Wondering where to stay in Dubrovnik? A UNESCO World Heritage site, known colloquially as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic Sea', Dubrovnik is one of the most popular places to visit in the Mediterranean and within Croatia itself.
A quick read-up of the city and it's really not hard to see why. In the far South of the country, this visually stunning walled-in city is bursting with things to see from medieval monasteries and churches, town squares in which to people-watch, to some of the most gorgeous residential options in Europe.
Walk Dubrovnik's city walls and watch history unfold right in front of you; baroque buildings and marble floors all add to the elegant view in front you.
Whether it's your first time visiting Dubrovnik or you're a seasoned visitor here, the awe that hits you as you overlook the Stradum never gets old.
Enjoy everything this upmarket city has to offer and then finish off by jumping into the azure sea - visiting Croatia is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Whether you're looking to be in the middle of the action or want a beachside or nature-based getaway, there's something for you in Dubrovnik.
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Where to stay in Dubrovnik [2020 Guide For First Time Visitors] - Contents
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik isn't a large city, meaning it's very manageable to explore, and seeing everything there is to see is a feat made possible by its ideal size.
Most of the accommodation, however, is scattered all over the five major neighbourhoods, although most are located outside of the old city centre.
The mid-range accommodation, in particular, is mostly located in Lapad. There's no denying that this is the most expensive city in Croatia, and finding budget accommodation can be a bit of a challenge.
Staying further outside of the centre and using the excellent orange bus service (tickets can be bought at news-stands) is one way to keep costs low while still enjoying everything the city has to offer.
It's also a very walkable city and getting to the old town on foot is usually easy from wherever you base yourself - this alleviates some of the stress of searching for the perfect locale; almost any area will do when it comes to accessibility.
A big thing to consider is how busy you want your trip to feel; think about how active or relaxed you like your vacations to be.
Dubrovnik is incredibly popular with tourists (they're actually considering limiting the amount of tourist who can visit the old city!) and in high season, in particular, the streets can feel a little cramped, so basing yourself outside the popular areas will certainly make for a more relaxing trip.
Neighbourhood Map of Dubrovnik
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Dubrovnik Old Town
Historic centre, easy walking distance to the main sights
If you've seen pictures of Dubrovnik or watched Game of Thrones and found yourself marvelling at the beauty of King's Landing, then you'll be very familiar with the magical aesthetic of Old Town.
The Medieval, walled, pedestrianised city is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.
Why stay in Dubrovnik Old Town
It is all jaw-droppingly stunning and hides almost all of the best attractions in the city, meaning you'll have plenty to keep you busy day and night, and of course, you'll find a fair few photo opportunities along the way.
Cute cafes and restaurants line the paved maze of narrow streets and only add to the charm and community feel of this cultural centre.
Stroll the Placa (also known as Stradun) for a pedestrianised shopping and dining experience.
Unfortunately, the dining options here come at a premium, as do the hotels; it's by far the most expensive part of the city, but you're rewarded with those famous views at every turn.
Whether you're in Dubrovnik to explore ancient monasteries, walk the city walls, or relax in a wine bar and admire the architecture you'll find everything you need here.
Things to do in Dubrovnik Old Town
- Walk the 2km of 14th-century walls surrounding the city for an epic afternoon
- Experience the history within Dubrovnik's most famous structure: The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary
- Shop at the Oldest Market in Dubrovnik - Gunduliceva Poljana Market
- Try Japanese/Croatian fusion food at Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota Sare
- Catch amazing views of the city from the Homeland War Museum
- Explore the Cultural History Museum within the Rector's Palace (and catch a live concert there in the Summer)
- Get lost in history in the Dominican Monastery & Museum, built during the 14th century
- Discover the Library and wander the cloisters in the 12th-century Franciscan Church & Monastery
- Take the Game of Thrones walking tour and follow in the footsteps of the Lannister's as you wander through King's Landing
- Relax on a sunset cruise and capture the incredible views and various coral reefs
- Experience a night of luxury at Beyonce and Jay-Z's favourite Spot at Restaurant & Lounge 360, enjoy the harbour views and the extensive wine list
- Enjoy the crystal waters on Sulci Beach, metres from Old Town
- People watch in Gundulic Square, a wide-open area with a farmer's market and numerous cafes
- Find Romance at the city's Love Museum full of romantic stories and sentimental items
- Go book shopping at Algebra, a quaint bookshop packed with reads and souvenirs
Where to stay in Dubrovnik Old Town
A nearby, slightly cheaper alternative to Old Town
Situated just outside Old Town, literally on its edge - since Pile is known as one of the gates that lead into the centre itself - you'll find a bustling community full of restaurants and cafes where most of the hipster youth hang out.
Why stay in Pile
Although it can busy with people heading in and out of the city, particularly during high tourist season.
Pile is slightly less expensive than Old Town but with the easiest access to all of the main attractions if you're not staying in the centre itself since you can pop in whenever you like.
There's plenty of transport going through the area, with most forms of public transport ending their routes here so it's an excellent base from which to the see the rest of the city.
The Fortress in the area is one of the most iconic sights in Dubrovnik and plays host to myriad Shakespeare performance in the Summer months, being able to see this incredible structure at all times makes staying in Pile very worth it.
