Dubrovnik Airport Transfer, Attractions & Festivals
Includes a link to a Self Guided Tour of Games of Thrones, Dubrovnik or the Self Guided Non-Game of Thrones Tour (Dubrovnik Attractions)
Dubrovnik’s mix of gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture combined with the walls used to fortify the system has made it a top tourist destination with easy access from Dubrovnik Airport; so much so that the they are considering putting a limit to the number of tourists entering old town in a day.
Located on the Dalmatian cost, it was founded in the 7th century by the Greeks who were fleeing the Slav and Avars and is the site of the modern day Cavtat, 20 km south of Dubrovnik. They were under the protection of the Byzantine Empire and named their Settlement Ragusa. Soon after, the Croatians settled across from the Greeks and the two settlements were separated by a small channel.
The Croatians named their settlement Dubrava meaning oak woods. The two settlements of Ragusa and Dubrova co-existed peacefully and were strong trading partners. In the 10th and 11th century they covered the channel separating them and by the 12th century they became one settlement called Dubrovnik. This channel is called Stradun Street today and is the main street in Old Town.
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Video of Dubrovnik general information
Dubrovnik stayed under the protection of the Byzatine Empire until the 12th century. From 1205 to 1358 it was ruled by the Venetians and then in 1358 it became part of the Hungarian Croatian kingdom and was granted self-governance. In the 14th and 15th century, the city underwent fortification with construction of the Dubrovnik city walls and towers.
The walls have never been breached and have withstood countless attacks. In the 15th and 16th century the city was a free state and the decades of peace allowed for the proliferation of art, science and literature. Dubrovnik’s architecture is influenced by the various empires that laid claim to Dubrovnik over its history and you will see influences of baroque renaissance and gothic style buildings.
In 1667 Dubrovnik suffered a catastrophic earthquake that destroyed most of the buildings except the Sponza Palace and the Rectors Palace. Restoration of the rest of buildings started soon after. In 1806 Dubrovnik surrendered to Napoleons French army. In 1808 the Republic of Dubrovnik ceased to exist and it fell under the rule of the Austrian Empire. Dubrovnik went through other periods of occupation until it finally gained its independence after the Croatian War of Independence in 1991.
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When to visit Dubrovnik
Summer are hot and dry; July and August are the height of the tourist season. With the influx of tourist, you will also find long lines, warm Adriatic sea, and highest prices associated with peak season. April and October are slower times for tourist and if the weather is good, it would be the best time to come, however some tourist attractions may be closed for the winter.
Video of Dubrovnik attractions
Dubrovnik Airport (Čilipi Airport)
The distance from the airport to old town Dubrovnik is 21 km, 30 min by car and about 1 hour in rush hour by bus. There is no train service, please note that the airport is closed from midnight to 4 am.
You can also arrange for a private car pickup from the airport here.
5 Modes of Airport Transportation from Dubrovnik Airport
1. Car Rental from Dubrovnik Airport
Car rental agencies are located at the airport but it is advisable to book before you arrive as it gets busy and you may be able to not get a car. I have used rentalcars.com, autoeurope.com and discovercars.com on many occasions and found the rental process to be very smooth with these companies.
Ensure that you have car rental insurance either through your credit card or take out additional insurance. I have always made sure I had car rental insurance when renting cars as it is not about your driving, but also other drivers on the road. Rural Dubrovnik roads can be very narrow, especially the drive from Hvar Island to Sućuraj car ferry port that allows you to get back on the mainland. I spoke with some police officers who told me that they find rental cars in the ditch on a regular basis. You can rent your car with rentalcars.com here or autoeurope.com or with discovercars.com.
2. Taxis at the Dubrovnik airport
A taxi stand is located right outside the arrivals exit, next to Terminal “B”. There should be published fares at the Taxi Information Counter. Ensure that the meter is on. You should have a general idea of what the taxi should cost. Private airport transfer service and taxis are about the same price. You can pre-book your taxi. or pre-book a Private Transfer to meet you inside the terminal for door to door service.
