Dubrovnik Walls Walk, Complete Self Guided Tour

Dubrovnik Walls Walk Interactive Map

Best Times to go on the Dubrovnik City Walls Walk Self Guided Walking Tour

The best time to go on Walk the City Walls in Dubrovnik is in the morning between 8am and noon or after the sun goes down.  This will help avoid the crowds in the afternoon as well as the scorching heat in the summer time. Tickets for the Wall can be purchased at the tourist office.  There are three entrances to access the City Walls Walk: From Pile Gate, St Lucas Fortress (St Dominican Street by Ploča Gate) or by St Ivan John’s Fortress (may not be open).

Be prepared, it is about 2km circle to walk the Dubrovnik walls and takes about 2 hours.  It is advisable to take plenty of water, wear a hat and use sunscreen as the sun can be scorching at the top and there is no shade. I noticed that the Walls do not appear to be wheelchair accessible as we saw families carrying people in their wheelchairs up the steep and narrow stairs. If you have a wheelchair, the stairs entrance near Ploča Gate are an easier climb to the top of the city walls. You may want to start your Dubrovnik City Walls Walk from the Ploča Gate stairs entrance. It also tends to be less crowded, however at the top its an uphill rampart to the next attraction on the City Walls Walk.

Dubrovnik Self Guided Tours

Attractions on the Dubrovnik City Walls walk map

The Dubrovnik city walls walk map above is your personal self guided tour of the walls and the attractions found on the walls. Use the map and the guide below for your own personalized tour. Click on the map pins for images of the different attractions. The numbers on the map pins corresponds to the number on the attractions guide below.

Dubrovnik City Walls Walk – Overview of Fortification before the Dubrovnik Walls Walk

Before starting your walk on the Dubrovnik walls, its helpful to understand how the wall system fortified Old Town Dubrovnik. The system of fortification is explained below.

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Modern-day Dubrovnik city walls
The Dubrovnik city walls include four fortresses: Minčeta Tower to the North, Revelin Fortress to the east, Fort Bokar to the west and St John’s Fortress to the southeast. The entire fortified complex is an irregular shaped parallelogram.

Dubrovnik Land Walls
The Dubrovnik walls on the land side are about 13ft to 20ft thick and up to 80ft high. They stretch from Fort Bokar to the west to the detached Ft Revelin on the east. Note the slant of the walls on the land side, this is purposeful as defense against artillery fire. A guided tour of the Old Town with a local guides is also available.

Old Town Dubrovnik Gates attached to the walls
There are four gates to the city: two gates are from the harbour side and two from the land side. The land side gates are attached to drawbridges and surrounded by a moat. The Austrian empire added two more gates during its occupation.

  • Gate of Pile
    The Pile Gates are a part of the well fortified system that includes several doors, a moat that surrounds the town and of course the watchful eye of Fort Bokar.
  • Gate of Ploče
    Ploče was the second main entrance to the town and it is located on the eastern end of Dubrovnik Old Town. It is protected by the detached Revelin Fortress and also has a draw bridge and moat for additional protection.
  • Gate of Buža
    The Buža gate (Buža meaning “hole”) is at the north side of the Dubrovnik land walls.

Dubrovnik Sea Walls
The Sea walls extend from Fort Bokar on the west to Fort St John on the south and then on the land side is Revelin Fortress which provides protection from the south. This system of walls are anywhere from 5ft to 16 ft thick depending on their strategic location. The main purpose of the Dubrovnik sea walls was to protect the city from a sea attack, specifically from Venice which was considered a real threat to Dubrovnik.  

There are several tours for the water enthusiasts that include kayaking, sailing to the islands and cave day trips amongst others. They are run by local guides with great knowledge of the local area. You can book sailing adventures or the Dubrovnik Sunset Dinner Cruise in advance.

Dubrovnik City/Port Harbor
This is one of the oldest sections of Dubrovnik. The most noticeable and unmistakable structure of the harbour are the three huge arches of the arsenal. There was a fourth arch that was walled in. The harbour is the oldest shipyard in the area and is still in use today.

Harbor Gates
In the port area are two gates: Gate of Ponte and the Fishmarkets Gate. These allowed entrance to the city from the harbor.

  • Gate of Ponte
    The gate was built in 1476 just west of the arsenal. The Dubrovnik wall attached to the gate stretch from the gate to St John’s Fortress.
  • The Fishmarket Gate
    The Fishmarket Gate was built in 1381 just east of the arsenal. You may be able to see the tower of St. Luke that protects the harbour in the east. Note the strategic position of Revelin Fortress which encircles and protects the harbour.

