Hi there, and welcome (back) to the blog. The Dubrovnik series is going on – this time with an itinerary when you’ve got only one day in Dubrovnik. This little gem is definitely worth the stopover, and this little guide will make the most out of your short stay in town.
When should you plan your one-day stopover?
Considering you can actually choose a specific day (i feel you, aircrew colleagues), I would check the cruise ship schedule beforehand. It is no secret that this town is regularly flooded with cruise ship passengers. Trust me, you want to avoid spending one day in Dubrovnik being squeezed through the narrow alleys with all the groups. (Don’t get me wrong, a cruise is a fantastic way to see many cities in a short amount of time and a great form of traveling).
Luckily, there is a website ↵ to check the arrivals and departures of the different cruise ships landing in Dubrovnik. Of course, the city will still be crowded, especially in the summer months. Still, it is a lot easier when visiting the attractions of your choice. The best season to visit Dubrovnik would be spring or autumn. Then, you will have fewer tourists, and it won’t be as hot.
One Day in Dubrovnik Itinerary
start your morning with a city walk
Many sights open their doors around 8-10 a.m. (depending on the season), leaving the city quite empty in the morning hours. You don’t need to start at sunset (we just did that for shooting pictures), but in Dubrovnik, the early bird catches the worm. The old town is a great place to stroll around, stop by the Jesuit stairs (and see what they look like without the crowd), check the harbor, and get some freshly squeezed juice while you’re at it. We enjoyed watching the locals getting their boats ready and the shop owners preparing for the day. I’d also recommend walking to the west harbor in the morning hours since this area will be very crowded during the day as well. (It is one of the main GoT spots).
Plus, you also get an excellent little overview of the city. So maybe you will also find an exciting sight you want to visit later that day.
explore the city walls
The City Walls are an absolute must when in Dubrovnik. Since this is probably one of the most crowded attractions, I’d recommend going right after opening. Not only will it be less crowded, but also less hot. The walls will be in bright sunlight all day with no chances of shadow. If you have other plans in the morning, the walls are a great spot just before sunset. Many visitors will spend this time relaxing due to the heat and/or preparing for the evening. If you happen to have a cruise ship landing during your one day in Dubrovnik, sunset time could be great since most ships already leave in the evening, so the groups will already have left the city then. The only problem you might have then is the closing hours. Depending on your season, the walls close a little earlier, and you might have to hurry more than you’d like to.
If you’re interested, I also wrote an in-depth guide about the city walls (prices, things to bring, time management, etc.).
PS: I also marked all of my photo spots in that guide, so they’re easier to find 😊
pick your tour/attraction
Depending on the time you spent on the walls, and how early you got access, you might still have some time left. Let’s say it is 11 a.m. right now, and you’ve just finished your walk along the walls. You still got time to visit an attraction you would love to see before going to our next spot on our Itinerary. Here are a few examples of what you could visit:
Lokrum island in the afternoon
Lokrum is a tiny island just in front of Dubrovnik. It’s the perfect spot to escape the heat and the crowds in the afternoon. On Lokrum, you can visit more cultural sights and learn more about the curse and its history. When you’re done with that, jump into your swims and dip into the clear blue water. Plus, the ride to Lokrum gives you an excellent waterside view of the city, so you can skip an expensive boat tour around town. 2 in 1, yay! I’ll link you to my in-depth Lokrum Island Guide if you want to know more about this island.
You can also kayak to Lokrum Island, another fun afternoon activity (especially in the summer).
Watch the sunset from Mount Srd (or Buza Bar)
Dubrovnik has some fantastic and hopelessly romantic spots to watch the sunset and wind down from an adventurous day. My suggestion would be to take a gondola ride up Mount Srd and enjoy the city and ocean view. The ride costs around 50 Kuna.
If you’re not in the mood for Mount Srd, you could watch the sundown from Buza Bar. This bar is iconic and definitely worth the hype. However, since it is very famous, you might struggle to find a seating possibility. Nevertheless, the sunset is still pretty while standing and holding a delicious drink.
dinner in the old town
It’s time to enjoy some dinner! There are many restaurants in and around town. Most of them are a little pricy, though. However, we found the restaurants outside the old town but within walking distance to be just as pricy. If you’ve only got one day in Dubrovnik, treat yourself to a charming seat in one of the old town restaurants and enjoy the vibe. When choosing a restaurant for dinner, I would A) stay away from Stradun and the tourist traps and B) don’t go for one of the places that are open all day and chase after every tourist.
