Dubrovnik is a captivating place to spend a few days, with medieval fortifications, limestone streets, seafood restaurants, and rocky beaches to explore. However, there’s a selection of unique adventures for those who want to get off the tourist trail. We’ve rounded up some of the more unusual things to do in Dubrovnik, from open-air cinemas to off-road buggy safaris.
1) Watch a classic play on a stunning open-air stage
Set on a rocky outcrop in Pile Cove, Fort Lovrijenac squares up to the Adriatic in all its medieval glory. It’s a pretty spectacular setting for outdoor theatre productions in the summer, and one of the most classy things to do in Dubrovnik. After-dark performances of Shakespeare plays. such as Hamlet and Midsummer Night’s Dream, are staged here in June and July, as part of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Tickets sell fast, so reserve well in advance.
2) Take a buggy safari up Mount Srđ
For a more adventurous tour beyond the walled city, take a buggy safari through the surrounding hills. This isn’t your usual excursion: you’ll head off-road and bounce over rugged terrain to the top of Mount Srđ, passing the Napoleonic fort and other key sites from the 1990s Balkan conflict. Kids will love the thrill, while adults will appreciate the history. There’ll be plenty of photo opportunities along the way – the views over the bay, old city and island-dotted horizon are Instagram gold.
3) Get back to nature at Mljet National Park
Ask any local what one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is, and they’ll suggest visiting Mljet National Park. Mljet is Croatia’s greenest island, a forested sliver northwest of the city. While national park status lures visitors to its western tip, the rest of the island remains gloriously undeveloped. Most tourists stick to Pomena, but if you head east the crowds disperse. Rent a bike from the park HQ and cycle around the twin, interconnected lakes (12 kilometres) or hire kayaks to glide across the jewel-toned waters.
4) Sea kayak the Adriatic coastline and islands
With its crystal-clear waters and scattering of nearby islands, Dubrovnik is big on sea kayaking. Several companies offer tours, most heading to the tiny island of Lokrum – one of the coolest things to do in Dubrovnik with kids. Some of the best family-friendly options are Kayak Tours Dubrovnik or Adventure Dubrovnik. To explore further afield, Outdoor Croatia runs a full-day tour around the Elafiti islands of Lopud and Šipan, with time to swim, snorkel and cliff-jump.
5) Sign up for a Game of Thrones city tour
This probably tops the list of things to do in Dubrovnik for the die-hard Game of Thrones (GoT) fans! Local tour guide Ivan Vukovic offers guided tours taking in locations from the cult TV series. From Rector’s Palace to Fort Lovrijenac and Pile Cove, this loop of the city will make you feel like you’ve stumbled straight into a GoT scene.
6) Sample Croatian wine on the Pelješac peninsula
Oenophiles should head to the Pelješac peninsula to sample some of Croatia’s finest red wines, made from the indigenous Mali Plavac grape. Consequently, a string of wineries offer tours and tastings: sample local favourite Dingač at Matuško in Potomje, the nearest village to the vineyards. Or head to Korta Katarina in Orebić, or Bartulović in Prizdrin. Back in Dubrovnik, the best wine bar is D’Vino, with over 100 varieties; try the Grgić Plavac Mali and Zlatan Plavac. Visit in mid-April for the week-long Dubrovnik FestiWine, when winemakers host tasting events and restaurants pair classic Dubrovnik food with excellent wines.
7) Embrace the rich music scene
In addition to outdoor theatre productions, the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival runs a series of alfresco music concerts in July and August. Performances are held at various open-air locations in the old town, bringing the city to life in a blaze of music. While the emphasis is on classical music and opera, a number of impromptu performances span different genres.
8) Catch a film in an open-air cinema
There’s nothing better than outdoor cinema on a balmy evening. Throw in the picturesque backdrops of Dubrovnik – and this is every film buff’s dream. Two open-air cinemas screen films throughout summer; Jadran is hidden away in a quiet corner of the old town (Ulica za Rokom), while Slavica offers stunning sea views (Ulica branitelja Dubrovnika 42). Films run throughout the warmer months, many with English subtitles. Check out the programme on Kinematografi.
9) Go back in time at the Rector’s Palace
The 15th-century Rector’s Palace by the main square is where the rector (city governor) resided during his one-month term in office. Today, it houses the Cultural History Museum, filled with period furniture, costumes, wigs and portraits. Check out the clocks that are set at quarter to six – the time when Napoleon’s troops entered the city in 1806. Classical music recitals are held in the courtyard during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
10) Run a marathon with staggering views
For fitness fiends wondering what to do in Dubrovnik, how about signing up for a marathon – the views might distract from the pain, at the very least. In April, the 21km-long half-marathon starts at Ploče, heads down to Gruž harbour and then loops around to finish on the Stradun. However, if you want to tackle the full distance, the Ston Wall Marathon heads north to Pržina and south to Duba Stonska, tracing stretches of the medieval walls and coastline.
11) Take a day trip to Lokrum island
One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik with kids is to take a day trip to Lokrum. An activity that was also recommended by a local in our authentic local guide to Dubrovnik. Hop on a taxi-boat from the old harbour for a 10-minute journey to this lush island of pines, cypresses, and cacti. Children will love the strutting peacocks in the botanical gardens, as well as exploring the abandoned ruins of an old Napoleonic fort, or climbing the 19th-century Fort Royal. The pristine coastline offers hidden coves to explore, as well as excellent snorkelling and swimming.
Have you been to Dubrovnik – and do you have any other recommendations of things to do in the area? We’d love to hear about them. And if we’ve convinced you that Dubrovnik should be the next place on your holiday hit list, then look no further. We’ve got a huge selection of villas in Dubrovnik, from the quirky and characterful to the more minimalist!