Get excited, as you are heading to the beautiful city of Dubrovnik! Known as the “Pearl of Adriatic”, many travelers visit Croatia for Dubrovnik alone! And when you visit this coastal city, you will know why – we ended up staying here for a week, here’s what you must do in 3 days in Dubrovnik itinerary!
3 days in Dubrovnik Itinerary
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Historically, Dubrovnik was a prosperous Republic, who built its force and strength on maritime trade and taxes. For centuries, it remained independent and also paid heavy taxes/tributes to stay independent.
The city of Dubrovnik or Grad Dubrovnik as a Republic (known as the Republic of Ragusa) was centered in the old town, within the city walls (double-walled to stay protected). It had multiple gates for entry and exit, and it still does.
Dubrovnik followed an aristocratic rule, with elected members of the administration to lead the city republic. In the late 18th century and early 19th century saw the decline and end of the Republic under the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy.
However, the 20th century witnessed more damages to the city when Dubrovnik was attacked by combined forces of Serbia and Montenegro (under the former Yugoslav People’s Army), and a siege that lasted 7 months.
Getting to Dubrovnik: 3 day itinerary
Dubrovnik is located in Croatia, Europe. Croatia is a member of the European Union but is not a part of the Schengen Zone (yet). If your passport requires a Schengen Visa, then you have to apply for a multiple visa entry to be allowed into Croatia.
No visa required for EU, Canada or US passport holders.
There are a few options to get to Dubrovnik, by road and overseas by flying.
- Traveling to Dubrovnik, internationally: Dubrovnik Airport or Čilipi Airport is the international airport of Dubrovnik. If traveling from North America, most likely you will arrive in Zagreb (for immigrations) and then proceed with connections to Dubrovnik.
- Getting from Dubrovnik to the city center: The total distance from Dubrovnik airport to the city center is 20 km, and it takes about 20 minutes (by taxi or car rental). There are shuttle buses available, including public transportation that takes about 40 minutes and stops at the Gruz Port (main bus station, close to the port of Dubrovnik). Click to book shuttle services from the airport to the city
- Need a Private transfer? Travelin with a lot of luggage? View options for private transfers from airport to hotels or guest houses
If you are traveling to Dubrovnik by road (group tour, bus or car) there is border control that you have to go through. There is a small patch of land that you have to pass, to travel from Zagreb/Split to Dubrovnik. And that patch of land belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina (another Balkan country).
Depending on the month/season of travel, you could experience details at the border crossing. If you are traveling on a Schengen visa to Croatia, you should be able to cross Bosnia and Herzegovina, as they have one of the open visas for travelers – visa-free for 97 countries. They also take in multiple entry Schengen visa holders.
- Road trip from Zagreb/Split to Dubrovnik: The distance from Split to Dubrovnik is about 220 km (137 miles). The quickest way from Split to Dubrovnik is via E65 and D8 motorway heading south in over 3 hours or so. For Split to Dubrovnik, there is a toll fee of about 56 kunas (8 USD).
- The distance from Zagreb to Split is about 400 km (249 miles). The quickest way from Zagreb to Split is to take the A1 motorway heading south in over 4 hours or so. For Zagreb to Split, there is a toll fee of about 200 kunas (28 USD).
- Public Transport: Buses are available to take you from Zagreb or Split to Dubrovnik ( and no toll fees, of course). There are multiple bus schedules available, that take anywhere from 3 to about 5+ hours one way for Split to Dubrovnik. It takes a full day (8 to 10 hours) to travel from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, overnight buses are available.
The official currency is Croatian Kuna, and you can exchange them at the airport, or at the city center area. Many agencies provide currency conversion without commission.
