enthusiasts. It’s located just fifteen minutes from Dubrovnik, and is also a popular spot for Game of Thrones fans (as well as being a filming location, it’s now home to the original Iron Throne).

Additionally, the Elaphiti Islands, located just a short boat ride away, offer opportunities for sailing, snorkelling, and kayaking. The island archipelago consists of three main islands, Koločep, Šipan and Lopud, as well as several smaller islets. The islands are great for hiking and water activities, although they can get very busy during peak tourist season (June to August).

Finally, Mljet Island, home to Mljet National Park, is known for its stunning lakes and hiking trails, and is a must-visit for nature lovers. You can find out more information about Mljet National Park in our article From Plitvice to Krka: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Croatia’s Breathtaking National Parks.

Hiking in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik boasts a plethora of hiking trails that showcase the region’s natural beauty. From challenging mountainous terrains to gentle coastal paths, there are options for hikers of all abilities.

One popular route is the Mount Srđ trail, which takes around an hour to hike to the top for people who have reasonable levels of fitness. Once at the top you can enjoy panoramic views of the Old Town and the Elaphiti islands, and visit the Imperial Fort, which is home to the Homeland War Museum. If you aren’t too bothered about visiting the museum, we recommend an evening hike up Mount Srđ so you can enjoy the sunset.

It’s also important not to overestimate your abilities. Although the hike isn’t too challenging, you should make sure you bring water to stay hydrated, and avoid hiking in the middle of the day during summer when temperatures can reach 30°C. A popular option is to take the cable car up the mountain, and then hike down.

For a more leisurely hike, Lokrum Island is ideal, providing a picturesque escape just a short boat ride away. The island doesn’t have any roads, so walking is really one of the only options to explore the island, along with cycling. It takes around four to five hours to cover the whole island, although you may choose to just explore the areas around the restaurants and main attractions.

Mljet Island also has some great hiking trails, one of which is 43km. Don’t worry about hiking the whole thing- it’s split up into much more accessible short routes. You can check out some of the routes, including maps, here.

Cycling and horse riding in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik’s scenic landscapes are perfect for cycling and horse riding enthusiasts. The city offers well-maintained cycling paths, allowing visitors to explore its charming streets and historic landmarks on two wheels. The locations mentioned above in the hiking section are all suitable for cycling; you can rent bikes from BikesBooking. As well as bicycles, the platform also offers motorbike, scooter and quadbike hire.

For a more immersive experience, venture beyond the city limits and explore the picturesque countryside on horseback. The rolling hills and stunning coastal views create an unforgettable backdrop for an equestrian adventure. This Kojan Koral: Horseback Riding tour is suitable for beginners, and explores the Konavle Valley coastline.

Quad biking in Dubrovnik

If you’re seeking an adrenaline-fueled adventure, quad biking in Dubrovnik is a must-try activity. Hop on an all-terrain vehicle and venture into the rugged landscapes surrounding the city. Feel the thrill as you navigate through winding trails, conquer steep hills, and splash through muddy puddles.

We recommend taking a guided tour if it’s your first time quad biking or your first time visiting Dubrovnik (or both). This way, you’ll have an experienced guide who can help you with the vehicle and also show you all the best spots. Consider the following:

Rock climbing and ziplining in Dubrovnik

For those with a head for heights, Dubrovnik offers exhilarating rock climbing and ziplining experiences. These activities are not only physically challenging but also provide a unique perspective of Dubrovnik’s stunning landscapes.

This Rock Climbing Lesson in Dubrovnik offers the chance for both beginners and experienced climbers to enjoy rock climbing. The limestone rock is located just fifteen minutes outside the city, and you’ll be guided by experienced instructors.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, strap into a harness and zip through the air on one of the city’s thrilling ziplines. This Panorama Zipline Tour from the top of Mount Srđ gives you two rides on the zipline and spectacular views of the city and the Adriatic. You might also be interested in this Sunset Zip Line Experience Followed by Wine.

Exploring Dubrovnik’s wineries

A excellent way to experience Croatian culture while also enjoying the outdoors is to go on a winery tour. Tours are available in various locations, including the countryside around the city and the Pelješac Peninsula, where you can visit the saltworks in Ston as well as the vineyards.

As well as touring the vineyards, you’ll usually be given a selection of meats, cheeses and olives to eat while you sample the wine. Depending on the tour provider, you may also get to sample locally made brandy and liqueurs, and local sweets.

Consider the following winery tours from Dubrovnik:

Water activities in Dubrovnik

Kayaking in Dubrovnik
Kayaking in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik’s crystal-clear waters are an invitation to indulge in a variety of water activities. While boat tours run year-round, we recommend visiting Dubrovnik during summer to take full advantage of the activities on offer.

