More than Dubrovnik Old Town, Towns around Dubrovnik and things to do on day trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia
Visit Villages and Islands Close to Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, Croatia is a popular tourist destination with plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik and the towns around Dubrovnik: there are beaches, secluded caves and monasteries, historical buildings, National Parks and waterfalls, medieval towns and villages with cobblestone alleyways situated along the warm and azure blue Adriatic Sea. After exploring the Old Town of Dubrovnik, take the 8 trips listed below to towns around Dubrovnik that are easily accessible
Dubrovnik, Croatia Weather
Located along the coast, Dubrovnik, Croatia has typical mediterranean weather; hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The temperatures peak in June, July and August and can reach into the high 30’s. Dubrovnik and the surrounding area gets very busy in those summer months, which is peak tourist season. The Adriatic Sea is warm and it is lovely for a swim, however you will also find the prices for accommodations, meals and attractions will also be at their peak and lineups for attractions are long. Almost everywhere you go in the surrounding towns around Dubrovnik on one of the day trips , it is crowded with tourists but there are plenty of fun things to do!
May, September and October are great months to visit. The temperature is moderate in the late teens and high 20’s, the waters are still warm, prices have come down and the cruise ships have stopped their services to the ports. It is the perfect time to visit as it is still warm, not as crowded, and prices are reasonable.
1. Visit Cavtat, Croatia is one of the towns around Dubrovnik for day trips
Video of Cavtat Attractions
This historic seaside settlement with its cobble stone streets is one of several charming old towns around Dubrovnik. Cavtat is located just 20 min SE of Dubrovnik and makes a lovely day trips from Dubrovnik. Visiting Cavtat town is a scenic activity in your list of things to do around Dubrovnik Towns including the drive to Cavtat and the picturesque walking areas in Cavtat. It is home to a number of historical buildings and lovely churches. This authentic scenic seaside village has a 7km promenade lined with palm trees, a variety of historical buildings including the Rectors Palace, Račić Family Mausoleum, churches, hidden coves, crystal clear waters and fine dining at affordable prices. Originally this town was settled by the Greeks, who fled the invasion of the Avars and Slavs in the 7th century and who then became the original settlers of Dubrovnik.
More people are staying in Cavtat instead of Dubrovnik as there are many things to do there and it is one of the closest towns around Dubrovnik. It is said to be a less touristy version of Dubrovnik and it is more peaceful and much cheaper, with an easy bus ride to Dubrovnik airport or to Dubrovnik Old Town.
Things to do in Cavtat Towns located around Dubrovnik
Visit the House of Vlaho Bukivac. He was a famous Croatian painter who worked in Prague and Paris and his house has been opened for public viewing. In it there are over 200 paintings, sketches, drawings and the tools he used on display in a setting that includes period furniture.
The Rectors Palace houses period attire, weapons and traditional artifacts and also has a library of a 19th century lawyer Baltazar Bogisic. The collection is an estimated 20,000 artifacts.
Račić Family Mausoleum
In the list of things to do, visit the Cavtat public cemetery where you will find the final resting place of Captain Ivo and his family. From here you will have a great view of the Adriatic Sea. You will also find an octagonal building by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
St. Nicholas Church
It has works of art including some from the painter Vlaho Bukovac.
Built in a gothic-renaissance style, it is located on the promenade and houses paintings of Vlaho.
There are several beaches and coves for swimming, kayaking or paddle boards. Beautiful deep blue water which is great for diving, sailing, fishing and jet skiing and can be accessed from the sea promenades which circles around the hill and along the coast. This is a real gem of a town around Dubrovnik.
I like to hike when I am travelling as it is one of my favorite things to do. Take the Ronald Brown Pathway to the top of Strazice, which is 700 meters above sea level. It is a nice pleasant walk however, you will need good walking shoes and bottled water. Get a map from the tourist office and you will need to ask directions because it is not always clear. The ambiguity is worth it as the views are spectacular looking out on Cavtat and the Dalmatian coast.
Getting to Cavtat
This is one of the closest towns around Dubrovnik and one of the shortest day trips from Dubrovnik. It is a 30 min ride from Dubrovnik by car and about 6km from the airport. Buses arrive each hour at the airport to take passengers to Cavtat as it is becoming a popular place to stay. From Dubrovnik, take bus #10 HERE, (choose the option Suburban line, then East). Access additional information on local transportation.
The bus departs from the main bus station (autobusni kolovdor, select East or choose the visual map) or from the cable car station. It should take about 30 min by bus to reach Cavtat. The local buses are easy to spot and travel to various towns around Dubrovnik. They are bright orange and they run every half hour between Dubrovnik and Cavtat. From April to November, you can catch a catamaran from the Old Port in Dubrovnik to Cavtat. It is more than four times the price of the local bus, but it is a relaxing, scenic sail to Cavtat.