1 USD = 7.10 HRK/Croatian Kuna
Hotels in Dubrovnik:
For 3 days in Dubrovnik itinerary, we recommend either staying inside the old town or stay a little outside, on the periphery of the old town near a beach. Accommodation outside of the Old City walls will be cheaper and closer to transportation
- Prijeko Palace: Located within the old city walls of Dubrovnik, the Prijeko Palace is a 15th century hotel offering sea-views, a rooftop bar, and a terrace. All the iconic landmarks are within reach from here. Click to view room rates for Prijeko Palace
- Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik: This luxury hotel is housed in an 1890’s building and is located right outside the Pile Gate in the old town. Hotel rooms are equipped with TV, clean spaces with free breakfast included. The hotel property includes a restaurant, bars and a spa with an indoor pool and sauna. Click to view reviews and prices for Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
- Dubrovnik Luxury Residence L’Orangerie: A perfect apartment-style hotel with spacious rooms, balconies, washing machines and tons of restaurants and cafes in the building complex. Sunset beach is just across the road, which makes it easy for a full day out in the sun or a romantic evening stroll. To reach the old city, a bus trip is required (about 10 minutes ride for 15 kunas one way, paid to the bus operator. Or you can buy the Dubrovnik Card to save on transportation and museum/attraction entries). Check out room rates and prices – Dubrovnik Luxury Residence L’Orangerie
Day 1 of 3 days in Dubrovnik Itinerary: Oldtown, cable car, city walls & more
Yay! Day 1 in Dubrovnik itinerary. This day is solely dedicated to the Old Town highlights. Grab some breakfast in your hotel or in the old town and start the exploration.
Wander through the old town, and this is where you see everything that Dubrovnik is known for. Take a wander around, capture photos or take a guided tour.
Old Town Tour and Dubrovnik cable car ride
We took a guided tour of Dubrovnik with a funicular ride in the morning. We walked through the old town, learned about the Republic’s history and went on a funicular ride to capture the beauty of Dubrovnik city walls from afar.
Dubrovnik Cable car is located outside the old city and is included in the tour cost.
Similar tour, without a cable car ride: Dubrovnik guided walking tour
Ploče Gate – Vrata od Ploča
The Ploče Gate is the eastern side/gate to the old town. It is also the main entrance to the walled city.
It was built in the 14th century and was built as a fortification or protection wall. It consists of an inner and outer section of the wall, and also includes a stone bridge. (This is an amazing photo-spot, so take note!)
This bridge was originally a wooden drawbridge, which used to be pulled up at night to prevent unwelcome guests entering the town. The one that you see today, is made up of stone.
From here, the gate leads through the Gate to Luza Square and Stradun or Placa.
Walking the City Walls
Once the walking tour ends, head to the City Walls. Walking the city walls is a MUST – an absolute travel bucket list. It comes at a cost though (300 kunas or 43 USD), but you will be welcomed by mesmerizing views of yellow tiled roofs and the pretty blue sea views.
It can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete the entire loop, depending on the crowd and how often you wish to stop and ponder. But it is doable in 1 hour too. Opening hours differ each season (opens at 08:00 am or 09:00 am).
This portion of the city walls is different from the old town, which is open 24/7 today and can be entered via the Pile Gate (busiest western entrance), Ploče Gate (main and eastern entrance) and Maritime Museum.
Head to Tvrđava Minčeta, a 14th century fortress for some amazing views.
Old Pharmacy Museum in the Franciscan Monastery
This is one of the oldest running pharmacies in Europe. There is a drug store right outside the museum, which is located in the Franciscan Monastery, close to the City Walls entrance.
Walk the Stradun or Placa
Stradun or Placa is the main street of Dubrovnik. It was the city’s main thoroughfare in the 13th century and the street ends are marked by fountains and bell towers.
Most of the houses that you will see today were built after the 1667 earthquake, and hence they are all uniformed and of the same style. Apartments were small, and had commercial complexes at the bottom floor – Dubrovnik was a trade-first community, after all.
Stradun is stretched from Pile Gate (western entrance to the old town) to the Old Town’s port. On one end, is the Clock Tower and the Orlando Column is located near it. It was covered when we visited.
Luža Square is located at the eastern end of the Stradun, and it is a pretty busy square.
