72 Hours in Dubrovnik, Croatia
(with a day trip to Kotor & Perast, Montenegro!)
Thank you so much for visiting my third ever Travel Blog post! If you want to re-visit this post at any time it can be found under the “Croatia” tab and then click “Dubrovnik”. My goal with this travel blog is not only to inspire but also help with TRULY helpful information for navigating a foreign place once you are there. The things I aim to cover will be generally the same in each blog, but will expand over time:
- Which Airport To Fly Into / Out Of
- Navigating The Airport / Ground Transportation
- Travel Time To Destination
- Things To Do
- Adventures – Maps Included!
- Places To Eat
- More! You tell me what you want to hear!
BEFORE YOU GO:
- Book your accommodations.
- Arrange for a pick up from the airport from your AirBnB host or hotel (or Uber/Bus once you’re there).
- Book your rental car from the Dubrovnik airport for a day trip to Kotor, Montenegro.
- Watch all of Game of Thrones.
- Note that we started our trip in Dubrovnik while many end their trip in Dubrovnik. I am actually very happy that we started here. Dubrovnik has the highest prices you’ll encounter on your trip to Croatia. I would have felt like I didn’t have any budget left to enjoy my time here. In the past year Dubrovnik has realized that they can charge more due to Game of Throne’s tourists.
DAY 1 :
- Getting To Dubrovnik – we flew Croatia Air and landed at 2:30pm (you may also drive, or ferry to Dubrovnik).
- The flight was comfortable and spacious – they provided delicious cheese and olives as a snack.
- Dubrovnik Airport is SMALL & easy to navigate.
- ATM’s & HRK the money in Croatia is called the Kuna or HRK … ATM’s are near the exits and easy to find. I suggest taking out at least $200 USD initially, many places take credit cards, however small vendors might not and you will likely need some cash to pay or tip your driver
- Transit from Airport to Dubrovnik A pre-arranged car, Uber, or the bus will all get you to Dubrovnik.
- Car: Our amazing Air Bnb host asked if we’d like to be picked up from the airport for 240 HRK (around $35 USD / $17.50 each). Our initial thought was that this was a lot of money and that we would take the bus. However, we ultimately decided to have him pick us up. This was likely the best way to at least START our travels around Dubrovnik. For around the same cost of an Uber we were picked up right inside the airport, and arrived at our accommodations in Dubrovnik within 30 minutes.
- Uber: About the same price as hiring a driver through our Air Bnb so we knew this didn’t make a ton of sense for us.
- Bus: This was the option we wanted to go with at only 80 HRK ($12 USD , $6/ person). However, the bus only leaves Dubrovnik Airport 9X per day. They try to line it up with airplane arrivals however it all seemed very rushed, especially if you are going to use the restroom and get to the ATM before the 30 minute bus ride. Additionally the bus drops off at the Pile Gate, only. This means you will have to walk (which we almost opted to do, but are SO glad we didn’t) with your luggage likely up a TON of stairs to get to your hotel. Unless your hotel is super close to the Pile Gate… opt for Uber or a pre-arranged car.
- Check-In — we opted to stay in an Air Bnb up on the hill, halfway between town and the top of the mountain. We saved a significant amount of money by being willing to start our morning with 300 steps down to the Old Town and 300 steps back up at night.
- Beach – if you’re staying on the south side of town outside the city walls, grab some croissant sandwiches at the Conzum and head to Plaža Banje (or Banje Beach) – the beach is rocky so be sure to pack aqua shoes for enjoying Croatian beaches
- Enter Dubrovnik through Vrata od Ploča… the “old gate”. This one is 14th century. The Pile Gate is ONLY 16th century, and on the other side of town. Both gates are amazing though so whichever one you enter you will be blown away.
- Take A Breather – enjoy a drink at the harbor
- Meander to the “Beach” Bar – Bar Mala Buza. There are two bars outside the city walls, this one is superior to the Buza Bar in our opinion, and according to Google reviews. Catch the sunset here. The City Walls light up, the sunset is epic, and you may even get to see a pirate ship or two!
- Walk down the “walk of shame” steps any Game of Thrones fan will not want to miss this on their first night.
- An authentic Croatian Dinner – or a pizza (they’re cheap and delicious here). We SO wanted to try to seafood, however it is not cheap.
- Walk the Main Plaza and street – it’s beautiful in the evening, if you still have energy like we always do on our first night in a new city!
