I was recently filming as a local host for Americans Airlines Dubrovnik episode of “One Day Two Ways” when it actually hit me. Even though I’ve been living in Dubrovnik as an expat for about 4 years, even though I’ve traveled all over the region and thought I explored everything, there is actually SO many activities I haven’t done myself. There are so many Dubrovnik tours to take that even as a local, I still feel like I’m continuing to discover more about this incredible little city.
If you happen to be coming to Dubrovnik, you should start with checking out my Dubrovnik travel guide. Once you’ve got your trip all squared away, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do when you get here.
I generally recommend a minimum of 3 days in Dubrovnik to see most of the major sites, and a couple extra days if you want to explore alllll the amazing day trips! However, I understand that your schedule may only allow you 1-2 days here.
You definitely can have some incredible experiences here with only a little bit of time. Forget what you’ve heard: many of these activities are actually OUTSIDE of the Old Town. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely recommend you explore the Old Town and City Walls a bit, but you’ll definitely want to see the surrounding region to truly experience the Pearl of the Adriatic.
If you like culture, architecture, hiking, kayaking, island hopping, or food and wine tasting, there’s definitely a little bit of something here for everyone.
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Old Town Walking Tour in Dubrovnik
Now, you definitely can’t come to Dubrovnik and NOT see the Old Town. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is over 500 years old. It used to be an independent city state for hundreds of years, remaining independent through trade and diplomacy. Much of the Old Town was destroyed during the war in the 1990s, and is truly a symbol of the city’s resilience.
You definitely can see the Old Town without a tour, especially if you like to go at your own pace and get lost in the side streets. However, if you’re interested in the history, architecture, and learning more about the war, I would definitely recommend taking a walking tour. Local guides are really knowledgeable and will often share their personal experiences from the war.
I always highly recommend travelers to explore the Dubrovnik city walls, a looped wall walk around the perimeter of the city. It’s truly one of the most breathtaking views of the Adriatic and gives a great bird’s eye view of the Old Town. This is where you’ll get those Dubrovnik postcard shots. You can explore the City Walls on your own, or you can go with a historical war guided tour. This is the best way to learn about the history of the city from above.
Game of Thrones Tours in Dubrovnik
Let’s be honest, probably half of you are COMING to Dubrovnik because of GOT. I have to admit that I don’t watch the show, and I do find the Game of Thrones obsession annoying at times. It can feel a bit ignorant when some tourists ask, “Do they take down the city walls when Game of Thrones is done filming?” *face palm*
All shade aside, if you’re a GOT fan, you definitely have some amazing tours that show you about the filming locations AND the history of the city. This way you get a little bit of both. Some tours will even take you to all the filming locations around the area. I’ve heard great things about this GOT and historical tour that takes you to the most exclusive locations.
I will say that if you are a fan of the show it’s pretty incredible to see the Old Town in person, because it looks almost exactly the same as it does in the show.
Dubrovnik Boat Tours
The best way to experience the Adriatic sea is not just looking at it from ashore. You definitely need to get out there on the water! While working as a local host for American Airlines I was lucky enough to talk about all of the water-related activities in Dubrovnik (fitting, being I’m a mermaid and all). The water is very calm in and around the area, so it makes the sea perfect for water sports and boat cruises.
To start, I always say that a sea kayaking tour is a must in Dubrovnik. It’s a surreal way to see the Old Town from at sea while also exploring hidden caves and beaches that you can ONLY kayak to.You can either book a kayaking tour for a couple hours or for a full day tour exploring neighboring islands if you’re up a workout.
Lokrum Boat Tour
Lokrum is the island directly across from the Old Town that you can only get to by water. You have the option to take the ferry, kayak, or take a private tour here. The island is full of botanical gardens, peacocks, large rabbits, and rocks for laying out on the water.
You also have a monastery to hike up to, and a few great restaurants on the island. If you’re interested in learning about the unique island’s history and why it is considered to be haunted at night by locals, you should definitely book a private tour.
Elaphiti Islands Boat Tour
One of the best ways to see a couple Dalmatian islands in one day is go on an Elaphiti Islands boat tour. This tour explores the islands of Sipan, Lopud, and Kolocep, with their turquoise waters and lush surroundings. The tours usually last between 8-9 hours and also include lunch.
Karaka Cruise Boat Tours
If you’ve ever seen a photo of Dubrovnik with a wooden boat that looks like a pirate ship, this is it. The Karaka is an exact replica of the original Karaka ship that was used back in the Dubrovnik Republic. It’s definitely an impressive way to admire the city and landscape from the sea.
