Dubrovnik in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Dubrovnik is a stunning coastal city in Croatia known for its old town, picturesque coastline and several Game of Thrones filming locations. So can you get to know it in 72 hours? Yes, here's how.

Carla Yaquer

Carla Yaquer

8 min read

Dubrovnik in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Barco atracado en koločep |©juan pablo santos rodríguez

Dubrovnik, also known as the**"Pearl of the Adriatic**", is a city in southern Croatia that has become increasingly popular with tourists over the past few years. With its stunning coastline, historic old town and several Game of Thrones filming locations, it's easy to understand why so many people are drawn to this beautiful city.

However, with so much to see and do in Dubrovnik, planning a trip can be overwhelming. That's why I've created the perfect 3-day itinerary to help you make the most of your stay in this picturesque city. From guided tours of the old town, to kayak tours, enchanting cruises and island hopping, this itinerary has something for everyone. Pack your bags, here we come!

Day 1: Dubrovnik Old Town and Lokrum Island

Lokrum Island, Croatia|©Eduardo Cortés Bohórquez
Lokrum Island, Croatia|©Eduardo Cortés Bohórquez

The first day of the itinerary is an introduction to the history, culture and natural beauty of Dubrovnik. It begins with a journey into the past at the city's focal point: its historic old town. This pedestrianized area is full of sights where the cobblestone streets get crowded even in the off-season, so I recommend taking a guided tour of the Old Town in Dubrovnik.

This World Heritage Site is known for its impressive architecture. Its medieval defense system denotes an era that left a deep imprint on Dubrovnik. From now on, get lost in its streets, or better, let yourself be guided by the indications of your guide, the important thing is that you visit at least 8 essential stops. Here is a map for you to follow their trail and even learn about their role in Game of Thrones.

The Dubrovnik Cathedral and Museum of Cultural History

The first stop is the Church of Ignatius, a 17th century church located very close to the iconic stone stairs known as the Jesuit Stairs. This is the best place to appreciate the city in its entirety, since Dubrovnik is quite flat, as Game of Thrones constantly makes clear.

Continue 140 meters until you reach the Dubrovnik Cathedral, a beautiful temple that is an icon of the city. Then go one block to the Rector's Palace, an important 15th century monument that houses the Museum of Cultural History.

Stradun Street, St. Savior's Church and the Pile Gate

The route continues one block further where you will see the Clock Tower, also known as **Dubrovnik'**s bell tower. Almost next to the Onofrio Fountain, another iconic 15th century building, before making your way through the network of small streets of Stradun, the main artery of the city. Here I recommend you stop for a refreshing drink and a snack, surrounded by a wide variety of cafes and restaurants.

Then continue on to the Church of St. Savior, another World Heritage Site in the Pearl of the Adriatic. A block further on you will find the famous Pile Gate which, built in 1537, has gained recognition today from Game of Thrones.

Book your guided tour of the old town of Dubrovnik

Lunch and Game of Thrones tour

In the afternoon I recommend lunch at a cozy restaurant with a terrace like Dubravka 1836 Restaurant & Cafe. The views are beautiful, the food delicious and the prices affordable. Then, spend the afternoon doing one of the best Game of Thrones tours. As you may have seen, in the morning, you passed at least two points of interest, but the settings used for this popular HBO series are almost endless in Dubrovnik.

For fans - and not so fans - of the series, this type of tour is a magical activity. Guides take you to filming locations in and around Dubrovnik, including the iconic Red Tower, the Walk of Shame and the site where King Joffrey was unceremoniously cast in King's Landing. You'll learn the behind-the-scenes stories and see first-hand how the series creators transformed Dubrovnik into the world of Westeros by following the Game of Thrones route.

Book your Game of Thrones tour

Dinner and boat trip

To end the day I propose you one of the best boat tours in Dubrovnik. This kind of Dubrovnik night tours offer breathtaking views of the city walls and fortresses while the sun sets over the Adriatic Sea.

Another great thing about this tour is that you will be able to appreciate this Dalmatian region from a different perspective - you will be amazed by the panoramic views! The ship will make several stops such as the island of Lokrum, which is home to beaches and forests, and other emblematic places. These cruises also pass through the nearest bathing spots, such as the main beach on the southwest coast and the salt lake known as the Dead Sea. Here you can take a dip or explore the island's botanical gardens.

As if the morning and afternoon movie sets weren't enough, Lokrum is also a destination that offers cinematic sightseeing. Visit the Iron Throne, located on Lokrum Island. Oh, and don't worry about the food, this type of cruise usually includes a traditional Croatian dinner and drinks on board the ship.

Book your Game of Thrones tour on Lokrum Island

Day 2: Elafiti Archipelago: its islands, the Blue Cave and the Green Cave

Elafiti Islands|©JClemente Producciones
Elafiti Islands|©JClemente Producciones

This is a day to fully indulge in one of the best excursions from Dubrovnik, sailing directly to the Elafiti Archipelago, the ideal place for your vacation in Croatia.

The excursion is a combination of adventure and relaxation along 14 virtually untouched islands. Between them there are no more than 1,000 inhabitants, which allows to preserve the natural charm of the place. You will have the opportunity to explore the main attractions of Lopud Island and Koločepre Island, while passing through their smaller sisters, their coasts and caves. You'll also enjoy a delicious meal with breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea as a backdrop.

