How to Spend One Day in Dubrovnik: A Perfect Itinerary

by Sam
A panoramic view of Dubrovnik's old town, showcasing the dense cluster of terracotta rooftops, with the Adriatic Sea in the background and the lush Lokrum island off the coast. The overcast sky adds a dramatic tone to this scenic cityscape

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Oh, Dubrovnik, what a gem! Rarely can a city possess such natural beauty. Perched along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, this Croatian treasure of the south oozes qualities that attract millions of visitors per year. 

While Game of Thrones exploded Dubrovnik into world fame, it is the city that leaves an impression on its visitors and has slowly become a fan favourite across Europe. 

I spent a thrilling one day in Dubrovnik, which left me no choice but to book an extended trip straight away, and I have not looked back ever since. 

Whether you’re taste-testing the city’s Mediterranean seafood or exploring its famous city walls, there are more than enough activities to fill up your Dubrovnik itinerary. 

This guide will show you how to spend a day in Dubrovnik, with insider tips and the best places to eat and drink.

Is one day in Dubrovnik enough time?

Many people always ask the question, is one day in Dubrovnik enough time? And the answer is absolutely! One day is enough time to see and explore Dubrovnik’s main highlights. 

If you plan to spend longer there, there are many places to visit from Dubrovnik that you can add to your itinerary.

However, if you are just visiting the Old Town on a cruise ship or from a nearby town or city, all you need is one day. 

What to do in Dubrovnik in one day

1. Walk along the City Walls

Cost: €35 (Free with Dubrovnik City Pass) 

One of the most popular things to do in Dubrovnik is to walk around the City Walls. 

This magnificent structure is renowned for being one of the best in Europe. Dubrovnik’s Old City Walls were built to protect the city from invaders and, to this day, have never been breached by any armies attacking the city. 

View of Dubrovnik's outer city walls towering over the Adriatic Sea, with red-tiled roofs of old town buildings against a serene sky

There is no real perfect time to walk around the walls for your Dubrovnik itinerary, although I highly recommend walking around in the morning before the mid-day crowds start to rack in and the heat starts to intensify. 

I’d prioritise venturing around the walls when the sun is out so you can see the glow across those orange terracotta rooftops. Sunset is also a beautiful time to walk around them! 

The city walls are 2 km (1.2 miles) in length, and it takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to walk around at a steady pace.

A picturesque view of Dubrovnik's Old Town from the city walls, showcasing terracotta rooftops, the Adriatic Sea, and the historic city walls under a partly cloudy sky. A cruise ship and smaller boats can be seen near the harbour.
I recommend bringing some comfortable walking shoes to help make it a more comfortable walk.

Along the walls are refreshment stands for a stop-off, plus a cocktail bar, because who could pass up the chance to have a Passion fruit martini with gorgeous panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea?

There are 3 exit points throughout the walk if it proves a struggle. However, I warn you now: the views of the Old Town will convincingly transfix you back to your walk. 

Tickets for the City Walls can be purchased at a Dubrovnik tourist office or online. The price includes one free entry to Fort Lovrijenac.

An elevated view of Dubrovnik's Old Town, showcasing the dense array of terracotta rooftops, various church domes and bell towers, under a sky dotted with fluffy clouds. The historic architecture spreads towards the Adriatic Sea, highlighting the city's well-preserved medieval charm

2. Venture around the Old Town

The Old Town is the city’s biggest highlight. With only one day in Dubrovnik, its medieval architecture, cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways are just too good to miss.

You can access the Old Town through three gates: Pile Gate, Ploce Gate and Buza Gate. 

If you walk through Pile Gate, you’ll start in the Stradun, the Old Town’s long street lined with establishments and adorned with the city’s bell tower. 

Pedestrians stroll down the Stradun, Dubrovnik's main limestone-paved thoroughfare, flanked by buildings and shops, under a partially cloudy sky with the sun peeking through, creating a serene early evening ambiance.

Just to the right of the Stradun entrance by Pile Gate is Onofrio’s Large Fountain, where you can get refillable water.

Don’t worry; the water is perfectly drinkable

Aerial view of Onofrio's Large Fountain in Dubrovnik, Croatia, showing the distinctive circular architecture with visitors walking around and enjoying the old town square on a sunny day

The Dubrovnik Old Port is one of the main highlights of the Old Town. Here, boats circle the harbour, and there is a footpath that takes you around the Old Town’s outskirts next to the city walls.