2. Ston, Croatia: Historic day trips around Dubrovnik, Visit the other Stone Wall System
Ston is a medieval car-free town in the Peljesac Peninsula around 54 km from Dubrovnik Towns center. Today Ston is a laid back small peaceful fishing village with crumbling churches, lush vegetation and a coastline that is become famous for its oysters. It is a great day trips from Dubrovnik. The village has three important attractions and things to do; the World Famous Ston Walls, the World famous Mussels and the World Famous defensive wall system. These are three very good reasons to take a day trips from Dubrovnik to visit Ston Town
Fortified Wall System
Ston was an important military fort and is well known for its stone walls that makes up its defense structure. There are several fortified towns around Dubrovnik, however the Ston Walls are said to be the second largest in the world after the Great Wall of China. Built from the 13th to 15th century, the walls were originally 7km in length and took 400 years to complete. The walls have crumbled in some areas and are now 5.5 km long and are up to 10 meters high. The entire wall defense system encompasses two hillside villages of Ston and Mali Ston (Mali meaning small). They consist of 3 fortresses; Veliki Kastil (in Ston), Korula (in Mali Ston) and Prodzvizd, as well as 41 towers, 7 bastions and a system of moats.
Construction of the walls first started in 1333 and were built to be the first line of defense protecting Dubrovnik and to protect the valuable salt industry that was the cornerstone of the wealth of Dubrovnik. Salt was as important and as valuable as gold is today. Dubrovnik is not the only town with Games of Thrones film locations. There are several towns around Dubrovnik were GoT was filmed, one of these is Ston. There are several scenes depicting the Ston Walls in GoT.
Visiting Ston to see, experience and walk the wall system is not on everyone’s list of things to do around Dubrovnik, however they are definitely worth a day trips visit if you can spare the time. If you are looking to step outside of Dubrovnik and visit some of the towns around Dubrovnik, visit Ston for the wall system and nearby Mali Ston for the food (oysters).
Saltworks, an unusual activity in your list of things to do in towns around Dubrovnik
Arriving in Ston, you will see the huge rectangular pans of salt. You can’t miss them as they are on the southeast side of the village. Salt has been harvested in Ston as far back as 4000 years ago and the production method has changed very little over the centuries. The sea water flows into the ponds/pans, the water is dried in the scorching heat of the summer. This process leaves behind salt crystals that are then manually shoveled early in the morning on specific days. You can not only visit the salt works but also join the salt camps as a volunteer. These camps run throughout the summer and volunteers help to shovel Salt from the pans. You can visit the area on one your day trips from Dubrovnik.
Oysters, Oysters, Oysters
Mali stone is a small village that is about 1 km from the village of Ston and is famous for its oysters. Mali Ston is one towns around Dubrovnik famous for its oysters making it a unique day trips from Dubrovnik. For oyster lovers, it is a “must experience” to visit this town around Dubrovnik on one of your day trips from Dubrovnik.
Oyster beds on the Mali Ston bay produce the most delicious oysters and are found at many restaurants in Croatia. Their uniqueness is the result of Oyster beds that are mixed in with both salt water and fresh water. It is said that the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef would have cases of oysters shipped from here to his palace in Vienna. One of the things to do is to feast yourself on these farmed oysters at one of the local restaurants in Mai Ston or Ston. The oysters are served fresh, fried and grilled and if you like oysters, this is an incredible experience.
Getting to Ston:
There are local buses that travel to towns around Dubrovnik and are easy to use for day trips around Dubrovnik. It takes about an hour scenic coastal drive from Dubrovnik to Ston by car or you can take bus #15 from Dubrovnik main bus station (Autobusni Kolovdor) located next to the Gruz Cruise ferry terminal. Please note that the bus will drop you on the side of the road at Ston or Ston Center Bus Station. There isn’t an official bus station sign post, so don’t be surprised. You should confirm with the driver where the pickup location is for the journey back, though they are really good if you have to flag them down.
3. Lokrum Island: One of the very popular day trips from Old Town Dubrovnik
Video of Lokrum Attractions
Lokrum is not strictly one of the towns around Dubrovnik, it is an island that was inhabited by wealthy citizens from Dubrovnik and is famous for the Lokrum Curse. Lokrum is a 15 min water taxi ride from Dubrovnik and the monastery on the island is also the location of the city of Qarth in Game of Thrones. Additional information on Lokrum Island is HERE and a free self-guided Game of Thrones tour is HERE. Take a water taxi from the Dubrovnik pier to Lokrum. It is easy to spend an entire afternoon or a full day with a variety of things to do including visiting historic attractions, exploring the island and visiting Game of Thrones sites. Lokrum is a popular day trips from Dubrovnik.
Free Game of Thrones Self Guided Walking Tour – includes the Iron Throne at Lokrum Island.
