WHAT TO DO – 2-DAY DUBROVNIK ITINERARY
If you are wondering about the best things to do in Dubrovnik in 2 days, you´ll get your answers here. In this 2-day Dubrovnik itinerary, I share the main attractions to visit, travel tips like how to get around, and more.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 2-DAY DUBROVNIK ITINERARY
Is Dubrovnik worth visiting? Yes, Dubrovnik is worth visiting. It is one of the most unique places in Europe. I have to say – visiting Dubrovnik did not disappoint. Was it busy? Yes. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it touristy? Yes. Do I recommend visiting Dubrovnik? Yes.
Before discussing your Dubrovnik itinerary, here are some important travel tips for the city.
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Dubrovnik is the most southern city in Croatia. It was an independent republic for a long time, and even today, it feels different from the rest of Croatia.
Located on the Adriatic Sea, it is also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and has been a tourist magnet for decades. While it was partly damaged in the war in the 1990s, it is almost completely rebuilt and is a super safe and clean city. Did I say city? I am not actually sure if Dubrovnik qualifies as a city, as it has less than 50,000 inhabitants.
The area of Dubrovnik is separated from the rest of Croatia by another country – Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In the late 17th century, when the Ottoman Empire ruled Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dubrovnik was an independent republic. Dubrovnik, known for its trade and lacking experience in warfare, was scared of the Venetians’ attack, so they agreed to give up some land to the Ottoman Empire. By doing this, they hoped to be protected from attacks – and it worked (until Napolean came, but that is another story).
This is just a short explanation of the unusual geography and why, now, about 20 km of coastline still belongs to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
How to Get to Dubrovnik
These days, you can easily drive from Split to Dubrovnik. Until recently, you had to cross borders (Bosnia-Herzegovina) but now a bridge connects Dubrovnik to the rest of the country.
- Check out my Croatia road trip itinerary for more info.
Driving in Dubrovnik is okay, but finding a parking spot that does not cost you an arm and a leg is difficult. You cannot drive in the old town (it is car-free), but you have to pay a high price to park your car in front of the old town.
- Some hotels offer parking for about 40€ a day. Parking in a garage next to the old town is around 40€ a day, too. I found a parking spot next to the Pile Gate for 10€ – AN HOUR. For Europe, this is a LOT of money. Alternatively, you can find free parking about 3km outside the old town center. I saw many more free parking spots when driving up Srd Mountain, where you can park and take a bus to get to the old town.
- I parked in Babin Kuk (just type that in your GPS) and then took the #6 bus to the Pile Gate (about 15 minutes, the bus ticket is about 2€ one way). Unfortunately, when I wanted to get back, I was denied admittance to the bus because apparently dogs are not allowed on, and since I had some luggage with me, I had to take a taxi (about 15€ for a three-kilometer drive).
- However, if you stay longer in Dubrovnik, free parking is the way to go. And yes, it is actually quite safe to leave your car on the street if you do not leave valuables on display.
By Plane: Dubrovnik Airport is located near the village of Cilipi, 20 km south of Dubrovnik. There are many flights within Europe from April to October.
- An airport shuttle bus frequently departs after every scheduled flight. They also stop at the Pile Gate, at the main entrance to the old town. It takes 30 minutes (a one-way ticket costs 45 Kuna, or about 6€).
- You can also reach the town by public bus.
By Bus: You can easily reach Dubrovnik by bus from many places in Croatia.
- Public transportation to main destinations like Dubrovnik is good, and the bus network is reliable in Croatia.
- It takes about 9 hours by bus to reach Dubrovnik from Zagreb and around 4 hours to reach Dubrovnik from Split. Check out schedules on the Dubrovnik Bus Terminal website.
Pssst… Here is my Zagreb itinerary with tips on how to spend a weekend in Croatia´s capital.
By Ferry: You could also take a ferry from Split.
- A catamaran takes four and a half hours each way (including several stops on the islands of Brac, Hvar, Korcula, and Mljet en route).
How to Get Around Dubrovnik in 2 Days
- The old town of Dubrovnik is car-free. and you would not need a car at all.
- It is also small, so you can easily walk around the main sights and landmarks. If you stay outside the old town, you can use public transportation.
- If you plan to use public transportation and do several activities, a Dubrovnik Card might be a good idea (you can get unlimited rides on public transportation and entrance to the city walls, etc., for 1, 3, or 7 days).
- To get up Srd Mountain, you can use the cable car (more on that later), hike up, or drive up.
Best Time to Visit Dubrovnik
- I always say there is no reliability when it comes to seasons and weather. Even in the Balkans, weather cannot be predicted.
