48 hours in Dubrovnik – A 2 day Itinerary

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Beautiful romantic old town of Dubrovnik during sunny day, Croatia,Europe.

Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,’ Dubrovnik has always been a stunning place to visit, but thanks, in recent years, perhaps to The Game of Thrones, it has become one of the top travel destinations in Europe.

If you’re wondering if is 2 days enough in Dubrovnik or how many days in Dubrovnik? Well it all depends on what your plans are. You could easily spend 2 weeks in Croatia or 2 months and still not see or do everything.

Below is a great guide on what to do in Dubrovnik for 2 days because sometimes 2 days in Dubrovnik is all you have, especially if you’re going over on a cruise or you’re short on time, such as a weekend in Dubrovnik and want to be able to tour some of the other areas within Dubrovnik and nearby areas.

Once known as the Republic of Ragusa and rivaling Venice as a military stronghold, Dubrovnik has had a turbulent past, including during the Croatian War of Independence, where the old town was besieged by the Yugoslav People’s Army, causing significant damage, some of which is still visible today.

However, what was damaged has largely been restored, including the old walls, which are some of the most spectacularly preserved and would have protected this UNESCO World Heritage Site well against invaders across the centuries.

Today, the city’s car-free streets are lined with cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops, while all sights are within a short walking distance of one another.

Whether you are simply stopping off for a few hours while on a Mediterranean cruise or have at least two days in Dubrovnik, this is an ideal location oozing with medieval charm.

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How to get to Dubrovnik

Flying is the most accessible and affordable way to travel to Dubrovnik with the airport receiving flights worldwide. It also has several flights landing each day from locations within Croatia, so whether you are travelling from further afield or looking to do a multi-city break.

Dubrovnik is straightforward to reach. There is also a good road network for anyone wishing to hire a car or campervan and drive down the breathtaking coastal road.

You can catch the shuttle bus from the airport, which stops at the old town and the bus station. It leaves every 30 minutes, and the 9 euro trip will take around 25 minutes, while those opting to take a taxi could be charged anything from 25 – 40 euros with the journey lasting about 20 minutes. 

Regardless of the mode of transport used, it is essential to remember that the old town is entirely traffic free. Therefore, you will be dropped off close to either the Pile Gate or the Ploce Gate, which is just a short walk away from any accommodation within the Dubrovnik city walls.

Getting around Dubrovnik

Even if you have just 48 hours in Dubrovnik, it is an effortless city to navigate on foot, especially if you are staying in the old town Dubrovnik. If you have opted for accommodation in Lapad, some will offer free transfers or buses frequently run throughout the day and take about 30 minutes. 

The best time to visit Dubrovnik

Even in October, the weather is warm, and the streets are busy due to the mild Mediterranean climate. In fact, this is one of the many reasons why people choose to spend the weekend in Dubrovnik in the off-season as temperatures can still reach 30 degrees with winters rarely dropping below 13 degrees.

Although if you travel during the winter period, many shops and restaurants will have closed down and won’t reopen until February, so you are likely to have a very different experience from those visiting at other times of the year.

In contrast, the summer months are hot and extremely crowded, so you may wish to avoid this time of year, as prices also reflect the excellent weather.

For those that do decide to travel during the months of June – September try to avoid the main tourist attractions during the middle of the day when thermometers often hit 40 degrees (c) and instead head to the shade of one of the many cafes or the surrounding beaches for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

For those choosing not to stay in Lapad, where many of the hotels are beachfront, Banje beach is a firm favourite and can be found just outside the old town.

Panorama of old city Dubrovnik in a beautiful summer day, Croatia

Where to stay during your two days in Dubrovnik

If you would like to be within walking distance of the old town but crave some luxury, then the Hotel Excelsior overlooks both the sea and the city.

Anyone that stays here will be made to feel like Royalty with its lavish hotel rooms, exceptional service, and panorama views that you can enjoy while sipping an evening cocktail.

If you want to stay within the city’s old walls, then the Scalini Palace, a fully renovated 16th-century building close to the Stradun, is an ideal choice, while the Royal Blue Hotel is just a few kilometres from the city offers the best of both worlds.

With luxury rooms, stunning views, and an infinity pool while being close enough for a day or two of sightseeing in the city, this is an excellent location for those looking to spend longer than 48 hrs in Dubrovnik.