DAY 2 (FULL DUBROVNIK DAY):
- Breakfast of Croissants and espresso – we highly recommend grabbing some croissants at the Babić Bakery and espresso at Cogito Coffee Shop (both near the old gate).
- Walk the Main Street in the Daytime and exit through the Pile Gate – if you have children with you be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a literal “hole in the wall” that leads to a playground in one of the most epic settings… a 16th century moat!
- Dubrovnik West Harbor (aka “Black Water Bay” for all of the Game of Thrones fans)
- Hike up to Lovrijenac – a 16th century fortress
- Lunch at or near by Ala Mizerija or Beach Bar Dodo
- Swim in the bay below where you’re eating if you’d like!
- Walk the City Walls – notes on this… you will want to grab a beer at the bar on the wall – don’t spend all day here though as the walls close before sundown. The tricky part is, that we highly suggest viewing the sunset from the walls. Be sure you’ve walked the entire circumference of the city, and then find your favorite spot for sunset. You will need to exit shortly afterward.
- Dinner – no better way to work up an appetite than the city walls. We highly recommend dinner at a little gem we found called Storia.
- PREP FOR TOMORROW (call or e-mail your rental car company and ask what time their office opens in the morning, set your alarm to catch a bus that arrives at the airport as soon as they open).
DAY 3 (DAY TRIP TO KOTOR):
- Catch the bus back to Dubrovnik Airport it picks up by the cable car/gondola station. You can purchase your tickets with a card or cash right before you get on the bus. We went with Nova.
- Rent your car – note that most company holds a pretty HEFTY deposit on all rentals. I was super nervous we wouldn’t get this back in full, but we did. Drive carefully!
- Drive To Kotor – park (see map below) on the left immediately after passing the old town. The small fee is worth it to be so close to the entrance to the Old town.
- Walk through the old gate, see cats, grab an espresso because you’re likely EXHAUSTED!
- Visit some of the churches /museums. Kotor has the most interesting variety of churches we’ve seen in such a small area.
- Stop at a bakery and grab some croissants, a sandwich, water, and maybe a celebratory beer.
- Hike to the top of the fortifications! Celebrate and enjoy the amazing views!
- Don’t spend all day up there because you’ll want to hike back down, grab another sandwich or meal and head to Perast.
- Drive To Perast – park on the left immediately before you get to the town of Perast
- Pay another fee. Walk into town. Enjoy it’s beautiful scenery and quaint old buildings.
- Find a local to take you on their boat to Our Lady of the Rock, we didn’t plan this ahead of time and very easily found a guy to take us for 10 Euro – we enjoyed 30 minutes on the island. I can’t say if it’s worth it or not to enter the church since there was an event happening at the time and visitors were not allowed in. However, we thoroughly enjoyed having the entire time to view the beautiful surroundings!!
- At this point, right when you get off the boat back in Perast, sunset should be starting. Either enjoy it from the shore near where you parked, or settle down for a nice dinner on the water.
- Drive Back to Dubrovnik Airport
- Drop off your car. Since you’re reading this blog you will know to time your drop off with the departure of a bus back to Dubrovnik. We did not though, and were so exhausted we paid for an Uber.
- Uber back to your Air Bnb and call it a night or if you’re crazy like we were and want to enjoy your last night in town have your driver drop you near the only gate to the city you haven’t been to yet! It’s on the West side of the walls. Meander through the West side of town and grab a drink or dinner if you didn’t in Perast.
DAY 4 (see anything you feel you missed):
- Leave your bags w/ airbnb host or hotel
- Breakfast At this point in our trip we were really craving an “American” style breakfast. We decided to go with a restaurant near the main church called Gradska Kavana. Be sure to SPECIFICALLY ask for a table on the patio inside the walls near the church (they do try to put you near the harbor for “views” but we found that it’s often a little stinky like fish in the mornings. We enjoyed eggs, toast, juice, and espresso.
- Church of Saint Blaise directly across from you while you’re eating breakfast. It has something very unique inside. Let me know what you think of it!
- Stroll the Main Street in the day time. Go swimming in a different spot. Or exit the Pile Gate, and go for a walk straight up the stairs/hill to get one last view of the city!
- Grab your bags, and Uber to Dubrovnik Beer Company for a relaxing beer before getting on to the Ferry to the Islands
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