10 Things to Do in Dubrovnik in September

From the classic visit to Mljet Island to the vibrant Trash Film Festival and the harmony of the International Music Festival, explore Dubrovnik in September when the hordes of tourists have left!

Carla Yaquer

Carla Yaquer

9 min read

10 Things to Do in Dubrovnik in September

Vista de las casas en Dubrovnik |©MorBCN

Discover the city of Ragusa in September, a unique chapter where the Adriatic jewel wakes up to mild weather, bargains on its tourist offerings and a great mix of events. From watching gladiator battles to the avant-garde screenings of the Trash Film Festival, the city breathes culture.

Enjoy the harmonious End of Summer International Music Festival; follow the Westeros route and don't forget a swimsuit for a dip in the uncrowded beaches. Admire the majesty of the Trsteno Arboretum in its splendor, learn about its history and movie sets. After the hectic August, the best things to do in Dubrovnik in September boil down to enjoying the city and the surrounding area at your leisure. What can you do? Let's see.

1. Take a cruise to the island of Mljet

Island of Mljet|©Jose Miguel
Island of Mljet|©Jose Miguel

Cruise around the island of Mljet in September, the perfect time to explore this green paradise in Croatia. Mljet National Park, considered the protected jewel of southern Dalmatia, awaits you with its lush Mediterranean landscapes, the best climate, tranquility and good deals.

Climb aboard a cruise that will take you along the Adriatic to discover this famous natural lung, noted for its pine forests, pristine lakes, and charming places such as the legendary Ulysses' Cave or the monastery of Veliko Jezero Lake.

Often, these excursions to Mljet National Park also make stops at other sites, including the town of Lopud in the Elafiti archipelago and the picturesque island of Kolocep with its crowning glory: the Blue Cave. Immerse yourself in nature, enjoy refreshing swims and walks with the first offers of the off -season, while the mild summer-autumn temperatures favor sporting activities.

Book a tour to Mljet National Park

2. Take part in the International End of Summer Music Festival

people enjoying the festival|© Jade Masri
people enjoying the festival|© Jade Masri

Discover Dubrovnik's vibrant cultural scene in September during the End of Summer International Music Festival. Capping off the high season, the city comes alive with a concert by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.

The event arose as a necessity for this capital of music, theater and literature to complement the city's own Summer Festival performances, and the community certainly embraced it, making it a classic of recent decades.

This festival has become deeply rooted in the city's musical tradition, earning the loyalty of locals and visitors alike. Concerts take place in the imposing Dubrovnik Museum, in the aula magna of the Rector's Palace or in its atrium. Often, the cooler weather and absence of crowds makes this activity the highlight of guided tours of Dubrovnik's Old Town during this month. What do you do during the day?

September is the ideal time to explore the old town and visit landmarks such as the Assumption Cathedral, Luza Square or the Franciscan Monastery and end at the Rector's Palace. Join the celebration and immerse yourself in the cultural richness of this Adriatic gem.

Book a guided tour of the old town

3. Visit the Diocletian's Palace

Diocletian's Palace Split|©Juan Andrés Hernandez
Diocletian's Palace Split|©Juan Andrés Hernandez

Embark on one of the best excursions from Dubrovnik visiting Split, the town of medieval towers and Roman ruins that preserves its Latin roots intact despite the Slavic rule.

In Split you can see the remains of the imposing refuge of the first emperor who abdicated in the world, yes, with assured retirement in front of the pristine waters of the Dalmatian coast. Today, opulence is a thing of the past. The space has been transformed into houses, residential courtyards, stores, subway warehouses and cultural spaces. It is worth getting lost in this old town of Split, far away from any imperial pomp.

Another reason to visit this area in early September is that it celebrates the end of the Days of Diocletian. During these dates it is quite common to encounter "Roman soldiers" at iconic places in the city such as the Temple of Jupiter, the Peristyle or the tower of St. Domnius Cathedral. Some of them play the role of Roman guards, while others are the fierce warriors who starred in the Gladiator games.

In addition to appreciating the architecture, in the surroundings of the Roman imperial palace that was occupied by the plebs, you can also try different types of traditional food tastings that keep alive the delicious gastronomy of yesteryear, combined with avant-garde touches.