It is bordered by façade of Sponza Palace, Clock Tower, Gradska Kavana Café, Theatre Marin Drzic, Knežev Dvor (Rector’s Palace), Dubrovnik’s Cathedral and eastern façade of Sveti Vlaho Church or St Blaise Church.
The opening night of Dubrovnik’s Summer Festival takes place on the square.
Orlando’s Column (Orlandov Stup) at the Luža Square
Orlando’s Column is located at the center of Luža Square right in front of St Blaise’s Church.
The column was built in 1418 and is dedicated to the armored knight Orlando who according to the legend, helped the people of the Republic of Ragusa defeat attackers in the middle ages and helped the city to remain a free trade city-state.
The Sponza Palace is a 16th-century palace located on the main street. One of the few buildings that survived the 1667 earthquake, was the Sponza Palace. It was built from 1516 to 1522 as a customs house, and it was later used as a mint, treasury, armory, and bank. Today it is a museum.
The 1st and 2nd floors are home to the State Archives, with manuscripts dating back nearly 1000 years. Inside the building is a collection of black-and-white photographs of men who perished during the 1991 siege.
The Rector’s Palace is a palace within the old city walls of Dubrovnik, which was used as the administrative seat of the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa between the 14th century and 1808.
The complex also has an armory, powder magazine, watch house and a prison. The Palace is stunningly built in the Gothic style, with Renaissance and Baroque elements. The columns are so gorgeous.
Porat – Old Port City Dubrovnik
The old port of Dubrovnik is within a walking distance from Rector’s Palace. This is where boats would dock in the past and today you can take ferry rides to the Lokrum Islands or the Gruž Ferry Port.
Near the port, you will see the Porporela, which is a pier and it was originally built to reduce the intensity of waves and protect boats and ships anchored in Dubrovnik’s harbor.
Porporela is an isolated spot from the crowded old town, making it perfect for a stroll. You can also soak in all the sea views and Lokrum Island in the distance.
The Dubrovnik Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral and a seat of the Diocese of Dubrovnik.
The Dominican Monastery with the stunning church tower is a beautiful structure to admire inside the old town.
Photographing the old town walls from afar – at night
To photograph the ancient city walls, it is a good idea to get on the funicular ride, but for the night we have an idea! If you take the path where the Dubrovnik funicular or cable car is located, and keep walking (or hiking) up to a height, you will see the walls from a distance.
Keep in mind, they are residential areas, but you will find a pedestrian/roadside from where you can pause to take pictures.
Don’t forget to add some shopping and food break in between. There are tons of restaurants and cafes (of all cuisines and favor) to satisfy your appetite.
Some of our favorite restaurants, where we pigged out on all days we stayed in Dubrovnik
- Buža Bar or Buza Cafe for drinks
- Gradska Kavana Arsenal Restaurant – Located near the Rector’s Palace and inside the old town, this is a fine dining option for your Dubrovnik visit. The evening light and the amazing meal options will impress you. This restaurant specializes in local Croatian cuisine, seafood, Mediterranean, and European food. There are also options for drinks only during the day.
- Dolce Vita – Located near the Rector’s Palace, Dolce Vita is a colorful cafe with ice-creams and pancakes and SOO yummy!
- Dubravka 1836 Restaurant & cafe – We went there for breakfast, but they have salads, pizzas and seafood dishes – including the Dubravka seafood salad, John Dory and Dubrovnik-style king prawns. It is a stunning restaurant with fort and sea-views.
- Taj Mahal – This is a Bosnian restaurant located outside the old town. It has great reviews and deserves one night if interested in a different type of cuisine.
- Tutto Bene Pizzeria & Fast Food – Located near the Lapad Bay, the TuttoBene Pizzeria & Fast Food is a great hang out place with vegan and gluten-friendly dishes. It is budget-friendly as well with fries, burgers, etc.
- Other restaurants: Olivia Pizzeria, Snogu Wok Bar.
Day 2 of 3 days in Dubrovnik Itinerary – Game of Thrones Day & Beach day!