Touristic ship and hotels on shore in Dubrovnik in Croatia. Seaside resort. Landscape

48 hours in Dubrovnik itinerary

Deciding on how many days to spend in Dubrovnik will depend upon whether you would prefer to concentrate specifically on the old city or whether you would like to have an extended trip to take in the sights of the nearby Islands and perhaps even Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

So how many days do you need in Dubrovnik? If you only have a weekend to explore, concentrate on the old town first, taking in the architecture and museums, the steep alleyways leading up to row upon row of tiny streets filled with shops and restaurants, and the city walls.

This guide points out what to do in Dubrovnik in 2 days, suggesting what to visit and where to eat.

You may also want to look at the Dubrovnik Pass, a tourism card that incorporates bus travel, free entry, or discounts to many of the main attractions both in the old town and as far afield as Cavtat and Ston and can be purchased online for either 1,3 or 7 days. Below is some great suggestions on the best places to visit in Dubrovnik Croatia.

Day 1 of 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary

For your first stop on your 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary, do as many locals and tourists alike and head to Dubravka 1836 just outside the Pile Gate, and enjoy breakfast in style.

Tuck into a continental breakfast or enjoy a fluffy omelette on the terrace overlooking the sea towards Fort Lovrijenac before you start exploring this stunning city.

Wander the Stradun

Once you have enjoyed your morning coffee, wander through the Pile Gate and down the Stradun, the main street, towards the Ploce Gate. As you do so, take in the magnificently preserved building and the fact that the Stradun is narrower at one end than the other, giving the impression that it is far longer than it actually is. 

From the moment you enter the old town, you will see Orlando’s Column, the bell tower built in 1444 that stands 31 metres high at the other end, along with the church of St. Blaise.

As you get closer to the old port, you will also see the Rector’s Palace, now a museum, on your left and the Sponza’s Palace on the right. This is a 16th-century house of archives and includes a free exhibition dedicated to those that lost their lives during the devastating attacks on the city in 1991.

Amazing panoramic sunset drone view of old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Stradun street. View of the historical center and view of the residential part of the cityqAmazing panoramic sunset drone view of old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Stradun street. View of the historical center and view of the residential part of the city

The City Walls Dubrovnik

Walk through the archway and past the old port, and you will come across an entrance to the City Walls. This is one of several entrances, including one at Pile Gate and another at Ploce Gate, but remains quieter.

Making it a great place to start exploring the old defence that is still completely intact. This is still one of the most popular attractions in all of Croatia, and therefore try to get there as early as possible to avoid both the crowds and the heat of the afternoon. 

It is from above that you will be graced with the best views both out to sea and over the city of Dubrovnik. While at one end, you will be able to look out over the old port towards Lokrum Island, at the other, you will have uninterrupted views of the Lovrijenac Fortress.

As you wander, you will begin to get a sense of just how compact the old city is and how thick the walls are, making it easy to see why Dubrovnik is still so well preserved today.

While walking the walls, you will discover not one but two bars offering a selection of refreshments. One has magnificent views out over the sea, while the other, just before you reach the Minceta Tower, has been carved into the wall and provides a cool stop-off on a hot day. If you want to learn some history, I’d recommend taking a 2 hour tour.

Alternatively, you can climb the step just outside to enjoy views over the rooftops while sipping your favourite cocktail. From here you can look down over the quiet courtyards, taking note of the coloured tiles that capture your eye from every angle. You will note that there are two colours – red and yellow – the yellow ones being original.

Once you have done a full circle of these restored, well-preserved walls, you will find yourself close to the historic harbour and the main restaurants offering a fine selection of lunch dishes.

Dubrovnik old town with city walls on the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia, Europe.

Lunch at the Old Port

For those not staying in Dubrovnik but opting instead to travel in on one of the many boat trips available, this is one of the first sights they will see as they moor up in the old harbour.

The Poklisar restaurant is split across both sides of the entrance to the old city and offers both formal and cafe-style Mediterranean lunches along with a wide selection of ice creams.

Poklisar means ‘ Ambassador,’ which is what they continually try to achieve – being the ambassador for their city. They certainly accomplish this with both their food and views.

Dubrovnik, Croatia, Europe - old medieval port from walls of the Dubrovnik. Historic city of Croatia in Dalmatia. UNESCO Venetian architecture.

Take a Walking Tour inside the City Walls

To begin your afternoon, now that you have seen the city from above, it is time to explore the narrow streets and open courtyards from the ground. What better way to find out more about the city than one of the many historical walking tours available? 

