Dubrovnik

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Secret Dubrovnik
Things to do

Secret Dubrovnik

Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik traditionally attracts genteel older couples, cruise-boat crowds and high-spending visitors staying at five-star hotels. So where’s the action? Dubrovnik may be all pristine and marble on the outside but Croatia’s prime holiday destination knows a trick or two – you just need to know where. No, it’s not Hvar, and you won’t see Prince Harry letting his freak flag fly. Nor is it Split, its main Dalmatian rival for the tourist kuna, with so many bars you can barely find your way from one to the other. But Dubrovnik is different. Away from the mainstream bustle, you can sea kayak at sunset, explore an abandoned hotel, find your own cave beach or choose from two haunted islands where no soul has slept in decades. After your day’s adventure, there are bars offering the latest Croatian craft beers or every local rakija grappa known to man, even bars where you can sink a beer, leap into the moonlit Adriatic and climb back up to order another one as you towel down. Not of all this is scheduled or timetabled and sometimes you’ll have to rely on a local to row you over to an island or zip out on his little motorboat – but way down at Croatia’s southern tip, alongside the border with Montenegro, you’re deep in the heart of the Balkans where random adventure is commonplace. Dubrovnik also still has its bohemian streak, a hangover from the 1960s when artists and musicians gathered here and stayed. Though some of the bars and galleries they later opened

How to get from Dubrovnik to Split
Travel

How to get from Dubrovnik to Split

Buses run every 1-2 hours between Split and Dubrovnik, journey time 4.5 hours, average one-way fare 120kn. There is no direct service from Split Airport to Dubrovnik, you have to go into Split first then change. For all details of bus fares and timetables, plus online booking, see Bus Croatia. Split bus station is diagonally opposite the main ferry port close to the historic centre. Behind is the rail terminus – with no service to Dubrovnik as it has no train station. Dubrovnik bus station is by the ferry port, 2.5km from the Old Town. City bus Nos.1, 7 and 8 run to Pile Gate by the Old Town, pay the driver 15kn – or it’s a 20min walk. Between Split and Dubrovnik, road traffic must cross a short stretch of coast around Neum belonging to Bosnia. Officially this is outside Croatian territory and all passengers must carry a valid passport. Those not from the EU, US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand should also show the Schengen visa they will have needed when they entered Croatia. This also applies to cars making the 230km journey, 105km of which is motorway. Estimated driving time is 3hr 45min, petrol and toll fees making a combined one-way cost of €30. Krilo runs a fast-boat service from Split to Dubrovnik and back, journey time 4hr 20min, calling at Milna on Brač, Hvar Town, Korčula and Pomena on Mljet. It runs once a day each way June-Sept inclusive, four days a week during May, three during October. It leaves Split at 7.40am, coming back from Dubrovnik at either 4

12 amazingly cute alleyways in Dubrovnik
News

12 amazingly cute alleyways in Dubrovnik

Viewed from above, the streets of Dubrovnik's Old Town appear like a perfectly measured grid of terraced buildings. Below these terracotta roofs, a lattice of cobbled streets, stone staircases and winding alleyways provide incredibly photogenic distractions. Here are some cute alleyways in Dubrovnik to gaze over in wanderlust. The hanging gardens of Dubrovnik A post shared by LINDSEY ✲ HΞLLOJΞTLAG (@hellojetlag) on Aug 8, 2017 at 10:51am PDT Hidden behind the city walls A post shared by Tapobrata Mukhopadhyay (@theoriginal_outlaw) on Mar 3, 2018 at 8:09am PST A bustling city street A post shared by David Estévez (@davidestevez_betravelmyfriend) on Mar 7, 2018 at 9:06am PST Peaceful archways A post shared by The Dubrovnik Times (@dubrovnik_times) on Mar 6, 2018 at 5:27pm PST Lost in the side streets A post shared by Travel Blogger (@gastrotravelogues) on Feb 21, 2018 at 7:38am PST A tight squeeze A post shared by Rach Catherine (@_rachaelcatherine) on Mar 4, 2018 at 7:39am PST A pretty cul-de-sac A post shared by Rachmat Lianda (@arhcamt) on Mar 7, 2018 at 4:18pm PST Cobbled front gardens A post shared by The Dubrovnik Times (@dubrovnik_times) on Mar 7, 2018 at 2:04pm PST An eerily empty street A post shared by Kate (@winkk) on Mar 7, 2018 at 3:51pm PST

Ten great free things to do in Dubrovnik
Things to do

Ten great free things to do in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Croatia's most photographed city, welcomes armies of tourists every day. It follows that entrance fees have a habit of cropping up and emptying your pockets when you least expect it - you won't be able to walk the famous city walls without spending 120 kuna, and most attractions will have you parting with a handful of coins. While you'll probably conclude that these inimitable sights are worth every penny, you can easily give the spending a break - Dubrovnik's free attractions are some of its finest. Here are ten wonderful free things to do. RECOMMENDED: more great things to do in Dubrovnik.

