Weekend Guide: A perfect two days in Dubrovnik post was first published on Culture Tourist on August 30th 2019, and updated in May 2021.
Dubrovnik is probably one of the most famous places in Croatia. With its massive city walls, picturesque stone houses and historic old town, it comes with no surprise it’s getting so many visitors each year. To help you get the best of it, here is the Culture Tourist Dubrovnik weekend guide for a perfect two days in Dubrovnik. You’ll find here the full Dubrovnik itinerary for a stay in this city filled with art and history, together with some fun things to do.
Weekend in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is relatively small, so spending a weekend there is just about enough time to explore that beautiful Croatian town. Filled with unique and exciting history and being home to some great museums, it’s a must-see place for any art enthusiast.
How to get to Dubrovnik
With a plane – Dubrovnik has its own airport, and you can easily travel there from anywhere in Europe. They recently introduced a direct line to the USA, as well.
By car – You can also visit it by car. Highways in Croatia are great, and it’s easy to travel around the country in a car. However, if you’re coming from the western part of Croatia, the last few kilometres are going to be on the regional road with many curves, so be careful on that part.
By ferry – If you’re going to visit Dubrovnik from some other towns on the Dalmatian coast, then an excellent way to travel could be by ferry. Travelling on a ferry from Split to Dubrovnik will be a great way to see some of the Croatian coast and islands from a different perspective.
TIP: Once in Dubrovnik, park your car at your accommodation and use public transport or walk around. Finding a parking place is a headache in Dubrovnik, and it’s pretty expensive, as well.
Some tips for visiting Dubrovnik
However, let’s start with some general tips that will make your weekend in Dubrovnik so much more enjoyable.
The best time to visit Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is among the most popular destinations in Europe, and it could get really crowded during July and August. It’s actually that crowded that the city authorities introduced the ticketing system. If there’s more than a certain number of people inside the city walls, it’s not allowed for others to enter it. That’s why I would strongly recommend you to plan your visit in Spring or Autumn. The weather is still beautiful then, but the city is not that crowded.
Get yourself a Dubrovnik Card
Dubrovnik Card is really useful if you would like to use public transport and visit some museums. We’ve got the three days long Dubrovnik cards and found them to be very helpful. You can get more info about it on a link here.
Be careful at Dubrovnik city walls
Walking around its city walls was probably a thing I liked the most during my weekend in Dubrovnik. There are some truly amazing views from them, and I took numerous photos while walking the walls. However, they are tall, and climbing on them to make the best selfie possible is not the best idea. So, be careful and stay behind the fence.
A bit about Dubrovnik’s History
Dubrovnik is a city with a really fascinating history. It’s located in the very south of Croatia. For a long time, it was an independent state – The Republic of Ragusa. It was a small country consisting of the old town of Dubrovnik and its surroundings.
Its Golden Age was during the 15th and 16th century when its primary industry was maritime trade. However, the people of Dubrovnik were also important as international diplomats at that time. They were even involved in the American Revolution.
The Republic was quite progressive, and they adopted some modern laws quite early. Medical service was introduced in 1301, and the city pharmacy (still operating today) was established in 1317. The Slave trade was abolished in 1418. This was also when Dubrovnik’s flag was created – a white flag with the Latin word ‘Libertas’ (‘Freedom’).
Republic slowly declined during the 17th century when the Mediterranean shipping crisis, affecting other cities on the Mediterranean, as well, happened. However, the strong earthquake in 1667 in which a big part of the town was heavily damaged quicken the decline.
At the beginning of the 19th century, it was captured by Napoleon’s troops. And became a part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and Yugoslavia later on. Since 1991 it’s a part of Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Weekend in Dubrovnik Itinerary
Dubrovnik is such a picturesque town you can spend two days there by just strolling around it. However, during our two days in Dubrovnik, we tried to include some guided tours and museum visits in it, as well.
Saturday in Dubrovnik
We’ve arrived in Dubrovnik on Friday afternoon, so after a nice dinner at our hotel, we’ve taken a walk at the beach and just enjoyed strolling next to the sea. We went to bed early to save some energy for all the exploring we planned for our weekend in Dubrovnik. Before we came there, we booked two guided tours, so we started our day with one of them.
Palace Hotel Dubrovnik, located just outside the city centre. However, the hotel has some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen and a lovely swimming pool. A bus stop is just outside the hotel, making it easy to commute to the city centre (some 10 minutes ride).HOTEL TIP: We stayed at the
Dubrovnik City Walk
Although both me and my partner visited Dubrovnik before during the school trips as kids, we wanted to refresh our knowledge about the history of this beautiful town. So, we booked two hours long small-group city tour and explored the old town of Dubrovnik during it. We learned about the way life looked like in the past there, some of its famous citizens and its importance during history.
Sponza Palace & The Clock Tower
We visited Sponza, a beautiful Renaissance Palace where the city archive is located today, during our city walk. Standing in its courtyard made me feel like I’ve stepped into the history back to the Golden Age of Dubrovnik. The 31 metres long Clock Tower next to it is a symbol of the freedom of the city. Two statues inside of it strike the bell each hour.
Lunch at Konoba Moskar
Our guide gave us a recommendation for a lovely small restaurant to have lunch at. I had some local pašticada (meat in a sauce with some gnocchi), and it was delicious. There are many small restaurants around Dubrovnik to have lunch at. However, my recommendation is to ask at your hotel or your guide for a good suggestion. And of course, to try some local food. We loved Konoba Moskar, and I’m definitely recommending it.
Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik
One of the things I really looked forward to during our weekend in Dubrovnik was to see some of the paintings created by one of my favourite Croatian painter, Vlaho Bukovac. He lived in the region close by, so many of his paintings are on display in a Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik.
