I didn’t even know I was heading to Dubrovnik until a couple of hours before my flight. When my Surprise Trips destination was revealed as Dubrovnik, my first reaction was one of relief, now I knew where I was going, and my second was of total elation. I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, and the chance to immerse myself in the city which inspired King’s Landing was enough to make me go a bit loopy!
So here we were, on a plane to Croatia, with 3 nights’ holiday in front of us and absolutely no idea how to spend it! There wasn’t time for research at the airport so we promised ourselves to just go with the flow and enjoy every second.
As it turned out, we got two full days and a half day on arrival, so if you’re heading to Dubrovnik for 3 nights, 2 days and have no idea what to fill your time with, here are my suggestions for a fantastic trip.
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Spend some time acclimatising to your new home and just wandering around the Old Town, which is held together inside a towering Medieval wall which no doubt kept all the bad eggs in years past.
There is so much to see in this tiny little place, including ‘Stradun Street’, the main street which runs the length of the old town, Church of St Blaise, The Cathedral, Rector’s Palace, The Old Port and Maritime Museum.
This might sound like a lot but in reality, they are all so close together than you can see most of these plus walk around the charming alleyways of the old town in a couple of hours. Here’s a snapshot of what you might see on your walk around:
Once you’d had your fill of exploring this area, head to the north gate (Buza Gate) and out of the city to the cable car. You can buy tickets just outside the north gate (1200 kuna, about £12) and then walk up some steps and a small hill to reach the cable car station.
If you can. try to get a spot by the window looking down over the hill so you can see the most amazing views as you ascend the hill. If you’re up for a challenge you can also save the £12 and walk up to the top but it’s a long old trek and the path is sandy, so it’s hard going in places. Couple that with the Croatian heat and you’ve got yourself a challenge!
For the rest of us lazies, it’s the cable car, and when you get to the top you’re rewarded with panoramic views over the old town, to the harbour and then over the mountains to the rear. Photos really can’t do it justice.
By now it’ll be mid morning so what better way to pass a little time than with a coffee and a slice of cheesecake (about £5) in the cafe with the best views of the city?
Once you’re suitably refreshed, head outside to the various terraces to get another good look at those views. There’s one on the cable car level, and one upstairs with panoramic views over the mountains. You can also go downstairs to this really cool cross which bears over the city:
Head back down in the cable car and into the city once more. Stop for a little lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants (see my recommendations for places to eat and drink at the bottom of this post) and then you’ll be re-energised for a walk on the city wall.
Again, this costs 120 kuna (about £12), and you can access the wall from either Pile Gate (west side) or Ploce Gate (west side, near the port). I started from the west entrance for no other reason than I fancied it.
I actually think starting from the Pile Gate may be marginally better as you’ll be saving the best until last, but it doesn’t really make much difference, as you’ll see everything soon enough. Climb the steps to the wall and start around in an anti-clockwise direction. The wall is a one-way system to avoid any crush ups of people along the way.
If starting from the Ploce Gate like I did, you’ll soon be confronted with a thousand red roofs, stretching all the way to the sea to the islands beyond. What a stunner!
As you carry on, you’ll come across this little garden oasis called ‘Lady Pi Pi’. It’s a super cute little restaurant with amazing views across the city, but more on that later. For now, just enjoy it from above.
Keep going a little further and you’ll come across what I think is the highlight of the city wall – the fort. Climb up inside the fort and check out the panorama all around.
Walk down the eastern side of the wall and you’ll be able to see the fortress across the bay, along with a nice-looking restaurant (although a little pricey) outside of Pile Gate. You can also see the city beyond the wall and the bays and coves along the Adriatic coast.
The south wall brings a new lookout on the city, as really you’ll be just walking by the sea. But you’re able to look over the city with the mountains in the background which is really special. You can also see a couple of bars which actually sit beyond the wall and cling to the rocks. Both of these bars are called Buza, although not in the same place.
You can dip your feet in the water whilst sipping a cocktail at either one of these bars as the sun sets, so keep this in your back pocket for one of your evenings, and be sure to get there a couple of hours before sunset to get a spot.