Things to do in Dubrovnik's Old Town
Things to do

Things to do in Dubrovnik's Old Town

Almost everything worth seeing is centred on the compact, crowded Old Town. To get the best view, and one of a stupendously clear, blue Adriatic lapping the rocks below and stretching way beyond, embark on a stroll round the city walls. Audio-guides are available at the main entrance inside the Pile Gate to the left. An hour should suffice but take as long as you like. You’ll spend the bulk of your time within the 15th-century ring of fortifications, in the small square half-mile of gleaming medieval space bisected by 300-metre-long Stradun. As you flit between the main gates of Pile and Ploče, guided by the list of places on the maroon flags, each venue with its own logoed white lamp, barkers on every side-street corner call you up to the bland tourist restaurants on Prijeko. Cats scatter in from the old harbour, a cacophony of tour guides give their spiels. All is free of traffic until you reach the bus-choked hub outside the Pile Gate. Beyond, over the drawbridge, stand the Lovrijenac Fortress, used for productions of Shakespeare classics during the Summer Festival and the permanently busy main road to the ferry port at Gruž, and Lapad. Exiting the Old Town via the Ploče Gate takes you past the attractive old harbour, where taxi boats set off for the nearby island of Lokrum. Beyond the gate stretches Banje beach then a string of luxury hotels. Back inside the city walls is the main square and crossing point of Luža, where you’ll find the landmark astronomical clock tow

The best of Dubrovnik

The best Dubrovnik restaurants
Restaurants

The best Dubrovnik restaurants

Dubrovnik restaurants are beginning to offer the culinary quality and variety that should be expected of such a luxury destination. And dining in Dubrovnik needn't cost an arm and a leg: many places offers simple, wholesome dishes at wallet-friendly prices.

20 great things to do in Dubrovnik
Things to do

20 great things to do in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a one-town tourist industry on its own, with endless things to do all year round. As stunning as the clear blue sea around it, the former centre of the independent Republic of Ragusa invites superlatives and attracts the lion's share of Croatia's visitors. Read on for our insider's guide to the best things to do in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik art gallery guide
Art

Dubrovnik art gallery guide

Dubrovnik is not all about luxury hotels and destination restaurants. Step inside our Dubrovnik art gallery guide to discover where to catch some of Croatia's best modern and contemporary art, and coolest exhibition programmes.

Dubrovnik shopping guide
Shopping

Dubrovnik shopping guide

The Dubrovnik shopping arena is, thankfully, starting to be less dominated by the overpriced tourist shops that once dominated the city, and a few key stores are holding out against these tacky souvenir shops that line the main street of Stradun. Time Out discovers the best places to go shopping in Dubrovnik, from designer boutiques to open-air markets.

The best Dubrovnik bars
Bars and pubs

The best Dubrovnik bars

By day, Dubrovnik and its overcrowded Old Town seem the perfect place for sandal-wearing coffee-sippers. But by night, Dubrovnik bars spring to life, with a number of atmospheric spots serving up anything from fine Dalmatian wines to fancy cocktails. Dip in to our essential drinking guide.

The best restaurants in Dubrovnik

Azur
Restaurants

Azur

This superbly located newbie sits by the entrance of Buža II, and quickly went to number one on TripAdvisor in its very first season. Here you can tuck into a reasonably priced, Med-and-Asian-influenced main here – fragrant meatballs in a chicken-coconut broth, perhaps, or Adriatic prawn pouches on grilled aubergine in a red-curry-and-coconut sauce – before an afternoon's sunbathing or nightcap overlooking the waves. Starters include mussels in beer butter and chili, and Dalmatian tom yum soup.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Nautika
Restaurants

Nautika

Dubrovnik’s most prestigious culinary spot offers two panoramic terraces of starched white-tablecloth formality. Chef Mario Bunda insists on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients – shellfish feature in dishes from the Elafiti isles such as Lopud brodet with polenta and Šipan fisherman’s carpaccio, or there are lobster medallions from Vis. Diners can also opt between three kinds of menu.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Restaurant Amfora
Restaurants

Restaurant Amfora

Amfora is an excellent choice for both meat and fish lovers, its cuisine drawing its inspiration from the all areas of the Mediterranean while adding some Asian twists. Here you'll find a fusion of styles and influences, from Morocco to Lebanon, and all the way to the Adriatic coast. The menu changes twice a year. Currently it features a house-style traditional beef cheek "pašticada", cooked sous-vide for 48 hours. This technique is also used for some fish dishes. All pastas, gnocchi and breads are prepared in this kitchen. Fresh autochthonous ingredients are provided by the local produce market - the blue-fin tuna is line-caught. Meat is supplied from the small farms located in the continental part of Croatia. Premium specialities are made of black Slavonian pig and simmental beef. The wine list is long, andmainly local, while the olive oil is extra-virgin - note the bottle ofTorkul from Korčula on every table. The modern interior can host up to 40 guests, while the outdoor seating provides a view of an orchard and 32 more seats. Reservations are recommended in high season, especially for groups of six or more.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Konoba Dalmatino
Restaurants

