Dubrovnik itinerary in 3 days
While Dubrovnik may have become popular due to the filming of Game of Thrones, this ancient city on the southern coast of the Adriatic in Croatia is steeped in history. The charming Old Town is encircled with a massive stone wall. The city is well-preserved with historical sites, residences and many shops and restaurants. In the summer months it can get extremely crowded with tourists and cruise ships so I highly recommend visiting off season. We were there in May and, while still crowded, it was very manageable.
We headed to Dubrovnik after three days on the beautiful island of Korcula. We took a water taxi from Korcula to Orebić, where we met our guide/driver who spent the day touring with us and dropped us off in Dubrovnik.
We arrived In Orebic, a small port town on the Adriatic by water taxi from the island of Korcula. Our guide, Julija Antunovik from Dubrovnik Driving Guide, was lovely and very knowledgable. Our day started with a drive along the Peljesac Peninsula, which juts out diagonally onto the Adriatic, north of Dubrovnik. This area is home to small towns such as Ston and is famous for its wines – particularly from the Plavac Mali grape – as well as its oysters.
Our first stop was one of the oldest wineries in the area, Miloš Winery, owned by a father and his two sons. The newly built modern wine cellar, the old wine cellar and the tasting room are carved into the rocky mountainside, giving this tour a special ambiance. We had an informative tour and had some very generous and delicious tastings led by one of the owners' sons.
We continued along the coast to the towns of Ston and Mali Ston, located just a couple of kilometres apart. Mali Ston is the smaller of the two towns but is steeped in a lot of history. The two towns are connected by a 5.5 kilometer long wall which is the longest defence wall outside of China. The construction of the wall began in 1333. However, the fortification was not completed until 400 years later. In addition to the foundation walls, this fortification includes 3 forts, 7 bastions and 41 towers, some of which are still well-preserved. Although we didn't get a chance to do it, you can walk the length of the wall and there's a section that will take you from Ston to Mali Ston. There are beautiful views from the top of the wall.
The historic town of Ston sits on a canal and is made up of medieval streets and squares. It was lovely to walk around and see some of the historical sites. The oldest salt works in Europe are also located in Ston. Laid out by the Romans, the “white gold” brought prosperity to the region. Salt is still produced here.
The picturesque town of Mali Ston is beautifully situated on the Malistonski Canal and is famous for its oyster and shellfish farming. Julija arranged for us to go out on the boat of one of the local oyster farmers to see the nets and try some oysters straight out of the sea along with some wine. This was a very fun excursion.
After stopping for a casual lunch we continued our travels to Dubrovnik and stopped to walk around the Trsteno Arboretum. This was the renaissance summer residence of a noble family, with a lush garden which has been cultivated from the 15th century to the present day. The beautiful garden includes the elegant residence, an aqueduct, a mill, the fountain with Neptune and nymphs and the belvedere pavilion overlooking the sea and islands. It is stunning and over the years it has been the location of several television and movie shoots including the Game of Thrones.
From there we continued our travels along the coast to Dubrovnik. We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Kompas. This hotel is more of a resort along the shores of the Adriatic. It is located in the Lapad Beach area of Dubrovnik which is around a 15 minute convenient bus ride to the Old Town. The hotel has very well appointed, modern and large rooms. Our room had a nice balcony with beautiful views. There is a lovely pool area and good breakfast.
This evening we had a reservation at Taj Mahal Hotel Lero. The name of this restaurant is deceiving. This is not an Indian restaurant. It is a family owned restaurant serving homemade Bosnian cuisine. The food is delicious and the atmosphere very pleasant.
This hotel is more of a resort along the shores of the Adriatic. It is located in the Lapad Beach area of Dubrovnik which is around a 15 minute convenient bus ride to the Old Town. The hotel has very nice, modern and large rooms. Our room had a nice balcony with beautiful views. There is a lovely pool area and good breakfast.
Taj Mahal Hotel Lero. The name of this restaurant is deceiving. This is not an Indian restaurant. It is a family owned restaurant serving homemade Bosnian cuisine. The food is delicious and the atmosphere very pleasant. We loved it so much we went there twice for dinner. Highly recommend. They also have a location in Old Town.
Pantarul. This restaurant was an easy walk from our hotel. It was a real treat. They serve modern Croatian food including fresh fish and locally sourced meat and vegetables.
Boccapiena. When you're ready for a refreshing, cold snack while walking around Dubrovnik Old Town, head straight to Boccapiena for some gelato. The Greek Yogurt and Passionfruit flavour changed my life! I've never had such a tasty gelato. I went back multiple times. I couldn't get enough!
Tours and Guides
Dubrovnik Driving Guide. I highly recommend Julija Antunovik from Dubrovnik Driving Guide. We spent two days with her. She was very knowledgeable about the history of Croatia, she was fun to be with and she was an excellent driver. She helped me put together a wonderful itinerary with lots of suggestions for the two days.
Tours By Locals - Darko. We did a very informative walking tour of Old Town Dubrovnik with Darko. We learnt a lot about the history of Dubrovnik. The tour included a walk along the walls.
