There are so many reasons to visit Dubrovnik: stunning Old Town, full of history, charming lanes and picturesque corners, beautiful location on the Adriatic coast where the mountains meet the sea, or the filming location of the famous TV show “Game of Thrones”. The list of amazing things to do in Dubrovnik is endless.
But during your Balkans trip, you can use Dubrovnik as a perfect base to explore the surrounding area. There are so many great places to visit near Dubrovnik.
There are plenty of day trips from Dubrovnik, not only to other Croatian destinations but also to Bosnia and Herzegovina or Montenegro. All the places are easily accessible from the city, in a short distance, making them a perfect getaway to see more of the Balkans highlights.
How to organize day trips from Dubrovnik
Before I tell you about best day trips from Dubrovnik let’s talk about some practical stuff. Some of the places are very well connected with Dubrovnik by public transport, mostly buses. You can find the schedules here (for the local buses) and here (for the long-distance and international routes).
Sometimes it’s worth going for an organized day trip, though. Not only you will be able to see more on that day, you will also learn about the places you’re visiting. Besides, some of the places are only reachable by tour or private transport.
I always use Get Your Guide when booking day trips and never had problems with this website (also when I had to cancel the tour). I will be linking to the best day trips from Dubrovnik at the end of the section about each country.
There are also some places, like Trebinje, that can be reached only by car (well, there are buses by the schedule is terrible). But they are still worth visiting!
Day trips from Dubrovnik to other places in Croatia
Only a short ride away from Dubrovnik you will find Kupari – a so-called bay of abandoned hotels. The oldest hotel here dates back to the 1920s, altogether there were five luxury hotels in the bay.
During the Balkan war in the 1990s, the area was badly destroyed and all you can see now are the remnants of the former glory. The hotels are open to exploration and if you are brave enough you can snoop around.
I’ve been there twice (the second time I explored the abandoned hotels solo) and I found the place just fascinating.
Even if most likely you won’t find many people inside, the bay is a popular walking path for locals so there should be plenty of people around, and they don’t really mind you. If you are brave enough you can even go to the rooftop of Hotel Goričina II and the upper floors of Hotel Pelegrin – the views from there are amazing!
To get to Kupari you need to take the local bus no 10 in the direction of Cavtat, the bus stop in Kupari is a few minutes walk from the bay of abandoned hotels, you should already see them from the main road.
Cavtat is a very charming town, located near Dubrovnik airport. It was founded already in ancient times, today you can find numerous monuments in Cavtat, mostly sacral.
You should see the Racic family mausoleum, Franciscan monastery or Rectors Palace.
But the main reason to visit Cavtat is to relax and enjoy a charming little town, walk along the promenade, admire sea views with Dubrovnik in the background. You won’t find here crowds like in Dubrovnik, prices here are much more affordable too hence Cavtat is a perfect alternative to spend a pleasant day in the beautiful area.
Getting here from Dubrovnik is very easy. The bus number 10 will take you from the main bus station or the stop next to the cable car all the way to Cavtat. The journey should take around 30 minutes or more, depending on the traffic. In Cavtat, the final stop is just around the corner from the main promenade.
You might also join the tour that goes to Cavtat (among a few other stops) – find out more info here.
If you want to get away from Dubrovnik town and head to the beach during your trip to Dubrovnik then Mlini is perfect.
Mlini is a very quiet fishing village with lots of beaches to choose from. It is just 20 minutes drive away from Dubrovnik and there is also a local bus that goes between the two that leaves every half an hour.
Most of the beaches are rocky beaches but there is also one sandy beach. There is even a nudist beach, which can be reached by boat.
Mlini means mills in Croatian, as Mlini used to be home to lots of flour mills. These aren’t active anymore but are lovely to see while you are here.
There are plenty of restaurants here to choose from with amazing seafood. However, for a nightlife scene it is better to head back to Dubrovnik. Mlini is perfect for a day of relaxing and not doing much at all aside from sunbathing.
– Contributed by Hanna from Solar Powered Blonde
This tiny beach, close to the border with Montenegro, was recently named the most beautiful and best beach in Europe.