4. Discover Lokrum Island

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

Explore Lokrum Island as you take in the panoramic views of Croatia' s iconic fortified jewel before arriving on this UNESCO World Heritage-listed island paradise.

See breathtaking cliffs overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic as you sail to Lokrum Island. Upon arrival, after a welcome from the island's free-roaming peacocks, it's time to relive King's Landing- time to explore prized filming locations from the Game of Thrones series, including the seat of the Iron Throne. You can also visit the island's popular nudist beach.

Dive into the Dead Sea and save your energy to continue to the mythical site of the tour: Betina Cave and its hidden beach under a natural cave that can only be reached by sea. In addition, you can reach the island by boat or the seasonal favorite, a kayak tour with snorkeling, one of the best activities in Dubrovnik. The views are incredible, Villa Sheherezade and the historic Lazarets are part of the imprint. And if you have chosen a tour, a guide or monitor will take you to discover the gardens, caves and ancient Benedictine monasteries without losing track of any landmark.

Book a Game of Thrones tour on Lokrum Island

5. Enjoy the disruptive approach of Trash Film Festival

Dubrovnik Film Meeting|©DubrovnikFilmMeeting
Dubrovnik Film Meeting|©DubrovnikFilmMeeting

Immerse yourself in the cinematic irreverence of the Trash Film Festival during your visit to Dubrovnik in September. This international festival highlights low-budget films, moving away from convention to give visibility to productions with emerging casts.

The event features films focused on entertainment in 4 well-defined genres, namely: martial arts, science fiction, action and horror. This is the space where the imagination of filmmakers flies and is projected before thousands of people; here, exaggeration is welcome. This event gathers professionals and amateurs alike and takes place in Varaždin, the land of the Baroque that has been dubbed Little Vienna.

With strategic stops for tourists and locals in mind, the maximum duration of the films is 60 minutes, intensifying this disruptive Croatian experience. Need more reasons to visit Varaždin in September? Varaždin Baroque Evenings, the country's most famous Baroque music festival takes place in the same month. If you are in Dubrovnik for at least 3 days, consider including a stop in Varaždin in your itinerary and enjoy its cultural scene.

6. Visit the Arboretum of Trsteno

Trsteno Arboretum|©Gregor Noczinski
Trsteno Arboretum|©Gregor Noczinski

Visit the Trsteno Arboretum in September, when this historic botanical garden is at its peak. Why visit this Renaissance oasis? This is the oldest garden on the Dalmatian Coast.

It was commissioned by a wealthy family, who in 1492 brought exotic plants and trees from all over the known world, thanks to their merchant fleet. The futuristic vision of these gardens was eco-sustainable, before the term even emerged. Walking through this garden you will find yourself surrounded by an extensive collection of Asian plane trees over 500 years old, surrounded by the facility's own aqueduct.

Explore Trsteno's two zones: the arboretum set on 18,000 m2 of land, and the surrounding forest for a total of 255,000 m2. Making your way through these gardens you will also see its 18th century baroque fountain depicting Neptune and the nymphs, a jewel among the buildings and sculptures that dot the park.

Nationalized in 1945, after surviving wars and fires, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts ensures the Arboretum is maintained today. Spend a peaceful afternoon exploring this natural and architectural treasure that is part of the best Game of Thrones tours of Dubrovnik.

Details of interest

  • Address: Potok 20, Trsteno. Approximately 20 km west of Dubrovnik.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 - 19:00 hours.
  • Price: free admission

Did you know...

In the third and fourth seasons of Game of Thrones, the Arboretum of Trsteno was the filming set for the palace gardens of the Red Keep.

7. Follow the Game of Thrones route

Porta Pile|©Carlo Columba
Porta Pile|©Carlo Columba

Let's be honest, after a decade of the Game of Thrones phenomenon, the city of Dubrovnik once again positioned itself as one of the most coveted destinations for tourists. In September, with the weather so pleasant and the streets returning to the Croatian daily life, following the path of Westeros is more than interesting, a must on your trip.