Meeting just outside the Pile Gate, you will need to wander from the harbour back along the Stradun to pick up your guide, but to learn more about the history of this fascinating city, it is worth the five minute detour.

As you take in the beauty of the city, its grandeur, and striking landmarks, your guide will provide you with local insights not always found in guidebooks.

They will share a wealth of knowledge with you spanning more than 1,400 years and will also include one or two facts about the now very popular Game of Thrones filming that took place here.

These tours usually last for around an hour and a half and will see you take in all the major sights, giving you a great insight into the places you may wish to return to on your own should you have time, especially if you have chosen to spend more than 2 days in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Famous Placa (Stradun) street inside the city walls.

The Rector’s Palace

At the end of your tour, you are likely to be close to the Rector’s Palace, a remarkable 15th-century, Gothic-Renaissance building complete with imposing columns that still, to this day, stand out from the other ornate structures it surrounds.

Inside the Rector’s Palace, which is free with the Dubrovnik Card, you will get a glimpse at the rector’s office and private chambers, the public halls, and the dungeon.

Today these rooms have been delicately restored and are home to portraits, coats of arms, historical coins, statues, a library, and one of the most ornate staircases in the whole of the city, complete with perhaps the most unique handrail in the whole country.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA - Night shot of tourists in front of Rector's palace. Palace used to serve as seat of the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa and today is the museum.

Enjoy Aperitifs as the Sun Sets

After a day of exploring, it’s time to relax and enjoy the sun as it sets. Croatia is renowned for its striking sunsets, and those that take place over the waters of Dubrovnik are not to be missed. One of the best places to capture the sun sinking below the horizon is at Buza bar, which you may have spotted during your walk of the walls.

Wander from the Rector’s Palace past the Church of St Ignatius and back out towards the city walls closest to the sea.

From here you are looking for a small opening in the wall, quite hidden from those not in the know. Once you have found the gap, stroll through and down the staircase, and you will see a bar carved out of the rocks.

Filled with tables, all offering magnificent views out to sea and perfect for sunset. For some, it has also become the ideal place to go for a sunset swim, but be warned that only capable, confident swimmers could jump off the rocks as the current can sometimes be deceiving.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA - Buza beach cafe at night. It is one of the most beautiful bars in Dubrovnik which is hanged on the cliffs right above the sea, with an amazing view of the Adriatic.

An Evening of Local Cuisine

After dragging yourself away from your sunset cocktails, finish day one in Dubrovnik at Portun’s, a family-run restaurant tucked away in one of the side streets with steep steps running parallel to the Stradun.

Here you will experience a unique taste of Mediterranean foods mixed with ideas from travels around the world, using only the best seasonal ingredients. 

During the warmer months, aim to sit outside at one of the many tables set up down one side of the narrow street.

Start with a sharing platter of Dubrovnik’s finest cheeses, hams, and meats, while sipping wine locally produced on the Peljesac Peninsula before tucking into one of the many local seafood dishes available.

Classic Croatian starter plate with Fine Croatian prosciutto, sliced salami and cheese

Day 2 of 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary

Begin your second day in the city with breakfast on the go at one of the many coffee shops that line the Stradun. Pick up a pastry and a coffee before enjoying the view by the water’s edge close to the Pile Gate.

Fort Lovrijenac

For a different perspective on the old city, walk along the shoreline to Fort Lovrijenac where you can catch sight of the old city and the walls from afar. From this vantage point, you will be able to see all of the old town of Dubrovnik from one location and much of the new city, especially the part that reaches out towards Lapad.

This freestanding Fort is a reminder that Dubrovnik would have, at one time, needed a sea defence from those looking to overpower the city during the Venetian attacks of the 11th century, and is now a striking part of the skyline standing at 37 metres high on top of a large rock. 

Perhaps better known today as the Red Keep from King’s Landing in the Game of Thrones show, Fort Lovrijenac, when you walk around the Fort, you will see parts that have been carefully restored. At the same time, other areas remain faithful to the original building. 

Aerial closeup view of Fort Lovrijenac or St Lawrence Fortress, often called Dubrovnik s Gibraltar in the morning, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Head to the Franciscan Monastery

From the Fort, head back along the water, stopping at the West Harbour to take photos of this well-known filming location before heading back into the city via the Pile Gate. Just past the gate you will see the large Onofrio Fountain, constructed back in the 15th century to celebrate the elaborate waterworks that supplied the city.