Start day 2 in Dubrovnik, with a warm breakfast right in front of the old town. We chose to relax by the Pile Gate at the Dubravka 1836 Restaurant. They have tons of space for outdoor seating with sea and old town fort views – and TONS of sun!
From here, you can also view the stunning Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress (at 37 meters above sea level). This fortress is also known as the “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”. Originally a fortress and a theater, it is located right outside the western wall of the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.
There are many cafes and restaurants near the Pile Gate. But this one was special, as it had a historical existence and was close to the sea-views!
Game of Thrones Day
After breakfast, use the morning for the Game of Thrones location tour, if you are a GoT fan. There are various guided tours available, ranging from 2 to 4+ hours long.
Here is a 2-hour walking tour of Game of Thrones locations. In this tour, they take you through the King’s Landing scenes and more, as you stroll the cobblestoned lanes.
You might like this tour (with Lokrum Island exploration): Lokrum Island tour
If you are not a GoT fan, swap the tour for ‘time for yourself’ – head to the old town to wander the small lanes, take photos, buy souvenirs, etc.
During peak tourist seasons, this time is super handy to re-visit the attractions covered in the walking tour, the day before. We had to go utilize another day to check out the Old Pharmacy Museum in the Franciscan Monastery, and pancake cafe in the old town.
Drinks with views – Buža Bar
After all the walking (with or without the Game of Thrones tour), head to this cool drinks cafe, where you can sit back, take in sea views and cool off, on a hot day. With only ‘drinks’ on the menu, pick your favorite beer or pop, and admire the views.
You will feel as if you are sitting on a cruise deck – AMAZINGGG! (and super affordable)
Buža Bar or Cafe Buza is only a few steps away from the Saint Ignatius church. Saint Ignatius Church is a catholic church known for its grand stairway which is a GoT favorite.
Spend the second half of your day 2 itinerary in Dubrovnik, at the beach. We headed to the Lapad beach and stayed there until evening. If you are staying at the Dubrovnik Luxury Residence L’Orangerie, this beach will be super close to your accommodation.
There are restaurants and outdoor cafes near the beach-side for dinner and drinks.
Sunset Cruise and dinner
To enjoy an amazing evening, with sunset hues over the walled city and islands of Dubrovnik, hop on a 2-hour dinner cruise. This is an amazing bucket list item where you get to sail out into the Adriatic, whilst sipping champagne and enjoying a feast of Dalmatian cuisine under the stars.
If the beach or cruise is not your thing, head to the Gruz port area for a stroll, and check out the open market nearby.
In the evening/night, head to the Revelin Fortress for some drinks and entertainment. Yup this 15th–16th-century fortress is a nightclub with amazing views and a large terrace for events.
Day 3 of 3 days in Dubrovnik Itinerary – Day trip to 3 Islands tour, Kotor Bay or Mostar
Day 3 of your Dubrovnik Itinerary deserves a little more of Croatia. If you are adventurous, you can head beyond to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
3 Island Tour
The 3 island tour is a popular day trip option to explore more of what is in Croatia and their islands. In this tour, you will get to enjoy the amazing Adriatic coast and sea-side, whilst taking in the beauty of the quiet Mediterranean towns.
The islands included in this trip are Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan. Round trip from the hotel or guest house, lunch, and sightseeing are included.
Other options and things to do in and around Dubrovnik/Dalmatia Croatia
- Lokrum – Lokram is an island, just a 15-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik. There are regular, daily sailings from Dubrovnik Old Town’s port to the island, and it is about 40 kunas. The island was a holiday destination and is home to a monastery and a botanical garden. A quarantine area was set up in Lokram during the time of the Republic of Ragusa.
- Cavtat – Cavtat is a town on the Adriatic Coast, just southeast of Dubrovnik. You can access this town using public transport (bus 10) near the Pile Gate or taxi (38 Euros one way). It’s known for its beaches, and historical remnants – Rector’s Palace, a baroque St. Nicholas Church and more. Perfect place to spend a few hours and return to Dubrovnik.
