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With its ancient city walls, UNESCO World Heritage status, azure seas and the pedestrian-only old city it’s easy to see how Dubrovnik was ranked as one of the top 25 European cities to visit in 2019 by the Telegraph.
Dubrovnik in 2 Days – How to spend 48 hours in Dubrovnik (2019 edition)
As far as European cities go, Dubrovnik is up there with the best-of-the-best. Situated in the gorgeous blue waters of the Adriatic sea with a boastful climate and easily accessible from the UK it’s easy to see why. More recently it’s lent itself to the backdrop to Game of Thrones, which naturally has led to a secondary tourist pull for a multitude of tours related to this. Check out some of the top tours below.
So pack your bags for Dubrovnik and check out the best attractions this top UNESCO destination has to offer.
Dubrovnik, Croatia – History in a nutshell
Settlements in the area we know today as Dubrovnik date back to the Roman times, but it was in the 13th Century that Dubrovnik began to take on more of an appearance of what we still recognise today.
The walls of Dubrovnik surrounding the Old City are where the name ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ come from (visually it’s a gleaming light coloured circular-ish shape surrounded by the sea). Historically, a moat separated the Dubrovnik City from the mainland so the walls were used as the City’s means of defence. The walls of Dubrovnik run for 1940 metres (6365 feet), the Dubrovnik Wall Walk is a major attraction here. Intersected by forts, lookout towers, portholes and turrets. The Walls of Dubrovnik date back to the 13th century but additions, earthquakes and of course the civil war in the 90’s mean that it’s changed considerably over the centuries.
In 1979 The City of Dubrovnik became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then in 1991 was heavily shelled during the breakup of Yugoslavia causing a ton of damage to the iconic Old City. During the 90’s and 00’s, Dubrovnik underwent major reconstruction, restoration and repairs to bring the City back to its glory and into what is now a huge tourist hot-spot.
Currency in Croatia
Currently, the currency in Croatia is the Kuna. The country joined the EU in 2013 but as yet has not adopted the Euro. There is talk of the country of joining the Eurozone in 2023. However, some hotels and tourist attractions will accept the Euro.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
There is no shortage of places to stay in Dubrovnik ranging from budget to luxuary accomodation. As a general rule, if you stay within the city walls, you’ll pay a premium compared to if you stay outside of the Old Town.
What to do in Dubrovnik in 2 days
There is no shortage of things to do in Dubrovnik and it’s more of a case of sifting out the top attractions although IF you are pushed for time (I’m looking at you, Cruise ships!) then it is possible to see the best of Dubrovnik in just one day.
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Day 1 - Morning
Walk around Dubrovnik Old Town
To really get the best out of 2 days in Dubrovnik, it’s worth the early start and getting up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds. Dubrovnik gets busy, and by that, I mean absolutely rammed! Tourists flock to the Dubrovnik Old City in their droves and after several cruise ships and coaches have dumped their loads, the place starts to resemble Disney Land during the School Holidays, rather than a romantic medieval destination
If you are after Instagrammable images of Dubrovnik Old Town then you and your camera NEED to be there by 6.00am, believe me, I AM NOT a morning person in the slightest, however, I am also NOT accustomed to the idea of the world and his dog in every one of my photos.
Aside from the lack of crowds, it’s cooler and the sun is at a decent height in the sky to get some beautifully lit shots. The biggest plus; the only people you will spot are fellow photographers who are happy to take your photo if you’re a solo travelling and maintenance staff (7 am is evidently bin collection time!)
Crowd Busting Tried-and-Tested Tip
Make a bee-line for all the major highlights first (Game of Thrones fans will know them all!), plan a route of the things you are desperate to see and take photos of them without the hoards. Check my map at the end of this section to see some of the top places to take photos of Dubrovnik Old Town.