Unfortunately, the fountain was partly destroyed during the earthquake of 1667 and now only the columns remain where at one time, each column also had a statue on top. However, it is still an impressive sight, and you can refill water bottles with fresh water from any one of the fountain taps.

Directly opposite the fountain, you will see the entrance to the Franciscan Monastery, with the first monastery being built at this location in the 14th century. However, it would take several centuries for work to be completed and strolling around.

You will be able to see why. The monastery is now home to a small religious museum, a collection of sacred relics and objects, paintings and jewellery, a cloister, and one of Europe’s oldest working pharmacies. 

The Franciscan Monastery is also home to an exquisite library, more than 70,000 works, and many important manuscripts pertaining to Croatian Literature. 

Dubrovnik Croatia - People at Large Onofrio Fountain and Franciscan Monastery on the Square at Stradun Street in the Old city of Dubrovnik Croatia

Take some time out to explore the local shops

No trip to Dubrovnik would be complete without walking the streets for some souvenirs. Unlike other cities, however, you will not find any advertising at street level.

Instead, you need to look at the lights hanging outside the shops. The local council decided it didn’t want the narrow streets to become overrun with signage detracting from its beauty, and so now, visitors can only find a shop by looking at the old lamps that line the doorways.

If you are looking for unique gifts to take home, look for handmade linens, lace creations, lavender, honey, local wines, and olive oil.

Dubrovnik, Croatia - An artists stall in Dubrovnik's old town in a late summers afternoon, Croatia

Complete the Walk of Shame

From the main thoroughfare, head towards Gundulic Square, located on the southern side of the Stradun and behind the Cathedral, which is home to a daily popular fruit and vegetable market. You can also pick up some local handmade gifts for loved ones back home.

The square itself is dominated by a statue of Ivan Gundulic, a well-known 18th-century poet. It has become a popular Summer Festival concert location for anyone visiting during this period.

You will also see an elegant baroque staircase leading up to the Jesuit Church from this location. Over the past few years, this staircase has become one of the main attractions in the city.

Many want to recreate the walk of shame completed by Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, making it extremely busy for much of the day. It is, however, a striking sight and one not to be missed during your trip, with several eateries lining the walkway as you climb to the top.

Once you reach the top, you will be greeted with a large piazza and the Church of St. Ignatius to your left. Built between 1667 and 1725, this Jesuit Church, like many of that period, was modelled on the Gesu in Rome.

Today, in comparison to many churches, this one appears to be slightly run down in places, and inside, while decorated in religious paintings, it is not as embellished as some you may visit. At the same time, the adjourning college remains an esteemed place of education.

Dubrovnik, Croatia - Jesuits staircase, the grand staircase that leads from Gundulic Square to the square in front of Collegium Ragusinum and St. Ignatius Church. Walk of shame staircase

Enjoy a lunch surrounded by history

After exploring the Jesuit church, enjoy a relaxed lunch with that as your backdrop at Konoba Jezuite. If you like to visit places steeped in history, this restaurant is bound to be a winner.

Known for its traditional dishes, following centuries-old recipes, every dish has cemented its place on the menu over time.

Using only local foods, you can feast on cuttlefish risotto, calamari, fish brodetto, wild boar, and lamb chops while enjoying the shade from the midday sun.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA - People sitting on terrace of Restaurant Kopun and Konoba Jezuite. Dubrovnik has many restaurants which offer traditional Dalmatian cuisine and some great wine lists.

Take a cable car trip up the mountain

After spending close to 48 hours in Dubrovnik, it’s time to see the city from a different angle. Heading away from the sea, inland, through the Vrata od Buze gateway, you will find yourself at the entrance to the new part of the city and the Cable Car that will take you up Mount Srd.

Taking just 3 minutes to go from the bottom to the top and costing just over 26 euros for a return ticket, the cable car offers the best views of not just Dubrovnik but the surrounding islands also, with views stretching out more than 60 km on a clear day.

At the top, you cannot only take in the impressive views but also visit the Homeland War Museum located in the 19th century, Fort Imperial.

This Fort was the first line of defence for the city during the Homeland war and is now a museum documenting the events with art and photography, along with memorabilia including mines and explosives.

Before heading back down, enjoy a cooling glass of wine or a cocktail overlooking this splendid view at the Panorama Restaurant and Bar right next to the cable car. There is nowhere else in Dubrovnik with a view quite like it.