On the south wall there are loads of really cute buildings with tons of charm and character. I just loved taking photos of all of them, especially the ones with small vines or citrus trees in the gardens. This city is so fresh!
Once you’ve completed the loop (about 1.5 to 2 hours), head back down into the city for some well-earned drinks and a little dinner. See my suggestions on where to go out at the end of this post.
Today is all about exploring that amazing Croatian coastline! You can take a ferry boat over to the closest island if you don’t want to be out at sea all day, but I would highly recommend a 3 island tour if you want to see a bit more.
The tour takes in 3 of the islands surrounding Dubrovnik; Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep, known as the Elaphite Island. We booked our tour through a very friendly ticket tout in town the night before, and it cost 240 kuna (about £25) for a full day at sea, lunch and drinks all day.
I’m sure you could probably get it cheaper, but as I had no time to plan it in advance I went with the easy option, and no doubt gave a small commission to a very hard-working and deserving guy who was drumming up business at 10pm the night before!
Board your boat and head out of the city, passing the great wall as you go. It’s a couple of hours to the first stop, so just kick back and take in those sweet coastal views, perhaps with a glass of horrific home-brewed firewater measuring in at about 40% proof.
I stuck to the water as it was a bit early for me, I was hanging from the night before and the motion of being on a boat was already getting to me…
Soon enough we had arrived at our first stop, Kolocep island. This was a lovely island with no cars, only golf buggies, and a gorgeous stretch of beach and restaurants. We headed in for a paddle and watched the world go by for a while.
After lounging around and cooling our feet off, we headed back to the boat for our next stop; Sipan Island. This is quite a busy little port, with a fair few boats in to dock, but a lovely atmosphere, small shingle beach and a couple of monasteries and churches to look around. They also had this lovely harbour front which I fell in love with:
We ate an amazing lunch of grilled chicken and salad, served with lots of wine. Some people had opted for the fish option which I was really jealous of because they were served a whole fish and it looked AMAZING!!!
Our third and final island was Kolocep. Another beautiful serene place with no cars, just a few golf buggies which if you flag down can take you to a little-known sand beach on the other side of the island for about £1 each. I won’t show you that beach as you’ve got to keep some things a surprise 🙂
We sped home in time for sunset drinks and a whole lot of ice cream. Don’t miss the ice cream here in Dubrovnik – they’re so close to Italy and they certainly give them a run for their money in the gelato department! Again, no pics as there really are some things you need to experience for yourself!
How to get to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a 2.5 hour flight from London with a whole host of scheduled and low cost airlines. Top tip: Ask to be seated on the left hand side of the plane to get some incredible mountain and Old Town views on your approach to Dubrovnik.
The best way to get from the airport to the city centre is by bus (one way 40 kuna, return 70 kuna), which drops you at Pile Gate. From there you can walk to your hotel in the old town.
Look for the bus stand at the airport, to the right as you come out of arrivals. On the way back, buses depart 2 hours before your scheduled flight time from the road outside the cable car. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get to the airport, and the airport is small so you have plenty of time to check in.
Where to stay
I stayed at the Apartments Penatur in the Old Town which I would highly recommend. They’re small but clean and comfortable, and a great option for someone on a bit of a budget. The owner is also really lovely and will tell you all of the great places to go during your stay. She even gave us a bottle of wine on arrival!
Other highly recommended places to stay are:
Where to eat / drink
There are over 300 restaurants in Dubrovnik, so you’re spoiled for choice! I can recommend Lady Pi Pi for breakfast (amazing views), Ragusa 2 for dinner (have the fillet steak for only 130 kuna), and Pupo restaurant for dinner too.
There’s also a couple of lively Irish bars for after dark – Karaka and The Gaffe are both great, but Karaka just edges it thanks to a lively server called Boris who is the life and soul of the party.
I hope you enjoy your two days in Dubrovnik. Let me know if you enjoy the city as much as I did! Why not follow me on Instagram or on Snapchat @alifeofmore to follow my travel adventures in real time?
Disclaimer: I travelled as a guest of Surprise Trips during my stay in Dubrovnik. Some links in this article are affiliate links, which if clicked and a booking is made, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.