Things to do in Pile
- Visit the magnificent 11th-century Lovrijenac Fortress built on a 37m high rock
- Catch some sun on the local favourite Dance beach
- Relax in Gradac Park for some greenery and amazing views of the open ocean
- Catch spectacular views on Boninovo Cliffs
Where to stay in Pile
A relaxed, hip area east of Old Town
Aside from Lapad, this is where you'll find most of the quality accommodation in the city. Known as the coolest district in Dubrovnik, you'll find beachside luxury accommodation and incredible views of the ocean right across this area.
Why stay in Ploce
There's a laidback vibe here in Ploce. People are here to relax on the beach, go shopping at elegant boutiques, indulge in fine dining, and drink cocktails with a view.
A stone's throw from Old Town, combining the sights with the ocean is what Ploce does best.
Many people also visit the area to enjoy the Lazareti historical buildings which house shops, cafes, and artisan stores.
This area turns in to a real party central at night thanks to the Lazareti Music Club. Kind of a gathering place for everything young and fun in Dubrovnik, you'll never be bored in Ploce.
Things to do in Ploce
- Sunbathe on Dubrovnik's most popular Banje Beach then dance the night away at the Banje Beach Nightclub
- Ride the Cable Car to Mt.Srd for the best sunset in the city and bird's eye shots of Dubrovnik
- Visit the Museum of Modern Art to see work by Croatia's top artists
- Stroll down Porporela, a romantic seafront walkway with breath-taking views
Where to stay in Ploce
Budget area by the main harbour, excellent transport links to Old Town and beyond
With a fine collection of hostels and budget hotels, this is where people on a budget can enjoy excellent Croatian food, mingle with the locals and students - who also live in this area and enjoy this quaint but busy neighbourhood.
Why stay in Gruz
One of the other major perks to this neighbourhood, apart from the gorgeous and spellbinding views, is easy access to the harbour which makes reaching the other islands in the Dubrovnik archipelago simple.
You can even take water taxis to other parts of the island, which is honestly an exhilarating activity in itself.
The main bus station is also located here meaning you can coordinate day trips from here to other places in Croatia or ever Bosnia or simply get to the rest of the island easily.
Gruz is definitely a great place to consider if you're unsure of where to stay in Dubrovnik but want easy access to everywhere.
Things to do in Gruz
- Visit Snack Attack Dubrovnik for delicious food
- Take the water taxi to Lapad beach
- Explore the 15th Century Church of the Holy Cross
- Sit at one of the waterside cafes at Luka Gruz
- Jump on the ferry and visit the Elaphiti islands
- Drink local beer at the Dubrovnik Beer Company
- Wander through the local farmer's market for handmade items, and local food
Where to stay in Gruz
Bayside neighbourhood, ideal for couples, with easy access to Old Town
Just 4km West of the city centre and boasting by far the most mid-range accommodation options in the city, this tranquil area on the waterfront of the beautiful Lapad Bay (the largest beach in Dubrovnik) is a popular choice for families and couples.
Why stay in Lapad
Just ten minutes by bus to the old town and all of the main historical attractions, you're by no means missing out by being based here.
Green, leafy streets and wide open spaces lead to world-class restaurants and bars to enjoy in the evening.
Frequented by locals as much as visitors, it doesn't feel like a tourist trap in the way the Old City can.
If you're looking for some nature-based activities to go with your history, then there are plenty of cycling and hiking trails to enjoy here and the rolling green hills to explore are a wonderful addition to having the ocean at your fingertips.
Lapad is a real 'something for everyone' kind of place in Dubrovnik.
Things to do in Lapad
- Relax on the famous Copacabana Beach
- Go kayaking around Lapad Bay
- Drink at the unique Cave Bar, a lounge within a natural cave
- Hike to the top of Petka Hill for forests and panoramic views
- Watch a film at Cinestar Dubrovnik
- Solve puzzles at the Game of Thrones Escape Room
- Explore the ocean with your snorkel
- Carefully try out cliff jumping
Where to stay in Lapad
A quieter, isolated area for resort-style trips
For those who are visiting Croatia and looking for a place to stay in Dubrovnik, Babin Kuk might be a great place. Babin Kuk is perfect for relaxation, far away from the busy and noisy Old town.
This area is about 50 mins walk from the Old City Walls but you can catch a bus and be in the centre in 20 mins.
Why stay in Babin Kuk
If you're looking for a quiet seaside getaway where you can pop into Old Town, but mostly relax on the beach and enjoy the luxury hotels, this is a perfect spot.
It's ideal for families with young children due to the open beaches, parks, and water sports on offer here.
With a resort-style vibe and a mostly luxury scene, this isn't a place where locals gather but rather a place to have a tranquil upmarket stay with easy access to the other parts of the city.
Grab a cocktail, sit back, and enjoy the ocean.
Things to do in Babin Kuk
- Enjoy the quieter side of Copacabana Beach with food and drink options galore
- Drink a cocktail at the upscale Coral Beach Club
- Relax by the water on Solitudo Beach
- Visit the Abyss Diving Centre