The Private Transfer service has English speaking drivers, 24/7 customer support, free cancellation and flight monitoring service.
3. Uber in Dubrovnik and at the airport
- Uber is available in Dubrovnik and is sometimes cheaper than the bus if you have 2 – 4 people traveling to a destination depending on how far you are going. Use the uber app to book.
4. Local Dubrovnik Airport Bus Route
Public local buses are orange in color. Local buses #11, 27, 38 travel between the airport and Dubrovnik. If your final destination is elsewhere, you can also transfer to other buses on route. Local bus tickets can be purchased from the driver (you will need exact change), or from newspaper kiosks, tisaks, Libertas vending machines at major stops, the libertas kiosk at Pile Gate or Gruz Main bus terminal. Bus tickets are valid for 59 min after validation. Enter the bus from the front door and validate your ticket at the bright yellow time stamp machine next to the driver.
5. Dubrovnik Airport Shuttle Bus
Airport Shuttle Arrivals (Airport to Dubrovnik):
There are two private shuttle buses from the airport to the Dubrovnik Old Town (at Pile Gate) and the Gruž Harbour/Ferry Port Station. They are Atlas and Platanus. Shuttle buses do not have a fixed schedule; they are scheduled to depart 30 minutes after a flight lands. The buses are right outside the arrival terminal and they both stop at Pile Gate and the Main Bus Station located next to the Gruz ferry terminal.
Atlas Shuttle Bus:
After exiting the baggage claim area, the Atlas counter will be in the arrivals area and tickets for the shuttle can be purchased from there. If you arrive at a time when the counter is closed, tickets can be purchased from atlas ticket dispenser or from the driver where you will need exact change. They accept Kunas and Euros.
Upon exiting the baggage claim area, the tickets can be purchased from the Platanus counter in the arrivals terminal, at the Platanus ticket dispenser or from the bus driver.
Word of Caution
During the busy season, line ups for the shuttle can be long. I would suggest somebody line up for the bus, while the other person goes to purchase the tickets for the bus.
Airport Shuttle Departures (Dubrovnik to Airport):
IMPORTANT: Drop off and pickup stops for the airport shuttle bus are different for the Dubrovnik Old Town location. The shuttle buses will drop you off at the eastern entrance of Old Town Dubrovnik, Pile Gate, when you arrive to Dubrovnik. However, when you are going to the airport for departure, the shuttle bus will NOT pick you up from the same station. The shuttle will pick up from Cable Car bus station at Old Town Dubrovnik to take you back to the airport.
- Cable Car Station
- Cable Car Station: From Old Town Dubrovnik, walk up the stairs from Stradun (towards Buža gate located on the North Wall), cross the parking lot towards the stairs that are below the cable car station. The street address is Petra Krešimira IV. When using the local buses, the bus station called Iza Grada, is next to the shuttle bus station called Cable Car station.
Once again there is no fixed schedule. The Shuttle will leave from the Main Bus Station near the ferry terminal at Gruz Port about 90 minutes before a domestic flight departure and 2 hours before an international departure. The shuttle buses make a stop at the cable car station for pick up before continuing to the airport (It will NOT stop at Pile Gate). It takes 10 min to get to the cable car station. If the shuttle is full, it may not stop at the cable car station. If you want to go to the main station to catch the shuttle, Libertas local bus Routes 1a, 1b and 1c connect Pile gate to main station at Gruz where you can catch the airport bus, the time table is HERE.
