The Pearl of the Adriatic: great things to do in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a highlight of any Mediterranean cruise and makes the perfect summer holiday destination. Local tour guide Maris Marković picks her favourite things to do in this stunning city by the sea
Travel guide Maris Marković loves to share her passion for one of the world’s most historic and beautiful ports with visitors from around the world, including those who come to explore on a shore experience. Here, she highlights the best things to do on a Dubrovnik cruise holiday.
See stunning vistas
Walking the walls of the Old Town in the morning or as the sun goes down is one of the best ways to see the city and soak up the rich sense of history, culture and the architectural beauty. The city walls are two kilometres long, up to 25 metres high and, in places, six metres thick. They have stood the test of time, surviving many wars and earthquakes.
For amazing vistas, take the cable car to the top of Mount Srđ in just four minutes to take in glorious views of Dubrovnik. The view over the terracotta roof tiles and the blue of the sea is unforgettable.
Take in the beautiful panoramic scenes of Dubrovnik yourself on the Cable Car and Cavtat shore experience and discover Dubrovnik’s century old walls on the Walk the City Walls shore experience.
Soak up history
The public buildings that line the main square reflect Dubrovnik’s past as a trading powerhouse and cultural hub. Don’t miss Sponza Palace (the old finance centre), the Rector’s Palace (the former seat of power) and the magnificent Clock Tower, whose bell is struck by warriors Maro and Baro every hour, then again three minutes later to keep traders and locals on track, with a single bell heard every half hour.
The Old Town also boasts beautiful churches of every size and denomination, reflecting our historically tolerant attitude. Explore the tucked-away St Nicholas Church and the imposing Assumption Cathedral next to the Rector’s Palace (look out for the Titian painting by the altar). We also have a historic synagogue, a mosque and a Serbian Orthodox Church with its well-known colony of cats.
You can explore Dubrovnik’s wealth of treasures on the Best of Dubrovnik shore experience.
There’s so much for everyone to do around Dubrovnik. The crystal-clear waters are fantastic for snorkelling. A good place to see marine life is around the two islands off Cavtat. If you prefer staying on top of the water, sea kayaking is an ideal way to explore the coastline. For land-lovers, there are adventures a-plenty, too. The hills around Dubrovnik are stunning: the lush Konavle Valley is a mountain biking paradise with trails through the beautiful countryside, vineyards and villages.
Shop for souvenirs
Explore the side streets off the main street Placa Stradun. Coral jewellery is typical of the area. For authentic, responsibly sourced pieces, head for Clara Stones on Nalješkovićeva. Opposite, local artist Antonia Ruskovic uses traditional silk embroidery techniques in her work. She even has her own silk worms. Wonderful skincare products are made on site at the 14th-century Franciscan Pharmacy just a few steps from the main street. I love to use their almond oil cream in winter. The daily market in Gundulićeva Poljana square is a great place to buy local products. Try sweets such as candied orange peel, sundried figs and caramelised almonds. And don’t forget our famous olive oil and excellent local wines.
Try local seafood and snacks
The family-run Kamenice (Oysters) restaurant on Gundulićeva Poljana is a local institution and serves the freshest seafood and local delicacies such as flat oysters, octopus salad, black risotto and mussels from Mali Ston Bay. You must try fresh oysters with a glass of Pošip white wine. If you want to wander with a sandwich, head for Skola on Antuninska. My parents used to come here before going to the movies. Owner Dinka makes the best bread and the fillings are amazing. And you have to have an ice cream from Dolce Vita, in a side street off Placa Stradun. For me, their ice cream and pancakes are the best in town. Try local flavours such as bitter orange.
Enjoy day trips
I love the charming seaside village of Cavtat or taking a boat trip to the beautiful Elaphite Islands, where the water clarity is to a depth of 50m. My favourite thing, though, is to take the 10-minute boat trip from the Old Harbour to Lokrum Island nature reserve to swim and enjoy the peace and quiet. It is a wonderful place with peacocks, the ruins of a Benedictine monastery, a salt lake in the middle and a wealth of indigenous and exotic plants. A visit to the lovely gardens is included in the boat ticket.
Fluent in Croatian, English, Spanish and Italian, Maris is owner and guide at ‘Best of Dubrovnik’, a tour company specialising in private and group tours, day trips, multi-day tours and guided tours for conference and incentive programmes.