Over the last few years, Croatia has quickly become a hotspot destination for Hollywood’s elite. Beyonce and Jay-Z have visited several times and most recently spent time bouncing around the north to the south on a yacht this summer. Meanwhile, David and Victoria Beckham rented a villa on one of the Elaphiti Islands, which are just off the coast of Dubrovnik. Game of Thrones is a big reason many book tickets to the southern Croatian city to see King’s Landing in person, but once there, visitors quickly realize there is so much more to this charming and picturesque place.
The juxtaposition of teal water against white rock is simply breathtaking to see firsthand and is a large part as to why Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. That and the Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture scattered throughout. Inside the walls of Old Town, you will find yourself wandering the car-free and spotless cobblestone streets for hours on end until it’s time to settle into a delicious restaurant for seafood and local wine.
With other places to explore like Hvar and Split in the north or even heading a couple hours south to Montenegro, where Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shot part of its 2022 issue, 72 hours in Dubrovnik is the perfect amount of time to see the sights but also get in some swim time. Keep scrolling for our guide on where to stay and what to do.
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Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
This Airbnb is set within the Old Town walls and is central to all. The two-bedroom, two-bath apartment has three levels and views of Mount Srd. If you can’t manage rolling your suitcases from the city gate’s, porters can be scheduled to assist since the stairs and cobblestone are not for the faint of heart.
Under a 10-minute walk to the Ploče Gate, the Hotel Excelsior is a five-star hotel that is beach front with views of the medieval fortress walls and port. The rooms are spacious and luxury can be found in every corner.
Situated on the other side of Old Town from the Excelsior, the Hotel Bellevue, which was refurbished in 2019, can be found above the beach of the same name. It is also one of the most beautiful spots in Dubrovnik. The glass elevator looking out at the sea is reason enough to visit, but the rooms are also sleek with the most incredible sheets and bed.
Where to Eat in Dubrovnik:
For a truly authentic experience, drive 10 minutes from Old Town up the Srd Hill to this local jaunt. The a la carte menu has plenty to offer, but I recommend pre-ordering the peka, which is a special way of roasting the meat or seafood along with potatoes and vegetables for several hours.
This restaurant is quintessentially ‘The Best of What’s Around’ in the Vrbova Bay on the island of Šipan. Great for a lunch in between boating around the Elafiti Islands, enjoy the fresh seafood and lobster pasta. Take a dip in the water in between meals and lounge on their beach chairs for a post-meal nap.
At the top of the Jesuit Stairs, Kopun is a traditional restaurant blending influences from Italy, Austria, Turkey and Hungary, which really make up Croatian cuisine. The specialty is the rooster and did not disappoint.
Great for either a post-hike lunch or sunset dinner, Panorama’s name explains it all. A cable car ride up, the views from here are unparalleled of Dubrovnik and Lapad Bay below. Very instagrammable but also quite enjoyable IRL.
Right off the main street Stradun, Proto has welcomed the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Mariska Hargitay, who was just there in July. The oysters au gratin and the fettuccine with shrimp and black truffles are must orders at dinner. And even though this is a seafood spot, the lamb chops need to be considered too.
[Editor’s note: Wherever you are, make sure to try an after-dinner liqueur like Rakija (think Grappa) or Visnja (cherry-flavored and my go-to!)
Where to Grab a Drink in Dubrovnik:
Buža, which translates to a hole-in-the-wall in English, is exactly that but with an incomparable view of the sea and Lokrum. There are two locations in the Old Town – the original which just offers beer and wine and the newer spot that has a full bar. Just follow the sign Cold Drinks with the Most Beautiful View and you have arrived. If you are daring enough, climb the rocks and watch cliff divers as you sip your cocktails.
D’Vino Wine Bar has over 60 wines by the glass, so there is something for everyone. Wine tastings are done all day, so you can walk in or reserve ahead of time with one of their experts.
It’s not every day that you can party in a 500-year-old medieval fortress. Revelin comes alive at night with world renowned deejays and top-notch cocktails. The club is where modern meets history.
The Best Beaches in Dubrovnik:
Banje Beach is a great spot for a dip and just a short walk from Old Town. The music and vibe will help you unwind and relax before or after more exploring. And the cocktails are a great refreshment!
Directly in front of Dubrovnik is Lokrum Island. A short ferry ride or boat ride, this uninhabitable island has a beach among its greenery. Spend a half-day or full day there and enjoy the views of Dubrovnik.
Even if you are not staying at the Hotel Bellevue, you can still visit the public beach. You can spend hours in the crystal clear water or park yourself on the pebbly beach.
Sunj Beach on the island of Lopud is a rarity in the area thanks to its sand. A short boat ride from Dubrovnik, this spot is special and is a wonderful place to soak in the sun and splash in its shallow water.
What to Do in Dubrvnik:
It is recommended to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat. The 1.2 mile walk goes around the perimeter of Old Town and consists of the main city wall, 16 towers, three fortresses, six bastions, two corner fortifications, three bulwarks with rows of turrets, three moats, two flank fortresses, one breakwater and two drawbridges.
Hiking up Mount Srd or taking the cable car will deliver the same result – an undeniably gorgeous view of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area. The hike will take about 45 minutes where the cable car is much shorter and requires far less exertion (your choice!).
In order to get the most out of your stay, a full boat day is recommended to island hop, whether that be to the Elaphiti Islands or elsewhere. Dubrovnik Boat Adventure will help curate an unforgettable day on one of their available fleet.
There is so much history in Dubrovnik, so to really understand it all, a short walking tour will be beneficial. It won’t take up the whole day, so go in the morning or late afternoon after some R&R.