Dubrovnik in 1 Day: everything you need to know

Dubrovnik is one of the most important destinations in Croatia. Although it is impossible to see it all in one day, with an intense itinerary you will be able to visit the main sites.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

8 min read

Dubrovnik in 1 Day: everything you need to know

Vista de Dubrovnik |©Luca Sartoni

If you plan to visit Croatia, I advise you to dedicate at least one day to visit Dubrovnik. This city, located on the shore of the Adriatic, is one of the most traditional of the Dalmatian coast and also one of the most beautiful, for its traditional architecture and natural beauty.

Maybe 24 hours are not enough to discover it in all its magnitude, but with this itinerary you can at least get an approximation. Here are the best things to do in Dubrovnik in 1 day.

Start by strolling through the narrow streets of the old town.

streets in Dubrovnik|©Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie
streets in Dubrovnik|©Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie

Strolling through the picturesque alleys of Dubrovnik's old town in the morning is an experience that will transport you through centuries of history and one of the best ways to approach this city for the first time.

If you plan to visit the city by plane, you can get there by transfer from Dubrovnik airport, as public transport does not run in the old part.

The narrow alleys are flanked by Renaissance and Baroque style buildings, with balconies full of colorful flowers contrasting with the whiteness of the walls. The spirit of this part of the city can be found in the centuries-old churches, which display their ornate facades, and in the hidden courtyards.

Visit the viewpoints and participate in a guided tour.

The viewpoints, strategically located along the city walls, offer panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea with its waters glistening in the morning light.

In addition, one of the alternatives to get to know the old town is to participate in a guided tour of Dubrovnik, which will allow you to tour the site with the assistance of an expert local guide and get as much information as possible.

By booking a guided tour of Dubrovnik's Old Town you will also get to see the Sponza Palace, the Church of St. Blaise and the Little Fountain of Onofrio, which marks the epicenter of the old part of Dubrovnik. Since it's not too big a site, you'll be able to tour it in a couple of hours' walk.

Join a guided tour of Dubrovnik Old Town

Have breakfast in the bars in front of the Dubrovnik Cathedral.

d'vino wine bar|©Kelly Loris
d'vino wine bar|©Kelly Loris

Before you book a guided tour of Dubrovnik's Old Town, I recommend you head to the bars that line up in front of the cathedral for breakfast. As the sun rises over the horizon of the Adriatic Sea, the cozy atmosphere of these places creates a perfect setting for a breakfast in paradise.

If you plan to visit Dubrovnik in March, you will also be able to see the St. Blaise festivities. The sound of the cathedral bells and the murmur of passersby create a symphony in the background to accompany the authentic Croatian breakfast options.

The bars generally offer a variety of options, from delicious croissants and filled pastries to traditional dishes such as sirnica, a cheesecake that you will find everywhere, especially if you plan to visit Dubrovnik in June or during the summer months.

Discover the unmistakable silhouette of the Cathedral

While enjoying your breakfast you can gaze at the Gothic structure of the Cathedral rising in the background and located just a few streets away from the Onofrio Fountain, so you can walk there.

The façade details and carved sculptures are a silent witness to the Roman occupation of the city and will frame some of the best photographs of your trip.

Breakfast in the bars in front of the Cathedral is more than just a morning meal; it is an experience that combines gastronomic pleasure, very popular in Dubrovnik, with cultural and visual immersion - and also an ideal alternative that will allow you to recharge your energy to continue your full day tour!

Join a guided tour of Dubrovnik Old Town

Visit the Rector's Palace

Knežev Dvor, Dubrovnik|©Berliner Weisse
Knežev Dvor, Dubrovnik|©Berliner Weisse

As the next step of the tour, head to the Rector's Palace. Once the political and administrative center of the Republic of Ragusa, this building now stands as an architectural treasure that captivates visitors with its distinctive architecture.

Inside the Rector's Palace you will find a series of magnificently decorated and furnished rooms, each reflecting different aspects of the life and society of the time. The frescoes on the walls and detailed decorative elements will transport you back to the Middle Ages.

Discover the secrets of the palace on a guided tour

Beyond its exterior structure, one of the most fascinating aspects of the Rector's Palace is its basement, where the former prison is located. The gloomy cells and narrow corridors testify to Ragusa's past, which housed the regional prison in medieval times.

You can learn about this site by taking a short guided tour of the building, which I highly recommend.

Also, as the palace is located near the descent to the harbor, you can combine this experience with a boat tour in Dubrovnik or book a kayak tour with snorkeling in Dubrovnik, especially in the summer. This will also give you the chance to discover the city's skyline from the Adriatic.

Book a snorkeling kayak tour in Dubrovnik

Taste the local gastronomy in the restaurants of the Old Port

Old Port (Stara Luka)|©Steve Delo
Old Port (Stara Luka)|©Steve Delo

It's noon and it's time for lunch. Since you are in the port, take the opportunity to taste the exquisite local gastronomy in the restaurants along the Dubrovnik coast.

