Dubrovnik has exploded in popularity with tourists in the past two decades and has easily become the best known spot along Croatia’s coast. Not only is the city a captivating destination and an absolutely essential stop on your Croatia itinerary, it also allows you to easily discover the surrounding region. There’s much more to Croatia and the Balkans than this one famous city from Game of Thrones. The best places to visit from Dubrovnik showcase just how beautiful the region’s nature and culture are and extend beyond just the best places to visit in Croatia. While there are plenty of places to choose from, these best day trips from Dubrovnik should make deciding a little easier.
How to Get Around
Although you can make many of these day trips with public transport, consider renting a car for the day to give yourself more flexibility and independence. With your own four wheels, you control your time and schedule. Depending on how many people are in your group, renting a car might even work out to be cheaper than other forms of transportation. You can compare car rental deals and find the lowest prices at Rentalcars.com, an aggregation site that searches and displays prices and availability from hundreds of car rental companies, helping you find the best possible car for your budget.
Don’t want to drive or deal with the hassle of public transport? No worries! We’ve listed the best tour for each day trip (where available).
Croatia is known for its many beautiful islands, and Korcula is definitely near the top of that list. The island is one of the best things to see in Croatia outside of Dubrovnik, thanks to its range of cultural and natural attractions. Visits tend to begin with the historic center of Korcula Town, where boats drop visitors off. Here you’ll find several museums and impressive town defenses, but St. Mark’s Cathedral is the highlight thanks to its Venetian design. There’s also the House of Marco Polo, said to be where the famous traveler was born. For those looking for sun and swimming, Korcula has its fair share of beaches. Pržina beach in Lumbarda is one of the nicest within easy reach. The island has quite a few wineries, too, so going wine tasting is a nice way to finish off your day.
Getting there: Because ferries between Dubrovnik and Korcula only run once a day, they’re not suitable for a day trip. Therefore, your only real option is to visit with a guided tour.
2. Lokrum Island
If you only want to do a short trip from Dubrovnik, Lokrum is a perfect pick for a day away from the city. Sitting just off the coast from Dubrovnik, Lokrum lets tourists trade in stone streets and city walls for forests and beaches. For swimming, head to the island’s southwestern corner, where you have the choice of either the main beach or a small salt lake known as the Dead Sea. There are several man-made landmarks on the island as well, including the Benedictine Monastery Of St. Mary and the lovely botanical gardens that are attached. Further north, you’ll come across the ruins of Fort Royal at the island’s highest point. Here you can have nice views of the island’s forests as well as of the city of Dubrovnik across the water.
Getting there: Regular ferries from Dubrovnik to Lokrum take just 15 minutes, making this one of the easiest Dubrovnik day trips. A fun alternative is to paddle over on a kayak tour.
Book Kayak Tour to Lokrum Island
3. Elafiti Islands
Island-hopping in Croatia can be a lot of fun as you get to see how each island has something different to offer visitors. Day tours from Dubrovnik to the Elafiti Islands are very popular and usually take you to several of the archipelago’s 14 islands. Normally, the stops on the tour are at Sipan, Lopud, and Koločep, the largest of the Elafiti Islands. On Kolocep, travelers get to visit a quaint medieval chapel hidden among the island’s orange and lemon groves. Sipan has a picturesque marina and a historic character typical of Croatia. While you can swim and sunbathe on each island, the white sand of Lopud’s Sunj beach is the best spot. Visiting each of these islands shows you another side to Croatia’s coast, making for a nicely balanced trip.
Getting there: Since you’ll want to be island-hopping, visiting with an organized sailing tour is the best way to do this as a day trip.
Overshadowed by nearby Dubrovnik, the adorable town of Cavtat is great if you’re looking to see more of Croatia’s quintessential coastal charm. Situated south along the coast, not far from the Montenegrin border, Cavtat was made to be on postcards. The town is positioned on a peninsula and has two harbors as well as plenty of waterfront promenade to stroll along. There aren’t many attractions in town, although the House of Vlaho Bukovac is a good museum if you’re curious about local art. Not far from the town center, there are beaches to lounge on, including the unfortunately translated Rat Beach. If you’re keen on some nice coastal views, there’s the Ronald Brown Pathway that heads into the hills overlooking town; from there, you can even see Dubrovnik.
Getting there: To travel from Dubrovnik to Cavtat, you can take a local bus. Buses leave every hour, and the trip takes 30 minutes.