This medieval city, a World Heritage Site, is home to at least 8 outstanding scenes from Game of Thrones plus the coveted Iron Throne located on the Island of Lokrum; namely:

  • St. Lawrence Fortress or Pile Gate.
  • Zrnovnica on Perun Hill.
  • Stari Grad, in the old town of Dubrovnik.
  • Lovrijenac Fortress, better known as the 'Red Fortress'.
  • The arboretum and gardens of Trsteno.
  • The Minceta Tower.
  • The Dominican Monastery or the 'House of the Eternals'.
  • The Palace of the Rectors.

With a Game of Thrones tour of Dubrovnik you will visit these and other highlights of Dubrovnik Old Town.

Book a Game of Thrones tour

8. Swim at Dubrovnik beaches without crowds

person walking near the beach|©SyrianSindibad
person walking near the beach|©SyrianSindibad

Take a dip in the waters of the Adriatic, choose from **Dubrovnik'**s various beaches in September, when the weather retains its warmth and the crowds have thinned.

Relax on charming pebble beaches, such as Banje, just steps from the Ploce Gate, or Veliki Zal, surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation. Discover Zlatni Rat on the island of Brac, a triangle of white pebbles recommended among the best beaches in the Balkans.

Explore the small pebble beach overlooking the Lovrijenac fortress, Danče, just a few steps from Dubrovnik's old town. Fancy visiting beaches further afield? Join one of the best Dubrovnik boat tours and relax on Sunj beach, after getting to know Croatia' s three iconic caves with a blue cave tour - get ready for a peaceful and rejuvenating swim!

Book a blue cave tour

9. Watch modern gladiator battles

Spectacula Antiqua|©Jamie Heath
Spectacula Antiqua|©Jamie Heath

The Spectacvla Antiqva, takes place in the Roman Arena in Pula this month. The match is a classic that deserves to be enjoyed in this, the sixth largest arena in the world, thanks to its capacity to accommodate some 23,000 people.

During the time of the Roman Empire, gladiators used to be prisoners of war, criminals or other people trained to fight and entertain the public with their exploits. Those times are long gone, but the fighting style is still alive and well, in fact, the audience will see gladiators with their typical Ancient Roman costumes, hairstyles, weapons and other elements. Time Out reviews them as the "modern gladiators"

The Spectacvla Antiqva event takes place once a week from June to September, except during the Pula Film Festival. You can buy souvenirs, replicas of ancient Roman pottery and mosaics. If you are for at least 7 days in Dubrovnik during these dates, an excursion to Pula would be a good plan. With your walk you can also visit the Temple of Augustus, the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, the Arch of the Sergii, the Gate of Hercules and many other points of interest.

Details of interest

  • Address: Pula Amphitheater, Flavijevska ul. bb, Pula.
  • Price: from 10 €.

10. Enjoy the sunset in Dubrovnik from above

Dubrovnik sunset|©eantonio82
Dubrovnik sunset|©eantonio82

Experience the magic of Dubrovnik sunset from the heights by zip line or cable car. With the Adriatic Sea on one side and hills on the other, climb to the fort at the top for a panoramic view of Dubrovnik. From the cable car, appreciate every detail of the landscape with the serenity of the moment.

If you opt for the sunset zip line experience, you will feel the adrenaline rush as you glide at full speed with the city at your feet. At sunset, the multicolor of the changing season stands out, the red rooftops glow in the soft light, creating an even more beautiful sight. I suggest you go just before sunset, enjoy the spectacle, and take the cable car down for dinner and an extended evening experience in the old town.

Sunset zip line experience

Temperatures in Dubrovnik in September

Stradum, Dubrovnik, Croatia|©Javier Doren
Stradum, Dubrovnik, Croatia|©Javier Doren

Dubrovnik in September features mild weather, ideal for getting out and exploring the surrounding area. With highs of 24 °C and lows of 18 °C, you'll enjoy pleasantly warm and mild weather. Nights are cool, with lows of 13 °C, offering you the opportunity to stroll under a starry sky. Unlike summer, humidity decreases, providing a more comfortable environment for your adventures.

This transitional month between summer and autumn allows you to experience the city without the cruise ship crowds, while the sea water maintains its inviting temperature for one last dip. However, the recommendation is to monitor the weather on the official website to be on the safe side.