Are you a fan of “Game of Thrones”? If so, you may already be familiar with some of the streets and alleyways of Dubrovnik, as the show was filmed in several locations within the Croatian city. Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Dubrovnik keeps attracting both Croatian and international tourists with its most well-known attractions: the pedestrian-only old town area and the almost 2 kilometres long Dubrovnik city walls. What you may not know is that from Dubrovnik you can easily arrange day trips to lesser-known, but absolutely remarkable places. This guide lists of our top suggestions for Dubrovnik day trips!
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Day trip to Mostar
Day trip from Dubrovnik to Mostar are among the most popular tours from Dubrovnik. Mostar is less than 2,5 hours drive away from Dubrovnik, and the bus route itself is quite remarkable with amazing views of the Adriatic Sea!
Mostar is the fifth largest city of Bosnia Herzegovina, named after its breathtaking landmark “Stari Most” which literally translates to “Old Bridge”. Built in the 16th century, the bridge stood for 427 years and on November 9th, 1993 it was destroyed by the Croatian military forces. Hence, what now connects the two parts of the city and crosses the River Neretva is a rebuilt version of the old Ottoman bridge; still listed as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Do not be scared when you see people jumping off the bridge! It is not rare to see adrenaline-addicts dive off the high bridge, and you can even encounter professionals bridge-jumpers who manage to make a living from it!
Mostar is also famous for its atmospheric local markets and artisan shops, most of which are located around the Old Bazaar, also called “Kujundziluk” in Mostar’s car-free area. You will find many places accepting Croatian Kunas and/or Euro, so you don’t have to worry about exchanging the currency beforehand but remember that you will be crossing the Croatian border on this trip, so don’t forget to take your passport!
For true adventurers who want to extend the trip to Mostar with yet another popular tourist attraction, we recommend a further trip to Kravice Waterfalls. Referred to as “mini Niagara Falls” of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the waterfalls are only 45 minutes away from Mostar. Prepare for spectacular views and serene surroundings and don’t forget your swimming suit, as swimming inside the pools is permitted. You can bring your own food with you and enjoy it out in nature or you can choose to dine in one of the two local restaurants right next to the Kravice Waterfall pools.
Day trip to Montenegro
Day trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro are also easy-to-arrange excursions! One place you do not want to miss is the town of Kotor. Since 1979 both Kotor and the Kotor Bay have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the city is famous for its stunning medieval architecture. In the Middle Ages, many foreign empires wanted to take control of Kotor due to its strategic position near the water, and hence a massive city wall was built around the city. Today the city walls, also known as “Fortifications of Kotor” are one of the main tourist attractions.
There is a dedicated 1350-steps-long route you can hike, passing the “Church of Our Lady of Remedy” leading towards the “Fortress of Sveti Ivan” (St John) on the very top, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Kotor Bay! The whole fortification climb will take about 2 hours, so bring with you some water and make sure you are wearing good walking shoes, as parts of the pathway can be slippery and/or rocky! If you visit the Kotor city walls in high season, which means during daytime (8 am – 8 pm) from May through September, there will be a 3 Euro entrance fee.
On the way back from Montenegro to Dubrovnik, we recommend stopping in the town of Perast located just a few kilometres outside of Kotor. Referred to as “Venice of the Adriatic Sea”, this tiny town is famous for its impressive architecture. With only one main street, Perast is home to 16 churches and 17 former palaces, as it used to be a holiday destination for Russian and Italian royalty.
Off the coast of Perast, you will also encounter “Our Lady of the Rocks” (Gospa od Škrpjela), a man-made island on which the main building is a 17th-century Roman Catholic church with an art museum and a gift shop attached.
The practical checklist for your Montenegro trip should include your passport and some cash (Euros). You should also know that due to new regulations from the European Union, on some occasions, the border crossing can take extra time – even up to 2,5 hours!
Day trip to Mljet National Park
Mljet National Park is situated on the island of Mljet, across the channel from Dubrovnik – perfect if you want to escape the bustle of the city. You can either join an organized tour or put a trip together on your own, getting to the Park by local ferry boat. During high season, the ferries depart regularly, but if you are visiting during low season (November to April), make sure that you check the ferry schedule before taking off. We recommend departing early, as the sailing time is about 2 hours.
Mljet National Park is one of the 8 national parks in Croatia, and it is most famous for “The Great Lake” with the Isle of St. Mary where the Benedictine monastery is located. A visit to the national park usually begins in either Pomena or Polače, small villages where the ticket offices are located. Polače is a convenient starting point for many (especially tourists who want to stay on Mljet overnight) as it offers many restaurants, shops and home-stays where you can rent a room from the local villagers. You will find ATM machines there too! Pomena village also has a small shopping district and there is a main street around which the most restaurants are located.