Konoba Dalmatino

For traditional food, served with finesse, and with a reasonable price tag, Dalmatino takes some beating. It's located in an old house that has been renovated to show the original stonework at its exposed best. The menu is as straightforwardly Dalmatian as the name of the restaurant, featuring plenty of local fish and fowl, although a lot of creativity has gone into the details – grilled fish might be served with a colour-coordinated array of Mediterranean vegetables instead of the usual blitva. A lot of effort goes into the desserts – for some, it's the Dalmatino cheesecake that deserves the superlatives; others swear by the chocolate mousse. The place is run by a South African of Korčulan descent, so it's no surprise that the wine list veers enthusiastically towards the fine whites from that island.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Fish restaurant Proto
Restaurants

Fish restaurant Proto

The seafood-oriented Proto claims a tradition dating back to 1886. and it was here that Edward VIII entertained Wallis Simpson in the 1930s. As well as squid and lobster in simple, superbly balanced sauces, there's fresh shellfish from Ston up the coast. You can spend an enjoyable hour over the fish platter for two, and the extensive wine list covers just about every quality wine that Croatia has to offer - an award-winning sommelier is quick to offer up smart suggestions, pairing both domestic and international wines with meat and fish specialities. Recently refurbished and relaunched, Proto has been tastefully modernised, but keeps in with the antiquated elegance of the building. Beautiful old maps and antique oak panelling nod sympathetically to its past. The look is sealed with words of scribes: choice verses from local Dalmatian poets adorn the ceiling. Booking essential.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars

Where to drink in Dubrovnik

Banje Beach restaurant, lounge & club
Nightlife

Banje Beach restaurant, lounge & club

Occupying a lovely beachside location, guests travel by land and sea to get to Banje – there’s even a private pier to anchor your dingy, boat or yacht. During the day, this is a superb, seafood-orientated, fine dining Mediterranean restaurant. By night, Banje transforms into a clubby beachside cocktail bar. It's hired for fashion parties – but the place is far from intimidating and prices are reasonable.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Buža II
Bars and pubs

Buža II

The more well known of the cliff-face bars; tourists follow the 'Cold Drinks' sign from the open square of Rudjera Boškovića. Prices are a little steeper but you get a thatched roof and table service. Buža II also the same jaw-dropping view – if you can find a table in high season.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Casablanca
Bars and pubs

Casablanca

Old film and beer ads brighten the space; posters promote long-forgotten Olympics and pool-table lightshades of coloured glass advertise Coors beer. Cocktails come in creamy or killer varieties, football or music videos are screened and staff buzz about in daft blue shirts with some bullshit motto on them. Recommended.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Sunset Lounge
Bars and pubs

Sunset Lounge

The titular sunset view is in full panorama here in the chic surroundings of the five-star Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. On a clear day you can see Mljet. Afternoons mean happy-hour drinks, evenings a piano player. Cocktails (60kn) comprise 35 standards, there are specialist Perković brandies (carob, fig, nut) and wines run from a basic 20kn to the best local labels rarely found by the glass.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
D'Vino
Bars and pubs

D'Vino

Opened in 2008, Dubrovnik's first real wine bar is presided over by Australian-Croatian Sasha and his friendly and informative team. D'Vino manages to stock more than 100 varieties, 76 available by the glass. Every decent Istrian, Slavonian and Dalmatian label is here, including Grgić Plavac Mali and Zlatan Plavac. The house wine begins at 25kn and the venue lays on wine tours. Savoury meat-and-cheese platters are tailor-made to complement the wine. It's a comfortable, modern, intimate space to enjoy a drink – with a few seats outside in summer.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Users say
4 out of 5 stars

Best attractions in Dubrovnik

Rector's Palace
Museums

Rector's Palace

The most historic monument in Dubrovnik, the Rector's Palace was rebuilt twice. The first, by Onofrio della Cava of fountain fame, was in Venetian-Gothic style, visible in the window design once you ascend the grand staircase to the Rector's living quarters. Thereafter Florentine Michelozzo Michelozzi was responsible for the loggia façade. On the ground floor, either side of a courtyard, are the prison and courtrooms of the Ragusa Republic, and a glittering display of medieval church art. Upstairs, where each Rector resided for his month's stint, is a strange assortment of items: sedan chairs, carriages, magistrates' robes and wigs, portraits of local notables and Ivo Rudenjak's beautifully carved bookcase. One curiosity is the clocks, some set at quarter to six, the time in the evening when Napoleon's troops entered in 1806. The same ticket is valid for the Archeological Collection, a small but attractive collection of medieval carvings as the Rector's Palace) right by Ploče gate.