From Dubrovnik, it is an easy base city to explore nearby Balkan countries.
- Kotor Bay, Montenegro: If you wish to add another Balkan country to your Croatia trip, Kotor Bay is an easy option from Dubrovnik. We booked a day tour to Kotor bay which included a stop at Perast. You can go as far as Budva in Montenegro, but very few tours exist for that route. Kotor is a pretty coastal town and is known for the stunning bay and the old town, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina: One of my favorite places in the Balkans, is the beautiful country of Bosnia & Herzegovina. From Dubrovnik, you can explore the southern part of the country, namely Mostar, Pocitelj and Kravica Waterfalls. Most day tours will take you to 2 places Mostar and Pocitelj, or Pocitelj and Kravica Waterfalls. (Note: Split is closer to Mostar than Dubrovnik, but a day trip is still worth it nevertheless. You can also drive from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo – one-way drive to continue exploring this beautiful Balkan Peninsula)
Zagreb to Dubrovnik itinerary ideas
For a perfect Croatia trip, it is a good idea to take a road trip (or a bus) from north to the south/coastal part of the country. A perfect Zagreb to Dubrovnik itinerary will include the following amazing sights:
- Arrive in Zagreb, capital of Croatia. Explore for a day or two. Or start off, for your road trip
- Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes National Park – The national park is 2 hours by road, and takes 4 hours+ to fully explore the area.
- From Plitvice Lakes, drive and stop for the night in Split. Plitvice Lakes to Split is 3.50 hours by road.
- Private transfers are available from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes to Split. Find more about them here.
- Explore Split for a few hours or stay overnight (for another day). If you have additional time on hand, you can make stops at Zadar and Šibenik, before reaching Split late in the evening. Or set aside a day for Hvar, Zadar, Trogir or any of the islands nearby.
- No time? Drive to Dubrovnik from Split
- Explore Dubrovnik
How many days in Dubrovnik is enough?
It varies. If you are visiting Dubrovnik in off-season or winter months, one day in Dubrovnik is enough to explore the city’s highlights. You can use the day one of this Dubrovnik itinerary for that.
2 days is good enough time to explore Dubrovnik, regardless of when you visit and your interests in the city are.
If you have additional days in Dubrovnik, you can certainly hang out at the beach, enjoy islands nearby, or take day trips to other places.
Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?
Dubrovnik is a touristy destination but it is 100% worth visiting once in your lifetime. It could be a pain exploring Dubrovnik during peak summer months or when cruise ships are arriving in town, but visiting in the off-season will make this trip completely worthwhile.
The entire old town looks like a stage, with well-preserved buildings and of course, the iconic walls! It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for those visiting Croatia or Balkans, you must pay a visit to Dubrovnik.
Considering Dubrovnik as a base city to explore other countries is also a good idea!
Should you visit Split or Dubrovnik?
Often Split and Dubrovnik are compared, yes there are similarities – both are port cities, are located in Dalmatia coast, both touristy and expensive (as compared to Zagreb. Taxi fares start at 30 HRK here vs 10 HRK in Zagreb!).
However, Dubrovnik is super pretty. And it is worth the price tag and time involved in traveling and border control hassles.
Split is the second-largest city in Croatia. It is an excellent option for exploring Dalmatia as well as venturing into the inland and smaller islands of Croatia like Istria, Hvar and Krka National Park.
Being a big city (as compared to Dubrovnik), you will have plenty of options for accommodation, food, and activities.
Dubrovnik is compact – it is not a big city (although it does have the third busiest airport in the country). So exploring makes it easy for a short visit.
Dubrovnik is very unique with the old city walls and its historical status as a Republic is worth exploring and learning about. Hence our favorite.
Both Split and Dubrovnik have stunning Games of Thrones shooting locations!
We hope you found our post on Dubrovnik 3 day Itinerary helpful! Dubrovnik is a stunning city, we can’t wait to go back!
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