It is hidden under the cliffs, you need to walk the narrow and steep path carved into the rocks to get to the beach. But it’s worth all the effort as it’s a truly beautiful place.
When I visited the place there was a storm on the sea, the beach was mostly under the water, the waves were crashing into the rocks – it was a truly mesmerizing scene!
The region around Dubrovnik is known for its quaint coastal towns, and many visit the region to take in the feel of old Croatia with its traditional architecture and scenic villages. But one of the best-hidden gems in the area is the beautiful river Ljuta that flows between the weathered remains of mills and viaducts from the region’s history.
The best way to head to the river for your day trip is to go through the village of Gruda and walk beneath the ancient bridge. You will be taken aback to find the lush greens and crystal clear waters that many come to visit the Ljuta for.
It’s the perfect place to stroll through the woodlands, stop by a cold drink at a riverside cafe, and take in a natural beauty that southern Croatia possesses. And when you want to take a lunch break, the Konavoski Dvori National Restaurant is a must-visit.
It’s the perfect place to enjoy traditional Croatian dishes while relaxing next to the gentle breeze of the Ljuta. And while you are at it, make sure to stop by the village’s market to check out the region’s natural olive oil, fruits, and textiles that the region is known for.
– Contributed by Kurosh from RoadGoat
20 kilometers north of Dubrovnik you can visit Trsteno, known mostly for its arboretum. It was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and is the only botanical garden of that kind in Croatia, with over 300 kinds of exotic plants.
Besides lush vegetation, you can also see here park designed in the Gothic-Renaissance style, another neo-romantic park from the 19th century and the Baroque fountain with the sculpture of Neptune.
If you’ve seen “Game of Thrones” you probably already know the arboretum in Trsteno as numerous scenes were filmed there.
Dubrovnik “Game of Thrones” tours often include Trsteno in their itinerary – click here for details.
– Photo by my friends Ania and Marcin
North-west of Dubrovnik you can find Elafiti Islands. The archipelago consists of 4 inhabited islands: Sipan, Lopud, Jaklian and Kolocep and 9 smaller, not inhabited ones.
The diverse islands offer something for everyone. On Kolocep you will see lush Mediterranean vegetation, oranges’ plantation but also historical buildings such as St. Anthony chapel.
Lopud will surprise you with beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by crystal clear water. Sipan is home to 42 historic villas from the 15th century and 32 beautiful churches, as well as the picturesque harbor.
The best way to see Elafiti Islands is by a tour from Dubrovnik. You will be taken by boat to the island, you will be able to enjoy some sightseeing as well as relaxing at the beach, and to fulfill your day you will try some delicious local dishes. Click here for details.
You might also go to Elafiti Islands on the unique, historical ship – find out more here.
Peljesac is the peninsula in the southern part of the Dalmatian coast, north-west of Dubrovnik. You can find there the mountainous terrain as it’s part of the Dinaric Alps.
The place is known for the clearest water and the mildest climate in this part of Croatia, it was famous and often visited already in 1960s. You can enjoy here numerous beaches, the most famous one is Trstenica that stretches over 1500 meters.
North of the peninsula you will find Korcula island, on the east side there is Mljet island. Regular ferries connect the islands.
Most popular places on the Peljesac Peninsula are:
- Orebic – the town is located in the shadow of Sv. Ilija mountain. This is probably the most popular touristic destination on the peninsula, with beautiful nature (especially fig, citrus and pine trees). Thanks to the location and Sv. Ilija mountain protecting from the cold sea winds, the town is warm, pleasant and quiet. When you are in Orebic be sure to try local mussels and oysters
- Trpanj is located on the north coast and is a typical port city. A good place to walk, you can find a variety of wild herbs.
- Ston is a city that is famous for salt production and the longest defensive walls in Europe. Read more about Ston below.
- Borak Dingać – a town that can be reached by tunnel, you can walk or slide it (the second option is supposed to be so much fun). From the grapes grown in this southern part of the peninsula, the famous Dingac wine is made – it is among the top ten wines in the world.