Start with the Elafiti Islands

Start your second day in Dubrovnik with a cruise around the Elafiti Islands in Dubrovnik. Take the ferry from Dubrovnik's Old Town to Lopud, an approximately 45-minute transfer, this is the island usually chosen as the first stop.

Lopud is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and charming village. Spend the morning exploring the island's main attractions, take a swim at Sunj beach and lie on its golden sand. Afterwards, you can visit the Franciscan Monastery and St. Mary's Church.

Book your cruise in Elafiti Islands

The Green Cave on Koločep Island

The afternoon you can spend on Koločep Island, the island of the seven pre-Romanesque churches and caves. As the cruise progresses, you will notice that the color of the Adriatic offers you a colorful spectacle of greens and blues that are idyllic. This will be the first sign of approaching Betina Cave, mostly known as the Green Cave. Here you have to dive into its greenish waters with a snorkel. Entrance is free and it is teeming with sponges, seaweed and a variety of fish.

One of the interesting facts about Zelena Spilja- Betina's original name - is that this cave is the largest of the route and very beautiful. In addition, I recommend that you write down your walk there among your things to do in Dubrovnik with children. For the little ones who like the sea, the experience is amazing. The only drawback will be how to convince them to get out of the cave. But don't worry, just let them know that the next stop in the afternoon is the famous Blue Cave.

The Blue Cave

This grotto is iridescent in the daylight. Its walls reflect the light and the effect it produces is a marine immersion surrounded by turquoise spotlights. It is a visual wonder of nature that often demands its own tour to the Blue Cave from Dubrovnik.

This cave has captured the attention of millions of people since 1884. To enter, nowadays you have to pay a supplement which is often included in the tours.

Book your Blue Cave tour

Dinner at Bar Buza

For an unforgettable evening, visit Bar Buza, a hidden gem in Dubrovnik that by Dubrovnik standards is good, nice, cheap and has good service and a panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea behind a rocky gate in the city walls.

It is located on the cliffs outside the city walls. You can watch other people diving off the cliff or lounging on the rocks before enjoying a refreshing drink at sunset. The combo is part of the things to do in Dubrovnik at night and at Buza Bar you can enjoy all of them.

In addition, you can eat some tapas accompanied by a few drinks or dine with an enviable impression. Their only sin is that they only accept cash, but with their prices, it is understandable.

Day 3: Say goodbye to Dubrovnik touring the city by zip line and kayak

Kayaking in Dubrovnik|©JZVandal
Kayaking in Dubrovnik|©JZVandal

On your third day, give yourself the opportunity to explore Dubrovnik's coastline by kayak, and enjoy a thrilling zip-line activity at sunset to bid farewell to the medieval Pearl of the Adriatic with a high-altitude experience.

Start the day with water sports

Start your third day in Dubrovnik by kayaking along the coast. You can rent it on your own or take a kayak tour with snorkeling so you can learn the location of hidden caves in addition to snorkeling. When you are ready, dive into the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. Throughout the experience you will learn about the local marine life and ecosystem.

See Dubrovnik' s spectacular landmarks from the sea, as well as the island you visited on the first day, Lokrum Island. In addition, you will be able to witness the winding walled walls that protect the city. This perspective really makes you think of this town in the Dalmatian region as a fortress stopped in time.

Book your kayak tour with snorkeling in Dubrovnik

Take a ride on a karaka

After returning from your kayaking and snorkeling tour, I recommend you travel back in time to the past and embark on a historical tour aboard a karaka, a replica of the old wooden boats that used to sail the waters of Dalmatia in the 16th century.

In the Port of Gruž you will find several options. Boatmen take you on a 45-minute sail along the coast as you immerse yourself in the fascinating maritime history of the Republic of Ragusa, known today as Dubrovnik.

You will enjoy the stunning views of the fortified city from the boat. To make the experience even more authentic, often this type of tour includes a tasting of some traditional sweets such as rožata.

Visit the monasteries, the Sponza Palace and the War Museum

After following the same route as the old merchant ships, you disembark from the Karaka to begin a walking tour of Dubrovnik's historic center. It's time to visit the sites left over from the first day! Stroll through the Dominican Monastery, the Sponza Palace, Orlando's Column and the Church of St. Blaise.

Also worth a visit is the Franciscan Monastery, a 14th century building that has been renovated several times after the earthquake of 1667. Also, note the entrance to the War Photo Limited Museum, where striking images of the city during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s are on display.

Say goodbye to Dubrovnik from the heights

Enjoy the exhilarating feeling of a sunset zip-line experience, one of the best activities in Dubrovnik, in the evening. You will be amazed as you soar above the picturesque Mount Srd, one of the 15 reasons to fall in love with Dubrovnik. From this point you can capture the best panoramas of the city, the Old Town and the surrounding islands.

And after your zip line experience, you can relax sipping a delicious bottle of Croatian wine, while an expert guide shares fascinating tidbits about the culture of Dubrovnik and Croatia in general. Relax, it's usually all one package, so drinks are usually part of the activity.

Surrender to the spectacular view of the Adriatic Sea as the sun sets on the horizon, casting a mesmerizing glow all around you. With this activity you end your 3-day itinerary through the Pearl of the Adriatic, having created memorable memories among islands, caves and movie walls.

Book your sunset zip line experience in Dubrovnik