Dubrovnik Modern Art Gallery. This gallery is located on a hill, east of the Old Town inside an old palace with Gothic architecture. It showcases paintings and sculptures by Croatian artists. There is a gorgeous sea facing sculpture garden on the first floor with terraces overlooking the Old Town.
Modern Art Gallery in Rectors Palace. The Modern Art Gallery has a small satellite location inside the Rectors Palace in the Old Town. It's easy to pop in and have a look. The collection is small but they sometimes has special exhibits.
Following breakfast this morning our guide, Drako from Tours by Locals, picked us up at our hotel and drove us to Old Town Dubrovnik. After a brief introduction at the Old Town entrance, we climbed the stairs to the City Walls. We walked along the walls which are approximately two kilometers long, with stops at many forts and towers. Drako explained the history of the city and pointed out many of the landmarks from above. The views were beautiful and really gave us an idea of the layout of the city before touring around on the ground.
Once we descended the walls, Drako walked with us along the Stradun, the limestone-paved pedestrian main street. We learnt about the political history of Dubrovnik, which was a city-state that lived in harmony with its neighbours for centuries. There are many beautiful buildings within the city walls including:
The Rector's Palace, which served as the seat of the Rector as well as the office of the governing council and the state administration.
The beautiful Dominican Monastery with its garden courtyard and artwork.
The 16th century Sponza Palace.
The churches and fountains.
The old Jewish quarter and the Dubrovnik Synagogue which is the oldest Sefardic synagogue still in use today in the world and the second oldest synagogue in Europe.
We had a very informative and busy morning with Drako.
We decided to have a casual bite to eat for lunch so we stopped at one of the local bakeries inside the Old Town and bought a couple of bureks - cheese and spinach for me and meat filled for my husband. We sat on a bench and enjoyed the yummy pastries.
From there we decided to visit the Dubrovnik Modern Art Gallery. This gallery is located on a hill, east of the Old Town inside an old palace with Gothic architecture. It showcases paintings and sculptures by Croatian artists. There is a gorgeous sea-facing sculpture garden on the first floor with terraces overlooking the Old Town.
We headed back to Old Town and went into the Modern Art Gallery in Rectors Palace, which is a small satellite location of the Modern Art Gallery inside the Rectors Palace in the Old Town. It's easy to pop in and have a quick look. The collection is small but they sometimes have special exhibits.
It was very hot outside and I was in desperate need of a cool, refreshing snack. So before we started our way back to the hotel we stopped at Boccapiena. The Greek Yogurt and Passionfruit flavour gelato at this shop changed my life! I've never had such a tasty gelato. I went back multiple times. I couldn't get enough!
Once we arrived back at our hotel we decided to go down to the pool area to take a dip in the pool and have a drink and snack. We enjoyed relaxing by the pool.
For dinner we booked a neighbourhood restaurant, not far from the hotel. Pantarul was an easy walk from our hotel. They serve modern Croatian food including fresh fish and locally sourced meat and vegetables. It was a real treat.
This morning we decided to visit Mount Srd, where you will find the most beautiful panoramic views of Dubrovnik, the Adriatic and some of the islands. We took the bus from our hotel to the Mount Srd cable car. This was very easy and convenient. Although there is a trail and you can walk up, due to the heat we decided to take the cable car up and walk down. The views from the top are mesmerizing.
After spending some time enjoying the views we took a beautiful "secret" trail back down. We walked along the small road toward Bosanka which took around 20 minutes, from there there is a sign that says "Grad Old City". We followed a short path (a little hard to fine) through the woods with gorgeous views and lots of stone stairs, till we arrived at a main road and from there we crossed and went through the pedestrian tunnel. This led us to a residential neighbourhood where we continued down straight to the old port outside Old Town. This trail took around a forty minutes. It was very quiet, peaceful, had beautiful vegetation and a nice local neighbourhood to walk through.
Once we arrived at the Old Port we bought tickets to take a short ferry ride to the island of Lokrum. Lokrum is a perfect escape from the busy city of Dubrovnik, especially on hot days. There is a botanical garden and lots of shade on the forested island. You can visit the Benadictine Monastery, dating back to at least 1023 and there are many walking trails along the rugged coast as well as up some hills for gorgeous views. This was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Upon arrival there is a cafè where we sat and had some lunch.
Once we returned to Old Town we stopped for some gelato and returned to our hotel.
After a short rest in our room we headed for walk along the coastal promenade located just outside of our hotel. It is beautifully built and the walk is along the edge of the cliff. There are some spots to sit and have a glass of wine or to go for a swim off the rocks. There are also cafes along the way as well.
On our last evening in Dubrovnik we decided to go back to the Taj Mahal restaurant. We loved the food and atmosphere on our first night. It did not disappoint.
This morning after breakfast our guide Julija Antunovik, from Dubrovnik Driving Guide, picked us up at our hotel and we started our day tour to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Please see my Sarajevo and Mostar tours coming soon.