Note: The Old Town Port is also where the boat departs for Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik

For a lovely view of the harbour, exit the Old Town from Ploce Gate and walk until you can see it from the side. The outside terrace of Gradska Kavana Arsenal Restaurant also gives you a gorgeous view of the harbour. 

The picturesque Old Harbour of Dubrovnik, captured from the Ploče Gate during twilight. The historical fortress walls are illuminated, bordering the calm Adriatic Sea which hosts an array of boats and yachts, while the warm glow of street lights reflects gently on the water's surface.
It’s even prettier at night, illuminated with the lamp lights around the city walls. 

I recommend walking for 30 minutes to 1 hour around the narrow streets of the Old Town and seeing what you can find. There is so much to be awed by as you inevitably get lost in this stunning UNESCO Heritage Site. 

Narrow stone-paved street ascending between aged limestone buildings in Old Town Dubrovnik, with air conditioning units on walls and a red lantern hanging to the left.

3. Visit the Old Town’s historical monuments 

Throughout the Old Town of Dubrovnik, there are many museums that offer a historical dive into the city. 

Here are some of the highlights that should only take 1-2 hours together to explore – all within a 1-minute walk from each other; 

Rector’s Palace

Cost: €15 (Free with Dubrovnik Pass)

The Rectors Palace served as the residence of the Rector from the 14th century to 1808, when Dubrovnik was its own state known as the Republic of Ragusa. Rectors were essentially the country’s majors and made all significant decisions for the state. 

Rector’s Palace saw over 5,000+ rectors elected over 450 years due to one rule: they must only be in power for over one month – A rule set to prevent corruption and make it fair among other royals wanting a chance to rule. 

While you walk around the palace, you’ll get a glimpse of what life was like for each state leader and see the palace’s significance for the Republic of Ragusa. 

The palace was also a filming location for Game of Thrones. These baroque stairs feature in Season 2 Episode 6, “The Old Gods and the New”, when Daenerys meets the Spice King as she tries to negotiate for ships to transport her army across the Narrow Sea. 

You can purchase tickets to Rector’s Palace at the ticket station by the entrance.

Elegant stone staircase and arched walkways within the Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik, known as a filming location for 'Game of Thrones', with visitors exploring the historical site.

Franciscan Church and Monastery

Cost: The church is free to enter! €4.50 for the Monastery (Free with Dubrovnik Pass)

The Franciscan Church and Monastery is one of the prettiest little buildings in the Old Town. 

Alongside many other buildings in the Old Town, it has been reconstructed multiple times over the years due to war or earthquakes that have occurred in the city.

Inside the church, you’ll find the artefact Marble Pulpit, which survived the devastating earthquake in 1667.

The pharmacy, the library, and, of course, the cloister are the church’s highlights, with the cloister of the monastery being by far my favourite part.

It is one of the most serene areas of the Old Town, featuring beautiful Romanesque architecture along an array of tall columns and a garden oasis. The gardens have benches to sit, relax and watch the world fly by. 

You can purchase tickets for Franciscan Monastery at the ticket station inside.

Courtyard of the Franciscan Monastery in Dubrovnik, featuring a central fountain, surrounding columns, vibrant bougainvillea, and palm trees under a partly cloudy sky.

Sponza Palace

Cost: €3.32

During the Ragusa era, the Sponza Palace acted as the customs house. Merchants up and down Dubrovnik brought their goods to the palace to be taxed before distributing them to customers.

A serene day outside the Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik, with tourists meandering around the historical square framed by classical architecture and a cobblestone pavement gleaming under the soft sunlight.
Its exterior has these long columns where you can get a great framed picture of Old Town.

Inside Sponza palace are archives that hold old documents of Dubrovnik, including manuscripts and records dating back to the 14th century.

Fun fact: The Sponza Palace is a prime location for weddings and has a space large enough to host a ceremony for up to 150 people. 

You can purchase tickets to Sponza Palace at the front entrance.

Interior view of Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik featuring stone columns, arches, and patterned flooring, with natural light illuminating the historical architecture.

Church of St. Blaise

Cost: Free

The Church of St Blaise has endured brutal turmoil over the years, with its current form constructed in 1715. It has been a long-standing symbol of religious importance and history in Dubrovnik. 

Its exterior stands tall throughout the Old Town, built in this beautiful Baroque style that entices you to walk inside.

