If you’ve read Souvenirs’ favorite places to travel, you know about the special place Dubrovnik, Croatia holds in my heart, especially its “Stari Grad,” or Old Town. While the proper pronunciation of the city name can be daunting, so can the number of great activities available in this city – that is, unless you have a handy list outlining some of the best options.
1. Explore the alleyways of Old Town
This area of the city is brimming with quaint, narrow alleyways lined with shops, restaurants, hotels and more. Each turn provides a picturesque view, so stopping for photo-ops alone will keep you busy exploring for days.
2. Hike Mount Srd (or take the cable car) for a sunset
Situated right next to Old Town, Mount Srd’s summit will provide the best view of the sunset in city, or in my experience, the best sunset I have ever seen. Whether you opt to complete the roughly 45-minute hike up this mountain (each way), or save yourself the trouble and pay around $30 for the quick cable car ride, the view that awaits you at the top will be more than worth it.
3. Walk the city walls
Old Town proudly boasts its defining feature – being entirely surrounded by medieval castle walls – by letting visitors walk these city walls for a small fee. Seeing the city from a new vantage point made it feel even more endearing to me. However, this is a very popular activity that can get hot and crowded in the summer months, so wake up early to traverse the city.
4. Dine outdoors in the Old Town
The restaurants spread throughout the alleyways that you can see when walking around during the day come alive at night and make Old Town feel all the more magical. There is no shortage of dining options to choose from, and because of the close proximity to the sea, fresh seafood is a staple of many menus.
5. Take the ferry to Lokrum Island
Located just 10 minutes away by ferry boat, this lush green island provides a wonderful contrast to the city feel of the Old Town. Here, you can enjoy a relaxing day in nature with lots of wildlife close up, like peacocks wandering around mere inches from you. Ferries run about every 30 minutes, so getting back to Old Town is a breeze.
6. Take a day trip to one the nearby islands
If you’re in Dubrovnik for a longer period of time or just want to explore all your options, the city’s location allows for easy day trips to nearby islands. This makes it easy to soak up all the Dalmatian Coast has to offer. Two popular destinations, Korčula Island and Mljet National Park, are both reachable from Dubrovnik via catamaran.
7. Go on a ‘Game of Thrones’ tour
Although not a Game of Thrones fan myself, it’s impossible to miss Dubrovnik’s significance to the show amid all the tour groups and themed gift shops. The excitement of tourists on the tours or visiting filming sites around the city was palpable and left me wishing I had watched the show prior to arriving.
8. Do a sea kayak tour
Experience a new way to see the Old Town from the water by taking an organized group kayaking tour. You can spend anywhere from 2-3 hours paddling through clear blue waters, and some tour groups even stop at secluded beach areas along the way.
9. Take on the Buggy Adventure Tour
Beginning at the summit of Mount Srd, the tour takes thrill seekers on an adventurous (and scenic) buggy ride over the rugged countryside. Sadly, I didn’t have time to go on this tour, but it is definitely not an experience you should miss.
10. Enjoy an impromptu farmers market
Unlike Madison’s predictable Saturday morning farmers’ market, this market in the center of Old Town took place randomly during the week. I had no complaints, however, as vendors sold amazing fresh fruit, assorted souvenirs and my personal favorite – Croatia’s lavender products.
Photos by Saskia Van Riessen and Megan Janssen.