There’s little doubt that one of the best side trips from Dubrovnik is to the city of Mostar, across the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not only does it give you a glimpse of what Bosnia and Herzegovina is like, but one day in Mostar is all you really need. Start with a walk through the stone streets of the Old Town as you make your way to the city’s most famous landmark, the Stari Most bridge. For the best views of this mighty landmark, head to the banks of the Neretva River. Back up in the town center, continue on to the bazaar, where you’ll come across plenty of handicrafts and a few traditional inns. Nearby lies the beautiful Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, which overlooks the river and boasts another of Mostar’s best views.
Getting there: Although there are a few daily buses from Dubrovnik, the easiest way to do a day trip to Mostar is with a guided tour.
Bosnia and Herzegovina isn’t the only country close to Dubrovnik; Montenegro’s charming town of Kotor is just as easy to visit for the day. Upon arrival, you’ll want to make your way through the town’s high stone walls. Inside the walls, you’ll be transported to another time as the historic center of Kotor is full of enchanting medieval architecture. With plenty of alleys going this way and that, Kotor’s Old Town can be fun to explore . One thing not to miss is the path leading up to the fortress above town. Not only do you get to see the fortress up close but you’re treated to spectacular views of the entire scenic bay on which Kotor sits. Many travelers also choose to make a stop at the nearby village of Perast so that they can sail out to the island church of Our Lady of the Rocks in the middle of Kotor Bay.
Getting there: There are buses every few hours to travel from Dubrovnik to Kotor, and the trip takes two hours. Alternatively, you can go with a guided tour if you’d like to see other places in Montenegro as well.
7. Mljet National Park
Those looking for a healthy dose of nature on their day out need only to look at Mljet National Park. Located on the western end of the island of Mljet, this national park features something you probably wouldn’t expect from an island of this size: two large lakes. Known as the Small Lake and the Big Lake, these two saltwater lakes are connected by a small channel and eventually feed into the sea. Visitors can take a boat ride and visit the monastery on the lovely little island of St. Mary. It’s also possible to rent kayaks or canoes to get out to St. Mary on your own. Trails around the lake are ideal for those looking to go for an easy hike. Renting bikes is also an option.
Getting there: Unfortunately, ferry schedules make getting to Mljet from Dubrovnik for the day impossible. Your only choice is to go with an organized tour.
Book Tour to Mljet National Park
8. Pelješac Peninsula
For a nice, laid-back day trip on Croatia’s coast, there’s no better choice than a visit to the peninsula of Pelješac. The narrow peninsula juts into the Adriatic Sea and is a jumping off point for many island cruises, but it has its own charms as well. Start by making your way to the town of Ston at the base of the peninsula. Ston is best known for its incredible medieval stone walls stretching up into the nearby hills. The town is also popular because of its local mussels and oysters. Across the peninsula lies Orebić, a classic harbor town with nice sandy beaches nearby. Between the two towns, you’ll find plenty of vineyards to stop at if you’d rather spend the day sampling the excellent local wines.
Getting there: As you won’t find regular buses from Dubrovnik, taking a guided tour is the easiest way to explore the peninsula.
Book Tour to Pelješac Peninsula
It may not be as internationally well known as Croatia’s coastline, but Montenegro’s coast is pretty special thanks to destinations like Budva. Only a little further south along the coast from Kotor, this seaside city is another worthwhile place for a day trip. Begin with a walk around the city’s compact Old Town, which is full of old stone Venetian houses and churches. Next, head west along the coast towards Mogren Beach to find a nice viewpoint by the Ballet Dancer Statue. You can then continue on to Mogren Beach or walk to the far side of the Old Town for Greco Beach for some sand and surf. If you have the time, consider adding on a quick trip over to Sveti Stefan in the city’s southeast to see the stunning panorama of this island village turned resort.
Getting there: Getting to Budva from Dubrovnik is possible by bus. Buses make the 2.5–3 hour trip every few hours. If you don’t want to worry about bus schedules, you can also see Budva on a guided tour.
While not one of the best known destinations in the Balkans, the town of Medjugorje does make an interesting day trip if you like to visit religious sites. Located across the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Medjugorje is one of the Balkans’ most popular Catholic pilgrimage destinations. It is said that there was an apparition of the Virgin Mary here in 1981, a moment that has led many of the Catholic faith to visit since. Today, the Queen of Peace Statue stands on the site of this apparition, while there’s also a Risen Christ statue in town. Most visitors start at the Church of Saint James the Greater Apostle and then walk up Apparition Hill to see the Queen of Peace Statue. If you time your visit right, you can also attend mass at the church, a special experience on its own.
Getting there: The infrequency of public transport across the border means that it’s not a viable option for getting to Medjugorje. Instead, you’ll want to visit with a guided tour, which can also show you other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We could probably keep going with more great places to visit as day trips, but the best and most common options from Dubrovnik are those shown above. You’ve now got plenty of ideas to get you started. Safe travels!
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