You can take 3 different types of tours on Karaka: a Game of Thrones tour, a Elaphiti Island Tour, or a Sunset Dinner Cruise. I’ve only taken the latter and it was a very romantic ambiance and the sunset really is vibrant while out at sea.
Private Boat Tours
You also can book a number of private boat tours while in Dubrovnik. This is an ideal option if you would like a boat exclusively for your group or family, and maybe also want the freedom to explore whenever you like. You have the option of renting a speed boat or even a sailboat, and boats come with a private skipper to show you all the best local spots and create a customize tour for you and your group.
Boat Tours to Zupa and Cavtat
Lastly, you also have the option to take the boat from Dubrovnik into the surrounding areas of Zupa and Cavtat. I recommend this option in June-August when it starts to get crowded in the Old Town and you want to escape the crowds. Taking a boat is also faster than taking the bus in the summer as you avoid all of the traffic.
You can take the boat from the Old Town Port directly into Srebeno, Mlini, Plat, and Cavtat. You can book with Adriana Boat company and tell them Alex and Domeniko sent you! 🙂 These villages are great day trips to take from Dubrovnik.
Food and Wine Tours in Dubrovnik
If there’s one thing that these dalmatians are known for (besides sounding like they are yelling when they speak), it’s lots of food and wine. The cuisine is a combination of Mediterranean and balkan dishes.
Dubrovnik is known for grilled fish with potatoes, black cuttlefish risotto, octopus salad, mussels and oysters from Ston. The Balkan influences also bring in dishes like lamb slow cooked under the bell, kebabs, stews, and tons of locally grown produce.
The go-to tour company that does all sorts of food tours is Hamo from Dubrovnik Food Tours. He hosts a variety of tours like Old Town food tours, Lokrum food tours, and even cooking classes.
This is also a popular food and wine tour to take in the Old town, and has raving reviews from customers. Price includes expert guide and of course all the food during the 3-hour tour!
If you’d like to also explore the island of Lokrum, you can book this island food tour that includes a boat ride and visit to 4 restaurants. This would be ideal for groups or families.
There are also many farm to table experiences to have in Dubrovnik. You can take a traditional Dalmatian cooking class filled with fresh produce in the Konavle Valley. You’ll learn how to cook traditional dishes with locals while enjoy a gorgeous day in the Croatian countryside.
This market and wine tour offers a tour of the Dubrovnik farmer’s market followed by a wine tasting in the Konavle Valley. This would be a good option if you don’t have a car but would like to explore another side of Dubrovnik beyond the Old Town.
If you’d like to explore the Konavle Valley exclusively and indulge in home-made local wines, definitely checkout this full-day wine tour. This tour is a great way to experience the authentic, Croatian village life, since so many locals have vineyards and make their own wine!
Also, if you really love wine, you definitely need to take a day trip to the Peljesac peninsula, known for some of the best wine and oysters in Europe. You can read about more full-day trips to take from Dubrovnik here.
Outdoor adventure tours
If you’re looking to work off a belly full of food and wine, you have plenty of outdoor adventure tours in Dubrovnik to keep you active. The surrounding areas of Dubrovnik are full of untouched nature, many places barely touched by tourists.
If you’re interested in seeing the Panoramic view from atop Srd, consider taking this sunset hike and gourmet picnic tour that my friend leads! She wakes up at the crack of dawn everyday just to get the freshest ingredients from the local market, and her gourmet picnics are the perfect treat after a brisk hike. Especially now that the Dubrovnik cable car is not running this season, this tour is a good alternative so you can still Srd from up top.
If you’re up for a full day hiking and swimming tour, you can explore the island of Kolocep with a 3 hour hike followed by a swim in several hidden coves and beaches. The tour provides a snack as well.
Dubrovnik itself is not an ideal place for biking because there are SO many hills. However, there are several island bike tours from Dubrovnik that you can take to explore the Elaphiti Islands for the day.
If you’re really up for a challenge or are an avid climber, you can take a Dubrovnik climbing tour in the countryside. This class is taught by a trained instructor and is open to all skill levels.
Unusual Dubrovnik tours
For those that are interested in unusual attraction and even dark tourism, there are a few tours for you. To start, I would recommend taking this mysteries and ghost stories tour at night, which explains many of the urban legends and ghost stories of the city. Actually, people in Dubrovnik are still very superstitious and some older people do believe in witchcraft. This would be an interesting tour to hear about why that may be.
If you are with kids, a better activity might be this Dubrovnik escape room tour. You have one hour to “escape” the room and solve the mystery. It’s also an educational tour explaining a bit of the history of the city.