City Guide: Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik dazzles with breath-taking scenery and crystal clear water set in a medieval Mediterranean fantasy-land. It ticks all the right boxes for wine lovers, beach loungers and history buffs alike.

George Bernard Shaw was enchanted by this beautiful city. He said, “those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik … the pearl of the Adriatic”. It really is a stunning city with an amazing Old Town, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

Dubrovnik Old City

I recently visited Dubrovnik for a relaxing four days. My mornings were spent relaxing at the hotel pool and cooling off with a refreshing dip into the sea. In the evening, I strolled into the Old Town when the heat was less intense and the cruise footfall had receded. It’s probably the ideal time for sightseeing and enjoying the local cuisine.

Get your bearings

Squeezed between hills and sea, Dubrovnik stretches along a dramatic rocky and indented shoreline. To the east is the spectacular Old Town. To the west, the Lapad Peninsula (where the majority of hotels are located) and a number of cove-like pebble beaches.

Dubrovnik Beach

The Old Town is the main destination for visitors. This small pedestrian zone is encircled by about two kilometres of ancient walls, and a substantial part of these fortifications run along the seafront. Pile gate, to the west, is the natural starting point for visiting Old Town Dubrovnik. Although it can be a little busy, it packs in the wow factor and sets the scene for what’s to come.

Dubrovnik Cable Car

Tour Dubrovnik

The city walls date back to Medieval times, and a walk around them is spectacular – it’s a must-do. You’ll see the old city forts, towers and views over the Adriatic Sea. There are cafes dotted along the walls offering espresso, locally grown produce and freshly squeezed orange juice.


If you want to take in an even greater view of the city, grab a cable car to the top of Mount Srđ. It takes just four minutes to whisk you 1,361 feet above the Old Town. I recommend setting up camp here to watch the sunset over the Elaphiti islands. Along with viewing terraces, there’s also a restaurant and snack bar. Once you’ve taken in the last few rays, pop back down to the city and head to the D’Vino Wine Bar – the friendly staff are always happy to help you pick out the perfect sharing platter and local wine, giving you an authentic Croatian experience. Just be careful with the local chilli.

Dubrovnik outdoor eating

Dine in Dubrovnik

Croatian cuisine is a blend of Italian and Mediterranean, with some intriguing Bosnian influences. Many restaurants in Dubrovnik’s Old City flow out onto the street and offer a relaxed, yet tasteful experience. For fantastic fresh seafood, head to Barba where the Dubrovnik speciality of calamari is perfection. Their exclusively seafood menu changes depending on the catch of the day but frequently features items like tempura oysters and prawn, octopus burger, shrimp salad and tuna sandwiches. There is limited seating in this tiny, popular place but a good alternative is to order takeaway and enjoy your food by the harbour.

If you’re looking for somewhere fancy for dinner, Restaurant 360º is the spot. They offer fine dining, perfectly mixing flavour, creativity, presentation and professional service to make one unforgettable experience. On top of all that, it’s set above the Old City walls overlooking the harbour.

Cliff diving Dubrovnik

Watch the sunset at Buza Bar
Finding this ramshackle bar-on-a-cliff feels like a real discovery as you duck and dive around the city walls and finally see the entrance tunnel. I recommend arriving early to get your spot. While you watch the sun go down you’ll be treated to a show by the cliff divers below.

If you’re looking for an active way to enjoy the Dubrovnik sunset, kayaking pioneers Adventure Dalmatia have the answer. Their three-hour sunset kayaking tours set out from the small bay below Fort Lawrence (Lovrijenac) and paddle beneath the monumental city walls towards mystical Lokrum Island, stopping off at the striking Betina Cave beach for a snorkel on the way. The trip includes snacks and a glass of local wine to toast the sunset, and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve earned it.

Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik

Stay in Dubrovnik

Old Town
Airbnb is a good option if you’d like to stay within the city’s walls. I recommend booking early as the best properties tend to sell out well in advance.

Surrounding Areas
Rixos Libertas Hotel: This is a great hotel if you’re looking for a trip that’s a mix of lounging by the pool and sightseeing. A ten-minute walk to Pile Gate, the hotel offers great sea-views and three restaurants that offer a mix of snack food and fancier candle-lit dinners.

Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik: Just outside Pile Gate, the 19th-century hotel is a peaceful property with spacious rooms, a lovely leafy restaurant terrace, and a small spa with indoor pool.

Dubrovnik from the air

Getting there

Aer Lingus operates daily direct flights from Dublin to Dubrovnik until the 27 October, 2018. You can book here.

Once you have landed in Dubrovnik there are regular public transport links to Old Town and surrounding areas. Another option is to use a local taxi or Uber.

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