Dubrovnik is a city crowded with tourists, and this is understandable: it’s a beautiful city well worth your time. We visited Dubrovnik as part of our European roadtrip in 2016 and spent one day in Duvbrovnik. In one day you can see the highlights of Dubrovnik, but you could easily spend more time in Dubrovnik.
What to visit on a day in Dubrovnik
With one day in Dubrovnik you start by walking on the medieval walls of the city. Then explore the inner city; admire the Onofrio fountain and stroll over the stradun.
Below I will elaborate further on these things, first some background on Dubrovnik.
Background on Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik os a port city in the Dalmatian region of Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. It has approximately 50.000 inhabitants.
Another name for Dubrovnik is King’s Landing. The city is used to portray King’s Landing in Game of Trones. They not only filmed the old city but also in areas around the city. However you won’t necessarily recognise the places right away, since they changed a lot with computer animations.
The walls surrounding the old town have been built from the 8th till the 12th century. From the 14th till the 17th century, the walls were enlarged and widened. The walls are almost 2 kilometres long and on some places almost 25 metres high, and approximately 6 metres thick.
It was not that long ago that city was under siege. It’s strange when you realise this. From Octobre 1991 till August 1992 the city was under siege in the war for independence. 70% of the houses were hit. They’ve carefully restored the houses, you can still see this since almost all the rooftiles are new.
Not only the houses needed restauration, also the walls needed extensive reconstruction after the war for independence. The great fountain of Onofrio was built in 1444 and was one of the few watersupplies for the city.
Despite the restauration efforts we could still see some war damage on the walls and on some of the houses.
Before you start your day in Dubrovnik, you first have to admire it from afar. Because it’s beautiful to see an overview of the red roofed city. You can see the whole old city from above along the highway. Coming from the direction of Split the highway passes through the new part of Dubrovnik. After you’ve left the city there’s a viewpoint where almost everyone stops, including touring buses, and you can admire the whole of the old city of Dubrovnik.
We arrived at Dubrovnik by boat, we opted to stay at camping Kate and took a boat from the town of Mlini to Dubrovnik. No parking problems or traffic jams getting in and out of the city. The other advantage is that you can admire Dubrovnik from the water, another viewpoint from which the town is beautiful. It also adds to the King’s Landing vibe since you arrive at the city by water.
We arrived early in Dubrovnik and this is advisable for several reasons. First later on the day, notably around lunchtime and the beginning of the afternoon, more tourists are there and the more crowded the streets. Second the heat in Summer, if you’re on the walls between 11 am and 15 pm you’re melting away. Third you have the most of your day in the city, you can have breakfast in the old town and arrive early enough again at your campsite to go for a swim (which we did) to cool down.
Next to the red tiled roofs the large medieval walls surrounding the old town are a charasteric of Dubrovnik. It’s one of the most famous attractions of Dubrovnik.
You can enter the walls on several places. On the walls it’s one way traffic, some parts are wide, others small. The medieval walls are thick. The walls have some higher points and from a few you can see almost the entire city. From other places there’s a great view on the (crowded) streets. On the sea side you see the clear blue water and people kayaking on it. Next to this the red tiled roofs are perfect to be admired from above.
It’s the main street of Dubrovnik, a wide, straight street. The limestone tiles have become smooth because of all the walking on them.
Sitting on one of the terraces on the stradun is perfect. Relax and watch the people passing you by. We had breakfast and lunch on the stradun. Touristic and pricy but a fun addition to your day in Dubrovnik.
At the end of the stradun is the Onofrio fountain. You can sit on the sides of it or walk around it and admire the fountain. The fountain with it’s red tiled dome is also perfectly admirable from the walls. The fountain has 16 sides with a carved mask, through the mouths of the masks comes drinking water.
Is this all there is to do in Dubrovnik? No, not by far. However it was enough for us for one day. Other attractions are the church of St. Blaise, Dominican monastry, Franciscan abbey, the old port, Pile gate, Rector’s palace, Dubrovnik Cable Car, Dubrovnik Cathedra land Treasury, Ploce gate, Revelin Fortress, Loggia square, Sponza Palace, Fort Lovrijenac, Fort of St. John, Game of Thrones tour and Banje Beach.
In short Dubrovnik is a beautiful city, easy to explore on foot because of it’s small size, but despite it being small still enough attractions to entertain for several days.
When exploring the Balkans further, don’t forget to sample the Bulgarian cuisine.