5 Fun things to explore:
1. Sea kayaking
A vey popular sport in Dubrovnik and there are a number of agencies that offer sea kayaking tours or you could go to one of the beaches such as kolorinaor bunje beach and rent a kayak. Explore the caves, hidden beaches, coves and go snorkeling. Bring some swimming shoes as the beaches can be rocky. Book your guided Sea Kayak tour in advance HERE
The Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik and there are a number of guided tours available, both free self guided tours and paid tours hosted by locals. Visit the 29 attractions in Dubrovnik including Game of thrones locations such as Red Keep, Blackwater Bay or Qarth at the Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island. Lokrum is a short 15 min water taxi ride from the Old Port. Download the map which also has pictures of the attractions and game of thrones scenes, follow the walking route. The tour can take from 1 to 3 days depending on the number of attractions visited and the time you spent at each of them. Guided tours with local guides are available HERE to book
3. Ceremonial Guards
Two guards are stationed at each of the two main gates until 9:30 pm every evening. At the end of their shift, four ceremonial guards and a drummer march down the Placa (Stadun).
4. Where to Stay
- Old Town Dubrovnik is a wonderful place to explore, you may want to stay within the Old Town walls during your trip. The accommodations In Old Town are in lovely old refurbished buildings with exquisite architectural detailing, however they usually have steps to climb. Accommodations just outside of Old Town Dubrovnik walls are more modern and some are on the beach.
- There are some great hotels, apartments and guesthouses with varying price points in Old Town Dubrovnik and surrounding area, Check pricing, and availability here.
5. Getting to Dubrovnik
- Check recent prices and book your flight to Dubrovnik using the latest booking tool. If you are a frequent traveler of both domestic and international flights, the site allows for membership subscription that provides cashback on many travel services.
One of the better preserved medieval cities, it has narrow cobble stone alleys, quirky shops, cafes and historic buildings. As you enter the Old Town from the western Pile Gate you will find yourself in front of the huge Onofrio fountain and on Stradun Street which runs west to east, the eastern end is anchored by the Clock and Bell tower and the central Luza square. The Stradun divides the town into northern and southern segments. Old Town Dubrovnik is a small town with a population of about 2000 residents and 568 private households. It is a pleasant walk through time. There is no chance of getting lost as all streets eventually lead to Stradun.
If you want to pre-plan your activities, there are a number of Old Town Tours available to book
7. Look for Love
On the wall, next to the entrance of the Franciscan Monastery on the Stradun, is the Dubrovnik Maskeron, a gargoyle face made of stone that protrudes about 15 cm from the wall. It is ½ a meter off the ground from the wall. It is said that if you hop onto the gargoyle, facing the wall and keep your balance and take off your shirt you will find your true love. Personally, I think if you stand there with your shirt off, you may find more than true love, lol. The gargoyle was actually a drain spout that drained rainwater from the top of the building. The pipes have since been rerouted but the gargoyle has remained.
4 Summer Festivals
1. Dubrovnik Wine festival (April)
A four-day festival with over 100 winemakers from all over Croatia participate at organized wine events.
2. Aklapela Festival (April)
Free concerts at several locations in town celebrating the traditions klapa singing.
3. Dubrovnik Annual Summer Festival (July/Aug)
From July 10 to August 25 there are musicals, ballets, operas, concerts and stage performances every evening in the towns squares, on the streets and open-air stages throughout the city. Tickets are available up to one hour before the event or at the festival office which is just off the Placa or online HERE.
4. Libertas Film Festival, held in the summer
Since 2005, the festival has been held over 6 days inside the walls of the Old Town in the summer. It showcases feature films, documentary films and short films from local and international film makers and there are awards in each of these categories. The events take place at a variety of venues such as the Revelin Fortress, and the open air cinemas.
4 Interesting Facts
Slavery was banned in the Republic of Dubrovnik in 1416 by a vote of 75 for banning slavery and 3 against by the members of the Grand Chamber (parliament), The Grand Chamber condemned slavery as “shameful, wrong and disgusting, and against all humanity”. The penalty for breaking the law was harsh and constituted a stiff penalty and a 6-month residency in the lower dungeons. By contrast the slave trade was not banned in Britain until 1833 and in the US until 1865.
2. The Dubrovnik Defense Walls
The system of walls protecting the city is 2 km long with a maximum height of 25 meters and is up to 6m thick. There were 120 canon stations, 17 towers, 4 gates and 5 bastions that complete the defense system. There was so much stone that was needed to build the fortification that in 1464 ships arriving into the harbor or merchants arriving at the gates were asked to bring stone with them. Today, the Dubrovnik wall is a popular attraction and brings in over 10,000 visitors per day.