From May to September is when the water is generally warm enough to swim in, although June to August are busiest. If possible, visit in the latter half of May, or in September. The city won’t be as crowded, and there won’t be as many people on the islands and the beaches.

We recommend using Get Your Guide to book boat excursions and water activities. They offer a huge number of options, catering to all budgets. Check out their selection of water activities here, and their cruises and boat tours here.

Sailing and swimming

Dubrovnik is an excellent location for sailing enthusiasts, and island hopping is a popular summer activity. You can book day tours of Mljet, the Elaphiti Islands, Blue Cave and day trips to Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor.

Alternatively, you can rent a boat and sail independently, allowing you to spend as much time as you like in any given location. SEARADAR offers yacht rentals for extended periods of time and is definitely worth checking out.

With regards to swimming, Dubrovnik’s coastal location makes it an easy pick for anyone interested in a beach getaway. You can swim at beaches along the coast, as well as on the islands (Lokrum, the Elaphiti Islands and Mljet, where you can also swim in the lakes). Additionally, almost all boat tours in and around Dubrovnik include opportunities for swimming.

Snorkelling and scuba diving

Dubrovnik’s abundance of marine life and hidden caves make snorkelling and scuba diving popular options for exploring. Many boat tours include the use of snorkelling equipment, although you’ll need a permit for scuba diving. The best snorkelling spots are the Blue Cave, Betina Cave and the Elaphiti Islands.

Kayaking and paddleboarding

For a more active water adventure, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular choices in Dubrovnik. You can choose a guided tour or venture out on your own. Guided tour options are good for exploring hidden coves and caves, and options include sunset and night-time tours (and sometimes they even include snacks).

Cliff jumping

Dubrovnik’s rugged coastline offers the perfect backdrop for adrenaline junkies seeking an exhilarating experience. While this activity is not for the faint-hearted, the thrill and sense of accomplishment make it a memorable adventure.

A great spot for cliff jumping in Dubrovnik without leaving the city is Buža Bar. Located in the side of a cliff just outside the Old Town, you can jump from heights of up to twenty metres.

If you’re happy to travel by boat, one of the best places for cliff jumping is Lokrum island. The island has a number of great locations, as much of the south side is composed of rocky cliffs.

Betina Cave Beach is also good for cliff jumping. It’s only accessible by sea, so we recommend booking a tour. This Lokrum Island & Betina cave swimming adventure is a good option for exploring diving spots on Lokrum and Betina cave on the same day.

Booking tours and activities in Dubrovnik

To make the most of your outdoor activities in Dubrovnik, we recommend the following:

  • Check the reviews of tour operators to ensure a reliable and enjoyable experience.
  • Consider the duration, difficulty level, and included amenities when selecting your tours or activities.
  • Book well in advance, especially during peak tourist season (June to August) to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.
  • Consider the time of year you’re planning your trip. Swimming and cliff jumping aren’t going to be enjoyable in January when the water is freezing cold!

With proper planning, you can effortlessly organise your outdoor adventures and create lasting memories in Dubrovnik. For more information on planning a trip to Dubrovnik, check out our article Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Trip to Dubrovnik.

Safety considerations for outdoor activities in Dubrovnik

While outdoor activities in Dubrovnik offer incredible experiences, it’s crucial to prioritise safety. Consider the following points:

  • Always follow the instructions of guides and instructors, especially during adventurous activities like rock climbing and quad biking.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear and clothing, for example, a helmet if cycling or horse riding. If engaging in water activities outside peak season (May to September) we advise wearing a wetsuit.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated throughout your outdoor adventures. If hiking, biking and engaging in water activities in remote areas, make sure you bring plenty of water, as well as snacks for energy.
  • Remember to wear sunscreen. Croatia experiences a Mediterranean climate, and you risk serious sunburn if you don’t top up every few hours during July and August.
  • Familiarise yourself with local regulations and guidelines for water activities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Before attempting cliff jumping, ensure you have proper guidance and adhere to safety measures.

By taking necessary precautions and being mindful of your surroundings, you can fully embrace the thrill of outdoor activities in Dubrovnik while staying safe.

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

Final thoughts on outdoor activities in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, with its stunning landscapes and azure waters, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. No matter your preferences, this historic city offers a diverse range of activities to suit all interests and fitness levels.

From the tranquillity of sailing to the heart-pounding thrill of cliff jumping, there’s no shortage of options for enjoying the outdoors in Dubrovnik and its wider region.

CTA: Start planning your outdoor adventures in Dubrovnik- head to Kiwi for flight deals and let us know in the comments which activities feature on your bucket list!

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