- However, I recommend visiting during the shoulder season, meaning April, May, and early June, or September and October.
- I visited in May. The weather was moody, but it was not too crowded. So, I probably would visit again around this same time of year (the weather was moody all over Europe, so this year is just crazy).
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik For 2 Days
I suggest staying in the old town of Dubrovnik. Normally, I book accommodation spontaneously, but it was actually not easy finding something good last-minute in Dubrovnik (and it was just early May). After staying at my hotel for one night, I wanted to book another night. However, it was fully booked, so I had to switch hotels.
- Hilton: If you are looking for a luxurious hotel near the old town (just 200 meters outside the old town), you may want to check out the Hilton in Dubrovnik.
Where to Eat
Nisha Restaurant: A vegan restaurant on a side street with delicious food. It is a bit expensive though and had minimal seating. So my tip is to avoid getting there between 1 pm and 2 pm and head there earlier or later for lunch.
How to Book Tours and Activities in Dubrovnik
- You can buy your Dubrovnik Card at the tourism center right outside the old town and in some old town shops. I recommend buying the 1-day Dubrovnik Card that is valid for 24 hours. The entrance to the city wall is included. Before buying the card, you should calculate for yourself it is worth it or not.
- If you want to buy tickets for the city walls only, you can get them at the entrance gate of the city walls or book them online in advance.
- For tours, I normally use GetYourGuide – they are great. You can visit most places in Dubrovnik independently and explore the city on your own. Still, there are some fun tours, and with GetYourGuide, you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance without any cancellation fee, and they are very helpful with questions.
More Tips for Your Dubrovnik Itinerary
- Bring cash. Cards are accepted in some restaurants and stores, but I had to pay cash once in a while.
- Also, euros and dollars are not accepted widely, so change some money to Kuna.
How Many Days to Spend in Dubrovnik?
You could see the main attractions in 1 day, but with two days in Dubrovnik, you can see most attractions and also you can experience without the crowds. During the day, Dubrovnik is crowded. Busy, hectic, partly unpleasant. If you are here before the crowds arrive (normally before 10 or 11 am) or once the crowds leave (after 5 to 6 pm), it will be much more fun.
ULTIMATE THINGS TO DO IN DUBROVNIK IN 2 DAYS
Now, let´s talk about your Dubrovnik itinerary.
Day 1 of 2 Days in Dubrovnik
Here is what the first day in Dubrovnik could look like.
There is no way around it – my favorite activity and probably the very best thing to do in 2 days in Dubrovnik is to walk the city walls. I love medieval towns and cities and have walked many walls – but the city walls in Dubrovnik are one of the best-preserved and most amazing city walls/fortification systems ever.
Even if you are on a budget, this is an activity I highly suggest. Yes, ticket prices are quite high, but you will see the stunning old town from a great perspective.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE CITY WALLS
- The walls include three forts (Minceta, Bokar, and St. John), 16 towers, 6 bastions, 2 corner fortifications, and 2 citadels. Some of the walls are as high as 25 meters – and the views are as impressive as these stats.
- The city walls are almost 2 km long. You will walk along the whole old town, and while it is “only” 2km, it took me about 3 hours to walk them. This included many breaks to take pictures and have a coffee – and then some more short breaks.
- While “medieval” normally means narrow streets and city walls, this city wall is actually quite wide. There are definitely some stairs you have to climb. If you are not very fit, you can always skip the fortress, which has even more stairs.
- It is not very stroller-friendly, though (but at least it was dog-friendly, and they can get up there for free).
- The walls open at 8 am. You can start from several entrances, but the most common is probably from Pile Gate. There is no way to get up without a ticket – you will have to show your ticket at every entrance.
- It gets busy here quite quickly, so I really recommend getting here at 8 am (or around 5 pm).
Okay, this might sound weird and a unique thing to do: You can easily find your true, true, true love in Dubrovnik. You do not have to do much. There is just one challenge, and if you pass – true love will come your way.
- All it takes is finding the gargoyle head protruding from a stone wall next to the Franciscan Monastery (near the Pile Gate).
- Get on the head (while not falling), take off your shirt while facing towards the wall, and voila… the love of your life will come into your life.
- Okay, the head sticks out only fifteen centimeters, and its top surface is polished like marble, so it is almost impossible to succeed, but you won‘t know if the myth is true or not if you do not try!
After walking the city walls (which should take about 1.5-3 hours) and looking for love, head to Fort Lovrijenac. King´s Landing! That is probably the fort’s unofficial name outside the city walls and is known as the Dubrovnik Gibraltar. It is also part of the fortification system and offers beautiful views of the Adria and Dubrovnik.
