Let's face it, it's also why you came here — to while away the afternoon in the sun, either lying on smooth stones or swimming in the clear Adriatic. Here we suggest the best spots for some beach time in Dubrovnik.
The city beach, Banje, is a short walk from the Ploče Gate. It's good for kids, pebbly and at times sandy, depending on the waves. It has showers, deckchairs and sunloungers for hire, plus jet skis and inflatables. Yet since the city sold half the beach to East-West, a restaurant and nightclub, some locals have gone elsewhere on principle. They head for Sveti Jakov, down the coast past the Villa Dubrovnik, a 20-minute walk along quiet, tree-lined Vlaha Bukovca. Buses Nos.5 and 8 run most of the way from north of the Old Town. Although this is everyone's favourite beach, it's rarely crowded. The sun stays warm until late in the evening, bathing the Old Town in a golden light. It's part shingle, part pebble, with showers, sun shades, and a bar and restaurant at beach level. It is accessed via a long stairway you'll be reluctant to climb back up.
Between Banje and Sv Jacob are the hotel beaches, either exclusive or hired by the day. Each can offer a pool, a terrace and a fine Martini. Just east of the Grand Villa Argentina is Betina Špilja, a cave with a fine white pebble beach, only accessible from the sea. Rent a taxi boat at the old harbour, arrange a pick-up time and get the captain's number. Take provisions.
Pile is not known for its beaches — but Sulici is one of Dubrovnik's cleanest, a short walk from the Pile Gate. On the other side of the promontory, the rocky beach of Dance stretches to an open, clear sea. The bay here isn't so sheltered, so waves can be rough.
Lapad was built on beaches. The hotels around the edges of the headland earn their living from their access to the shore. The best equipped is the Copacabana, a half-moon of pebbles and gravel set in Seka Bay. It serves the cluster of hotels in Babin Kuk, in particular the newly rebranded family resort, the Valamar Club Dubrovnik. Although the water here isn't as pristine as elsewhere -— Seka Bay also faces the Daksa Canal, through which ferries pass en route to Gruž — the Copacabana is fun. Parachute boat rides, water chutes, canoes, jet skis, pedalos and banana rides provide high-action entertainment. Nearby is a signposted path down to a naturist beach, Cava.
The main public beach is Lapad. Adjacent to the Hotel Kompas, it's family-friendly. Showers, sunloungers and sunshades dot the shingle surface, the shallow waters overseen by lifeguards. Behind, the pedestrianised shade of Šetalište kralja Tomislava has a bouncy play area and tennis courts are nearby. Nearby, the rocks beside the Niki i Meda Pucića promenade allow for nude sunbathing. There is also nude bathing at Lokrum, 15 minutes by taxi boat from the Old Town.