Once you reach the smaller alleys, you will find some excellent restaurants worth the price. Depending on your season, you might also need to make a reservation beforehand.
recommendation: Taj Mahal
The restaurant we loved most was called Taj Mahal, which is serving Bosnian cuisine. It is located in the heart of the old town, the outside setting is charming as hell, and the staff was incredibly kind. They have a wide variety of dishes, and everything we ordered was so delicious.
Since this is one of the best restaurants in town, I’d recommend making a reservation.
dive into the nightlife
As soon as the sun goes down, the nightlife in Dubrovnik starts. From Irish pubs to nightclubs, the possibilities are vast. If you haven’t already visited Buza bar, you should do that now and enjoy the ocean view. Another classic would be to sit on the Jesuit stairs with a drink you got at one of the cocktail to go windows around the corner. We also found a little bar along the harbor (search for Tri Čavla on maps) with such a friendly vibe. For nightclubs, Lazareti and Revelin would be the most famous ones.
Dubrovnik has many bars and different offers for any type of need. Just walk around town and find yourself a spot to spend the night, no matter if you’re going to a wine bar or a sports pub. Enjoy!
Is there enough time to do a guided tour?
Dubrovnik is known for its unique Game of Thrones-themed tours, which many might be interested in doing – even when it’s during a short stay. I’d say there is enough time to do one of these tours because you will be able to see many sights already. Tour guides often also talk about the sights (e.g., Fort Lovrijenac) histories, not only the filmed sequences. In my opinion, this is a fun way to learn about Game of Thrones and get to know the city. So if you find a tour that fits your needs, also the ones that aren’t GoT-themed, go for it.
If I’d apply this to our Itinerary: skip the morning city walk and start your day on the city walls. (During the summer seasons, you can already access the wall at 8 a.m.) After this, go on the guided GoT tour, maybe even one that includes Lokrum Island, so you can stay there after your tour. Continue on Lokrum with a swim and a nice walk in the gardens, drive back, and start your sunset/evening program.
Most guided tours take around 2hrs. The ones that include a trip to Lokrum take around 3hrs and mainly begin at approximately 10 a.m.
The Dubrovnik Card – is it worth it for one day?
Let’s do some quick math: The One Day Dubrovnik Card costs 250 Kuna. For our Itinerary, it would include the entrance to the city walls (which is usually 200kn) and a 10% discount on the Taj Mahal restaurant. That’s it.
Depending on your further morning plans, it would include the Museum of Modern Art entrance and a discount on some (!) guided tours. Yet, if you decide to visit another museum or choose another tour, you basically have the same costs at the end of the day.
I personally wouldn’t get the Dubrovnik Card for just one day, since it won’t make up for everything and, depending on your schedule, doesn’t give any other discount than the walls. But, on the other hand, the 3-/7-day cards are more profitable because they include more things like a discount on the Lokrum ferry. Also, in our case, we had to wait until 9 a.m. for the tourist information to open up and pick up our cards – which was already after the wall opened. I have to admit that we visited Dubrovnik during the pandemic, though, and the individual opening hours are subject to change (like, constantly!)
Is one day in Dubrovnik enough?
It is enough to fall in love with it and make plans to come back ASAP, lol.
No, but honestly, Dubrovnik is amazing. Sure, the small size of the old town makes a great walking distance between all the main sights, and it’s possible to see a lot in just one day. However, there is so much more to see. We spent 4 nights in Dubrovnik (which made 3 days filled with adventures), and we would have loved at least one more day, especially when you want to take some day trips, like to the Elaphiti Islands.
Nevertheless, Dubrovnik is a must-see city, even if it’s just for one day. That’s why I wrote this Itinerary – so you can see the most important sights and attractions and get a glimpse of Dubrovnik’s beauty.
I hope this article helped you plan your one-day stopover in Dubrovnik a little better, and if so, please let me know! Enjoy your stay in this fantastic city!
As always, stay happy and healthy!
Until next time,