Inside, you’ll find a huge altar with a detailed statue of St Blaise adorned with a lovely church interior.  

Exterior of the Church of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik, displaying Baroque architecture with ornate stone carvings and statues, under a partly cloudy sky. A person is crouching in the square, capturing the moment.
Visitors can see the blue dome of St. Blaise’s from most locations within the Old Town.

Other museums worth visiting (1 hour)

  • Maritime Museum: Free with the Dubrovnik Pass (Duration – 20 minutes).
  • Dubrovnik Cathedral: Admission is free (Duration – 10 minutes).
  • Ethnographic Museum: Free with the Dubrovnik Pass (Duration – 20 minutes).
  • Church of St. Ignatius: Admission is free (Duration – 10 minutes).

The Dubrovnik Discovery and History tour (1.5 – 2 hours) is a brilliant way to explore the best Dubrovnik monuments with a highly knowledgeable guide.

We had an absolute blast with our tour guide, Josip. He really knows his stuff about Dubrovnik!

4. Take a Game of Thrones Tour of Dubrovnik

It is no secret that Dubrovnik was the filming location for Game of Thrones, representing the city of Kings Landing. 

Since season 2 took place in 2012, Dubrovnik has had record numbers of fans come from across the globe to experience George R. R. Martin’s world through the city. 

If you are coming for the show, be ready for constant Deja Vu, as there are many Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik

Some of the top locations include Jesuit Stairs, the filming location for Cersei’s Walk of Shame, in Season 5 Episode 10, “Mothers Mercy”.

The iconic Jesuit Staircase in Dubrovnik, known as a filming location for the "Game of Thrones" series, leading up to a stately building with Baroque architecture under a partly cloudy sky. Stone buildings with wooden shutters flank the staircase, adding to the historical charm of this popular tourist spot.

The Dubrovnik west harbour and pier also played the part of Blackwater Bay, which is seen in many episodes, including the scene between Sansa, Littlefinger, and Shae in Season 3 Episode 1, “Valar Dohaeris”.

It is also featured in the very last scene between Jon Snow and the Stark children in Season 8 Episode 6, “The Iron Throne”, when Jon says his final goodbyes.  

Tourists stroll on a stone port in Dubrovnik, Croatia, also known as Blackwater Bay from "Game of Thrones", with the historic Lovrijenac Fortress rising to the right on a cliff, overseeing a red kayak and leisure boats in the calm harbour waters.

I highly recommend joining a Game of Thrones tour for the complete Game of Thrones experience in Dubrovnik. 

Even if you’re not a fan of the show, the tours take you around many of Dubrovnik’s main treasures, including Rector’s Palace and Fort Lovrijenac (The Red Keep) and explain their significance to the city. You’ll learn more than just the lore of Westeros. 

The majority of tours last no longer than 2 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to tick off the rest of your itinerary.

5. Visit Fort Lovrijenac

Cost:  €15 (Free with the Dubrovnik City Walls ticket) 

Fort Lovrijenac, also known as St. Lawrence Fortress, is one of the best places to visit in Dubrovnik.

Adjacent to the City Walls and perched on a 37m high cliff, this tall structure was also used as the city’s defence against sieges, spotting any threat coming from the Adriatic Sea. 

Fort Lovrijenac doubles as the filming location for the Red Keep of King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. Many scenes during the early seasons of the show were filmed here, including Joffrey’s name day.  

To find Fort Lovrijenac from the Old Town, you’ll need to walk from Pile Gate in the direction of the Dubrovnik West Harbour till you get to steps that go towards the fortress.

View of Fort Lovrijenac perched atop a rocky cliff in Dubrovnik, with people ascending the stone stairway against a backdrop of blue skies and a sailing boat on the water.
Steps leading to Fort Lovrijenac.

Inside the fortress are many rooms and corridors with old stone walls. Although the rooms don’t have much inside, they are worth seeing to imagine the fortress from the perspective of the soldiers who used to roam around here.

The fortress’s most popular area is the triangular courtyard in its middle, surrounded by the inner walls. This spot is where Dubrovnik’s summer theatre festival, “Midsummer Scene“, takes place every year.

Sunlit courtyard of Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik with robust stone walls and arches, where a lone person stands on the upper battlements overlooking the area.

Note: For Game of Thrones enthusiasts, it’s also the filming location for Cersei and Littlefinger’s “Power is Power” scene.

