Dubrovnik Croatia – 4 day Itinerary
Dubrovnik, Croatia has certainly become a more prominent tourist destination ever since Game of Thrones debuted in 2011. But with it’s terracotta roofs overlooking turquoise blue waters, enchanting islands that dot the Mediterranean coastline, and rich history, Dubrovnik Croatia is so much more than an HBO drama film-set.
My husband and I visited Croatia in the month of June. We took a bus down the coast from Split to Dubrovnik. And it was hands down the most beautiful 3-hour bus ride I have ever experienced. We then spent 4 days exploring the cobblestone streets of Dubrovnik and its surrounding islands. Here’s a quick rundown of things to do and the best way to spend 4 days in Dubrovnik.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik Croatia
I highly recommend staying OUTSIDE the Old Town walls. You will save a lot of money by doing so. And, if you are capable of walking up some stairs, then I particularly would advise you to stay up on the hill that overlooks Old Town Dubrovnik. We stayed at a Bed-n-Breakfast on UI Ante Topica Mimare street. The view was phenomenal. You can find many affordable apartments in this area on Hotels.com or VRBO.com. We did walk up 225 steps to get home each night, but you definitely can just take a taxi to save your legs. I honestly preferred the exercise after a long day of indulging in Croatian wine and cuisine.
Day 1 – Explore Old Town Dubrovnik
Let me preface this with a warning. Old Town Dubrovnik is crowded. It’s crowded in high season and it’s crowded in low season. But don’t let that deter you from exploring one of the world’s finest UNESCO World Heritage sites and its perfectly preserved medieval walls. Below are several things to do inside Old Town.
Walk the Walls
The city of Dubrovnik is entirely surrounded by stone defensive walls and forts. Over the years, the walls have been preserved and restored. And having never been breached by a hostile army, the walls are considered to be among the most effective fortification systems in history. It takes anywhere from 1-2 hours to walk the entire length (1.2 miles) of the encircling wall. That, of course, includes stopping to take loads of pictures. You can enter the wall at Pile Gate. Click here for ticket prices and hours of operation.
Explore the Side Streets
Get away from the crowds that congregate in Old Town’s city center (Main street), and venture out, up through the hundreds of cobblestone side streets weaving throughout the medieval town. Restaurants and small shops fill the narrow streets, and lanterns and bougainvilleas adorn the walls.
Visit Fort Lovrijenac
If you purchase a ticket to walk the wall, entry to the Lovrijenac Fort will most likely be included in your ticket purchase. Not only does the Fort have a stunning view of the Old Town’s outer wall but it was also Game of Throne’s filming site for the tournament on King Joffrey’s name day. A must for any GOT fan.
Have Lunch at Lady PiPi
If you like meat, fish and cheese, I can highly recommend going to lunch at Lady PiPi in Old Town. A local recommended the restaurant to us. It was off the beaten path, and not only did it have awesome food, but the view was lovely as well.
Cliff Dive at Buza Bar!
Or, if you’re like me, just sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy watching the other crazy folks cliff diving. We got lost exploring the side streets in Old Town and stumbled upon Buza Bar where the people were cliff diving. It’s located on the outer city wall and overlooks the Adriatic Sea. Order a drink and some food (yes, it’s a restaurant too) and enjoy the entertainment! See our Youtube video below for a taste of the excitement.
Do a Walking Tour
Old Town Dubrovnik offers a huge variety of walking tours. There are Game of Thrones walking tours, history of Dubrovnik tours, tours discussing the architecture and so many more! Here’s a link to a few of the many tours offered in Old Town Dubrovnik.
Day 2 -Ferry to Mljet Island
Take a break from crowded streets in Dubrovnik and consider a day trip to Mljet! From Dubrovnik there is a regular passenger ferry with several departure times throughout the day, that takes you over to Mljet Island. On the island is Mljet National Park that contains two large saltwater lakes. We rented bikes and spent the day exploring the island, swimming in the lakes, and hiking the many hidden trails that took us to fun views like the one below.
Day 3 – Ride the Cable Car & then Hit the Beach
Dubrovnik Cable Car – take the gondola to the top of the hill for an aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea. There’s a restaurant and gift shop up at the top. We went in the middle of the day and the line for the ride was not long. But I imagine if you go in the evening for a sunset view, that would be quite lovely as well. Tickets go for 170kn per person round trip.
Beaches – there aren’t many sandy beaches on the Croatian Coastline. You will mostly find rocky beaches but the water is so clear and perfect for swimming. There are a few beaches in Dubrovnik and tons along the Croatian Coastline. The picture below is on Brela Beach (about 2 hours north of Dubrovnik – we stopped here on the bus ride down from Split).
Day 4 – Ferry to One or ALL of the Elaphiti Islands
You’d be hard pressed to try and squeeze in all 3 of the Elaphiti Islands by ferry in one day. Ferry is the cheapest option, but you can also visit with a private taxi boat or organized island cruise that also departs daily from Dubrovnik. Either way, I highly recommend taking a day trip to at least one of the Elaphiti Islands. Kolecep is a car-less island. We rented bikes and explored the trail that winded between the two villages on the island. Lopud (also a car-free island) is the most popular of the 3 islands, and is well-known for its long sandy beach frequented by locals. And last, is Sipan, the largest of the 3 islands. There’s a bus that circulates between the small villages on the island. The island has many restaurants, bars and hotels.
To sum up, it will be hard to squeeze “all the things” into 4 short days in Dubrovnik. I certainly plan to go back to Croatia because there is so much left for us to explore. Have you visited the Dalmatian Coast? What did we miss?
Happy and Safe travels,