What To Do In Dubrovnik In A Day
You've probably heard of some of the top things to do in Dubrovnik like visiting the Old Town , climbing the wall, and checking out some Game Of Thrones filming locations in the area. If you're short on time and want to know how to spend one day in Dubrovnik, here's the perfect itinerary to help you plan your visit.
The Perfect Way To Spend One Day In Dubrovnik
With only 24 hours in Dubrovnik, you have to make sure to hit all of the highlights, so here is the quick list for reference:
Things To Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Stradun (Placa) Street
- Dubrovnik Cathedral
- St. Blasius Church
- Sponza Palace
- Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola-
- Jesuit Staircase -Baroque staircase leads to the Poljana Ruđera Boškovića - Plane Square
- Fortress Lovrijenac
- Onofrio's Fountains
- City Walls
- Old Port Dubrovnik
- Cable car ride to Srd Hill
- Pile Gate (West Gate)
- Gundulić Square Market
- Buža cafe
- Banje Beach
We'll also give you our recommendations for where to stay later in this article, but here is a good place to start for great accommodations.
Dubrovnik Itinerary For One Day
So, now that you know the top Dubrovnik things to do, it's a matter of how to organize your visit. That's where we come in with our personal experience. Our 24 hours of visiting Dubrovnik went absolutely swimmingly and we want to share it with you!
Just a little bit of a side note: If you follow our blog, you'll notice this trip was without Rob! That's right! I (Taiss) went on a solo trip for this one. Well, it was more like a girls trip, actually, since it was my friend and I. Luckily, she was born in Montenegro and now lives in one of the best cities in Serbia, so she knows the language. If you don't speak Croatian, though, it's not a problem at all.
More on that and other useful travel tips later.
Our day started in Kotor, Montenegro. We had been visiting Kotor for a few days and decided to take the bus over to Croatia for a day before coming back to Montenegro and spending a day in Tivat.
Our bus from Kotor was a bit delayed in taking off but at around 10:30 A.M we finally started the drive up. The bus ride itself was an amazing experience. We were taken on a picturesque tour on the bus as it hugged the road at every bend around the Bay of Kotor.
Insider tip: If you are taking the bus from Kotor to Dubrovnik, sit on the left side of the bus to catch all the views along the way.
Our bus ride took approximately 3 hours (we had packed a couple of sandwiches and snacks for the road trip), including a 20 minute long stop at the border to get all passengers through.
What To Do Upon ArrivaL in Dubrovnik - 1:30 P.M.-9 P.M.
We took a taxi from the Dubrovnik bus station to our Airbnb apartment, which cost around 15 Euros and took around 15 minutes.
Our apartment was in a great location just up the hill from Pile Gate and the entrance to Dubrovnik Old Town. It took us a couple of minutes to hop down the stairs and we were at the bridge looking over the Old Port.
After taking some photos and stopping to take in the gorgeous waterfront and Old Port, we proceeded to enter through the West Gate.
The first impressions here are pretty unreal. It really feels like you are walking into a movie set. No wonder so many of the spots are where the "Game of Thrones" scenes were shot on location!
Once we finally made our way into the Old Town were were on Stradun street. This pedestrian promenade is the main path for a straight shot through the town to the other side. It's also where you'll find most of the cafes and restaurants.
Do you recognize this from a scene in the Star Wars Movie? Well, if you've seen the movie (The Last Jedi), you'd know this as one of the filming locations! In fact, a few movies have been filmed on location here and there are all sorts of great tours in Dubrovnik that will take you to the famous spots!
Of course, during our 24 hours in Dubrovnik, we did manage to wander to some of the side alleys which were quite charming. It's also a good idea to get away from the crowds, especially if you are visiting during the high season summer months.
St. Blasius Church
The first of our sightseeing was 18th century baroque style Church of St. Blaise. This church is dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Blaise, and is one of the top sights when visiting Dubrovnik.
We visited the nearby Dubrovnik Cathedral, though for some tourists this might be the first sightseeing spot.