If you are intending on doing Dubrovnik in 2 days, it’s worth doing a bit of homework beforehand to ensure you get the most out of the quieter hours to see as many of the ‘must see in Dubrovnik’ places. With the main highlights done and the crowds growing, head to the side streets to stop to chill for a late breakfast or brunch satisfied by the fact that you’ve got some awesome crowd-free shots and seen loads of Dubrovnik Old Town before the hoards.
Not sure on what to see, I've done your homework for you. Check out these iconic Dubrovnik landmarks
- Onofrio’s fountains – the big one near Pile Gate is impressive
- The Church of St. Blaise
- Saint Ignatius Church
- Stradun (The main street in Dubrovnik)
- Lovrijenac Fortress
- Minčeta Tower
- Rector’s Palace
- Dubrovnik Cathedral
Map of Dubrovnik Highlights
Money-Saving and Eco Tip
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Day 1 – Afternoon
Catch the boat to Lokrum Island
By the afternoon the heat in Dubrovnik can get intense, this makes for the perfect opportunity to escape the sun and the crowds and head over to nearby Lokrum Island – it’s a mere 6oo metres from the Old City!
Lokrum Island is a Nature Reserve just off the coast of Dubrovnik Old Town. Various boats to Lokrum Island depart from just outside the Old City Walls at the Old Port
In the Know Tip - Getting to Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik
Having neither the time or the inclination to do any overpriced island-hop I was only interested in getting a return boat ride over to Lokrum Island. Expect to pay around 60-70K (approx $9/10.50 or £7.25/8.50) for the return boat ride, they will, of course, try it on for more than that, barter them down. I spent about half an hour going from booth to booth to get this price. The 600-metre journey from Dubrovnik to Lokrum Island lasts approximately 15 minutes.
As soon as you set foot on Lokrum Island, you will be ushered into the little cottage. Entrance is 120K (approx $18 or £14.50), which comes on a decent looking ticket which also doubles up as a postcard! This nice touch makes for a novel little souvenir compared to the usual flimsy bit-of-paper ticket stub.
Combination return ferry and Lokrum Island entry tickets are available from various vendors and tour agencies, but remember to shop around for the best price. It should cost around 150K for the combination ticket (approx $22.50/ £18 )
Visiting Dubrovnik in 2 days is intense, so it’s a welcome opportunity to chill in the shade of the trees and away from the crowds. You could easily spend a day here if you have the time, sunbathing and wandering about in the pine, olive and cypress trees. Look out for the colony of very tame rabbits that will come and eat out of your hand if you offer them food, there are also peacocks wandering about. If you’re worried about tan-lines, fret not, Lokrum Island also boasts its own nudist beach!
You could easily whittle away a day on Lokrum Island, there’s quite a bit here to see, however on a short time scale be sure to add these to your Dubrovnik highlights.
Highlights of Lokrum Island
- Botanical Gardens
- Fort Royal
- Benedictine Monastery
- If you are a Game of Thrones fan then look out for one of the props used in the series. You’ll find a Throne in the museum under the Monastery!
After an afternoon of chill, catch the return boat back to the mainland, it picks up at the little jetty where you paid the entrance fee.
Lokrum Island Alternative
If you don’t want to take a trip over to Lokrum Island and just want a very quick stroll away from the crowds, then visit Park Gardac to the west and outside of the Old City walls.
(Include a map!) Up a hill and away from the crowds it does offer a break from the heat and the people, there are some nice vantage points along the cliff face here for some nice photos looking back over Dubrovnik Old Town and the Fort.
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Day 1 – Evening
Take the Dubrovnik Cable Car up Srd Hill for a Panoramic Sunset and Sundowner
Heading out of Dubrovnik Old Town and up the hill, to the well signposted Dubrovnik Cable Car, you’ll find the best vantage point for a Sunset over Dubrovnik. If you are feeling energetic and have the time, to can walk up. A roundtrip on the Cable Car is 170K (approx $25.60 / £20.50). The Cable Car is on top of a hill called Srd Hill. Its height is 412 metres
IF you decide to walk up, the footpath is a well-defined zig-zag path up the face of Srd Hil. The walk is free to do – but if you are doing Dubrovnik in 2 days you may be pushed for time unless you are a fast hiker. You could come to a compromise and walk up and get the cable car down or vice versa – A one-way ticket on the cable car is 90K (approx $13.50 / £10.80 ). If neither walking or the cable car suit, then, then you can also get a taxi up to the top.