Attached forts within the Dubrovnik walls system

  • Minčeta Tower
    The Minčeta Tower was built at the height of the Ottoman Empire threat.
  • Fort Bokar
    A strategic and key point in the defense of the Pila Gate and fortified the western entrance into the city.
  • St. John Fortress
    The St. John Fortress (Sveti Ivan or Mulo Tower) protected the southeastern end of the city from an attack from the Sea, including from pirates. If the townsfolk sensed an attack, they would close the entry to the port with chains that stretched from the fortress to the jetty. They would also wall up the entry to the arsenal.  

Detached forts within the Dubrovnik walls system

  • Revelin Fortress
    The detached Revelin fortress provided extra protection for the Ploče Gate at the eastern end of the city. It became the strongest of the city fortresses, fortifying the eastern land approach to the city. One of its bridges connects it to the Ploče Gate and the other bridge connects it to the eastern section of the city.
  • St. Lawrence Fortress or Fort Lovrijenac 
    St. Lawrence Fortress (Ft Lovrijenac) is outside the western city walls. It is 121 ft above sea level and has 3 terraces including one looking south towards the sea. Lovrijenac defended the Dubrovnik wall system with its 10 large cannons. The largest of these is called “Lizard” (Gušter) is also the most famous.

Places to Stay within Old Town Dubrovnik Walls

  • 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.
  • Hotels / apartments in Dubrovnik include:
  • Check here for availability, pricing and booking of recommended hotels, apartments and guesthouses with varying price points in and just outside Old Town Dubrovnik.

The Old Town is car free, so if your accommodations as within Old Town Dubrovnik walls the taxi or private car service will drop you at one of the gates, usually Pile Gate. Pile Gate area is very busy hub as the public buses also stop here.

Dubrovnik City Walls Walk PDF Map
Start the Dubrovnik Walls Walk at item 1 from the map

Dubrovnik City Walls Walk Map

1. Tourist Kiosk right outside Pile Gate

An official tourist information kiosk just outside of Pile Gate and close to the public and shuttle bus stops.  It is on the way from Old Town to Fort Lovrijenac. Ticket for the Dubrovnik Walls walk and the Dubrovnik card to access many of the attractions can be purchases here.

2. Airport and City bus stop

The bus stops right outside Pile gate. Most public and private transportation use this area as the drop off and pick up points for Old Town Dubrovnik. Additional information can be found HERE on Dubrovnik airport transfer. General information related to transportation in Croatia is HERE and information related to local buses and stations is HERE.

3. Tourist Info Purchase Tickets

The kiosk close to the entrance to the Dubrovnik Walls Walk where you can purchase tickets to the Walls Walk.

4. Dubrovnik City Walls Walk Entrance by Pile Gate

The Pile Gate and surrounding moat was defended by Fort Bokar. The walk is one way; all walkers walk counter clockwise around the wall which widens and narrows all around the perimeter. There are wider spots to let the faster, walkers go by. Some steps are very steep and narrow and can form a ‘bottleneck’.

4. Fort Bakar

Fort Bokar was built to guard the city’s main gate, the bridge and the moat.

  • Sea Side Defense
    The city walls facing the sea stretch from Fort Bokar to Fort St John. In between there are several towers and bastions protecting the city from a sea attack. The Old town was particularly vulnerable to sea attacks from the Republic of Venice. These include Sveti Fort St. Margaret, Sveti (Fort) Stjepan and Sveti (Fort) Stjepan. 
  • Land Side Defense
    The City walls stretch to Revelin Fortress for protection from invasion on the land side.

6. Cafes on the Dubrovnik City Walls Walk

There are several cafes along the top, on the City Walls walk; in addition sometimes people just open their windows along the way and sell snacks from their homes. You will also find public toilets along the walk; bring some change so that you can access them

7. Fort St. Peter (Kula Sv. Petra)

8. Sveti Fort St. Margaret

9. Sveti (Fort) Stjepan

10. Toilet

11. S.veti (Fort) Spasitelj

The tower of St Saviour located on the south east side of Old Town Dubrovnik. Views from here include Lokrum Island as well as Buza beach. You may see a cannon on Sveti Spasitelj tower.

12. Fort St Ivana (Fort St John)

The fort was completed in 1557 however dates back to the 1300s. Today it houses the Dubrovnik  Aquarium and the Maritime Museum. It was built to protect Old Town Dubrovnik’s harbour by preventing enemy ships from entering the harbour.

