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3 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary For First Time Visitors

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Scott and I were supposed to enjoy 3 days in Dubrovnik back in 2020 as part of a 7-day trip to Croatia for my thirtieth birthday.

But as we all know, 2020 wasn’t a good year for travel, so this part of our trip was cancelled. However, we have since tried again and we finally got to see Dubrovnik in April 2023.

So, we thought we’d share our tried and tested 3 days in Dubrovnik itinerary with you. Hopefully, it serves as some inspiration ahead of your trip.

Is 3 Days in Dubrovnik Enough Time?

But first, is three days in Dubrovnik enough time to see everything you want to?

If you’re going to spend most of your trip in and around the Old Town of Dubrovnik (and many first-time visitors do), then you should find that 3 days in Dubrovnik is enough time to see and experience the top attractions.

Framed shot of Fort Lovrijenac from Dubrovnik's City Walls
Framed shot of Fort Lovrijenac from Dubrovnik’s City Walls

You can even fit in a couple of amazing day trips during that time!

See for yourself with the help of our tried and tested 3 day Dubrovnik itinerary. This is exactly how we spent our time during our most recent trip to Croatia.

Happy reading and travel planning!

3 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary For First Time Visitors

Please note that our 3 day Dubrovnik itinerary assumes you have three full days to explore the city.

Either because your flights in and out of Dubrovnik are in the morning and late afternoon or evening respectively (like ours were).

Or because you’ve already arrived in Dubrovnik and want some ideas of what to see and do while you’re there.

Day 1: Dubrovnik Old Town & Walking Tour

Cobbled streets in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Cobbled streets in Dubrovnik’s Old Town in Croatia

If you arrive in Dubrovnik in the morning, why not start exploring on your first day?

The Old Town of Dubrovnik is small and fairly walkable, so you can see most of it within a few short hours.

Why not wander along the old port and people-watch from a bench? You might also enjoy watching the boats and kayaks sail past you.

Or you could head to one of the many churches and cathedrals dotted around the Old Town such as the Church of St. Ignatius and Dominikanski Samostan.

You might also appreciate seeing Rector’s Palace, which is home to a Gothic-Renaissance mansion and museum.

The Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia
Looking out at Dubrovnik’s Old Town from the shade of Rector’s Palace

And don’t forget the delicious food and gelato!

Given Croatia’s proximity to Italy (they’re separated only by the Adriatic Sea), you’ll find many restaurants and eateries in Dubrovnik serving Italian dishes and authentic Croatian meals.

As for gelato, there are a few ice cream parlours dotted around the Old Town. One of which (Peppino’s Gelato Garden) even claims to have the best gelato in Dubrovnik.

In fairness, we often saw queues out of the door and down the street every time we wandered past!

You could also join a walking tour if you want to learn more about Dubrovnik.

There are various tours to choose from including historical tours, foodie tours and Game of Thrones tours.

Views of Fort Lovrijenac from Dubrovnik's City Walls
Views of Fort Lovrijenac from Dubrovnik’s City Walls

When we visited, we chose this Game of Thrones walking tour, which started at 4 pm and lasted for a couple of hours.

During that time, we saw various GoT filming locations and top sights in Dubrovnik such as Dubrovnik’s West Harbour, Fort Lovrijenac, Pile Gate and the Jesuit Stairs to name just a few.

Views of Fort Lovrijenac from Dubrovnik's West Harbour
Looking up at Fort Lovrijenac from Dubrovnik’s West Harbour

This was also where we got the recommendation to visit stunning Lokrum Island as a day trip from Dubrovnik (more on this later).

If Game of Thrones isn’t to your liking, then here are some other top-rated walking tours in Dubrovnik you might want to check out:

Note: If you’re going to visit several museums, cathedrals and the City Walls during your trip, then the Dubrovnik City Pass is well worth buying to help you save money. Especially as this popular discount card is actually the same price as entry to the City Walls!

Day 2: Montenegro Day Trip

Perast in Montenego
Stunning views of the Bay of Kotor from Perast in Montenegro

Given Dubrovnik is just 45 minutes away by car from the border crossing into neighbouring Montenegro, Dubrovnik is a popular starting point for tours to this other beautiful must-see destination.

Who wouldn’t love to see multiple stunning towns and cities during just one trip?!

While you could hire a car and drive yourself, you could join a coach tour instead so you can relax between stops.

During our trip, we chose this tour, which lasted for about 12 hours and took us to several beautiful towns in Montenegro: Perast, Kotor and Budva.