At the top you’ll find Fort Imperial, a museum, 4×4 off-road buggies, an overpriced restaurant (book in advance if you want to eat here at peak times, apparently the food is nice, I didn’t try it) and a stunning view of Dubrovnik Old City, Lokrum Island and surrounding areas; on a clear day you can see up to 60km (37miles).
Best view of Dubrovnik Old Town - the official vs the non-official
One of the best times to go up the Dubrovnik Cable Car is about an hour before sunset – ‘The Golden Hour’ for those in the know – there is still enough light to see Dubrovnik Old Town by day followed by a short wait which will unveil a beautiful golden light hitting the rooftops as the sun begins to set. Wait even longer and you’ll see The Walls of Dubrovnik illuminated as the Old Town lights come on.
When you’re finished with the panoramic view, head back down to the Dubrovnik Old City. After a super early start, have a relaxing evening at one of the hundreds of restaurants and bars in the Old City.
Veggie & Vegan food in Dubrovnik - Top Reccomendation
For the remainder of the evening take a walk back through the Old Town to see the iconic buildings, streets and alleyways lit up. The light-coloured shiny stone reflects the lights and the whole place really glows.
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Day 2 – Morning
Walk the Old City Walls of Dubrovnik & Visit Fort Lovrijenac
For Day 2 of Dubrovnik in 2 days, make for another early start (sorry), although not quite as anti-social as the previous day. Dubrovnik City Wall Walk opens at 8 am. People are queuing for a ticket by 7.30! Most people are queuing at Pile Gate. Tickets cost 200K (approx $30/ £24 ).
Dubrovnik City Wall Walk Top Tip – from a Dubrovnikan!
Visiting Fort Lovrijenac, the Fortress next to Dubrovnik Old Town
Dubrovnik City Wall Walk takes about 2 hours, depending on how many times you stop to take photos! As the morning goes on you’ll notice the influx in other tourists, and your once clear view of the wall and now shared with a zillion other people. Time to make a move. Exit Dubrovnik City Wall Walk, head back through the Old Town and start the fairly steep climb the hill to the west of the City Walls and up to Fort Lovrijenac to see Dubrovnik from across the water. (Show on a MAP)
I’m an absolute Ruin Junkie and if like me you love Ancient Walled UNESCO Cities, like Dubrovnik, then you would absolutely adore the UNESCO city of Segovia in Spain, it not only boasts an ancient wall, but also an Aqueduct, Cathederal and Castle. Why not add it to your Europe bucket list?
Money-saving Tip with your Dubrovnik Wall Walk Ticket
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Day 2 – Afternoon
Check out some of the awesome Museums or Cathedrals
To avoid the afternoon heat again on your Dubrovnik in 2 days trip, spend some time visiting some of the must-see in Dubrovnik attractions and museums. Here’s a heads up – most are inside.
You’ll be spoilt for choice for various Museums and Cathedrals to visit in Dubrovnik, although some of the more notable ones are;
- Dominican Monastery – 30L (approx $4.50/ £3.60)
- Rector’s Palace – 130K (approx $19 / £16) – this also gives entrance to at least 5 other museums, or just for the Cultural History Museum at the Rector’s Palace it costs 100K (approx $15/ £12 )
- Franciscan Church and Monastery which also includes the super cool The Old Pharmacy – 30K (approx $4.50/£3.60)
Top Tip for Money-Saving on Dubrovnik Attractions
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Day 2 – Evening
Take a Sunset Kayak tour to see the sun setting over the Old Town of Dubrovnik
So, you’ve seen Dubrovnik from the inside, from the walls, from a panoramic view, so now is the perfect time to complete the set and see the Old Town from the water! The best way to do this and nicely complete your trip to Dubrovnik in 2 days, is to opt for a Kayak tour.
