Dubrovnik might not be the capital city of Croatia, but it’s arguably the tourist capital of the country. If you’re interested in finding out what exactly makes this particular city so interesting, then our article on where to stay in Dubrovnik might help answer that question.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is sometimes also called the walled city. This is due to the massive wall that surrounds what is today called Old Town but what was once the entirety of the city. This perimeter did wonders for Dubrovnik’s defenses, and nowadays, it does wonders for the tourist trade since it’s quite the attraction.
The Walls of Dubrovnik are so big that they’re comparable to the medievalesque castles from Game of Thrones, which is only fitting since a lot of episodes were actually filmed here.
Old Town is the main setting of King’s Landing in the show, and most of the buildings and streets are so well preserved and used as such on set that you’ll feel like you’re truly part of the show. Aside from filming locations, Old Town is also home to a lot of churches and fortresses that you can check for their inherent historical value.
However, Dubrovnik isn’t just old buildings, and it actually has some pretty fantastic beaches and resorts where you can unwind and spend your vacation in luxury. Where you stay in Dubrovnik is going to depend on what sort of attractions you’re interested in.
There’s no shortage of tourist spots in the city, so it might be a bit overwhelming for first-time visitors, but we’ve outlined the most notable ones in our article. That should make things quite a bit simpler for you.
The Best Parts of Dubrovnik
We’ve taken what we consider to be the most appealing attractions in the city of Dubrovnik and compiled them into a list so that you can easily find any important landmark.
- Lapad: Great hiking trails with fantastic views of the city
- Babin Kuk: Great beaches and plenty of hotels
- Old Town: Home to most of the major historical sites in the city
- Ploce: The place where you can get on top of the famous Dubrovnik City Wall
- City Center: The biggest bars and nightclubs in the city
Dubrovnik’s Best Areas and Hotels
As we go through the article, you’ll notice that most of the areas that we cover have a main attraction. So, if you’re interested in a particular attraction, you’ll know exactly which area to stay in. Dubrovnik has great beaches, historic buildings, and many bars that you can visit, but they’re all pretty spread out.
You’ll also notice that the hotels in certain areas are more expensive than others. We’ll include prices and major attractions in all of our segments, so all you really have to do is set a budget and decide which attractions are most attractive to you.
Lapad is the best starting point for anyone that’s new to the city and wants to see as much of it as possible. A lot of the tours of Dubrovnik actually start in this area, and you’ll also be able to find cable cars that can take you up to the highest point in the city.
Speaking of amazing views, you’ll also find a park/forest in this area that’s called Velika i Mala Petka (Big and Small Petka). Anyone that likes to hike will be interested in checking out the many trails in the area.
Some of them go up to the highest point on the mountain, where you’ll get an amazing view of the coast and the city. If you’re not one for hiking, you can visit that same coast and either spend some time on the beach or get on a cruise ship that will take you around the archipelago.
There are several Elaphiti Islands cruises that will take you to Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan. You’ll get to see the rustic beauty of these islands as well as the monasteries that date back as far as the late middle ages. The biggest issue with Lapad is that it’s sort of a middle ground when it comes to tourist spots.
There are better beaches, better landmarks, and better bars that you can find in other areas of Dubrovnik, so Lapad is a great starting point for visitors, but not many people stay in this area for long.
Things to Do
- Take a cable car up to the top of the city and check out what one of the oldest walled cities in the Balkans looks like.
- Book a cruise around the nearby islands and check out the local landmarks, churches, and beaches.
- Go on a hike down Velika i Mala Petka and get some fresh air while enjoying your surroundings from up on high.
Where to Eat
- Pizzeria Mamma Mia has everything from pepperoni to a classic margarita.
- Pantarul serves everything from local fare to hamburgers.
- Restaurant Agora has a great selection of dishes and wine.
Lapad Budget Hotels
- Hotel Ivka comes with an in-house bar, complimentary breakfast in the morning, and rooms with room service and free wifi.
- Akademis Academia offers complimentary continental breakfast every morning, a flat-screen TV, and free wifi in every room.