My favourite part of Fort Lovrijenac is the outside battlements, which include the cannons and one of the best panoramic views of the Old Town.

Get your camera ready, for you might be a while. 

6. Relax or visit a local beach

“Croatia is home to many of Europe’s most scenic beaches, with Dubrovnik featuring some of the top ones on its list. That said, it would be a crime not to visit one during your Dubrovnik itinerary.

The beaches in Dubrovnik are mostly pebbly, but you can hire sun loungers for a more comfortable experience.

The city’s most famous beach, Banje, is only a 5-minute walk from Ploce Gate and usually picks up all the crowds from the Old Town.

What makes Banje special is the panorama you get of the Old Town. Even if you don’t plan to rest there, it is worth visiting for those postcard-worthy views.

Panoramic view of Banje Beach in Dubrovnik, with the historic city walls and clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, as beachgoers enjoy the sun and sea.
A panoramic view of Banje Beach and a backdrop of the Dubrovnik Old Town

If you plan to stay longer than 24 hours in Dubrovnik, then I recommend heading farther out of the Old Town to Plaža Sveti Jakov.

Even though it doesn’t have a close view of the Old Town, it is a much quieter beach, a lot cheaper for rentals, and controversial to say, but it’s more scenic. 

Sunset at Sveti Jakov Beach, Dubrovnik, with the sun dipping below the horizon, silhouetting beachgoers and boats against an orange sky, while shadows stretch across the sandy shore lined with lounge chairs.
A beautiful sunset at Sveti Jakov Beach.

7. Kayak along the Adriatic Sea

Well, one thing is already clear: Dubrovnik’s crystal waters are both pristine and refreshing, and there is no better way to explore them than by sea kayaking. 

This is one of the most popular activities in Dubrovnik. Right next to Pile Harbour, there are tens, if not hundreds, of kayaks lined up next to rental stations.

Kayakers enjoying the clear waters near the base of Dubrovnik's Pile Harbour, with the city's ancient fortress walls towering overhead under a clear blue sky.

My partner and I went on a guided kayaking tour, and despite always saying how strenuous and tiring it was, it was a highly rewarding experience. 

Not only did we conquer our fears of doing an ounce of exercise, but we also got some gorgeous views of Dubrovnik in the process. 

During your kayaking tour, you’ll go around the city walls, see nearby Dubrovnik sights, and potentially kayak around Lokrum Island. The tour lasts at least 3 hours, and trips are available late in the morning, afternoon, and sunset.

Based on our experience, I recommend choosing a time slot based on the weather situation and what you have left on your Dubrovnik itinerary. I don’t recommend kayaking in the blazing heat!

8. Take a Cable Car up Mount Srd at Sunset (or hike)

Watching over the Old Town of Dubrovnik like a hawk is Mount Srd, standing at 400m above sea level. What the other Dubrovnik locations had in views, nothing beats this vista. 

Expect panoramic sights at every glance, enhanced more with the Mediterranean sunset. 

A breathtaking sunset view from Mount Srd, overlooking the coastal city of Dubrovnik with a scattered islands horizon, as vibrant pink and orange hues blend into the twilight sky above the Adriatic Sea

To get to Mount Srd, you can take a cable car or hike up there. Although the Mount Srd hike is an opportunity that is too good to miss, taking the cable car for your day itinerary would be wise if you’re limited on time. 

You can purchase cable car tickets at the lower station or pre-book them online. From November to February, the cable car is closed, so hiking up there would be your only option during those months. 

9. Enjoy a meal with a panoramic view

While you soak up the sunset views, why not treat yourself to a delicious meal to go with them? 

Atop Mount Srd is Restaurant Panorama, a restaurant perched right above the Old Town. It offers one of the most magical views you’ll see during your day in Dubrovnik. 

A panoramic view from a high vantage point overlooking the old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia, with the Adriatic Sea in the background. A lush green island and boats can be seen on the water, while terracotta rooftops dominate the town's landscape
My view of the Dubrovnik Old Town from my table just before sunset.

Top tip: I highly recommend booking restaurants in Dubrovnik way in advance, as many restaurants will require you to pre-book your seat position. This is one of my key travel tips for visiting Dubrovnik.

I was able to secure a front-row terrace seat at the restaurant and get the best view of the Old Town from the outdoor seating.

However, I booked almost 1 month in advance and was lucky enough to secure it! 