The national park is the perfect place for walking and hiking tours, but it is also common among visitors to rent a bicycle and explore the island by bike. The adventurous explorers will for sure be interested to see the famous Odysseus Cave! According to the legends, Odysseus found shelter in a cave on the coast of an island after surviving the shipwreck – and the island is said to be Mljet! The journey to Odysseus Cave will start in the village of Babino Polje. Prepare for a moderate hike towards a cliff which is… the final point before jumping into the water!
Diving off the cliff, get ready for a swim in the little bay before swimming into the cave where the water is shallow enough for you to take a rest. It will be a mesmerizing experience, yet only recommended for confident swimmers. If you don’t feel confident in water but want to explore the cave, we strongly recommend bringing a life-jacket with you on this trip!
Day trip to Split
If you want to see more of Croatia’s cultural and historical richness, we recommend you to join one of the day trips from Dubrovnik to Split (Croatia’s second-largest city). Located 140 miles (229 kilometres) further up north from Dubrovnik, the city of Split is most famous for Diocletian’s Palace – an ancient residence built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
It is referred to as a “palace” but with its size and grandeur, it is rather a fortress, forming about half of Split’s old town. In 1979 the remains of Diocletian’s Palace were officially listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Because of the size and the rich history of the site, we strongly recommend booking a guided walking tour around Diocletian’s Palace (it might already be included in your day trip package, but make sure to double-check).
If you are a history or art and culture enthusiast, you should aim to visit one of Split’s many museums like the Ethnographical Museum, the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments or the Gallery of Fine Arts that showcases local and international artworks from the 14th century up to the present day.
In Split, you must not miss the Riva Promenade! It is heaven for pedestrians, filled with cafés, restaurants and bars. It is a perfect spot for a coffee, a drink or a casual meeting with friends. Popular not only among tourists but locals too, Riva is also a stage for city life, including Split’s annual carnival and other cultural events.
Day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park
Split can also be a stop on a longer journey towards Plitvice Lakes National Park – one of Croatia’s oldest and largest national parks, situated in central area of the country. Going directly from Dubrovnik all the way to Plitvice Lakes is quite inconvenient. There are direct buses that leave every day at 6 PM and arrive in Plitvice 9,5 hours later, around 3.30 AM, which makes it difficult to check into hotels, not mentioning the inconvenience of an overnight bus journey. Hence many travellers choose to spend the night in Split and take a bus towards “Plitvička Jezera” the following morning. The travel time from Split to Plitvice is about 6 hours.
Plitviče Lakes National Park is known for 16 magnificent lakes, connected by waterfalls that open up into a canyon. Also listed as UNESCO world heritage site, the park is a true natural wonder and home to animals like European pond turtle and the brown bear. Plitviče Lakes National Park is a protected reservoir and hence swimming is strictly forbidden. You go there to admire the fauna and the flora, enjoy the views and hike. If you want to make sure that you will see all the most spectacular parts of the park, we recommend you book a private tour with a guide. Also it will be much safer to be led by a local who knows the forests well!
The entrance to Plitviče Lakes National Park is ticketed, and there are different ticket-packages so have a look at the entrance fees before you go to avoid any unpleasant surprises (note that the prices vary with the season too). Ticket packages also include 2-day passes, and if you wish to stay around the national park overnight, you will easily find an affordable home-stay or a local hotel in the area.
Day trip to Peljesac Peninsula
Looking for ideas for half day trips from Dubrovnik? Only 70 kilometres from Dubrovnik you will find the Peljesac Peninsula, especially famous for its exquisite cuisine with delicious, fresh seafood as main component! In the southern part of Peljesac, you will also find olive gardens and vineyards that invite tourists for wine-tasting sessions.
One of the most popular spots on the peninsula is the city of Ston: a great place for a relaxing walk and casual sightseeing. The two most-visited attractions are the atmospheric old town and winding old city walls, originally built with 3 fortresses, 41 towers, 7 bastions and a full system of moats! The city wall stretches for almost 3 kilometres from Veliki (Great) Ston to Mali (Small) Ston, and thanks to thorough renovation processes, the city wall can be now walked in all its entirety!
If you aren’t in the mood for walking and would rather relax, Peljesac Peninsula has some spectacular beaches that you should check out! It will for sure not disappoint if you are looking for beach day trips from Dubrovnik. One of the more popular is the Prapatno beach, located in the South-facing bay, less than 4 kilometres from the city of Ston. The beach is rocky rather than sandy and the water near the shore is very shallow.
Before you go into the water be sure to wear special footwear that will protect your feet not only from the sharp pebbles but also from the stingy sea urchins – the nightmare of many incautious tourists! A relatively less pebbly sister of Prapatno Beach is the Trstenik Beach, situated within a village. It attracts both locals and tourists, but because of its size, it does not tend to get over-crowded! Pack your towel, swimsuit and the protective footwear and get ready for a couple hours, or even a full day of beach-relaxation!