Sponza Palace
Museums

Sponza Palace

The attractive, 16th-century former customs house and Ragusa mint is used to house the extensive state archives. Several rooms off the arcaded groundfloor courtyard are used to display photocopies of the archives' most treasured historical documents. A small room opposite the ticket office holds the Memorial Room of the Dubrovnik Defenders. Covering the 12 months from October 1991 (although keen to point out that isolated attacks continued until the summer of 1995), the exhibition contains portraits of the 300 defenders and civilians who died during the siege and the tattered remnant of the Croatian flag that flew atop strategic Mount Srđ.

City Walls
Attractions

City Walls

The first thing any visitor should fork out for is entrance up to the City Walls. The main one is by the Pile Gate. Arrowed up towards the Adriatic side, you're soon scaling staircases to allow you a sublime view of the blue, blue sea to one side and people's red-tiled roofs, terraces and washing lines to the other. There are a couple of cafes towards the harbour end, where you turn and head towards the thicker, inland-facing walls. You can also choose to head out here, near the Old Port. As well as giving you a perspective on Dubrovnik, you can see how intricate a job this was. Remember to pack a hat and sun cream.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Dominican Monastery
Attractions

Dominican Monastery

Between the Sponza Palace and the Ploče Gate, this monastery is best known for its late Gothic cloisters and late 15th-century paintings of the Dubrovnik School in the museum – in particular masterpieces by Nikola Božidarević, including his Our Lady with the Saints. On the walls of the monastery church are a beautiful wooden crucifix by Paolo Veneziano from 1358 and a painting by renowned fin-de-siècle artist Vlaho Bukovac from Cavtat, The Miracle of St Dominic.

The best hotels in Dubrovnik

Hotel Bellevue
Hotels

Hotel Bellevue

Dubrovnik has more than its fair share of cliff-hugging, sun-trap hotels and this particular feat of engineering is one of the more outstanding examples. The venue, cut into the cliff facing the sea, has been expensively refurbished to feature local woods and granite. All rooms have a sea view, as do the spa and highly rated Vapor restaurant. The Nevera Beach restaurant occupies a man-made cave right beside the private beach.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Hotel Grand Villa Argentina
Hotels

Hotel Grand Villa Argentina

This five-star villa-and-hotel complex centers on the deluxe Hotel Argentina, opened in the 1950s and long considered one of Dubrovnik's most stylish addresses. Within the same complex and surrounded by lush seaside gardens are the Villa Argentina, housing intimate luxury apartments; and Villa  Sheherezade, a mock-Oriental palace in which up to 12 people can relax in opulence for €6,000 a day. Indoor pool, gym, beauty centre and private beach are all part of the package.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Hotel Dubrovnik Palace
Hotels

Hotel Dubrovnik Palace

This ten-floor, 308-room luxury hotel reconfigured in 2004 was conceived in 1972, set in woodland paths at the tip of Lapad, in full view of the Elafiti isles. Today this is what everyone sees from their balcony, from the four bars, three restaurants, four pools and gym. Saunas, massage treatments and beauty procedures are on offer at the energy clinic spa. Also of note are the Lanterna Glorijet poolside bar and the Sunset Lounge cocktail bar.  

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Hotel Excelsior
Hotels

Hotel Excelsior

A €22-million refit of Dubrovnik’s most prestigious hotel was followed by a grand reopening in 2008. Built in 1913 as a private villa, it became the Hotel Excelsior in 1930. Royals, writers, movie stars, they all stayed here. Acquired by Adriatic Luxury Hotels group in 2000, it now features four restaurants, three pools, a piano bar and spa. The adjoining Villa Rustica also contains luxury lodging for six. The Satu sushi bar and the luxuriant wellness centre endow the hotel with additional kudos.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik
Hotels

Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik

For once the slogan is right: this is indulgence on a grand scale. Here in lush Babin kuk is a state-of-the-art hotel with the Ragusa spa and its dizzying array of treatments (free with a minimum fournight stay), pools indoor and out (and separate kids' pool), fine dining Langosto luxury restaurant, cocktails in four bars – plus, of course, the guest rooms, 385 in all, plus 16 suites. There are also any number of conference facilities.

Kazbek Hotel
Hotels

Kazbek Hotel

Opened in 2008, this conversion of the Zamanje family villa (1573) is now a five-star hotel of a dozen rooms, one suite, three restaurants and a beautiful outdoor pool with a bar beside it. A speedboat and yacht are on hand for guests' use.