I will be honest, I have not watched any episodes of Game of Thrones (yet), but I realized that many people at the fortress tried to recall which scene was filmed in which part of the fortress.
- The good news: If you have a ticket for the city walls (or the Dubrovnik Card), you do not have to pay an additional entrance fee here.
- If you are ready for a break, sit down at the “beach section“ that you will find between Fort Lovrijenac and the city walls. It felt great to listen to the waves and take a break before jumping into the commotion of the old town.
Stradun (or the Place) is the main street in the old town and one of the most beautiful places in Dubrovnik. According to reviews, it is even one of the most beautiful streets in the world. Strolling it – for sure – is a treat for your eyes!
It is impressive to stroll the Stradun, sit down in one of the (overpriced) cafes, and have a drink.
- If you enter via the Ploce Gate or Pile Gate, you are right at the street – so, no way to get lost here.
- You have the Onofrio Fountain at the western end of the street and the Bell Tower at the street’s eastern end.
- I, unfortunately, did not witness people dancing here, but if you are lucky, you might see people showing off local dances, and you can enjoy a bit more of the local traditions.
Dubrovnik Old Town
Of course, roaming the old town streets is another top thing to do in Dubrovnik. And the best: it is a fun and free activity! Not all streets blew me away – actually, I missed some colors popping up here and here (probably spent too much time in Italy, and my craving for colorful buildings/decor is immense). However, there are some colorful flowers and flower pots further away from the main streets.
- The residential streets were actually quite picturesque and less visited.
- Head towards Za Rokum – the most colorful street I found – and then get lost in the streets on that side of the old town.
- You will also find the Rector´s Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, the Dominican Monastery, and the beautiful Dubrovnik Cathedral in the old town – beautiful buildings that are well worth a visit (there is an entrance fee for Rector´s Palace).
Dubrovnik Boat Tour
I am a repeat offender – but I cannot help it. I love boat cruises! So, my advice should not surprise you – in Dubrovnik: You should go on a boat cruise!
Plus, on a warm day, this is the best way to cool off!
- And the good news is: boat cruising can be comparatively affordable (around 10€ for a 45-minute cruise), but you will see the city from a different perspective.
- The cruises start outside the city walls at the old port, and you can buy tickets there. They run quite frequently.
As stunning as the old town of Dubrovnik is, the old port is beautiful, too. So, make sure to leave the old town at the end of the main shopping street – Stradun – and stroll the port.
You will find restaurants, boats, and yachts, and also a lively and fun atmosphere here.
- This is also where the boats sail from.
This Buza Bar is probably one of the most famous spots in Dubrovnik. What makes the bar so popular is the location: It sits on a cliff, outside the wall. You will probably have to use GPS to find it. Stroll the old town and then go through a little door/hole outside the city walls). Now, you have the ocean in front of you, plus a few seats to have a drink (and cliffs where many people sit and enjoy their drinks and the view).
There are several bars like this, but this is the most popular one – especially if you want to watch the sunset. In that case, come a bit easier to be sure to get a spot, as it gets busy for sunset.
The above-mentioned activities will most likely fill a full day in Dubrovnik. Of course, it depends on how fast you are, what time you start your day, and when you end your day.
Day 2 of 2 Days in Dubrovnik
For day 2 in Dubrovnik, I suggest the following activities. This is not a real itinerary but rather suggestions and you won’t be able to do all of the things but can choose those that appeal the most to you.
Whether you want to start your day relaxed or want to come here during the day, spending some time at the beach in Dubrovnik is a great way to chill.I am not much of a beach person, and it was definitely too cold for laying out at the beach at the beginning of May (when I visited), but Dubrovnik does have some nice beaches – many close to the old town.
Banje Beach is the most popular, just a few minute’s walk from the old town, but there are apparently some more that are less busy and a bit farther away (including Pasjaca Beach).
- Be aware that Croatia and Dubrovnik beaches are mostly pebble beaches, not sand beaches.
Kayak or Snorkel
Do you want to be more active? Then, kayaking is the right activity for you. Kayaking is one of the three sports I hate the most – yes, I tried it and disliked it, but others enjoy it, and it is a big thing in Dubrovnik.
You can see the city from the other side and can even kayak to Lokrum Island. Check out kayak tours in advance – click here to find out more and get prices.
Your eyes will probably catch this small, green island quite quickly when walking the city walls. You can visit this little, uninhabited island. Lokrum Island covers 72 hectares and is located on the eastern Croatian coast, near Dubrovnik, and you can get there either via boat or by kayaking.On the island, you can discover the botanical garden and visit the Benedictine Monastery. Apparently, some garden scenes in Game of Thrones were filmed at the botanical garden and the former monastery (of course). This is also where you will find the Iron Throne (at the monastery). Game of Thrones tours show you the Iron Throne and King´s Landing – click here for more information.
