Ultimate Travel Guide: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Kings and queens, get ready to land in Europe’s newest delight.
Located at the foot of Croatia, Dubrovnik provides an eclectic mix of medieval history and Mediterranean oasis. The perfect location for travellers of wide-ranging interests, from explorers to relaxers, Dubrovnik is the perfect city for all visitors.
Found tucked away in perfectly restored fortress walls that encapsulate the magic inside, Dubrovnik attracts visitors year-round with its narrow streets that wind around impressive attractions, especially after being recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Hidden inside is an array of delights including restaurants that sit amongst the terracotta tiled roofs, hole-in-the-wall bars that lead visitors to the crashing waves and tantalising beaches that feature a bewitching palette of blue hues.
There’s no doubt that after a trip to Dubrovnik, travellers will fall in love with the widely diverse culture, the dense history and the overall picturesque city.
Since opening their doors in 2004, sixteen years on the Taj Mahal is one of Dubrovnik’s most exquisite eateries. Despite its name, Taj Mahal serves traditional Bosnian cuisine, which is rich in history, tradition and customs. Catering for their guests’ needs, Taj Mahal has a compilation of tasty vegetarian dishes and heartier meats including shish cevap, to veal neck gland in lamb caul fat and even rice pilaf with radicchio. To end your royal food journey, why not try their baklava or hurmasica dressed in sorbet syrup. This small palace is known as an empire of pleasant aromas and rich flavours – an absolute must dine spot.
Taj Mahal – Ulica Iva Vojnovića 14, Dubrovnik
Ideal as a go-to for all-day dining, Above 5 is one of Dubrovnik’s most charming rooftop terrace restaurants. Sitting amongst the terracotta tiled roofs in the heart of the city, Above 5 is surrounded by countless ancient buildings and city walls. An unforgettable experience with both the views and food, Above 5 will soon be your favourite along your travels in the city. Inspired by seasonal produce, modern gastronomy and the Mediterranean, Above 5 serves everything from a Mediterranean selection of breakfast options, beef tartare, pigeon breasts with a soy reduction, basil oil and spring onion; as well as a stunning 21 day dry aged Rubia Gallega Bolognese.
Above 5 – Od Sigurate 4, 20000 Dubrovnik
Panorama Restaurant & Bar
Get ready to awaken your senses with one of Croatia’s most uplifting restaurants – quite literally. After taking the cable car to the summit of Srđ hill, here you’ll find Panorama Restaurant & Bar with an almost bird’s eye view of Dubrovnik city below. Much like the enchanting views of the Old City, Lapad Bay and the Elaphite Islands, Panorama’s menu is exquisite, with the likes of beef tenderloin carpaccio, Dubrovnik style cutlet and Dubrovnik cream caramel featured on their menu. This will be, by far, the most memorable dining experience in Croatia.
Panorama Restaurant & Bar – 20 000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Bard Mala Buza
Buza, meaning “hole-in-the-wall”, is literally where Bard Mala Buza is located; a passage or door sculpted in the city walls that lead you to a bar hanging off the city walls. Amongst the rocky edges, rows of tables and chairs are aligned where tourists and locals can seek a cold beverage or two throughout the day or night. Although hard to find at first, Bard Mala Buza is surely a sight to see once trekking down the steps to a seat – perfect for a visit during the warmer months to view one of the finest sunsets in Croatia. With front row, panoramic views of the Adriatic, Bard Mala Buza also caters for swimmers who jump in from the rocks. You will not be disappointed.
Bard Mala Buza – Croatia, Ul. Ispod Mira 14, 20000, Dubrovnik
When in Dubrovnik, why not take a trip to one of the city’s most prestigious, unique and tantalising wineries… 25 metres underwater. That’s right, Žuljana and Dubrovnik are home to one of Croatia’s renowned wineries. Visitors are taken on a diving tour to their underwater winery where wine bottles are stored in specially designed clay amphoras. From here, the bottles are kept underwater for more than 700 days to create one of the world’s first underwater wineries, the Navis Mysterium – the Sea Mystery. The underwater oasis tours start from $90 AUD per person and afterwards, guests are offered to visit their wine bar for a tasting.
Edivo Winery – Žuljana and Dubrovnik
Sunset Beach Bar
The best way to enjoy a drink or two in Croatia is no doubt by the water. With some of the best views in Europe, Sunset Beach is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the warm weather in one of the open cabanas or day beds available. Located on the shore of Uvala Lapad Bay, Sunset Beach provides a modern resort on one of the largest beaches in Dubrovnik. On your visit, try one of Sunset’s classics cocktails that pair perfectly with the extensive menu including cold sandwiches, pizzas, salads, pastries and ice cream.
