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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Where to drink in Dubrovnik
Best attractions in Dubrovnik
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.
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.
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
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.