After spending just one day in Dubrovnik, I was totally in love with this Croatian city. I was there during a cruise: that’s the reason why I didn’t have a lot of time to visit it, however I was able to see the allure of this place. Read this article and you’ll know what to do in Dubrovnik if you have just one day to visit it.
The Background Story
Actually, I didn’t arrive there in the best mood. Let me explain what happened. I was on a Mediterranean cruise and we visited awesome places: we stopped in Venice, Trieste, some Greek islands and Dubrovnik.
It was a windy day and the sea was rough. I remembered having breakfast in the ship’s restaurant and tasting delicious pancakes and croissants, while we could clearly see that the fruit juice in our glasses was dangerously sloped. That morning, we were supposed to land in Mykonos and I was so excited about that. Actually, it was one of my dream destinations: the white little streets, pink bougainvillea everywhere… I wanted to visit the beautiful island so badly.
That’s the reason why I was so disappointed when the captain told us that we couldn’t land in Mykonos, due to the dangerous weather conditions. I couldn’t believe it! The new plan was to navigate for an entire day and then landing in Dubrovnik the next day. The good thing was that we were able to stay in Croatia for a little longer. In fact, we stay there from 6pm to 12am: it was definitely a longer stay, compared to the previous ones.
Once we started strolling around the alleys, after accessing the Old Town via a drawbridge (built in 1500), my mood definitely improved. And I have to admit it, the environment was unique. You could really feel the history of this place while walking around. Its Latin motto (sculped on the entrance to the Saint Lawrence fortress) is “Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro”, which means “Liberty is not sold for all the gold in the world”.
Before leaving Gruz port and began our visit to Dubrovnik, we changed some money. In fact, even if the Republic of Croatia is part of the European Union, it doesn’t have the euro as its currency.
We got some Kuna and then we took a bus (the bus stop is 50 meters away from the port) and we arrived at Pile Gate, where there is an entrance to the Old Town of Dubrovnik. There were also other options to reach the city center from the port: having a walk of 30 minutes or taking the (rather expensive) shuttle organized by the cruise company. I was happy that we decided to try the local transport: it was cheap, easy to find and pretty fast.
Then, we arrived in the Stradun, the city’s main street full of restaurants and little shops. We strolled around without a clear destination. There were also a lot of stairs, linking the different Old Town’s levels. I really enjoyed walking around as in my opinion is one of the best ways to feel the soul of a new place. The Stradun was the perfect place to do that and I highly recommend exploring its lovely alleys, definitely quieter than the main pedestrian road.
Additionally, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will have the chance to do some theme-based tours, which will tell you more about the filming and the iconic locations.
The first afternoon spent in the city was great, even though there were too many people. Anyway, I was amazed by the beauty of Dubrovnik and its Venetian style architecture.
What To Do: Dubrovnik Cable Car
There were many people waiting to get on the cable car, which opened in 2010. It’s the quickest and easiest route to the summit of Mount Srd. The ticket was a little more than 20 euros, so it isn’t cheap, but it was worth it. We were there at sunset and we could enjoy a beautiful view of Dubrovnik.
If you would like to eat or drink something, you will find there a restaurant and a shop too. If you are interested in the story of Dubrovnik, there is a museum. Oh, and let’s not forget the amphitheatre: I met some cute horses there.
Another interesting way to get to the top of Mount Srd is hiking.
We got back to the Old Town and we had dinner in a typical restaurant. After a quick stroll, we returned to our ship. Even at night, we felt safe in Dubrovnik.
What To Do: Exploring Dubrovnik Walls
The following day, we decided to get up early in order to visit the walls of Dubrovnik. We wanted to arrive before all the tourists and also avoid the hottest hours. I’m so glad we did that. We paid more or less 13 euros to visit them and they run almost 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) around the city: they were built in order to protect the town. That’s the reason why a system of turrets and towers was planned. The walls were built between 12th and 17th century and they are well preserved.
Tip: wear comfortable shoes as there are many stairs. If you go on the walls during summer, be sure to have some water with you. The view of the city and of the sea is breathtaking. If you stop to take some pictures and to enjoy the panorama, you could walk them in two or three hours.
We didn’t have a lot of time to explore Dubrovnik, but we made sure to visit the most of it in less than 24 hours and to savor its atmosphere. If I had more time, I would have made a quick visit to Lokrum Island. It’s a really small, uninhabited island, only 700 meters away from Dubrovnik and it’s covered in lush vegetation. If you plan to visit it, there is a boat service that departs from Dubrovnik Old Town port and the journey time is 15 minutes.
Visiting Dubrovnik: What’s To Know?
- Every year, there are many people that decide to visit Dubrovnik. We went during peak season (June, July, August) and I have to admit it: there were definitely too many people, especially in some times. I would suggest visiting Dubrovnik during a quieter time, as May or September.
- Speaking about the walls, I suggest you to visit them early in the morning or at sunset, to avoid the scorching sun and the crowds. And remember to wear a good pair of walking shoes. If you don’t want to do the full tour, there are some points where you will be able to go down and end your visit.
- During your time in the city, be sure to save some moments to simply stroll around. The Old City is so charming and it’s great to have some time to enjoy it. And you will find a lot of cats to be friends with (I hope that Silver and Kazai will forgive me!).
- Finally, check the official sites to always have the updated information on the hourly visit and prices!