So you’ve arrived in Dubrovnik in southern Croatia at the height of summer and you’re wondering what the hell to do when there’s visitors pouring in from all corners in this busy on-peak tourism season.
Well, guess what.
It’s possible to see the most of Dubrovnik in Summer without feeling you are being swamped by tourists.
All you have to do is simply follow one of the tips I’m going to give you and before you know it, you’ll have the best relaxing vacation time of your life.
Mark and I discovered these tips for ourselves, after we arrived in the city in memorable style, and therefore we spent a relaxing four days without any moment to complain. It’s that easy.
See More: An Unexpected Arrival in Dubrovnik
1. City Walls of Dubrovnik at Sunset
Did you know that the perfect time to sightsee on the City Walls of Dubrovnik is at Sunset?
Quickly sneak in just before they close the gates to entering visitors (usually at 6pm) and enjoy the walls with the knowledge that the number of people on the walls can only fall as you undertake the epic two hour clockwise walk being amazed at the wondrous sights of the Adriatic Sea. Just remember to take your camera with you.
If you want to know more about this experience, why not check out my photo essay article?
See More: The City Walls of Dubrovnik At Sunset
2. Explore History at War Photo Limited
Looking for history whilst escaping from the Summer midday sun and the cruise tourist crowds?
Simply pop into this small side street off the main tourist street where the War Photo Limited Museum is and after paying 30 Kuna entry, you will definitely be part of a powerful experience. Beautiful exhibitions adjourn the walls of this purposely hollow feeling building as this beautifully photo gallery showcases thought-provoking and heart-wrenching pictures of the moments of the Balkan Wars in 1990s. War Photo Limited intends to expose the myth of war and reveal to you the scarily raw injustices taken place on everyone affected.
I was also felt emotional just simply taking in the moments of the Democratic Republic of Congo Conflict, which goes to show that the War Photo Limited Museum is not restricted to the Balkans War as they want to expose the brutality of war in all corners of the globe.
Well worth a visit.
3. Escape to Lokrum, Your Nature Getaway
Only 600 metres away from the Old Town Harbour of Dubrovnik lies the peaceful and forested island of Lokrum. Hourly ferries run all day with the last at 6pm as there are no hotels on Lokrum offering a peaceful getaway for the local and clever tourist.
Simply back a day back containing your swimwear, towel and a book for this lazy day in this small slice of nature. You can enjoy exploring the exotic Benedictine Monastery that is currently being restored. Or feel at one with the flora and fauna as you amble through the Botanic Garden featuring trees from South Africa and Brazil. Or perhaps you’d like to chill out on the stony beaches found there before having a cocktail at the local cafe?
But remember, when you see the sign to FKK, it means there’s a nudist beach up ahead as I found out…
4. Dine On A Luxury Budget at Dubravka 1836
Do you need luxury service, deletable food, scenic views and that perfect atmosphere as you dine in style on a budget in Dubrovnik?
Let me tell you that you shouldn’t look further than this amazing restaurant, Dubravka 1836.
Situated right next to the entrance at The Pile Gate to the old city of Dubrovnik, ask for the balcony view as you will be overawed seeing the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik, the Fort Lovrijenac, the Adriatic Sea and of course, the beautiful weather that makes Dubrovnik a special place to be.
The service was always impeccable and became the sole reason we kept coming back to this restaurant that’s on the beaten tourist track yet never busy to feel packed. Wi-Fi is free here also and perfect to snap that scenic view or your steaming plate of delicious food ready to go on your Instagram.
Their breakfasts are pretty amazing so well worth the visit before the tours arrive to get a quiet early morning to yourself.
5. Day Trip to Mostar
Did you know Dubrovnik is well placed to visit other countries only a short hop away, ideal for a day trip?
So if you’re looking for something to do while the packed tour groups wander around Dubrovnik during the best part of the day, I’d recommend you jump on a mini bus tour to either Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kotor in Montenegro or Split in Croatia.
You can find travel agencies close by wherever you are or if your hostel offers an option, simply take it with both hands. The chance to visit another new country was too much for Mark and I to bear so we booked a day tour to Mostar in Bosnia.
Mostar proved to be a great hit for the both of us as not only we visited the city on a walking and food tour, we also checked out the Bosniak culture at Medjugorje Church. All this took 10 hours, arriving back in Dubrovnik at 7pm.