- Lovište – a typical fishing village located on the northwestern bank of the peninsula. Nearby you can find plenty of beaches and numerous bays (Pržna, Česminova, Križica, Rasoha, Bezdija). A good place if you want to feel like in the countryside, far from civilization but in a beautiful setting of sun and beaches.
Ston is a lovely little town with a great history, located just 55 minutes away from Dubrovnik by car. It’s especially famous for its salt production, but also for being home to the second-longest city wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China.
The city wall stretches 5 kilometers and was built in the 14th century to further defend the Republic of Ragusa (modern-day Dubrovnik) from invaders. At that time, Salt was a very valuable asset, so the salt works also needed protection.
It’s possible to walk on top of the city wall and climb the top of the highest peak in Ston, from where you get incredible views of the town as well as Mali Ston.
It’s easy to get to Ston from Dubrovnik on a day trip, and visitors can choose between guided tours, regular buses or renting a car. The bus takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes with frequent departures.
Ston is also quite well-known for its mussels, so don’t forget to try some of those delicious mussels from Ston! There are many restaurants in the town center, and when you’ve finished eating, you can also stop in one of the artisan shops selling local handicrafts.
An interesting way to get to know Ston is the oyster and wine tour – find out more details here.
– Contributed by Christine from Christine Abroad
Wineries of Pelješac
If you like wine, Croatia is the perfect place for you. As a small country, its wine production is also small, so it’s not very known. Nevertheless, its quality is amazing.
From Dubrovnik, you’re only an hour’s drive away from the best wine region in the country, which also has amazing beaches to relax and absorb the alcohol before driving back: the Pelješac peninsula.
Your first stop should be Miloš. A family-run winery, with quick tours of the premises, showing you their cellars and winemaking process and tasting of all their labels.
Drive a little further into the peninsula to Žuljana beach. When you’re ready for another round, head to Trstenik. In the corner of the bay, you’ll see a beautiful estate that houses Grgić winery, a name that became famous in the United States for Chateau Montelena, the first New World Chardonnay to win a Paris Tasting.
A few kilometers into the peninsula will get you to Potomje, where you’ll find the Dingać tunnel, a small and short passageway into the heart of the best Croatian variety. The views are majestic. You’ll get a cliff-like steep mountain with vines and a wide panorama of the Adriatic Sea. Take your time to sink it.
If you feel like more wine, you can go to Edivo wine bar in Draće. This is the most special wine you’ve ever seen. Aged underwater in amphoras, you get a piece of the Adriatic in every bottle.
You might also join the Peljesac Peninsula tour from Dubrovnik that includes wine tasting – click here for more details.
– Contributed by Coni from Experiencing the Globe
Mljet National Park
Mljet – island with a length of 37 km and a width not exceeding 3 km where the National Park was established. The greenest island of the Adriatic Sea, where you can see very rare species of plants and animals. The landscape is filled with beautiful lakes, as well as historical monuments of the island.
According to the legends Korcula was discovered in the 12th century BC by Antenor (the same who discovered Patavatium, now Padova). This incredibly charming place is also known as the birthplace of the famous traveler Marco Polo.
Korcula is worth visiting for the beautiful sandy beaches – the most popular one is Pupnatska on the southern shore, Przina in Lumbard and Sveti Nikola in Korcula town. Lumbarda is also home of the 14th-century church that you can reach by exactly 102 stairs, surrounded on both sides by cypress trees dating back to 1708.
You will find the most breathtaking view from the Glavica hill – you can admire Korcula and the surrounding area from there.
In the town of Korcula, you should visit the local museum, located in the 16th century Gabrijelis palace. You can find here items used in carving or in shipbuilding, a piano from 1819 that was used by Beethoven’s friend – Edith Streich and more.
It’s also worth seeing St. Mark’s Cathedral, designed by Italian architects in the gothic and renaissance style but built by the local community through the whole 15th century.
Once you are on Korcula you should also take the 20-minute boat ride to the nearby Badija Island. It got the name from the monastery that is located here. The island is a paradise for everyone who likes the sun and sandy beaches, untouched nature and calmness.
You can join the tour from Dubrovnik to Korcula – click here for details.