4. Korčula Island: Dubrovnik Day trips or spend a few days exploring the island and towns around Dubrovnik
Korčula is both a town and an island, Korčula Town is on the east coast of Korčula island. The island is the sixth largest Island in the Dalmatian archipelago at 20 miles long but rather narrow at 5 miles wide. It is about a 2 hour ferry ride or a 2 hour car ride from Dubrovnik to Orebic then a 15 min ferry ride to the island. If you have time, it is another town around Dubrovnik worth a visit. Another lovely trips exploring towns around Dubrovnik, the island is a big place and you won’t be able to see it all in one day however the town is small and quaint and it is a great place for a variety of things to do including spending a relaxing day.
Rather than a simple day trips from Dubrovnik, you may want to spend a few days exploring Korčula Town and the Island. It is not as busy as other islands, even in peak season. The medieval walled main town of Korčula features two medieval squares along with other historical buildings. The town is laid out along the Main Street with the two squares; St Marks Square and Stepan Radic Square. The cobblestone alleyways and streets spin off from the main street and then lead back to it.
Attractions on Korčula Island:
Korčula Museum – Have you wondered where Marco Polo came from?
This is the home and birthplace of Marco Polo, though not verified, it has been turned into a museum. The museum of set up to reflect Marco Polo’s life with rooms decorated in period furniture.
St. Mark’s Cathedral and Bell Tower
St Marks Cathedral was built in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style that took 300 years to complete. The sarcophagus of St Theodore, the protector of Korčula , is placed in the altar and surrounded by four columns. The alter also displays paintings by the Italian artist Tintoretto.
Land Gate was the historic entrance of Korčula Town and is part of the Revelin Tower and the fortified wall system.
St Michaels Church
Located near Land Gate and in Stepan Radic Square, it is a baroque style church from the 15th century.
Town Hall and Rectors Palace
Both these historic buildings were built in the 16th century and both are located in Stepan Radic Square.
Additional things to do on your day trips from Dubrovnik is to Korčula is to visit nearby places. Smaller towns and villages dot the hills surrounding Korčula. Racise Village is a 20 minute and 13 km bus ride from Korčula or a 45 min bike ride and is one of the “newest” settlements on the island. It was settled in the 19th century. It is located in a well-protected bay and houses are dotted on the hills that surround the village. There are two beaches that are a short distance from the village. Vaja beach is a 15 min walk from the village and Samograd about a 25 min walk from the village. The beaches are private and secluded but with no amenities.
Things to do in Korčula
- Hire a water taxi and explore the hidden beaches and coves.
- Focus on the Town and have a relaxing day at all the attractions. At the end of the day board the ferry back to Dubrovnik.
- Enjoy the meals that are reasonably priced on the promenade. The restaurants are known for their fresh seafood.
- Climb St Mark’s Cathedral and Bell Tower with phenomenal views as far out as the mainland.
- Swimming, hiking, windsurfing, snorkelling and a buggy tour.
- Hop on a local bus to the small towns of Zrnovo and Racise.
- If you are staying a few days, take a day trip to Mljet.
Getting to Korčula:
It is about 2 hours on catamaran from Dubrovnik; click HERE for the timetable. You may want to start early in the day. Take the ferry that takes you to Korčula town and not Vela Luka.
5. Mljet Island: Exploring Islands and Towns around Dubrovnik on Day trips
Mlijet is a nature filled day trips from Dubrovnik or from Korčula. The island is known for its white and red wines, olives, goat cheese and its national park.
Mlijet is a long narrow island 37 km long and 3 km wide with one major road and about 1100 inhabitants. There are a few villages and it is mostly a dense, lush forest where the northwestern half of the island is a National Park. The Mljet National park is an unspoiled, natural beauty featuring two connecting salt water lakes – Veliko Jezro (Big) and Malo Jezero (Small). You will also find an abandoned 12th century Benedictine monastery on St Mary’s island in the middle of Veliko Jezero. Yes, that would be an island within an island.
There are a number of activities and things to do in the park including:
- using the pathways to explore by hiking or biking in the park,
- swim in the salt lakes; the salt is said to have therapeutic properties.
- you can snorkel in the lakes however you will need to bring your own snorkeling equipment,
- hike the hills in the park to experience the stunning views of the park.
- rent a kayak and explore the lakes.
- there is an entry fee to the park and it includes the boat ride to St Mary’s island.
Mljet is also home to the Odysseus Cave. Greek legends has it that Odysseus, (Homer’s Hero) was shipwrecked on Mljet. He swam to this cave and was seduced by the beautiful nymph Calypso, daughter of Titan. He stayed for seven years and visiting the cave is one of the most interesting things to do.