With the backdrop of the Adriatic Sea, these restaurants offer alternatives that will allow you to savor the richness of the region's traditional cuisine. Among the must-try dishes are:

  • Brodetto, a fish and seafood stew cooked in wine and served with olive oil.
  • Grilledfish, such as brancin and orada, are also considered delicacies that highlight the freshness of the sea and the regional culinary expertise.
  • Peka, a typical meat dish simmered in a cast iron bell. Meats, such as lamb or chicken, are combined with fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs, creating a delight full of intense flavors and succulence.
  • The famous rozata, a dessert that combines the delicacy of flan with a touch of rose liqueur or local brandy.
  • The local wines, which are part of some of the region's best kept secrets.

In addition, if you plan to visit Dubrovnik with children you can also find a special children's menu at each location.

Relax on Banje Beach (or take a Game of Thrones tour)

beach in Dubrovnik|©Gabriel Guerra
beach in Dubrovnik|©Gabriel Guerra

After lunch, relaxing on Banje Beach is a must-do experience. This golden pebble beach, which you can reach by cab or private transport in a 10-minute ride from the historic center, offers an idyllic retreat for those looking to enjoy the crystal-clear water.

This is an ideal plan if you plan to visit Dubrovnik in June or during the summer months, when the temperature is perfect for swimming and enjoying the sun.

However, if you are traveling during times of the year when the weather is not the best for getting into the sea, you can discover the beach on foot or choose other replacement options such as booking a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik.

Join a Game of Thrones tour

If you visit Dubrovnik in December or you are looking for a different activity for the winter months and you do not intend to spend the afternoon on the beach, join a Game of Thrones tour to get to know the real scenery of the famous TV series.

During the tour, you will have the opportunity to discover the Tower of the Immortals, which is actually the Franciscan Monastery. Most tours offer a break there to recharge your batteries and for fans to take pictures with the building and the scenery.

In addition, you can explore the Jesuit steps, which represented the Stairway of Shame. These steps offer spectacular views of the Old Town and the Adriatic, creating a magical and captivating atmosphere.

Book a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik

Watch the sunset from Mount Srd

Mount Srd|©Vanesa Felpeto Babío
Mount Srd|©Vanesa Felpeto Babío

Watching the sunset from the top of Mount Srd in Dubrovnik is an experience that seems like something out of a dream. This viewpoint offers a panoramic view from which it is possible to discover how the sun gently dips below the Adriatic horizon, painting the sky with warm, golden colors.

For the adventurous, the approximately 30-minute hike to the top of Mount Srd is an unmissable opportunity and an alternative to private transportation, which will take you to the base of the mountain and then give you access to the funicular.

Are you up for a hike to the top of Mount Srd?

If you choose to climb to the top on your own, as you walk along the path, surrounded by greenery, you will feel connected to nature and to the history that has shaped Dubrovnik over the centuries.

Once at the top of Mount Srd, the panoramic view will transport you to another world and another era. If you plan to visit Dubrovnik in December, you can also discover the typical Christmas decorations, which are very famous in the region.

As the sun begins to set and the sky is tinged with magical colors, contemplation from Mount Srd becomes a moment of reflection and wonder. Once the sunset is over, you can catch a glimpse of the illuminated old town in one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik at night. Another alternative to discover the Dalmatian sunset is to book a night boat ride along the Dubrovnik coast.

Book a night boat tour along the Dubrovnik coastline

Say goodbye to the city on Stradun Street

Stradun Street.|©Joan Carles Doria
Stradun Street.|©Joan Carles Doria

Saying goodbye to Dubrovnik is an act full of nostalgia, and there is no better place to do it than in the stores and bars that line the emblematic Stradun Street, which crosses the historic center from end to end. At night, too, Stradun takes on a special charm with its cobblestones illuminated by the dim light of lanterns.

The stores along this thoroughfare offer a variety of handcrafted goods and souvenirs that capture the essence of Dubrovnik. From locally designed jewelry to hand-painted ceramics, each store is a treasure chest of unique treasures that you can take with you as a souvenir of your trip.

Dine in the restaurants on Stradun Street.

In addition to the stores, the bars and restaurants along Stradun offer a delightful opportunity to sample local cuisine and drinks. Savoring Croatian dishes at an outdoor table under the starry sky is a sublime way to close your trip and one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik.

Then, as the night progresses and the farewell approaches, the lights and sounds of Stradun will create an unparalleled atmosphere. The music that will filter from the bars and the lively conversation of visitors and locals will contribute to a symphony of life that will resonate in every corner of this unique city.

If needed, a transfer to Dubrovnik airport from the walled city can be arranged in advance.

Dubrovnik Full Day Tour Itinerary

square in Dubrovnik|©abelrep2
square in Dubrovnik|©abelrep2

Did you find the tour interesting? If you finally decide to do it, I leave you a summary of the itinerary so you can know what to do each day at a glance.

  • Morning
  • Walk through the historic district
  • Breakfast at the Dubrovnik Cathedral
  • Visit the Rector's Palace
  • Noon
  • Lunch in the restaurants of the Old Port
  • Optional: Participate in a boat tour
  • Relax on the Dalmatian coastline
  • Take in the views of the Adriatic
  • Afternoon
  • Option 1: Sunbathe at Banje Beach
  • Option 2: Take a Game of Thrones tour
  • Visit the Franciscan Monastery
  • Evening
  • Take a hike to Mount Srd
  • Watch the sunset from the top of the peak
  • Optional: Participate in a sunset boat tour
  • Dinner on Stradun Street