Lapad Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Lapad has rooms with an AC unit, a flat-screen cable TV, and a coffee maker, and the hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area.
- Grand Hotel Park comes with an in-house restaurant that serves traditional Croatian dishes, as well as two swimming pools and a full-service spa and wellness center.
Lapad Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Dubrovnik Palace comes with four on-site restaurants where you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, rooms that come with a satellite TV and a minibar, and 24-hour room service.
- Hotel Kompas has an in-house restaurant where guests can enjoy a meal, two on-site bars where they can get a drink, two swimming pools where they can do a few laps, and even a gift shop where you can buy a souvenir.
2. Babin Kuk
There’s an interesting fact about Croatia that’s left out of most tourist guide books — Croatians don’t really follow standard naming conventions and prefer to give their cities and regions oddly specific names just for the hell of it.
Grandma’s Hip doesn’t really have an etymology outside of “it sounds funny,” but at least it’s not as bad as some of their other names, like Svinjarevci (Pig Village), Babina Guzica (Grandma’s Ass), and the classic Veliko Svinjičko (Big Pig Village).
We know that we just made you want to visit all of the places that we just mentioned, but at least let us tell you about Grandma’s Hip before you book the plane tickets.
Babin Kuk is the newest area of the city that comprises buildings that are at most a few decades old. Naturally, most of them are hotels and resorts. The main draw of Babin Kuk is its fantastic beaches and the many water-based activities that you can try.
Cava Beach, for instance, has plenty of beachside bars and lounging areas where you can get a tan. Sanj Beach, on the other hand, is close to a seaside cave that can be explored by way of a kayak if you want to take a tour.
And finally, you also have Copacabana — a private beach surrounded by upscale restaurants and beach-side service that will bring you whatever you want while you wait under your umbrella.
Being the resort section of the city, you should expect the prices of the restaurants and the hotels to be higher than what you’d find anywhere else in Dubrovnik.
Things to Do
- Rent a boat or a kayak and go on one of the tours that take you around Sanj Beach and deep into Blue Cave.
- Get yourself a mojito and either hide from the sun in one of the beachside bars or get a lounge chair on Cava Beach and work on your tan.
- Copacabana beach offers quite a few water-based activities that you can try, like jetskiing, snorkeling, and even parasailing.
Where to Eat
- Komin serves traditional fare, and the restaurant has a nice relaxed atmosphere.
- Pivnica Dubrava is a great place to try out the local beers.
- EDEN Restaurant & Bar has a menu that includes everything from BBQ to pasta.
Babin Kuk Budget Hotels
- Tirena Sunny Hotel by Valamar has an AC unit and free wifi in every room, a complimentary breakfast every morning, and an outside swimming pool.
- Royal Neptun Hotel is located right next to the beach, it has an outdoor swimming pool, and all of the rooms come with an AC unit and free wifi.
Babin Kuk Mid-Range Hotels
- Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik has an LCD flat-screen TV and a coffee maker in every room, both an outdoor and an indoor gym, a full sauna, and a fully-equipped fitness center.
- Royal Palm Hotel has an in-house restaurant where you can enjoy your complimentary breakfast every morning, free wifi throughout the property, and rooms with a flat-screen cable TV and an AC unit.
Babin Kuk Luxury Hotels
- Royal Blue Hotel comes with an on-site bar where you can enjoy a complimentary buffet or a la carte breakfast, a front desk that’s always open, and a full-service spa and wellness center with massage options.
- Royal Princess Hotel provides all of the guests with rooms that have an LCD flat-screen satellite TV, an AC unit, and a coffee maker, and the hotel comes with both an inside and an outside swimming pool and free wifi throughout the property.
3. Old Town
The first thing that might strike you when visiting this part of the city is that it seems oddly familiar. This is more than likely because you’ve seen Game of Thrones, and a lot of the scenes that take place in King’s Landing were actually shot in this part of Dubrovnik.
In fact, there are tours that can take you past what was the show’s set and maybe snap a pic or two. Aside from that, Old Town is famous for its 13th-century architectural design, which remains untarnished to this day.
