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5 days in Dubrovnik – A fun filled itinerary in the sun

Croatia is fast becoming a popular holiday destination and boasts being one of Europe’s sunniest destinations. Between May and August, you can expect to enjoy 12-13 hours of sunshine a day, a paradise for sun worshippers.

Soak up the sun on the shores of the sparkling Adriatic Sea and climbing the ancient medieval walls of the city.

Sarah Bourne
April 8, 2022

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5 days in Dubrovnik – A fun filled itinerary in the sun

Croatia is fast becoming a popular holiday destination and boasts being one of Europe’s sunniest destinations. Between May and August, you can expect to enjoy 12-13 hours of sunshine a day, a paradise for sun worshippers.

But don’t get too attached to your sun lounger as Croatia has so much to offer, from natural lakes and waterfalls, crystal clear waters, National parks and historical cities such as Dubrovnik.

Following my itinerary will show you how to spend 5 days in Dubrovnik, combining relaxation and adventure, soaking up the sun on the shores of the sparkling Adriatic Sea and climbing the ancient medieval walls of the city.

Packed with history and the most spectacular views across the red rooftops and harbour Dubrovnik is an utterly spectacular city to visit.

Why visit Dubrovnik

Situated on the beautiful Dalmatian coast is Dubrovnik, known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic” and a UNESCO restoration project, following severe damage from a 1667 earthquake and subsequent damage from armed conflict in 1990’s. The beautiful Gothic, Barque and Renaissance churches, monasteries, fountains and palaces have thankfully been preserved.

This ancient city steeped in history makes a truly memorable experience with its glittering limestone paved streets, red roof tiled buildings, and turquoise blue seas, making a shimmering backdrop wherever you look a breath-taking experience. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture its views at every twist and turn.

An absolute must on your trip is to climb the city walls and old fort that encircles the entire old town. Wander the old streets and sip a cooling drink to take shade from the midday sun.

View the city from Mount Srd which is accessed by a cable car and back again by a winding path to the bottom. Catch a ferry to Lokrum just a quick 15 minutes away or cruise the Elafiti Islands where life slows to a relaxed pace. Visit monasteries, palaces or museums. Your 5 days in Dubrovnik really does cover something for everyone.

Getting around

Just a short 2 and half hour flight from the UK, Dubrovnik is easily reached. Public transport is abundant and easy to use, there are shuttle buses from the airports running every 30 minutes, taxis, hotel transfers, and of course the Uber drivers which is what we relied on when we were here.

One of the things that has always stood out for me when visiting Croatia is the chatty, friendly nature of the local people who make visiting their lovely home a pleasurable experience from the minute you land.

Dubrovnik itself can be explored on foot and if you are going to be island hopping after your 5 days in Dubrovnik then there are ferries to many other islands readily available.

What to do in Dubrovnik – My 5 day itinerary

Combining relaxation and seeing the must see sights of what this picturesque city has to offer is our plan on this trip.

If you can book an early flight, it will take you around 30 minutes to get from the airport to begin checking in at the Sun Gardens Hotel just outside of Dubrovnik. A 5* hotel just a 3-minute walk from a quiet pretty beach. It offers panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, Elaphiti Islands and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

You can relax by one of 3 stunning outdoor pools, indulge in some wellness and spa treatments, or get your sweat on playing tennis, football or rock-climbing in their state of the art fitness area. Finishing off by swimming in one of two further indoor pools. We found this particularly relaxing. It was very quiet during our stay.

There are various restaurants on site and inside the hotel catering to many tastes, traditional Dalmatian specialities, Mediterranean cuisine and International dishes tempt you as you wander by. We went in early May and didn’t need to book, however at high season pre-booking might be required.

Make sure to request a room in the main hotel if you have any mobility issues as the rest of the rooms are spread out across the site on tiered levels. With the restaurants being at the bottom the trek up the stairs back to our room after our evening meal sometimes felt a bit like hard work.

If you'd rather be close to the action, and really want to splash out, then try the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik right in the heart of Dubrovnik which is top of the range budget wise but a magnificent place to enjoy your stay.

Your first day is a chance to enjoy the sun and get settled in to your hotel and surroundings. Walking around everything the hotel has to offer will fill your first day.

Day Two

Arrive in to Old town Dubrovnik early to avoid the crowds, the city draws in people from the surrounding hotels, island hoppers and from the cruises docking nearby, so can get busy at peak times. The hotel offers a pre-arranged shuttle (costs apply) or like us grab and Uber and begin your day of sightseeing.