Things to do in Mljet:
- Rent a bike and explore the island; the villages are Sobra, Goveđari, Polače and Pomena. Pomena is a great place to start; it is the center of Mljet tourism where the G&V catamaran docks. The small village of Pomena has several shops, bars and restaurants.
- You can also take a local bus and explore the island and villages. Pick up a bus schedule as they run infrequently.
- Swimming and snorkeling spots are plenty near the salt lakes or along the coast
- Hike to Odysseus cave; you will start at the small village of Babino polji. Locals and tourists have been known to cliff dive from here but you should be a really good swimmer and take all necessary precautions.
Getting to Mljet on a day trips from Dubrovnik
G&V lines runs a catamaran service to and from Dubrovnik to Sobra and then onto Polace. The journey takes about 90 min. Kapetan Luka runs a catamaran service from Dubrovnik to Pomena, then on to Korčula.
From Korčula, you can take a water taxi to Mjlet or in July and August G&V lines has a catamaran service from Korčula to Mljet.
6-8. Things to do on a day trips exploring islands and towns around Dubrovnik – Visit the Elaphiti /Elafiti Islands
Elaphiti islands comprise of 13 islands off the coast of Dubrovnik where three of those islands are inhabited, Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep. Lopud and Kolocep are both pedestrian only with no vehicles allowed. So you will be walking on these islands and not renting scooters or using a local bus. Sipan is the biggest of the three islands; it allows for vehicles and you can rent a golf cart to visit various sites. A day trips from Dubrovnik usually includes a boat/ferry ride to these islands.
Elaphiti Island 1: Kolocep
Kolocep is closest to Dubrovnik and the smallest of the Elaphiti islands with a population of 300 and one of the quickest of the day trips from Dubrovnik. There are two villages on the island Gronji Celo (Upper Celo) and Donje Celo (Lower Celo). It is car free island so you will be doing some walking on the island. There are many things to do in the two villages that are connected by a 3km pathway. There are many other pathways that criss-cross the island. You will find charming hillside homes surrounding the small villages. There is a blue cave on the island and is only accessed from the sea so you will have to take a kayak or swim to it from the south side of the island.
In the village of Gronji Celo, you will find 11th and 12th century churches; Church of St. Sergius, Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of the Holy Trinity.
- The journey by ferry from the mainland takes about 35 min on Jadrolinija ferry or you may be able to hire a water taxi from Dubrovnik to take you on your day trips to the island. The water taxi takes about 15 min.
Elaphiti Island 2: Lopud
Lopud, like Kolocep, is also a car-free island located between Kolocep and Sipan. It has one village also called Lopud. The island is about 5 km in length and there are about 200 people who live there. When you arrive by ferry, you will arrive at a small port with some shops, a promenade with cafes, restaurants, and a beautiful calm bay with 2 sandy beaches giving you a choice of things to do. For such a small island, it has 2 monasteries, 30 churches, a Rectors Palace, a Spanish Fort and a number of other Palaces. Many of historic buildings are in ruins. In the village itself you will find some historical buildings open for viewing including the Franciscan monastery.
On the other side of the island is the Sunj bay and the Sunj Beach. For a small fee, locals can take you there in a small electrical car. Sunj beach has white sand surrounded by lush vegetation including cypress, orange, lemon, pine and palm trees. It is a shallow beach and great for kids who want to wade out into the water. It does get a little overcrowded. Sun beds are a little expensive to rent.
- For your day trips to this island: Jadrolinija has ferries from Dubrovnik to Lopud. The route is usually Kolocep – Lopud which also stops at Sipan (sudurad).
Elaphiti Island 3: Sipan
Sipan is the largest of the Elaphiti island with a population of 450. It is the most populated of the three islands and has a variety of things to do including water activities. It has a rocky landscape that is perfect for snorkeling, kayaking and maybe cliff jumping. There is an underwater cave on Sipan and it is only accessible from the sea.
Villages include Sudjuradj on the southern end and Sipanska Luka on the western end. They are small, picturesque and quiet and a great escape from the bustle of Dubrovnik. Cars are allowed, unlike the other two islands. That means that there is a bus system on the island. Sipan is said to the touristiest of the Elafiti islands.
- Exploring the islands and towns around Dubrovnik on day trips from Dubrovnik involves taking a ferry or renting a boat. Šipan can be reached by ferry from Dubrovnik’s Gruz port (located right next to the main bus station), or take private tour or rent a boat. Jadrolinija ferry goes to Sudjuradj and takes about an hour. The two ferry routes are; Dubrovnik-Sudard-Lopud and Šipan-Lopud-Koilocep-Dubrovnik. G& V Line operates a Catamaran service to Sipanska which takes about 40 min.
Getting to Elaphiti Islands:
Jadrolinija ferry or G&V catamaran service from Dubrovnik – here is the Ferry route to and from the islands as well as between the islands from Dubrovnik.