Though I wish I could be a walking encyclopedia, I often learn about the history and culture of a place in-depth only when I do a walking tour – whether it is a free tour or not.And while the city is small, there is a lot of history and information that a local guide can best convey to you.
Tours take about 60-120 minutes, and you can get valuable insights. So, if you are in Dubrovnik for more than one day, then book a tour to complete your itinerary for Dubrovnik. Check out guided Dubrovnik tours here – and here is some information on the free walking tour.
Game of Thrones Tour
Dubrovnik was a tourist magnet long before the war in the 1990s and long before the TV show Game of Thrones.
However, apparently, 30% of visitors now come because of the show. And so, it is no surprise that a guided “Game of Thrones” walking tour is one of the most popular activities in Dubrovnik. To find out more about Game of Thrones Tours, click here to get the prices and more information.
Srd Hill / Mountain
Last but not least: I am all about the views when I travel. So, of course, if you ask me about what to do in Dubrovnik, I will tell you to add a trip to Srd Mountain to your Dubrovnik itinerary and end your first or second day in Dubrovnik here.
It stands at 413 meters above sea level, and the views are incredible. The red roofs, the ocean, Lokrum Island, Elaphite Island…this is a million-dollar view.
- There is also a panorama restaurant where you can have a drink or dine (you also get the views for free if you don’t sit at the restaurant).
- Next to the restaurant is a museum to find out more about the war in the 1990s and information on the Dubrovnik Republic.
- There is – normally – a cable car that takes you up. The cable car station is just a stone’s throw from the old town. Check out their website if you consider taking the cable car.
- You can also hike up (it should take between 45-90 minutes to get up), take a taxi, or even drive in your own car. I drove up there. The street (one-way mostly) is narrow, and it gets busy. It is not for the faint-hearted. Though I do not recommend it for inexperienced mountain drivers, there are much worse streets in the Balkans, Italy, and other parts of Europe to drive on. And if I can do it, you can do it, too.
So, getting on top of Srd mountain is another must-do in 2 days in Dubrovnik.
More Things to Do in or Near Dubrovnik
If you stay longer in Dubrovnik than two days, you could add one of the following activities to your itinerary for Dubrovnik.
A less-visited area, this street is great for escaping the crowds. I cannot say that I was totally in love and smitten, but I enjoyed walking the street and seeing the different and more unique views of Dubrovnik. From here, you can also spot the pretty Franjo Tudman Bridge, which is an eyecatcher because of its unique shape and design.
If you enjoy walking, you can walk from the old town, or hop on a bus to get there (bus number 6).
Kotor, the main tourist destination in Montenegro, is quite close to Dubrovnik, and you can get to Kotor either by bus, car, or book a tour. It is a fun day trip, and Kotor is absolutely stunning.
THINGS TO DO IN KOTOR AS A DUBROVNIK DAY TRIPS
- Stroll the old town with cute streets and buildings
- You can hike up to St. John´s Fortress and enjoy amazing views of the Bay of Kotor
- Visit the pretty village of Perast close to Kotor
- For guided tours, click here and find out more about a day trip from Montenegro to Dubrovnik
I have become a fan of Bosnia-Herzegovina – and Mostar, close to the Croatian border – is a good idea for a day trip from Dubrovnik. While one day in Bosnia-Herzegovina is surely not enough, this day trip gives you a good idea of Bosnia´s beauty.
TIPS FOR VISITING MOSTAR FROM DUBROVNIK
- Make sure to take your ID/passport and check visa regulations for Mostar (and Kotor) as both cities/countries are, unlike Croatia, not part of the European Union.
- You can easily drive to Mostar yourself or check out guided tours.
- In Mostar, visit the famous Stari Most Bridge.
- Stroll the beautiful old town with its cute streets and charming little shops.
CONCLUSION: 2 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK ITINERARY
I was totally smitten when I visited Dubrovnik – despite the crowds and the price tag. And yes, Dubrovnik in 2 days is a good amount of time to spend in this incredible city. But if you want to do day trips, plan in some extra days because there are many more beautiful places to see close to Dubrovnik. I hope you can create your amazing 2-day Dubrovnik itinerary and have a great trip.
- Explore Trogir in one day (one of my favorite places in Croatia)
- Rovinj is completely different than Dubrovnik- find out more about this Croatian city here
- Check out my Croatia itinerary
- Here are the best places to stay in Croatia