Back in June I headed to Dubrovnik (if you follow me on socials then sorry for the spam!) for my brother-in-law’s stag do. I absolutely love seeing the world but for some reason, Croatia was never somewhere I had thought of before. I had the best time and it is an absolutely incredibly beautiful city, so I thought I’d put together a little first-timers guide to Dubrovnik, what to see, what to do and most importantly in my opinion…where to eat and drink.
One important thing to keep in mind is that there is a tonne of parts that make up Dubrovnik, there are lots of nearby islands such as Lokrum and on the mainland, the city is made up of the old town and the new town. We pretty much stayed around the old town area as there was so much to see and do that we couldn’t cram it all in, so my suggestions are really built around this area.
This is one thing Dubrovnik really doesn’t have a short supply of! When you’re in the old town walls, there is a tonne of restaurants of varying sizes. There are loads up the little side alleys, as well as larger ones that fill the large plazas with music and incredible aromas.
We went for a big meal out one night and ate at the Revelin Restaurant - it has 4 out of 5 stars on Trip Advisor and the food is fantastic. I highly recommend the black rice as a starter (a classic Croatian dish)…but be warned as their starter portions are pretty big! The views over the city walls into the marina area are really nice and provide a perfect setting for a nice meal out. If you google the Revelin restaurant then don’t be put off by the fact there is a strip club downstairs…it isn’t a seedy restaurant in the slightest and their ‘culture club’ arm doesn’t open until the restaurant has closed. The staff were all really friendly and accepting of the usual stag banter!
Other restaurants with great reviews include
Above 5 Rooftop Restaurant
Prora Beach Restaurant
Again, Dubrovnik is absolutely brimming with bars. Take a wander through the side streets and you’ll find lots of little bars. Some have a takeaway service so you can sip something cool whilst exploring the city, others have nice outdoor seating areas.
One night we attempted to get into the nightclub (above the Revelin Restaurant) inside the city walls, however even though we had free tickets to get in before midnight…and it was before midnight, we didn’t manage to get in for free so had a change of plan. We headed down to the Banje Beach Club, which had a really good vibe and as the name suggests, was right on the shoreline, it recently was rated as the top bar to visit in Dubrovnik by Timeout magazine.
Later that night we actually managed to get into the Revelin nightclub from earlier in the night - it has a typical European super club feeling to it, but it had a pretty good vibe and was on par with some of the clubs I visited in Ibiza, it played dance music and was pretty cool being located inside the city walls, it’s also open until 6 am for all you late-night revellers!
Some other highly rated bars in Dubrovnik include
The Bar By Azur
Cave More Bar
What to see and do
One thing you’re guaranteed to see in Dubrovnik is lots of hills and steps…lots and lots of steps. I live in a pretty flat part of the UK and I personally have never seen hills like it. Our Airbnb was up a few rather steep hills which certainly got the heart pumping, however, to get to the very top of Dubrovnik, you’ll need to hop in the cable car. This is a trip worth taking, the views are absolutely breathtaking and there are plenty of facilities such as a restaurant, gift shop and visitor centre at the top. There is also a museum dedicated to the Independence war - sadly we didn’t have time to take a tour of this.
Whilst at the top of Mount Srđ we took a dune buggy tour of the area. It took us to some areas that were of importance during the war such as forts and an area that was used for heavy shelling over the city. It is worth doing, and whilst educational…it’s also pretty fun to get your petrol head on and give it some welly in a dune buggy. We booked this with the guys over at Buggy Dubrovnik who were absolutely awesome!
Unfortunately we didn’t get time to visit the islands, however every taxi driver we had highly recommended visiting them, they are supposed to be untouched and naturally beautiful. It is definitely worth touring the city walls, you get some incredible views and it's a great way to spend a couple of hours! Just note that it does get slippery when wet.
Game of Thrones fans will know Dubrovnik as the home of the smash TV show, there are loads of GOT tours and things to see, however, if you’re like me and have never seen a single episode, you can still experience the beauty of the city.
This is probably one sticking point with Dubrovnik, it certainly wasn’t cheap! In total we spent just short of £3,000 whilst in Dubrovnik, that was between 8 lads over a 4 day period, that’s around £100 each per day, which is pretty expensive when you consider we ate breakfast and lunch in most days.
When it comes to taxis, from the word go I was recommended to use Uber instead of the state-run taxi service, Uber is a lot cheaper and much more reliable, an 11-minute journey from our apartment to the old town cost around 100kn (Kuna) which is roughly £12. There are loads of Uber drivers working in the area, so you’re always guaranteed a ride.
Dinner at Revelin, however, was surprisingly cheap at around £47/head for a 2-course dinner and cocktails.
Our Ubers to and from the airport were around £23 which wasn’t too bad for a 30-minute journey.
In conclusion, if you haven’t visited Dubrovnik and it isn’t currently on your list of places to visit…get it on there! It is easily the most beautiful place I have seen, and whilst it’s super hilly to walk around and can be expensive, it is worth every penny to see such a unique and untouched place. It is encapsulated in history but feels contemporary and well thought out, it is perfect for a long weekend…I personally will be going back to fit the rest of the sights in!