Split is the second biggest city in Croatia with a long and turbulent history. At first in the area of current Split, there was an ancient Greek settlement – Aspalathos. Over the years it was part of the Roman Empire, Byzantium, Hungary, Venice, Austria-Hungary, Yugoslavia and eventually, since 1991, independent Croatia.
Most of the Split attractions are concentrated around the former Diocletian Palace, formed on the plan of the Roman military camp, built close to the harbor. Today it’s partly ruined due to the city’s ever-changing belonging.
Everything was surrounded by the city walls reaching up to 26 meters, with four gates: from the west Iron Gate, from the north Golden Gate, from the east Silver Gate and from the south Bronze Gate. Currently, the area is packed with over 200 buildings, mostly shops, cafes, restaurants, and museums.
That’s also where you will find the promenade lined with the palm trees – a so-called Riva. At the end of it, you can climb to Marian Hill, offering the best view of Split.
The most known attraction of Split is St. Domnius Cathedral. It has a shape of the small rotunda with a high bell tower that you can see from most of the places in Split as well as from the sea. The building was ordered by Diocletian – one of the biggest enemies of early Christians. It’s a bit funny that it became a Christian cathedral, named after the saint who was killed by the power of Diocletian.
Behind the Iron Gate, you can find the Medieval trade center of Split – Narodni Trg. Above the gate, you will see the 15th-century sundial with the full, 24-hours clock face.
One of the most interesting buildings in Split is the old town hall, located next to the Diocletian Palace, which is now home to the Ethnographic Museum. In the neighborhood, you will also find the 16th-century Karepic Palace and the 15th-century gothic Cambij Palace.
You can go from Dubrovnik to Split by bus (that takes long, though), drive yourself or join the tour – click here for details.
Trogir is a port city located on the Adriatic coast, some 3 hours away from Dubrovnik. It is connected by a lifting bridge to the island of Čiovo in the port, and from the historic center, there is a second bridge connecting it with mainland Croatia.
In 2007, the Old Town of Trogir was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The old town is a maze of narrow streets and is perfect for walking.
You can’t miss one of the most valuable monuments in Trogir – the Cathedral of St. Lawrence from the 13th century, the third nave basilica, built on the ruins of the church destroyed in 1123 by the Saracens.
The island is surrounded by the promenade – Riva – from where you can admire a view of the sea and the island of Čiovo. That’s also where you will find the 15th-century Kamerlengo fortress with a tower – a perfect place to see a beautiful view of the city.
The local palaces are amazing too: the Renaissance Cipikoz Palace from the 15th century, the Stafileo Palace from the 15th century and the Garagnin Palace, which currently serves as a library.
Makarska lies at the foot of the Biokovo massif (Dinaric Alps), some 60 km from Split and 140 from Dubrovnik. The name Makarska appeared in 1502 for the first time and comes from the word “Makra” – the oldest settlement on this part of the Dalmatian coast.
Makarska was seriously damaged during World War II, and afterward destroyed by the earthquake in 1962, but the city was and still is being gradually rebuilt.
It is worth visiting the Franciscan monastery from 1614 (with a collection of shells), City Museum with ethnographic, archaeological and historical exhibits related to the city, Cathedral of St. Mark from 1766 on the Kačić Miošić Square and the square itself (with the monument to Father Andriji Kacic Miošić from 1890 and the Baroque fountain).
Recommended tours from Dubrovnik:
- Elafiti Islands Full-Day Cruise by Galleon from Dubrovnik
- From Dubrovnik: Full Day Elaphite Islands Tour incl. Lunch
- Island of Korcula Day Tour from Dubrovnik
- Peljesac Peninsula & Korcula Island Day-Trip from Dubrovnik
- National Park Mljet Island Day Trip from Dubrovnik
- Kolocep Island: Hiking & Swimming Day Trip
- Discover Korcula from Dubrovnik including Winery Visit
Day trips from Dubrovnik to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Only a short ride away, across the border from Dubrovnik, you can visit Trebinje – a very pleasant town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is one of the sunniest cities in the area, the sun shines here for around 260 days per year. The Mediterranean climate helps with wine production in the region.