3. City of Fountains
Aside from the large Onofrio fountain just as you enter the main gate, Dubrovnik has a variety of old fountains, that provide drinkable water to the town even today. You will see many a tourist filling up their water bottles.
4. Island Hopping
There are several islands within a short distance from Dubrovnik. They include Mljet, Korčula, Lokrum, and Elaphite islands (Sipan, Lopud, and Kolocep ). Depending on the island you can take the ferry or a water taxi. You can also visit Croatia’s 9 unique islands off the coast of Zadar with this self guided tour. Islands tours options are available here for booking
Free Wifi Zone in Dubrovnik
Most restaurants, cafes, pubs local buses and accommodations have free wifi. You will need the network and password information that is easily available from the employees of the various establishments. For wifi on local buses, use the network “Libertas mediaking” and follow the instructions.
Free Wifi Dubrovnik Airport
As per most airports in Europe, free Wifi is available for 30 minutes at the airport. After 30 min you have to option of purchasing Wifi service.
Service charges are included in the bill, however you can round the bill up and that would be an acceptable tip. Generally, there is no bargaining in the shops as shop prices are fixed but there is an opportunity to bargain in the street markets.
Croatia accepts both euros and its own currency kunas. I found that paying in kunas was cheaper than euros. Money can be exchanged in banks, post office, and at exchange booths. It is easy to withdraw money from ATM’s and they are fairly easy to find near entrance points to old town and on Stradun. With the exception of some street markets, most vendors accept all major credit cards.
City Owned Public Bus In Dubrovnik – Libertas Dubrovnik
- It is important to understand the bus stations when using bus transportation in Dubrovnik (City buses are bright orange):
- Pile Gate – Western entrance of Old Town Dubrovnik, drop off point for private airport shuttle Atlas and Platanus; also the major hub for local bus Libertas. All the local buses except bus #7 stop here, however it is not the main bus station for local buses.
- Ploče – Gate at the eastern entrance of Old Town Dubrovnik.
- Cable Car Station – Pick up location for private shuttle buses going to the airport for Platanus and Atlas shuttles. Additional information for the cable car station is HERE.
- Iza Grada – Liberta local bus stop name for the bus location next to the Cable Car Station (Private shuttle bus and public libertas bus have a different name for the similar location).
- Buza gate – North entrance of Old Town Dubrovnik, can be used to walk up to the cable car station or Iza Grada local bus station.
- Gruž Bus station – This is the bus station for Dubrovnik harbor. It is located 3 km from Old Town Dubrovnik and is next to the ferry terminal where the cruise ship docks. Those arriving by cruise ship can easily access Old Town Dubrovnik by taking the local bus from the Gruž bus terminal. Libertas, the local bus company operates a shuttle bus service from the ferry terminal to and from Dubrovnik Old Town.
- From Gruž take bus line 1 (Mokosica via Gruž to Pile – Dubrovnik Old Town), get on the bus in Gruž either at ferry port bus stop (Luka Gruž 4), bus terminal (main bus terminal Autobuusni Koldovor) at the bus stop (Luka Gruž 5) or Placa Gruž and get off at Pile bus stop (Pile gate – Dubrovnik Old Town).
- Have exact change, in Kunas, to pay the bus driver
- Main Bus Terminal– This is the main bus station in Dubrovnik and is located next to the ferry terminal.