Important information for your day in Dubrovnik

While seeing all the highlights in less than 24 hours in Dubrovnik can sound daunting and unachievable, it is easily done if you plan ahead and travel efficiently.

How to get around Dubrovnik

The city of Dubrovnik can be explored easily on foot, with most attractions within walking distance. No vehicles can pass through the Old Town, so walking around is the only way, and it is much better for it! 

If you need public transport to and from the Old Town, the A1 bus station (the main station) is right next to Pile Gate. You can also check out the Dubrovnik bus map, which will help you navigate around the city by bus. 

Best time to visit Dubrovnik

To avoid the inevitable crowds, the best time to visit Dubrovnik is during the shoulder months. I’d try to refrain from visiting in the Summer as it’s Dubrovnik’s busiest time of the year. 

For even fewer crowds, I highly recommend checking the current Dubrovnik cruise schedule and avoiding visiting on a day when cruise ships are in dock. 

If you are visiting from a cruise, try to head to the Old Town as quickly as possible in the morning before the majority of passengers disembark. 

Most of the crowds leave after 5 p.m., which I believe is when Dubrovnik transitions into its most beautiful phase. At night, the Old Town lights up, the cobblestone streets glow, and the Old Town guards come out, enhancing the overall Medieval vibe. 

A bustling evening scene at the Jesuit Stairs in Dubrovnik, with people descending the famous stone steps amidst historic buildings. The warm glow of street lights illuminates the vibrant nightlife and rich architectural heritage.
Jesuit stairs at night.

Purchasing the Dubrovnik 1 day pass

The Dubrovnik pass gives you free access to many attractions in Dubrovnik, plus discounts on local eateries and tours.   

I highly recommend it for a budget-friendly saver during your one day in Dubrovnik. The city walls of Dubrovnik cost €35 to enter alone, which is the exact cost of the pass.

If you plan to visit the city walls anyway, you will essentially be getting the other attractions free of cost. You can purchase the pass from any tourist office around the Old Town or do so online.

Where to eat and drink in Dubrovnik 

Dubrovnik is brimming with top-quality restaurants, bars, and cafes where you can enjoy a nice, lovely time out. In addition to Restaurant Panorama, here are some of the good restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from during your day in Dubrovnik. 

  • Restaurant 360: This Michelin-starred restaurant offers delicious food and gorgeous views of the Old Port. It is located next to Ploce Gate. 
  • Nautika: Voted the third most romantic restaurant in the world by Big 7 Travel, this restaurant offers unparalleled views of Fort Lovrijenac and delicious food.
  • Stara Loza: It is located within the walls of the Old Town, above Prijeko Palace, and is renowned for its great rooftop views and seafood selection.
  • Buza Bar: Referred to as the ‘Hole in the wall,’ Buza Bar is one of Old Town’s hidden gems. With cocktails and an outside terrace perched on a cliffside overlooking the Adriatic, what’s not to love? Plus, you can dive right into the water from your table because why not? 
  • Dubravka 1836 restaurant & café: Part of the Nautika restaurant chain, this restaurant offers a brilliant location for a morning coffee, lunch or dinner. Its outdoor seating provides lovely views overlooking Pile Harbour.
Iced coffee with whipped cream in the foreground, overlooking the circular Fort Bokar and the Adriatic Sea from the terrace of Dubravka 1836 restaurant & café in Dubrovnik, under a clear blue sky.
Great view of Pile Harbour from Dubravka 1836 restaurant & café.

Key tip: If you are on a low budget for food during your day in Dubrovnik, head to the street vendors around the Old Town that sell cheap takeout food.

Barba and Food Bar Guloso are brilliant options for street food. I also went to Mlinar for a quick snack. They do takeout pastries, and I managed to pick up a Burek, which was delicious. 

Final thoughts

Well, there you have it! I hope this guide helps you have a magical day in Dubrovnik, as I did. It didn’t take much convincing to book an extended trip to see it again and again. 

There is something magical within those walls that just entices you back in! Whether it’s the medieval vibe that brings out my inner excitement for my fantasy world obsession or those crystal clear waters and the orange terracotta rooftops for those postcard views. 

Dubrovnik really has everything in its locker, and best of all, its highlights can be explored in just one day!  

Spending longer in Dubrovnik? Check out:

Exploring Montenegro: The Ultimate Kotor Day Trip from Dubrovnik

A Perfect Day Out From Dubrovnik to Cavtat

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