If you want to know more about my Mostar Trip, click on the link below:
See More: Mostar: A Day Trip of Bosniak Culture (Coming Soon)
6. Stay at Fresh Sheets Hostel where Tyrion of Game of Thrones Stayed
Let’s face it, you’re in Game of Thrones country. It’s pretty inevitable that you will be checking out the fantasy series’ locations and associations. So, how about staying in Fresh Sheets Hostel, where their most famous guest, Tyrion Lannister slept here. (I mean, passed out on the sofa here.)
Voted as the third best seasonal hostel worldwide by Hostelworld, it’s easy to see why everyone raves about this place. It’s tucked away in the street maze of Old Town Dubrovnik, offering charming experience for lucky residents who acquired a bed in this hostel. The staff are user-friendly, offering invaluable advice before organising relaxing social evenings in the common room of this small hostel. Meanwhile, the 6 bed dorm room is bright and airy, creating a wonderful experience for those looking to live like a local in Dubrovnik.
But be warned, Fresh Sheets is extremely popular in Summer. Remember to book well in advance.
7. Buza Bar For Dubrovnik Evening Entertainment
Perched precariously on the sea-side of Dubrovnik Old City Walls lies a rocky outcrop that holds the quirky Buza Bar. This is where you can get your evening entertainment started by cracking open a bottle of the good stuff and watch the sunset go down below the horizon of the Adriatic Sea. There’s even steps leading down to a small mini-beach although it can be crowded.
During the day, it is absolutely packed but by early evening, many of the tourists will have simply wandered off, offering you a great choice of tables to pick from. It’s definitely the best way to wind down after a day of pleasant sightseeing in Dubrovnik.
8. Go on a Late Game of Thrones Tour
Streams of Game of Thrones fans pour into Dubrovnik during the day making it impossible to sidle through the Pile Gate as they re-enact scenes from the popular fantasy series. So, it comes to no surprise that there will be tours for them to check out exterior sets and small corners of the Old City that readily serves as the fictional King’s Landing.
So obviously, as a Game of Thrones enthusiast myself (I cried horrendously on a bus in Australia at the ending of one of the books. So much so, I got given a handkerchief by the person who sat next to me), I signed up to one of them. I decided to get a late tour at 3pm as there would be less chance to get swamped by tourists and also that the weather would be much cooler. (I still got burnt).
You are then traipsed around the Old City Walls to small harbours to Fort Lovrijenac and back into the city to check out these sets. I was slightly underwhelmed by it all as the Croatian guide simply held aloft pictures from the series and thus you could compare to how it looks normally.
It’s not for me but for the excited Game of Thrones fan, it’s perfect. Just don’t forget to wear Game of Thrones memorabilia like me.
9. Eat Cheap Balkan Food At Taj Mahal Bosnian Cuisine for Lunch
Seriously recommended by our Lonely Planet Guidebook, we opted to get lunch at Taj Mahal Bosnian Cuisine Restaurant within the Old Town, tucked away in a secretive small alley. And by god, we were glad we went to this!
Taj Mahal had literally the best food we’ve eaten throughout our 17 day backpacking trip around Croatia. Ordering a round of Cevapici, grilled meat in sausage like shapes in flatbread, the taste sensationally alights your tastebuds that you find yourself ordering more! But what makes this dining experience so delightful is that you are simply away from the busy tourist streets and you can relax around the small tables in the quaint alleyway in front of the restaurant. Inside, it feels like Aladdin’s cave but I recommend that you eat outside.
However, as it is a small restaurant, it may be wise to book a table ahead in advance. Just simply turn up before your sightseeing trip for the morning and book before working yourself to hunger to devour their delicious goods.
10. Sipping a Cocktail on Top of Srd Mount with Stunning Panoramic Views
Overlooking Dubrovnik is Srd Mount. It may look a bit barren save for dots of small leaved trees, but at the summit, lies a stunning secret. You have two options to get to the top. You can either hike it for a couple of hours (I didn’t) or you can simply catch the Dubrovnik Cable Car, only five minutes walk away from Pile Gate. (That, I did). Crossing the ‘ferryman’s palm’ with silver (100 kuna/£9 for a round trip), you are swiftly taken up to the top, dangling at high heights, that also gives you an appreciative view of the Old Republican City of Ragusa laying before you.
