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, but 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 that can be visited from Dubrovnik, these best day trips from Dubrovnik should make deciding a little easier.
How to Get Around
Although many of the day trips mentioned below can be done by public transport, consider renting a car for the day to give yourself more flexibility and independence. Your own four wheels allow you to be in control of your time and schedule, and depending on how many people are in your group, renting a car might even work out cheaper than other forms of transportation. You can compare car rental deals and find the cheapest prices at Rentalcars.com, an aggregate site that searches and displays prices and availability from hundreds of car rental companies so that you can be sure of getting the best possible car for your budget
Don’t want to drive or deal with the hassle of public transport? No worries, we have 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 as that’s where boats drop visitors off. In town you’ll find several museums and impressive town defenses, but St. Mark’s Cathedral is the highlight thanks to its Venetian design. That being said, there’s also the House of Marco Polo in town, said to be where the famous traveler was born. Korcula also has its fair share of beaches for those looking for sun and swimming. Pržina beach in Lumbarda is one of the nicest within easy reach. The island has quite a few wineries, 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 the island of Lokrum is a perfect pick for a day away from the city. Sitting just off the coast from Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island 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 of Lokrum or a small salt lake known as the Dead Sea. There are several man-made landmarks on the island as well, the Benedictine Monastery Of St. Mary and the lovely Botanical gardens that are attached are two examples. Further north you’ll come across the ruins of Fort Royal at the island’s highest point which boast nice views of the island’s forests as well as 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 to do. A fun alternative though is to paddle over on a kayak tour.
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 for that. 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 isn’t much in terms of 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 is The Ronald Brown Pathway that heads up into the hills overlooking town, from which you can even see Dubrovnik.
Getting there: To travel from Dubrovnik to Cavtat you can take a local bus – the buses leave every hour and the trip only 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, the easiest way to do a day trip 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. Kotor’s Old Town can be fun to explore with plenty of alleys going this way and that. One thing not to miss in Kotor though 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 they can sail out to the island church of Our Lady of the Rocks which is in the middle of Kotor Bay.
Getting there: There are buses every few hours to travel from Dubrovnik to Kotor, and the trip takes 2 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 Big Lake, these two saltwater lakes are connected by a small channel and eventually feed into the sea. Visitors can take a boat ride around the lakes and visit the monastery which is out 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. Around the lake there are trails 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.
8. Pelješac Peninsula
For a nice, laidback day trip on Croatia’s coast, there’s no better choice than a visit to the Pelješac peninsula. 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 which stretch 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 closeby. 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 that journey from Dubrovnik to the peninsula, taking a guided tour is the easiest way to explore 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 the city of 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 Venetitian 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 for some sand and surf, or walk to the far side of the Old Town for Greco Beach. 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 depart every few hours making the 2 ½ – 3 hour trip. 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 sight of this apparition, while there is 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 frequency 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!