First stop is the Old City Walls, first built in the 9th century to enclose the city, by the 14th century the defences were fortified with 15 square forts to protect the city from attack from the Turks. The entire old town was now enclosed within these ancient walls.

You enter via the City Gates, complete with drawbridges which used to be raised at sunset. The most impressive is the Pile Gate built in 1537 which is your gateway to what lies within. You need a ticket to enter the old city and another to climb the walls. I would highly recommend you do this as the views from the top are just superb.

There is timed entry to avoid overcrowding and you must travel in an anti-clockwise direction. As you climb the many steps up and down and around the walls you get a rare glimpse into the history of the past and also how Dubrovnik residents live within these walls today.

It feels a bit like being part of a film set as you look down over the bright red terracotta roof tiles, steeples and house. There are gaps in the fort where you catch bright flashes of azure seas and boats bobbing in the harbour.

New found fame from the filming of Game of Thrones had made this a popular destination and you can try and spot where the shots were taken if you are a fan. There are also dedicated GOT tours available.

Climbing these walls were a highlight for me, I really felt I had gone back in time and the views were just unmissable. A word of warning it gets hot up there, along with the many steps you have to navigate so take some water with you and rest if needed.

After you have completed your tour of the Old walls, wander the marble streets, cafes, bars and restaurants, have some lunch and watch the hustle and bustle of local life within this historic old town.

After lunch we continue on our 5 fun filled days in Dubrovnik by heading up the mountain for even more breath-taking views. The Dubrovnik cable car was built back in 1969 to transport the many visitors up to the top of Srd Hill. On a clear day you can see for miles (37 in fact) across the city and neighbouring islands.

If you are feeling adventurous you can hop on-board a buggy safari tour, a 1 hour off road fun activity to see the view, ex mine fields, fortresses, animals and mountains. Or maybe walk the hiking trail from Fort Imperial to Fort Strincjera. A gentle walk through forest with more stunning views and local wildlife.

Before you descent back to ground level, try out the Panorama restaurant located at the upper cable car station. The view from the tables here is outstanding. As you can imagine the name says it all and pre booking is required to guarantee a seat. Mediterranean cuisine, cocktails and cakes are on the menu.

Return to your hotel, swim and refresh before your choice of evening meal.

THE DETAILS

Day Three

Another early start as we head back to Dubrovnik Old Town to catch the 15-minute ride ferry to Lokrum. A small island with subtropical vegetation, olive trees, pine and cypress trees to stroll through. After the busyness of yesterday’s walking tours today is about taking it easy and getting back to nature.

A local ferry company services the island and departs 2-4 times per hour depending on the season.

Visit the Botanical gardens, planted in the 19th century and home to a few hundred different varieties of trees and plants and find the peacocks that also reside there.

The ruins of a Benedictine Monastery are hidden within the vegetation so be sure to check those out during your visit.

Another chance to spot filming locations for GOT or swim in the sea, visit museums, exhibitions. End your day two by heading back to your hotel for a treatment in the wellness spa at your hotel.

Day Four

Start the day by visiting the the oldest market in Dubrovnik, located in the baroque square of Gundulićeva poljana. A statue of 17th-century poet Ivan Gundulić stands watch over the abundant produce, then stroll down to the fish market by the old harbour.

Check out the naval history at Dubrovnik’s Maritime Museum, set in St Johns Fortress where historically Dubrovnik had one of the world’s largest fleets and visit the exhibitions on display.

Also within the walls of St John’s fortress is Dubrovnik Aquarium, fresh sea water fills 31 tanks containing the inhabitants of the Adriatic. Grouper, Loggerhead turtles, and Conger eels are amongst the aquatic creatures you will encounter.

For your last night in the city it’s time to party, if you still have some energy and there is an array of bars, jazz clubs, bistro style restaurants, and an open air cinema set in a walled garden to choose from. If you fancy something romantic then the stunning Cave Bar More is set within a natural cave with twinkling lights, outdoor tables, and overlooking the bay, watching the sunset and sipping on cocktails is the ideal way to end your final night in this amazing city.

Day Five

You will be feeling tired after your jam packed 5 days in Dubrovnik, so soak up the last rays of sunshine by the pool, before a short taxi ride back to the airport and your flight home to share your photos and amazing memories of everything that Croatia has to offer. I loved everything about Dubrovnik and am sure that you will too from the friendly people to the stunning sea views and old city walls. It is a city that has something for everyone.

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Sarah Bourne
April 8, 2022
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