Also known as Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, this 17th century Roman Catholic Cathedral contains some amazing treasures and "reliquaries" that are a must see. It is fascinating to note that this church was originally financed by Richard The Lion Heart as a show of gratitude to the citizens who helped him after being shipwrecked there.
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola & Jesuit Staircase
I'm sure that Game of Thrones fans will recognize the Jesuit Staircase from the season 5 “Walk of Shame” scene. Since I have never watched that show, I just know it as the magnificent Baroque staircase that takes you up to Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola and provides amazing views of the Stradun down below.
I made sure to take my time walking up these stairs and turning back to see the view from each level!
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola is right at the top and well worth a walk-through. A fun fact about this church is that it houses the oldest bell in Dubrovnik, dating back to 1355!
The fountain with sixteen sides is one of two final construction at the end of the complex aquaduct system that was started in 1436. It is said that system is perfectly laid out as the penalty for any drop of water wasted going through it was less payment for the construction.
Dubrovnik City Walls
You just CANNOT visit Dubrovnik and walk the walls!
We decided to walk the city walls while it was still warm and sunny out, but also, we wanted to make sure we did this as soon as possible so that we would not miss it if we ran short on time the following day.
It took us about an hour and half to walk the entirety of the Old Town Walls. The duration included a short break to drink some orange juice at a bar along the way.
We could sit there forever!
Location: Caffe On The Wall
Not only were we in need of some hydration, but we were unable to pass up on the opportunity to sit down and take in the panoramic views of the sea. It was a remarkable experience having the glass of cold, freshly squeezed, orange juice with the shimmering blue waters of the Adriatic Sea stretching as far as the eye could see in front of us. Surely something that is not to be forgotten!
Alternatively, Buža Cafe, is also another hotspot for views. You might even want to go for sunset, if the crowds don't get there first!
Dinner & Desert In Old Town Dubrovnik - 3 P.M to 5 P.M.
We worked up an appetite walking the historic city walls so our next stop on the itinerary was a much needed seafood dinner. I mean, you have to have seafood when you are in a town so close to the sea!
For dessert we headed to Poppin for some delightful gelato!
Cable Car Ride To Srd Hill - 5 P.M to 7 P.M
The day was finished off with a bang by riding the cable car up to watch the sunset. It's not a budget sightseeing option, but the 20 Euros it cost to get up Srd Hill was well worth it for me, personally.
I'm not sure how much a taxi ride would cost to get up the hill, but during the busy season it might be a good option if the lines for the cable car are too extreme (you can get your ticket in advance as well). You can also hike up the trail if you prefer.
The cable car ride is short. If you're thinking that the ride itself will give you great views, you might be disappointed as the car gets pretty full and it may be hard to look outside.
However, the views of the Old Town and the sea are absolutely breathtaking at the top of Srd Hill.
Our timing was perfect since it gave us a chance to explore the different areas on the hill and we were able to pick our favorite spot to sit and watch the sunset!
Evening Stroll & Drinks - 7 P.M. to 9 P.M.
We came down as it was getting dark and city lights had turned on so it was nice that I got lucky with a place near the windows of the cable car to see it all!
Still basking in the exhilaration of the scenery we had just witnessed, we took our time strolling through the west corner of the Old City before finding a spot for a night cap.
The rest of the evening consisted of a couple of drinks and recapping our first few hours in Dubrovnik as well as some people watching on the Stradun.
What To Do Before Leaving Dubrovnik - 8 A.M to 3 P.M.
We started our morning with a hearty breakfast in Old Town, followed by more sightseeing before having to catch our bus out of Dubrovnik in the afternoon.
Our visit to Sponza Palace was sort of an accidental one. We had not previously researched it as one of our bucketlist items for the visit, but were sure glad for wandering in with curiosity.
This Gothic-Renaissanc Palace is one of the most beautiful structures in Dubrovnik!
Good things it was not damaged in the earthquak and is well-preserved! This was the location of the mint, bank, and the armory in the mid-sixteenth century.
Before we were side-tracked by Sponza Palace we were headed to Fort Lovrijenac. So, we continued our pursuit by walking through and out of the Old City towards the West Harbour.
