how to spend 24h in dubrovnik
If you are reading this post you are probably planning a short one day trip to the coastal city of Dubrovnik. This medieval city is no secret on the Adriatic Coast, it became even more famous after it was used for filming the Game of Thrones series. It is definitely a must visit place in Croatia, whether you choose to spend a few day there or just do a day trip you won’t regret it. This city is absolutely breath taking and worth the visit.
If you are just planning a one day trip, you are in luck since you can visit most of the sights in one day.
This travel guide covers the essential information for how to plan your visit to the ancient walled city – the best things to do, where to eat and drink, and top tips for maximizing your 24 hours in Dubrovnik.
How to get to Dubrovnik:
Since it’s one of the most popular destinations in Croatia it’s very well connected. You have multiple options to get there. Plane is one option, the airport is just 20-30 min drive from the Old Town, and there are many low budget companies flying to Dubrovnik. Second option is driving, if you are somewhere nearby for example in Montenegro or in Zagreb you can easily drive to Dubrovnik, the roads are great and very scenic so it’s absolutely worth it. Third option is stopping with a cruise, during summer months there are a lot of cruise ships that make a stop in Dubrovnik. And the last option if you are in another coastal city in Croatia is taking the ferry to Dubrovnik.
Best time to visit:
Peak season is July and August. If you would like a less crowded Dubrovnik my suggestion would be to visit in April/May. I went this May in Dubrovnik and it was fantastic, the weather was perfect and there were very little people.
Where to stay:
It is suggested to stay 2-3 days in Dubrovnik to fully experience its beauty and see all the highlights it has to offer. My advice would be to book accommodation in the old town or near the old town to fully experience Dubrovnik, however if you are traveling with a car this might be a problem since most apartments/hotels do not have parking and finding parking in Dubrovnik is hard and expensive especially around the old town.
Things to do in one day in Dubrovnik
There are so many things to do in the city, so if you only have one day in Dubrovnik your itinerary will be packed. Fortunately all of the major sights are within close proximity of each other, so you’ll be able to fit everything in a day. Tip: wear comfortable shoes since there will be a lot of walking.
Walk the city walls
For a bird eye’s perspective over Dubrovnik, the city walls are the spot. Tickets are required to be purchased, the price is 250KN (around 33 EUR). It takes around one to two hours to walk the whole circle.
Check out Game of Thrones filming location (if you are a fan of the show)
Dubrovnik became even more popular after it was used as a location of HBO’s series Game of Thrones. There are multiple locations around Dubrovnik where scenes from GoT were filmed, they even have special tours that take you to the exact filming locations.
The locations are: Lovrijenac Fort, Dubrovnik West Pier, Pile Harbour, Pile Gate, Dubrovnik West Harbour, Fort Bokar, Minčeta Tower, Jesuit Staircase, The Rector’s Palace, Ploce Gate, and Lokrum Island.
Even if GoT means nothing to you (like me) these places are still beautiful to see so, don’t skip on them.
Explore old town
A must do in Dubrovnik. There are two gates to enter the Old Town which are: Pile and Ploce Gate. The Stradun is the largest street in Old Town connecting Pile Gate to the waterfront. There are also a handful of churches and monasteries in Old Town worth visiting. You can also visit some of the museums such as Rectors Palce…And don’t forget to wander the streets, get lost in town, and soak in the views. Grab a bite to eat or have a coffee in Old Town before continuing on.
Eat some fresh fish and seafood
Nothing better than eating fish and sea food fresh from the sea. Dubrovnik has some amazing restaurants to offer from fine dining and Michelin star restaurants, to traditional Croatian restaurants to cheap eats. Here are my recommendations:
Nautica- if you are a fan of fine dinning
Gradska Kavana Arsenal- great food and stunning view over the port
Trattoria Carmen- Croatian cuisine with an Italian twist
Bistro Tavulin- A Michelin recommended restaurant for some delicious dishes.
Barba- great seafood cheap eat
Where to go from Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a great starting point to discover the Adriatic Coast and the countries in that region there are many places you can visit, some of my suggestions are:
Arboretum Trsteno- 25 min drive from Dubrovnik is the oldest arboretum in this part of the world dating back from the 15th century. It was established by the local noble family Gucetic-Gozzo that requested sailors to bring seed from their world travels. The arboretum has a variety of plants deriving from different part of the world and it’s absolutely beautiful. The ticket is 10 EUR per person.
Korčula Island- is 2h ferry from Dubrovnik (it’s only a passengers ferry tho), if you are traveling with a car you would have to take the ferry from Orebič, which is a 2h drive from Dubrovnik and then a short 15 min ferry to Korčula. The island of Korčula is worth the visit and has so much to offer, I have a whole blog post about visiting Korčula Island that you can see here.
Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina- 2h up north is the beautiful city of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. A city home to the famous Stari Most. Another gem of the Balkan that should be on your travel list. In the spring I visited Mostar and wrote a blog post for it, that you can see here.
Montenegro- if you drive down south you can visit the neighboring country Montenegro. Here you can visit the UNESCO Heritage of Kotor, the beautiful Budva and luxurious Sveti Stefan island. You can check out my travel guides for Montenegro here.