It’s interesting to see how many of the most famous Croatian painters active at the beginning of the 20th century lived in and around Dubrovnik. Many of their paintings could be seen there, so if you would like to explore some of the modern Croatian art, be sure to visit it.
TIP: If you would like to learn more about Vlaho Bukovac, I would strongly recommend visiting his house located in a nearby Cavtat. Both the bus ticket and the entrance to it are included in the Dubrovnik Card.
Strolling around the old city of Dubrovnik
We walked through some small streets and narrow alleys and explored this old town on our way back. We loved getting lost and stumbling to some beautiful hidden churches and palaces. We climbed the Jesuit Staircase where the famous ‘Walk of Shame’ from the Game of Thrones was filmed.
Whichever church we entered, we were amazed by the beautifully decorated ceilings or some fantastic paintings. That’s always my favourite part of travelling – getting lost and finding some hidden gems in the city.
Dubrovnik City Walls
I don’t know how to even start describing a feeling I had while walking on Dubrovnik City Walls. It was definitely a highlight of my weekend in Dubrovnik. They were built between the 12th and the 17th century. They are considered to be some of the most significant medieval walls because they were never breached. They are around 1940 metres long, and the highest part of them is 25 metres tall.
We have joined one of the guided walks there (you can check it out on a link here) and really enjoyed our guide’s explanations. From learning about the defensive purpose of the walls, interesting buildings, we could see from them to seeing the city from another perspective. Walking on Dubrovnik walls was definitely a fantastic experience.
If you would like to visit the walls of Dubrovnik on your own, you can get your ticket at the tourist office next to the Pile Gate. Be sure to have it with you the whole time because they will scan your ticket twice while on the walls. And it’s also valid for a visit to the Lovrijenac Fort.
TIP: A small island you can see when looking in the direction of the south from the walls is Lokrum Island. Believed to be cursed among the locals, the island definitely has some fascinating history and has changed numerous owners. It’s home to some beautiful nature, so it may be a lovely idea for a day trip from Dubrovnik.
We’ve finished our day with dinner and a glass of wine while enjoying a beautiful view of Dubrovnik. A close-by peninsula of Pelješac and an island of Korčula are famous for their red wine. So, be sure to explore some local Croatian wines while there, as well.
Sunday in Dubrovnik
Walk around the city and Stradun
During our two days in Dubrovnik, a running race called Du Motion was organised. It was impressive to see it because a part of it went along the walls of Dubrovnik. And, people were running on them while we were exploring the city. For the same reason, public transport wasn’t operating in the city centre during the morning hours on Sunday. We were forced to take a walk from our hotel to the old town of Dubrovnik.
However, we weren’t complaining at all because we walked through some beautiful residential areas of Dubrovnik and had a chance to explore more of this lovely place. When we finally arrived in the old town, we’ve taken a walk alongside Dubrovnik’s main street – Stradun. A beautiful street was once a marshy channel that separated two early settlements there. Today, it’s a beautiful stone street surrounded by some old houses, and it’s connecting two of the old Dubrovnik’s gates – the Pile Gate and the Ploče Gate.
After having a coffee next to the Ploče Gate and Dubrovnik’s port, we explored another gem of Dubrovnik – the Lovrijenac Fort or St. Lawrence Fortress. It was built in the 11th century on the 37 metres high cliff, within three months only. The reason behind it was to protect Dubrovnik from the sea, but it also defended its Pile Gate. It was interesting to learn that the thickness of the walls facing the sea is some 12 metres. In contrast, the walls towards the city are only 60 centimetres thick.
Today it’s one of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival locations, and each year it’s becoming a stage for Shakespeare’s Hamlet performance.
Game of Thrones walking tours organised in Dubrovnik, during which you can explore some of those locations more.TIP: Lovrijenac Fortress played the Red Fort in the Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik was portraying the King’s Landing in the famous series, and I’ve found some parts of the city to look precisely as they did in the series. There are
Franciscan Monastery and the old Pharmacy
After a quick lunch, we continued to explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Medieval Franciscan monastery and church are beautiful and peaceful places located right in the heart of the city. The monastery is home to a lovely cloister with some Mediterranean plants in it. But the highlight of it is the old pharmacy established back in 1317. It’s the third oldest still functioning pharmacy in the world.
After relaxing at the tranquil cloister surrounded by some beautiful trees, we continued towards one of the most beautiful palaces in Dubrovnik – the Rector’s Palace. During the time of the Republic of Ragusa, it was used as a seat of the small council and the rector of Dubrovnik.
Today, it’s home to the Cultural History Museum, and I’m definitely recommending visiting it. It’s a great place to learn about Dubrovnik’s history and everyday life. There was a temporary exhibition about historical furniture while we were there. It was so interesting to see it and get an idea of how some of those beautiful houses in Dubrovnik were furnished throughout the time. A visit to this museum is included in Dubrovnik Card.
TIP: Museum shop is quite lovely and a great place to buy some nice souvenirs from Dubrovnik. I especially liked t-shirts with drawings of historical ships on them. Definitely take a look if you would like to buy a nice and good quality souvenir.
Dinner at the Dubravka Restaurant
After the whole day of exploring, it was time for a nice dinner. We went to Dubravka 1836 Restaurant, located just next to the Pile Gate and has a fantastic view of Dubrovnik walls and the Lovrijenac Fort. We’ve enjoyed our food as much as the view. It was a perfect way to finish our lovely weekend in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik deserves the name the Pearl of Adriatic by every right. It’s an amazing place with some beautiful architecture that looks like it is still stuck in history. There is so much you can do there, and I hope this itinerary will help you plan your perfect weekend in Dubrovnik, too.