All of the streets, buildings, and even the fountains and monuments that can be found here have that late-medieval vibe, and it’s truly a treat for history buffs.
The most famous landmarks in this part of the city include churches like the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Church of St. Ignatius, St. Blaise’s Church, and many others.
If you’re not into religious buildings, then you might be more interested in Lovrijenac Fortress or Rectors’ Palace, both of which have detailed histories that you can learn about if you take one ofthe tours that show you around the area. Old Town is without a doubt the most famous tourist spot in the city, which means that it gets a lot of visitors every day.
This usually isn’t a problem, but one of the key characteristics of this area is the narrow walkways, so it can be a real pain to get from one attraction to another without having to shove through huge crowds of people.
Things to Do
- Visit the bell tower, the Lovrijenac Fortress, the Rectors’ Palace, or any other historic buildings in the area.
- There are too many sights to see in this area of the town, so taking a guided tour is the easiest way to navigate Old Town, especially if you want to see as much of it as you can.
- Going to all of the churches in the area is pretty interesting because all of them are fundamentally similar, but they also have distinct differences that you might notice even without a guide explaining them to you.
- Any Game of Thrones fans will definitely want to take the tours that specialize in showing you the past filming locations around the town.
Where to Eat
- Taj Mahal Old Town is where you go if you want to try traditional dishes from the region.
- Lucin Kantun Dubrovnik is a relatively small restaurant with a chic atmosphere on the inside.
- Mea Culpa Pizzeria & Trattoria is where you go for a slice of pizza.
Old Town Budget Hotels
- Kingslanding Old Town Hostel provides guests with access to a shared kitchenette and bathroom, and while the rooms might not look like much, they come at incredibly reasonable prices.
- Old Town Hostel provides guests with a complimentary breakfast every morning, as well as a rec room that comes with a ping-pong table.
Old Town Mid-Range Hotels
- Bota Palace comes with either a complimentary continental or a la carte breakfast every morning, a flat-screen TV in every room, and car rental services at the reception desk.
- Scalini Palace has room service that you can call up at any time of the day, a continental breakfast that’s brought to your room every morning, and free wifi throughout the property.
Old Town Luxury Hotels
- The Pucic Palace provides guests with a complimentary a la carte breakfast every morning, rooms that come with a flat-screen TV and a minibar, and an in-house bar where you can grab a drink.
- Boutique Hotel Stari Grad has rooms that come with an AC unit and a satellite TV, an in-house restaurant where you can enjoy your complimentary breakfast in the morning, and there’s free wifi throughout the property.
Ploce is located east of Old Town, and the famous Dubrovnik City Wall is the only thing that separates the two. If you’re interested in climbing on top of this massive wall and walking around the edge in order to get a better view of the city, then it’s best to do so via the Vrata od Ploča (Door of Ploce).
The same door that can be used to gain access to the wall can also be used as the eastern entrance to Old Town. You also get to it by crossing a 14th-century stone bridge, which means this one gate has several historical sites surrounding it.
Ploce is also home to quite a few beaches you can visit if you’re in the mood for a swim or if you just want to lounge around in the sun.
There are a lot of beachside activities that you can try, including volleyball and badminton. As for the beaches themselves, the water is crystal clear, and the sand on the beach is fine, so it’s ideal for both swimming and tanning.
Having said that, Ploce has a lot of the same issues as Lapad, namely, the fact that the center of the city has the most entertainment venues, Babin Kuk has the best beaches and resorts, and Old Town has the most interesting historic locations. This leaves Ploce with very few actual attractions outside of the ones that we just mentioned.
Things to Do
- Visit the eastern gate that leads to Old Town and climb on top of the city wall if you want to check out the view from up there.
- Spend a whole day on the beach just swimming on trying to get a tan, or go to one of the beachside cafes and enjoy a drink in the shade.
- Rent a kayak or a paddle boat and take it out into the water if you want to see that wall of Old Town from a great angle.
Where to Eat
- Proto Fish Restaurant has a massive catch-of-the-day menu full of great fish dishes.
- Konoba Pjatanca has great traditional dishes that you can try.