Dubrovnik cable car, panoramic view from Srd mountain, Croatia

Enjoy some Croatian Wines

Compared to many other European countries, Croatian wine is rarely exported. Therefore, before leaving this wonderful city, enjoy an evening of wine tasting at one of the finest wine bars in the city. 

D’vino wine bar offers daily wine tastings from the best winemakers in the country and is happy to help you explore either a particular region or a specific grape of your choosing.

They can also make recommendations and help you navigate the various wines produced and with more than 60 wines to choose from, it could take a while. For those that want to settle in here for the evening, they also offer a selection of food pairings or sharing platters for those who no longer wish to explore.

chalkboard advertising wine at an empty cafe in Dubrovnik

A change of scenery

For those, however, looking to end their city trip with something different, head towards Kavana Lazareti, where a local street food market can now be found alongside the restaurant itself. Here you will find several different stalls offering everything from burgers to Asian delights, wild boar to french fries.

Locals mix with visitors as the sun goes down, sitting alongside the walls, drinking, eating, and enjoying the local musical talent. Don’t worry that you may not find it, just listen out for the music that starts up around 6 pm each evening and continues late into the night. 

Dubrovnik Croatia - People at the Street Market in the Old town of Dubrovnik Croatia

Things to do around Dubrovnik

Perhaps you are wondering if 2 days is enough in Dubrovnik, and if that is the case, maybe you will consider booking for longer. If you do, plenty of daily tours from the city will see you taking in far more of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.

Following on from this 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary, you may also like to consider some of these.

Ston and Korcula

This tour could have you spending the day exploring Ston’s 14th-century medieval walls from the city, which look just like the Great Wall of China from afar. While from the walls, you can look out over the rich salt plains nearby. The town is also a picturesque location to wander around, with several cafes and restaurants.

From here, you could hop on a boat to nearby Orebic and spend the afternoon exploring the island of Korcula, reportedly home to Marco Polo and now home to some of the best Croatian wines.

Korcula island. Historic town of Korcula aerial view, island in archipelago of southern Croatia

Game of Thrones Tour 

If you are a fan of the popular TV series, consider taking a Game of Thrones tour, which was filmed mainly inside the city walls. From Pile Gate to Lovrijenac Fort, you will wander the streets with an experienced guide who will tell stories about the various filming locations.

They will point out areas you will never have noticed on your own, or discuss what happened behind the scenes; information only a local would know.

Pile Gate, main entrance to the Old Town Dubrovnik, with statue of Saint Blaise. Dubrovnik is famous touristic location in Croatia and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lokrum island

You can see Lokrum Island from the old port, which is just 600 metres off the coast. Just 10 minutes from Dubrovnik via boat, this car-free island is a great place to explore.

The centre has a medieval Benedictine Monastery surrounded by botanical gardens. Still, there are also plenty of swimming spots or kayaking locations should you fancy a day of watersports.

Sunset landscape over summer beach in Dubrovnik Riviera with island Lokrum in background , Croatia Mediterranean.

Mostar

Take a tour to enjoy Bosnia and Herzegovina is just a few miles from Dubrovnik, so if you have time, why not explore the town of Mostar, with its iconic old bridge, before heading to the Kravice Waterfalls, which you are still able to swim in.

If you see all of Dubrovnik in two days and are looking for something more to see, this is a location definitely worth exploring.

MOSTAR, BOSNIA - Panoramic view of Old Mostar Bridge on Neretva River from observation tower. Mostar is one of the most famous place of Balkans.

Elaphiti islands

A catamaran cruise, especially during the warmer months, is the most relaxing thing to do after a couple of days in a city.

Discover the paradisiac islands close to Dubrovnik, starting with Kalamata, before heading to Sipan island to explore the old churches and exquisite villas, before finishing on the island of Lopud, known for its sandy beaches.

This could be the perfect way to end your 2 days in Dubrovnik itinerary if you are looking for a way to recharge those batteries.

Hopefully this Dubrovnik 2 day itinerary has been helpful in planning your trip to Croatia.

LOPUD CROATIA - Scene of the fishing port and the beach with boats locals and tourists in the village Lopud Lopud Island one of the Elaphiti Islands Croatia

Recommended tours in Dubrovnik

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48 hours in Dubrovnik - A 2 day Itinerary
48 hours in Dubrovnik - A 2 day Itinerary
48 hours in Dubrovnik - A 2 day Itinerary

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