Again we were side tracked with so much natural beauty. To be honest, we were looking for the stairs up to the fort when we found the Dubrovnik West Harbor (featured in Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 1). The water here was glimmering and we could not resist taking a moment for some photos.
I can imagine this spot being super busy with swimmers in the warm summer days. Fortunately, we were visiting in April so there were no crowds, even though it was unfortunate we could not go for a quick swim (plus, the water was pretty cold!)
We eventually found the way up to Fort Lovrijenac and paid the 50 Kuna to enter (about $3USD each person). It was great to explore the interior and catch some amazing views of the old city and the walls from a different perspective.
I'm sure that this beach gets lots of action when the summer hits. The location gives any sun-bather a perfect view of the Eastern walls of the old city, making it a unique spot to hang out at.
For us, Banje Beach provided a nice break after walking around for a few hours. Remembering our last orange juice experience from the day before on the wall, we decided to order a couple more at the beach bar.
Again, with not a load of tourists around, we were really able to get some relaxation time in at this beach. With the warm sun beaming down, it would have been another great place to go for a dip, even though the water temperature was a bit nippy.
On our way to grabbing our bags from the apartment, we grabbed a couple of calzones from a bakery (Babić Bakery) for lunch. They were not only really yummy, but great for anyone who may be on a budget!
The End Of Our 24 Hours Of Sightseeing In Dubrovnik
There were a few taxis near Pile Gate, so we decided to just grab one back to the bus station after checkin gout of our Airbnb around 3pm. The taxi ride back cost about 13€ Euro (100 Kuna).
You can also do a day trip to Montenegro if you are staying Dubrovnik.
Our bus stopped at Kotor first and we had to change to a different bus. I'm not sure if this is always the case or if it depends on the one you happen to catch. In any case, we arrived in Tivat after about 2.5 hours including 15 minute border stop, so it wasn't that bad.
I'm sure we could have found a ton more to do in Dubrovnik if we had stayed a few more days. For instance, a day out on a boat would have been pretty amazing. Moreover, it would have been lovely to get on the Island of Lokrum for a day trip. Those, and more, fun activities will have to wait until our next visit. Hopefully, we will make it there together next time!
BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBROVNIK
April and May are probably the best times to consider going to Dubrovnik. As you can see from our article above, there are so many incredible activities and sights here that tourists flock to during the summer.
Having said that, you might want to avoid visiting in July and August if you can help it. With schools being our and warm summer days ahead, Europeans love do weekend getaways here. Additionally, Americans have been introduced to Dubrovnik through Blockbuster movies, so they are also heading here for summer vacation.
If you visit in April, like we did, it might still be a little chilly on some days. I found that a long sleeved shirt and leggings were the perfect attire, but a t-shirt and light jacket will work as well for this time of year. If you want to be able to swim, May might be the sweet spot.
Visiting Dubrovnik in September may be great for the same reasons as in May, so that is also another month to consider.
Travel Tips &Things To Know Before Your Visit
- A rolling backpack or duffel bag are perfect of this kind of trip. You'll be able to back everything you need for the day, even a couple of days in Montenegro. You will be able to have it on wheels for most areas but it is great to have straps to put it on your back for any stairs you come across!
- Star Wars and Game of Thrones both use Dubrovnik for some of their scenes, so there are a lot of tours available for those superfans. But this also means that it has become of the most visited cities in the last few years, so don't be surprised if their are loads of other tourists around you.
- Because Old Town is so popular, the prices for everything here are going to be quite abnormally high. If you have more than one day in the city, you can save some money by eating and shopping a few minutes outside this popular area.
- Wear comfortable shoes when walking the walls and in the old city. There's a lot of walking involved!
- As we mentioned before, do venture out from the main street to discover more of the gorgeous Renaissance and Baroque architecture. It might require a bit more energy, but you'll appreciate the charm and quiet of the inner alleys.
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Where To Stay In Dubrovnik
Our number one choice for accommodations is usually Airbnb because it gives us a more authentic experience that hotels usually do. You can use this coupon to get a discount if it is your first time using Airbnb.
If you prefer hotels, we suggest searching Booking as this is where we always get the best deals. Here are some hotels we would recommend:
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!