- Banje Beach Restaurant and Night Club is a great place to grab either a bite to eat or a drink.
Ploce Budget Hotels
- Love Dubrovnik Hostel has an AC unit and a private bathroom in every room, and some rooms also come with a kitchen.
- Villa Glavić comes with a full-service spa and wellness center with plenty of massage options and treatments, an in-house bar where you can enjoy your complimentary breakfast in the morning, and rooms that come with an AC unit and a flat-screen TV.
Ploce Mid-Range Hotels
- Grand Villa Argentina has two outdoor swimming pools, rooms with an AC unit and a flat-screen TV, and a complimentary breakfast served every morning.
- Hotel Excelsior comes with a fresh-water outdoor swimming pool, two hot tubs, a full-service spa and sauna, and rooms that come with free wifi and 24-hour room service.
Ploce Luxury Hotels
- Villa Orsula provides guests with a room with an AC unit and a flat-screen TV, a full-service spa and wellness center with massage services, and a private beach that hotel guests can take full advantage of.
5. City Center
The city center is where you’ll find most of the entertainment venues in Dubrovnik. There are plenty of bars that you can check, lots of live music, and many restaurants where you can sit down for a nice Mediterranean meal.
There are also theaters and cinemas if you’re interested in catching a movie or a stage performance. This is also where you’ll find most of the bigger stores in the city.
There are hundreds of boutiques with famous brands that you can check out, souvenir shops where you can get something that reminds you of your trip, and all sorts of other stores as well. If you still aren’t sick of learning about the history of the city, then you might like to visit the Homeland War Museum or the Red History Museum.
The former tells you a bit about the Croatian war for independence, while the latter focuses more on modern history and what life was like in the country back when it was still part of Yugoslavia.
You’ll also be able to find quite a lot of monuments and interesting sites by just walking around this area of the city. The most notable would probably be the Majsan Armoured Vehicle, which was used in the defense of Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence.
The center of the city has plenty of entertainment venues but very few historic attractions and beaches, which are generally the two things that people come to Dubrovnik for.
Things to Do
- Visit the Homeland War Museum or the Red History Museum if you want to learn a bit more about the city and the country of Croatia as a whole.
- Go on a shopping spree and maybe change up your wardrobe; there are many shops in this area.
- Attend a show in the Dubrovnik theater, or try to catch a movie in the Jadran outdoor cinema.
Where to Eat
- Panorama Bar and Restaurant is a great place to grab a cocktail or a bite to eat.
- Vita Bella is a nice little pizzeria in the middle of the town.
- Culto Restaurant is a chic restaurant with a great wine selection.
City Center Budget Hotels
- Hostel Hakuna Matata comes with free private parking and access to a shared lounge and kitchen at a very reasonable price.
- Villa M offers a complimentary breakfast every morning, a flat-screen cable TV in every room, and an outside swimming pool.
City Center Mid-Range Hotels
- Villa Dorma has rooms with a flat-screen satellite TV, free wifi throughout the property, and a complimentary breakfast served every morning.
- Hotel Lero comes with a buffet breakfast every morning, free wifi throughout the property, and a full-service spa and wellness center with many treatments you can choose from.
City Center Luxury Hotels
- Rixos Premium Dubrovnik includes three in-house restaurants and three in-house bars, so you have plenty of choices, and the hotel also comes with a two-story spa center and two outdoor swimming pools.
- Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik comes with a full-service wellness center, an outside seasonal swimming pool, an in-house bar with quite a large selection of wine, and rooms that come with a flat-screen satellite TV and free wifi.
So, Where Should You Stay in Dubrovnik?
Old Town is the place for history buffs and anyone that wants to check out all of the monuments, cathedrals, fortresses, and most of the other historically significant buildings that the city of Dubrovnik is known for.
Babin Kuk has the best resorts and beaches in the city, so this is the best place for anyone who wants to spend their vacation unwinding on the beach or trying out some water sports.
The center of the city is where anyone that wants to check out the nightlife in the city should go. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, and there’s almost always a live band performing somewhere.