Sunset Beach Bar – Šetalište kralja Zvonimira 17, 20000, Dubrovnik
Explore Old Town Dubrovnik
Renowned for its fantasy-like, medieval city walls, Dubrovnik is surprisingly more than just blissful beaches, casual hole-in-the-wall bars and exceptional restaurants. Once entering Dubrovnik, visitors will be surprised by the rich history of Old Town, something that’s very much still alive today. If time is permitting, our top picks would be to walk along the enormous walls that encircle the city, which is best entered from Ploče Gate. Forming an enclosure around the city, it is magical for guests to have a firsthand experience on the forts that were built in the ninth century. At any point along the city wall walk, guests will have a hypnotic view of the striking terracotta-roofed buildings of Dubrovnik. If walking isn’t of interest to you, Dubrovnik also caters for tours on the water where travellers can hire a kayak.
Back on foot, other notable and more infamous sights include the Jesuit Staircase outside of Saint Ignatius that was featured in the Game of Thrones Walk of Shame episode (season five). From here, a short walk leads guests through to Stradun Street that’s bustling with bars, cafés, restaurants and shops. Although Stradun is an extravaganza for travellers, it comes to no surprise that it is also the most expensive street in Croatia.
The best view is always from above, and a trip to Dubrovnik isn’t complete without venturing above the cities walls for the ultimate birds-eye view of Dubrovnik old city. Getting to the top of Srd Hill can be done by an adventurous ride on the cable car. Although still accessible by the hiking trail and taxis, the best view is from the reliable cable car. After reaching the top, guests can indulge in a lunchtime or dinner treat at Panorama Restaurant & Bar. Thrill seekers will also be pleased to know that a Buggy Safari is also on offer. Here, for an hour, visitors are taken off-road to view ex-mine fields, fortresses and a 360 degree of Dubrovnik. Travellers, please note that during peak season the Srd Hill is in high demand, pre-purchasing tickets is advised.
Explore the islands
With up to 250 sunny days per year, Dubrovnik knows a thing or two about providing the ultimate summer escape. Featuring a combination of rocky to sandy beaches with a magical hues of crystal blues, there’s no denying that all of this and more can be found in Dubrovnik. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, travellers will have the urge to enjoy the sapphire waters of Croatia. For island hoppers, our top picks would be to visit nearby Otok Lokrum which is inhabited by a forest full of pines, olive trees and of course, some of the city’s best beaches. To reach Lokrum is only a relaxing 10-minute ferry ride from Old Harbour. Otherwise, if time allows, why not take a trip to Croatia’s Elafiti Islands northwest of Dubrovnik. During summer, these chains of islands make the perfect escape from the summer crowds in the city. Travellers will be able to easily find numerous day tours to see three of the largest islands in a day.
Looking for a hidden oasis in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old Town? Look no further than Forty-Four, one of the city’s acclaimed room renting. With five rooms to choose from that start from $300 AUD a night, each of the rooms are equipped with a private bedroom, city street views, breakfast, air conditioning and a small terrace. Surrounded by Old Town’s dining precinct, these luxurious apartments encapsulate the charismatic atmosphere of Stradun Street. Almost a touch away from Ploče Gate, Forty-Four is one of the best places to call home on your Dubrovnik travels.
Forty-Four – Miha Pracata 6, Dubrovnik
For a more Adriatic feel, visitors to Dubrovnik are welcomed to Hotel Excelsior – one of the city’s most luxurious stays. Overlooking Old Town and the nearby Banje Beach, Hotel Excelsior is perfect for the ultimate royal treatment. Just a touch away from the Museum of Modern Art and the nearby fortress walls, Hotel Excelsior perfectly encapsulates a luxurious mix of Dubrovnik’s medieval history with a new-age charisma. The hotel has previously welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Elizabeth Taylor amongst their long list of celebrities that have stepped through their doors. With tantalising gardens that are meticulously cared for, guests will be pleased to know that there’s three in-house restaurants, an indoor swimming pool as well as a wellness spa for added luxury.
Hotel Excelsior – Ul. Frana Supila 12, 20000, Dubrovnik
Embracing the historical features of the property and its surrounds, if visitors are looking for luxury accommodation for their stay, St. Joseph’s will surely be the pick. The house itself was originally built in the 16th century and since then it has been lovingly restored and designed with intricate decorations narrating the surrounding city. With six rooms available, each have been decorated in a style worthy of Dubrovnik’s illustrious past and are equipped with a television, air conditioning, a kitchenette, and wireless internet. For your convenience, St. Joseph’s is also less than a minute walk away from Taj Mahal in Old Town.
St Josephs – Sv. Josipa 3, Dubrovnik 20000