- Main Bus Terminal – is referred to as Autobusni Kolodvor
- Main Bus Terminal – City Bus timetable, and a visual map pf the city bus lines can be found HERE
- Main Bus Terminal – Suburban Bus map. To go to areas outside of Dubrovnik Town ie: East to Cavtat, etc or West to Ston, etc
- Main Bus Terminal –Domestic Time table will list all the departures within Croatia ie: Zagreb, Split (Take a ferry to Hvar from Split), Zadar (East self guided tour and West self guided tour), Makarska, etc
- Main Bus Terminal –International Time table will list departures outside of Croatia such as Montenegro or Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- Main Bus Terminal – Flexibus private bus company for both international and domestic travel
- Airport Transfer: Click on the link Autobusni kolodvor for airport departures and
- select ‘Dubrovnik’ as the starting station and ‘Zračna luka’ as end destination. It will give you the timetable for airport departures
- Zračna luka – Name of the local bus station at the Airport
- select ‘Dubrovnik’ as the starting station and ‘Zračna luka’ as end destination. It will give you the timetable for airport departures
Additional Information related to Intercity Buses in Croatia
The buses below operate different routes. They will take you between cities and to the national parks. Tickets can be purchased online or at large bus stations where bus companies have an office to allow you to purchase tickets. Check to see if you need to pay extra for luggage. Tickets cannot be purchased from the driver. Flexibus will search the various bus companies and give you the operator, schedules and their prices, including the national parks. In this way you do not have to search individual bus companies. Alternately you can search the individual ones below:
Arriva – Travels to most destinations, including plitvice
Bironi – based out of Pula
Cazmatrans – travels to most locations
Croatia Bus – Zagreb based company, includes transfer to the national parks
Dalmacija Bus – Operate a route between Zagreb and Split, which stops in Sibenik and Trogir
Promet Split – Routes around Split
Puntamika – Routes between Zagreb, Zadar and Split
Tourist Information Center
- Old Town Dubrovnik: Stradun, 21, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Pile Gate: Brsalje , 5, 20000 Dubrovnik; tel +385 (0)20 312 011; +385 (0)20 323 887;
- Gruž: Obala Ivana Pavla II. no 1, 20000 Dubrovnik; tel: +385 (0)20 417 983
For Additional Croatia Travel Guides, Tourist Maps and Airport Transfer:
- Dubrovnik Game of Thrones and Old Town Self Guided Tour – Follow the Map and Guide to visit the film locations for Game of Thrones, beaches and churches. The self guided tour will take you a full day if you also visit the beaches. Use the map and attractions guide to visit the attractions of Old Town Dubrovnik and the locations of the Games of Thrones Scenes. The map has picture of the sites and how they looked for the film scenes. The walking tour will take you ½ a day. If you visit Lokrum island and spend time at the beach/monastery/fort on the island, this will take you another ½ day to full day. Lokrum Island is the location of the City of Qarth in GoT and is a 10 min water taxi ride from the Dubrovnik Port
- Dubrovnik Day Trips. Spend a day at each of the villages of Ston and Cavtat a short distance from Dubrovnik. Cavtat is a charming village that was invaded by the Slavs. The inhabitants fled and were the original settlers of Dubrovnik. Visit the historical beaches and spend time on the beach or hike the Ronald Brown Pathway. Ston is a small village on a hill surrounded by a 7 km wall that is second in size to the Great Wall of China. It is famous for its defensive walls, its salt “mines” and its oyster bays. The oysters from Ston are well renowned
- Upper Town, Old Town Zagreb – 15 must see attractions of Old Town Zagreb. Walk the attractions of Upper Town Zagreb, the self-guided walking tour will take you to the various attractions in ½ a day. You may want to explore some of these attractions in greater depth such as the Museum of Broken Relationships or climb the Lotrščak Tower. In that case the self guided tour will take more than half a day
- Zagreb Lower Town, Lenuci Horseshoe – Visit the 7 Squares and Botanical gardens in the shape of a horseshoe, including the under ground 31,000 sq meter shopping mall. A ½ day tour of the U-shaped system of 7 parks and Zagreb botanical gardens. The Lenuci horseshoe in Lower Town Zagreb is a short walking distance from Zagreb’s main Ban Jelačić Square and facing the main train station Glavni Kolodvor. The Square include pavilions, theater, museums, state archives and an underground mall amongst its many historical buildings dotted throughout the horseshoe