13. Kula Luda (Sveta Luka)

Kula Luda is one of two large Bastion; the other one being Fort St. Ivan. Both are connected to the sea and to the City Walls.

14. Entrance to the Dubrovnik City Walls walk near Ploča Gate

The Ploča Gate is at the Eastern end of Old Town Dubrovnik and protected by the Revelin Fortress. If you look up at the archway into the city , there is a statue of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, St. Baise.  In similar fashion, the Pile Gate archway also has a statue of St Blaise.

15. Trvđava Asimon

A 14th century triangular fortress, part of the Dubrovnik’s City wall system.

16. Revelin Fortress

The fortress took 11 years to build and is just outside the town walls and connected to the outer town walls as part of the Ploča gate. The Fortress protected the eastern part of Old Town Dubrovnik and was used by visitors form the Ottoman empire to the east. Once completed, Revelin fortress was the strongest fortress protecting the city and not even the devastating 1667 earthquake hardly damaged it. There are three entrances to the fortress and the views from the top include that of Lokrum Island and the Old Port. It was used to keep watch over the Old Port from enemies trying to enter from the sea. Today the fortress is a night club and also used as a venue for the Dubrovnik Summer festival.

17. North Walls

18. Sveta Jakov

19. Buže Gate

The Buže Gate is the northern entrance into Old Town Dubrovnik and has no embellishments;  it is very plain. It was constructed well after the Pile Gate and the Ploča gate. Because of its lack or ornate features it is known as “the hole”, Buže meaning hole. For those driving to Old Town Dubrovnik, park at the Buže Gate parking lot and access the Buže Gate to enter the city.

20.Sveta Vld

21. Sveta Lucija

22. Saint Barbara Tower (Kula Sveta Barbara)

23. Minčeta Tower

A 14th Century fortress and one of the six main ones protecting the city. The views are fantastic as it is the highest point in Dubrovnik. Climb the tower and see as far away as Lokrum Island.

24. Ploča Gate

Ploča Gate is item 19 on the map, click on the map pin for images of the Ploča Gate. This is the second major entrance into the city; the gate is protected by Revelin Fortress and protects the eastern side of the land walls of Dubrovnik.

The Dubrovnik city walls walk  – history of the walls

The Dubrovnik walls, as seen on the walk.  have protected the inhabitants from a number of sieges including:

866- 867 Saracen Occupation
The siege lasted 15 months and was lifted after the Byzantine Emperor Basil the Macedonian sent his navy to drive the Saracens out of the city.

948 – Venetian Occupation
The weakening of the Byzantine empire led to the Venetians attempting to seize the city in 948. The failed attack was attributed to St Blaise, who became the patron saint of Dubrovnik.

1185 Nemanja Occupation
A territorial dispute broke out between Stefan Nemanja, the Grand Prince of Serbia, and the City of Dubrovnik. Nemanja laid siege to the city and was driven out by a counter attack and the siege ultimately failed.

1205 Venetian Occupation
As part of the fourth crusade, the Venetians invaded Dubrovnik and used it as their Naval Base. The citizens accepted the siege to avoid destruction unlike Zadar, which was destroyed by the Venetians in the Siege of Zara in 1202. Dubrovnik was liberated in the 14th century and fortified its walls.

1451 Stjepan Vukčić Kosača Occupation
Bosnian Lord Herzeg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača attacked Dubrovnik in 1451. A bounty was placed on his head that included a vast sum of money (ducats) and a hereditary title on whoever killed him. As a result he fled the city and the city was freed.

1806 Russian Occupation
During the Napoleonic wars, the city was “freed” from the Russian seige, however it was amalgamated into the French territory with Napoleon declaring himself the “Duke of Ragusa”.

1814 Anglo-Austrian Siege
The Austrian Empire declared war on France in 1813. Joined by the British, the Austrians were able to capture the fortresses in Dubrovnik and take up strategic positions on Lokrum Island and Srd Hill. They bombarded the city with cannon fire until the French surrendered.

1991-1992 Yugoslav Army
Dubrovnik was attacked by the Serb dominated Yugoslav Peoples Army during the Croatian War of Independence. The Croatian counterattack drove the Yugoslav People’s Army out in the mid-1992. Many cultural monuments and buildings had been damaged with estimated repairs at $9,657,578. The Army took up position at the top on Srd and bombarded the town below. However, the walls of the city stood up to the bombardment attesting to their engineering and resilience. You can take the cable car up to Mount Srd or book a 1/2 days combo walking and cable car tour