Trebinje is known for the platan trees that give much-needed shadow in the center. You can find here lots of attractions, such as walled old town from the 18th century, Herzegovacka Gracanica monastery (with a beautiful view of the area) or old Arslanagicia bridge.
But the main reason to visit Trebinje is to escape the crowds of Dubrovnik and enjoy the slow life, sit in one of the many cafes and relax.
One of the most popular places to visit in the Balkans is only a short ride away from Dubrovnik and is a perfect day trip option.
Mostar is famous for its beautiful Ottoman bridge above the crystal clear waters of the Neretva river. The original bridge was built here in the 16th century and was the symbol of the multicultural Bosnia and Herzegovina, connecting Muslim Bosniaks with Christian Croats.
This has changed in November 1993, when the bridge was destroyed during the Balkan War. What you can admire today is a copy, rebuilt with the original stone, impressive just like before.
But there is more to see in Mostar: old bazaar Kujundziluk, Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque (and especially view from the minaret), a small Crooked Bridge (the oldest building in Mostar) or Bruce Lee statue in the local park.
One thing is for sure – you can’t miss Mostar during your Balkan trip, even if only as a day trip from Dubrovnik
Kravica Waterfalls is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. Hidden in the pristine area, between lush forest, this is a perfect relaxing getaway close to the border with Croatia.
The waterfalls are very impressive, with some 100 meters width and around 25 meters height. Even if you don’t plan to swim in here it is worth visiting the place to admire its incredible beauty.
It is easy to miss the stone town of Pocitelj, glued to the hills above the Neretva river. The town was founded in Roman times but only in the Medieval times, it developed rapidly. Back then it was also the seat of pirates!
Today you can see here the impressive remnants of the old times, wander around the steep and slippery lanes and admire the impressive views from the ruins of the 16th-century Ottoman fortress. The place is quiet and calm, being here is like moving back in time.
The biggest attraction of Blagaj is Tekija – the Derwish house, an important remnant of the Ottoman culture in the areas of current Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first monastery was built here at the beginning of the 16th century but the current look of the place comes from 1891. You can visit Tekija and learn more about the Derwish culture there.
Next to it, you will see one of the most unique places in the Balkans – karst spring of Buna river. The river first flows inside the cave, only to appear outside next to the Tekija. This is such a stunning and interesting place you can’t miss.
Best organized tours from Dubrovnik to Bosnia and Herzegovina
- From Dubrovnik: Mostar and Kravice Waterfalls Full-Day Tour
- Bosnia & Herzegovina: Full-Day Tour from Dubrovnik
Day trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro
Kotor is one of the most stunning places you will ever see. Located at the very end of the narrow fjord, surrounded by high mountains this is a jaw-dropping place.
But the incredible location isn’t the only reason to visit the place, there are so many great things to do in Kotor.
The Kotor Old Town is small but so very charming, with narrow lanes, numerous churches, old palaces and so many cats. Wandering the streets of Kotor is a pure pleasure!
Be sure to climb to the fortifications too – it might be exhausting but the views from up there are so rewarding!
Kotor is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, you can easily spend here a few days and not get bored but a day trip from Kotor to Dubrovnik should be enough to get the impression of the place.
On the way from Dubrovnik to Kotor, you will pass Perast – a tiny but lovely town at the shore of Kotor Bay. It is known mostly for the two islands located directly in front of Perast. On one of them, you will find the Our Lady of the Rocks church with the museum attached to it.
Don’t miss visiting the island, it is such a unique place and the views from there are just incredible. The legend says upon the return from one of the journeys the local fishermen found on the rocks the painting of Madonna and Child. In that very place, the artificial island with a church was created.
Don’t skip Perast itself too, it’s such a pleasant, quiet town to visit, you will enjoy it for sure!
Budva is the most popular resort on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro, known for its numerous hotels and nightlife. You will also find here a tiny but nice old town, surrounded by walls with narrow streets, lots of shops and some monuments, such as the citadel or a few churches.
While I’m not a big fan of Budva you can combine it with visiting Kotor.
Best day tours from Dubrovnik to Montenegro:
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