There is a restaurant at Cable Car Station up on the summit displayed around on wide balconies. But don’t eat here, it’s really expensive. Simply ask for a standing table where you can order a round of Cocktails to ensure you can make the most of the view of the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum.
But remember to go at sunset, it was truly an epic sight to behold.
11. Stay Quietly in Marker Hostel Just Yards Away From Prime Tourist Hotspots
Perhaps you don’t want to stay in the Old City of Dubrovnik (because of expensive prices) but yet you still want to be close to the main sight attractions. Hostel Marker is recommended as it is just mere yards away from the Pile Gate yet hidden away next to the shore of the small bay. Hostel Marker is budget to a b and definitely offers all the basics you essentially need. But it is not luxury so be warned. Mark and I stayed in a two bunk bed dorm and we found it was adequate to our needs and more importantly, it was quiet and within a very short walking distance to Pile Gate, the main entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik.
We would also like to mention that the owner is an extremely friendly guy and will offer you the best deals to go on day trips to either Montenegro and Bosnia.
12. Quiet Reflections in St Ignatius Church
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle, simply climb the arduous baroque stairs to reach a square where the Church of St Ignatius resides. The square may not look the best you’ve ever seen but as soon as you enter the church, you’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. Take a pew and rejoice in the quiet space as you reflect on your life.
Plus, it’s a great setting for a gorgeous pic!
13. Start at Pile Gate First Thing in the Morning
Now that you’ve heard of Pile Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town of Dubrovnik, you’re probably wondering why it’s so special. It’s basically crowd control in medieval times. One don’t simply just walk into the Old Town, you simply have to meander around a sort of maze to get in. It’s utterly perfect to experience and view but only first thing in the morning. Why? The rest of the day, it’s teeming with visitors and locals both trying to get in and out.
If you can dress up as medieval soldiers and video a scene, please do send me it!
14. Hitting the Heat at Fort Lovrijenac
Okay, let’s get this straight. You’re in one of the most gorgeous countries in the world, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it’s summer loving with high scorching temperatures. You’re gonna want to sunbathe on a beach, right?
So you’ll want to go to Banje Beach? Oh dear, god, no. In Summer, you’ll be easily irritated because you can’t find a nice spot to lay out your towel. That’s right, it’s busy. Also, Banje Beach won’t be authentic. Think holiday resort style with no local flavours.
So where should you go?
The beach with no name. Seriously, I couldn’t find any mention of what this beach is called.
Between the Old City Walls and Fort Lovrijenac, there lies a very small bay that’s hidden in plain sight. You may think you have found it easily when you hug the shoreline from the city but actually, this bay is only accessible through a wooden gate. If you can find it. In here, you’ll find a lovely shaded cafe overlooking the bay and the water is cool and refreshing to the touch. There’s even a diving off point that many locals take advantage of.
You want to know where it is? I can’t. I’ve given you the clues, you must got to find it.
15. Discovering Fort Lovrijenac
Last but not least, it’s Fort Lovrijenac.
If you’re stuck what to do during the day because of annoying cruise ship tourists flooding the old town, then the Fort is your best bet. Situated outside the city, perched on a rocky outcrop that’s nicknamed ‘Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar,’ Fort Lovrijenac is famous for its theatre plays and its rebellion against Venetian rule when Dubrovnik was called Ragusa.
But after you traverse the high and unsteady steps, it’s a surreal experience exploring the Fort because you just don;t know where you might end up at. I got lost quite a view times. However, once you reach the roof, you are presented with another viewpoint of Dubrovnik. Now, let me tell you, you’ll never get bored looking at Dubrovnik. It;s just so god damn beautiful.
But remember this recommendation from me, buy an All ticket as you’ll be able to see the City Walls of Dubrovnik as well with this ticket. Bargain!
So there you have it, 15 ways to make the most of Dubrovnik in Summer. What I want you to do now is use one of these tips and tell me in the comments below if you found it useful.
Or perhaps, you have another tip that you think should be included on here? If you do, tell me below. I’ll answer to your every comment and I hope that this year you’ll have an amazing time in Dubrovnik in Summer.
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