All equipment is included, as well as ample guides to ensure your safety, but also fun! The route takes you out of a small bay, around the outside of the city, across to Lokrum Island (remember from earlier, it’s only 600m from mainland), in and out of little caves, around the Island (some ‘sausage spotting’ as you row past the nudist beach) and onto a secluded cave beach before heading back to the Old Town for wine.
Every 10-15 minutes, you’ll stop for some crazy story or a challenged to a silly game with other kayakers in the group, before rowing a bit more.
The cave beach, where you have a break, is only accessible via the sea. Some people in the group opt to chill on the beach, other mingle, some swim, and others try their luck at cliff jumping!
On this trip, along with nuggets of fascinating history wrapped up in interesting stories, you’ll also see a ton of location spots where Game of Thrones was filmed. On the row back to the mainland is when you get to see the sun go down over the Old City of Dubrovnik. Back onto the mainland and the wine starts flowing as you chill and chat with new friends from the trip. A fantastic way to end 2 days in Dubrovnik.
The whole tour lasts around 3 hours and costs 35 Euro* (approx $39 /£31)
*website booking is payable in Euro only.
Dubrovnik in 2 Days - Bonus Day
Escape the crowds and head for Cavtat
So, you’ve covered the highlights of Dubrovnik in 2 days, but I’m going to add in a bonus day because first and foremost; I hate crowds, secondly, because I’m nice like that 😉
If you have a few hours to kill, such as waiting for a flight, or even just find the bustle of Dubrovnik Old City a bit too much, then a trip out to nearby Cavtat is a must. Being only 18.5km from Dubrovnik, it takes about 20 minutes by car/ taxi to get to Cavtat.
Things to see and do in Cavtat
Historically, Cavtat was a fishing village and in contrast to nearby Dubrovnik, still has some of this laid-back charm, pretty galleries and a string of water edge restaurants. There are plenty of spots to get a sun lounger around the little peninsula as well as to take a stroll along the tree-clad promenade.
One great little find in Cavtat was the bakery Peco (check this) selling THE biggest vanilla custard doughnuts I have ever seen. They also do loads of other freshly prepared bread-based products, delicious sandwiches and sweet treats to take out or eat in. It’s worth a visit to Cavtat for the bakery alone!
Getting to Cavtat from Dubrovnik
I already mentioned going by car, which is the quickest. If, like me, you need to use public transport to get there, take the Number 10 bus from near the Dubrovnik Cable Car. The bus takes 20-40 minutes (depending on the time of day) and drops you right in the centre of Cavtat. The bus costs 25K, (approx $3.70/ £3) and there is a very frequent service; 2 nearly every hour.
Another way to do the Dubrovnik to Cavtat journey is by boat. This is by far the longest way to do the journey, approximately an hour, BUT the payoff is that it’s the most scenic way. Ticket vendors in both Dubrovnik and Cavtat will sell you a ticket. Expect to pay 60K (approx $9/ £7.30) for a single, and 100K (approx $15/ £12 ) for a return ticket.
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Dubrovnik in 2 days - Pin it for later
Yes, it can be intense however, Dubrovnik in 48 hours is a totally do-able trip with a nice balance of history, culture, scenery, nature and delicious food. There is of course so much more to see and if you have longer then think about doing some day trips from Dubrovnik.
If you found this article useful, don’t forget to pin it for later. Or if you know someone heading to Dubrovnik then why not share with them.
Still looking for more information on what do to in Dubrovnik in 2 days? Then please ask questions in the comments below. Or if the crowds are too much and you are spending some time in the country, then why not check out this iconic hike in Croatia?