- Walking tour Zagreb Lower town and Grič Tunnels – A 2 hour tour of the tunnels under Zagreb old town; they were built as shelter during the war and are now used by the locals to cross Old Town or to go between upper town and lower town. Not only are they a short cut, they are cool in the summer and a welcome relief from the searing sun. Explore the old world war tunnels and visit the sights of lower town
- Unique and Fun things to do in Zagreb – Explore activities and places to visit such as Jarun Lake, the Antiques Fair or discover current events in Zagreb
- Old Town Split and Marjan Hill – Explore the Old Town Square, then head over to Marjan Hill. This self guided tour can take a whole day as the walking portion of the tour will guide you to attractions in the Old Town and then on to Marjan Hill. This part of the tour will take ½ a day. The tour will end at the beach where you can spend the rest of the day, take the local bus back or walk along the promenade back to Old Town
- Split, Salona ancient Roman Ruins – On the outskirts of Split, don’t miss the roman ruins of Salona, the birthplace of Emperor Diocletian. Step outside of the Old Town of Split and visit the nearby city of Solin (which is the ancient city of Salona, Diocletian’s birthplace). Then continue onto the town of Trogir. This self guided tour has instructions for local buses to take you on a route for a full day trip from Split to Salona (stop in Salona, then continue onto Trojir. Then catch the local bus back to Split
- Trogir, UNESCO World Heritage Site – This attraction is often overlooked. It is a charming, authentic village, a heritage city where the Old Town is on an Island. It is an easy bus ride from Split to Trogir, with a stopover in Salona (Solin)
- Split, Diocletian’s Palace – Not to be missed, the10 must see attractions in the palace to stop and take pictures. The Palace tour is a ½ day self-guided tour through the palace that will end at the market which you can explore
- Zadar Western Half – The old town is located on an island; explore the attractions on the westerns side of the island in this ½ day self guided walking tour. Attractions include popular attractions such as the Sea Organ, Greetings to the Sun and the Roman Forum / Ruins
- Zadar Eastern Half – Take a ½ day to visit the churches, parks and other attractions on the eastern side of Zadar Island. Visit the fish markets and green markets for fresh food and explore the cobblestone alleyways for a touch of ambiance and potential souvenir shopping
- Zadar islands – The Zadar Archipelago has around a 100 islands off its coast, many of them uninhabited. Visit all or any of the 9 popular islands in this map and use the attractions guide to the islands. You can rent a boat rent a boat with or without a captain, get a water taxi, take the ferry/ to visit the islands and swim in the Adriatic or anchor at hidden beach/cove
- Island Visit
- Croatia Islands – Rent or hire a boat to visit the 9 popular islands off the mainland. Visit 1 or 2 or all 9 islands for a fabulous day out to sea
- Hvar Island
- Hvar old town attractions and Španjola fortress (Fortica) – Use the self guided tour map and attractions to visit the popular sites in Hvar Old Town. The tour will take ½ a day to the major attractions in Hvar Town, including climbing to the Spanjola fortress that has been protecting Hvar for hundreds of years. However it could be longer if you want to spend time visiting the museums or spending an afternoon enjoying the magnificent views from the Fortress
- Hvar Island driving tour – Take the local bus, rent a car / scooter for the day to visit the numerous attractions on the island. This can take two days as there is a lot to see and do. It includes: wine tasting, visiting a cave monastery high on the hills, quaint fishing villages, popular beaches, hidden coves and harbours A great tour that will take you across the island
- Hvar Islands and Lavendar Fields Tour – You can rent a boat (with or without a captain) and visit the islands off Hvar Island. The Pakleni Islands are an archipelago of 20 islands off the coat of Hvar. They are known for beautiful beaches, charming village towns and secluded coves. You can take the bus to visit the abandoned villages of Velo Grabjle and Malo Grabjle,. It is a short bus ride or scooter/car trip from Hvar Town. Explore the fields of lavender and Olive Grove farms
- Getting around Croatia – Information on Croatian buses and ferries