It’s a long day trip, but well worth it if you want to see more than just Dubrovnik during your short getaway.

Day 3: Lokrum Island & City Walls

Lokrum Island Botanical Garden
The stunning botanical garden on Lokrum Island

If your flight home from Dubrovnik isn’t until the late afternoon or evening, then there’s time to see more before heading back to the airport.

Lokrum Island is just a 15-minute ferry ride away from Dubrovnik and it’s stunning!

Here, wild peacocks roam in abundance. You can hear the peacocks before you see them; they sound so surreal!

You can also see the azure-blue Adriatic Sea from practically every inch of the island including from amazing viewpoints at the top of Lokrum’s highest peak.

Views from Fort Royal on Lokrum Island
Views of the Adriatic Sea from Lokrum Island in Croatia

And there are a number of historical buildings and ruins to see on Lokrum Island as well.

Catch one of the first ferries in the morning (usually between 9-10 am) and you can enjoy wandering around the island for a couple of hours before returning back to Dubrovnik.

The ferries run every 30 minutes and Lokrum is quieter in the morning than in the afternoon, so you can experience the best of the island before the crowds arrive.

To plan your day trip to Lokrum Island, check out our mini travel guide now.

Lokrum Island ferry
The ferries to Lokrum Island get very busy in the afternoon

Once you’re back in Dubrovnik, you can enjoy a delicious al fresco lunch at one of the many restaurants found in the Old Town.

And if you didn’t have time to do the City Walls on your first day, you might be able to make time for it now like we did.

Dubrovnik’s City Walls date back to the 1300s and encircle the entire Old Town, so you can enjoy some incredible views across the city’s terracotta rooftops and the surrounding seascape. You can even see Lokrum Island!

Views across Dubrovnik rooftops from the City Walls
Views across Dubrovnik from the City Walls

Just make sure you have a head for heights as some of the steps are very steep and narrow. They certainly made my knees buckle!

And don’t forget to enquire about the Dubrovnik City Pass! It costs the same amount as entry to the City Walls and will also give you discounted access to other popular museums and attractions in Dubrovnik.

Where To Stay For Your 3 Days in Dubrovnik

You should find there are plenty of accommodation options near the Old Town.

But please bear in mind that there are lots of steps leading out of the Old Town, so you might have to traverse those to get to and from your apartment or hotel.

We must’ve climbed over 100 steps to get to our apartment!

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best experience at our studio apartment. The check-in process was very stressful and the entire place was infested with ants, so we sadly can’t recommend where we stayed.

However, here are some of the top-rated places to stay on Booking.com, which will hopefully serve as some inspiration ahead of your trip:

Find more Dubrovnik accommodation on Booking.com >>

Getting to Dubrovnik

Views of Croatia from aboard the Dubrovnik airport shuttle
Views of Croatia from aboard the Dubrovnik airport shuttle

Some first-time visitors to Dubrovnik don’t realise that the airport is actually located closer to Čilipi than Dubrovnik and is roughly 30 minutes away from the Old Town by car.

While you could pay for a taxi straight to your hotel or apartment, the airport also has a very good shuttle bus service to take you to the Old Town or Dubrovnik’s main bus station in Gruž Port.

The shuttle bus is air-conditioned, comfortable, reasonably priced and fairly prompt. In April 2023, we each paid €14 for a return ticket.

More views of Croatia from aboard the Dubrovnik airport shuttle
The views from the airport shuttle are also pretty epic!

Simply buy your return ticket (it’s cheaper and more convenient than buying two singles) at the arrivals lounge in Dubrovnik and hold onto your ticket for your return trip back to the airport.

From the airport, the shuttle bus coincides with most international and domestic flights. We waited just 15 minutes or so before the bus was ready to leave.

For your return trip, there’s a schedule online you can check out.

Given our positive experience, we’d definitely recommend using the shuttle bus if you can – especially for short city breaks to Dubrovnik like this.

Read More About Dubrovnik & Croatia

If you’ll be in Croatia longer than 3 days, or you want to read more about the places we’ve mentioned above, then you might find our other Croatia travel blogs helpful:

And there you have it – that’s our tried and tested 3 days in Dubrovnik itinerary! I hope you found it useful. If you have any questions ahead of your trip, please feel free to drop us a line in the comments below and we’ll reply asap!

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3 Days in Dubrovnik Itinerary For First Time Visitors
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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