Dubrovnik’s ideal location enables travelers to explore some of the fascinating islands and towns in the Dalmatia region, as well as visit Croatia’s neighboring countries. This collaborative post with other travel bloggers gives you some of the best options for your day trips from Dubrovnik.
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Day trips from Dubrovnik to nearby islands
The very first island almost everyone visits as a day trip from Dubrovnik is Lokrum. Considered as one of the world’s seven cursed islands, it takes only 15 minutes to get from Old Town’s port to the island.
Rocky beaches, parks with peacocks and bunnies, Benedictine Monastery, and the Dead Sea are among Lokrum’s attractions. And if you are a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones series, you’ll find an Iron Throne here too.
The island is quite small, so you’ll have plenty of time to visit all of its attractions and relax at one of its beaches. It’s a perfect option to get away from the overcrowded Dubrovnik. However, don’t expect it to be empty with only a few people. And if you wish to enjoy fantastic views of Dubrovnik’s fortification, walk towards Fort Royal or even walk further down to the coast of the island.
Lokrum has plenty of bars and cafes if you get hungry. But there is no accommodation and you need to get back to the last boat in time. Who wants to stay on a cursed island overnight, right?
Explore Dubrovnik shore, Lokrum island, and nearby caves with this 3-Hour Sea Kayaking Tour with Snack
This small archipelago consists of several islands extending northwest of Dubrovnik and covers around 30 sq. km of total land area with only 850 inhabitants.
Due to their pristine scenery characterized by Mediterranean vegetation and clear beaches, the Elaphiti Islands makes one of the great options for day trips from Dubrovnik and to do island hopping in Croatia.
The exact number of the Elaphiti Islands is unknown, however, according to the somewhat recent classification, the archipelago features 13 islands. The main ones are Šipan, Lopud, and Koločep. These also are the permanently inhabited ones too. Daily ferries run from Dubrovnik’s Gruž port to all of these three islands by daily ferries.
Koločep is the closest to Dubrovnik that used to be a significant shipbuilding place in the Republic of Ragusa years. Featuring seven pre-Romanesque churches dating back to the 9th-11th centuries, the island will keep you busy apart from relaxing on the beach.
The second-largest island of the Elaphite is Lopud, known for some of the best sandy beaches. Located between Šipan and Koločep islands, the island is home to the Franciscan monastery, churches, and chapels.
Lastly, the farthest and largest island of Šipan has two settlements – Suđurađ and Šipanska Luka. Similarly to the other islands, the sights on the islands are churches, monasteries, noble houses, and chapels.
You can easily island hop Elaphiti archipelago, but to ease the logistics, you can join an organized tour too
Mljet island and National Park
Mljet is known as the greenest of the Croatian islands. Being a one-third national park, it is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers alike. The two great salted lakes, Veliko and Maro Jezero, beg to be explored. A highlight is the small picturesque monastery on St Marys Island in the middle of Veliko lake. The area is home to the first marine protected area in Europe and the largest coral reef in the Mediterranean Sea.
Polace, the port town, has just over 100 residents with a few cafes and restaurants as well as a small shop. It is most well known for its ancient ruins like the Roman palace from which the town gets its name. The “Polace” or palace is one of the largest remaining Roman buildings in Dalmatia.
Mljet is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets with few tourists, making it one of the fantastic day trips from Dubrovnik.
You can get from Dubrovnik to Polace via a ferry, Nona Ana, that leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon. It runs daily in July and August and on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays in June and September. You can easily get a bus or taxi once on the island but it’s just as easy to walk or bike.
By Lost Wanders
Often referred to as mini-Dubrovnik, Korcula is another gorgeous island in Dalmatia. Situated 121 km away from Dubrovnik, it can be challenging to make a day trip, BUT it’s completely doable. This is how: rent a car any time of the year or plan your trip in high season to use public transport.
If you decide to rent a car, the best way to get to Korcula town is to drive to Orebic and then take the Orebic-Domince ferry that takes 15 minutes to reach the island. Afterward, drive for another 7 minutes to arrive at the town.
In the case of public transport, take a ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula town that runs daily from July and August. Take the earliest ferry and come back with the last one to maximize your time here. Alternatively, there is a bus scheduled from June to September that leaves Dubrovnik at 9 a.m and comes back at 3 p.m
Either way, you will have around 3-4 hours to spend wandering the narrow cobblestone streets of Korcula town, visiting St. Mark’s Cathedral, learning more about Marco Polo and his adventures at his house and a museum, or sunbathing at the nearby beach with gorgeous views of this fortified town.
Join an organized tour to visit Korcula and Peljesac Peninsula as a day trip from Dubrovnik or explore only Korcula and a winery.
Stari Grad on Hvar island
Stari Grad is thought to be one of the very oldest towns in Europe. The plains around Stari Grad have been farmed for 2,400 years and are a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hiking or cycling around the plains and forests brings you to picturesque ruins of churches, monasteries, castles, and villages with the smell of lavender from its many lavender plantations.
The city of Stari Grad is at the very end of a long inland harbor. The Riva, or waterfront is a charming strip to walk and eat gelato and the town itself is so old there are Roman murals, for example on Middle Street, that are now in the Museum.
The real pleasure of this town is the fact of how old stone houses and squares are. If you love winding and narrow cobbled streets (made by the Romans!), ancient picturesque ruins, a beautiful waterfront, and beach areas, then Stari Grad is for you.
To visit this hidden treasure of Croatia as a day trip from Dubrovnik you need to get up very early! The best way is to drive or take a private car and driver to make sure you can spend enough time wandering around this charming ancient town. Alternatively, public transportation in high season is also available.
Day trips from Dubrovnik to Croatian towns
If you’re after some beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, and peaceful bays, then Makarska Riviera makes one of the perfect getaways. Stretching from Gradac, less than 2h drive north of Dubrovnik, all the way to Brela, Makarska Riviera boasts some of the best beaches on the Dalmatian coast.
This riviera is best experienced as a road trip so that you can stop at any beach or bay that you like, but keep in mind that nude beaches are very common and fairly popular in Croatia. The more remote beaches, which are often the most beautiful ones, are usually frequented by nudists. The gorgeous Nugal beach, covered in some of the smoothest and whitest pebbles you’ll ever see, is one of them. This beach is only accessible by foot as it is surrounded by steep cliffs but even just looking at it from the top of the cliffside will take your breath away.
Makarska is the main city of this region and definitely worth visiting. Nestled between the sea and the impressive Biokovo Mountain this town boasts some amazing views. The town is small but very pretty with a picturesque harbor and a palm tree-lined promenade by the waterfront. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants where you can stop for lunch, as well as boutiques and souvenir shops.
Mlini is a charming little fishing village situated just 10km down the coast from Dubrovnik. It might be hard to believe that you can get to somewhere so tranquil and laid back in such a short time from the city.
Though tiny, there is a surprising amount of attractions in and around Mlini. Probably the most popular site is the beach, including one sandy shore offering crystal clear blue water.
Mlini also boasts a rich history, wellsprings of fresh drinking water, gorgeous old flour mills, and Greek and Roman ruins in the nearby area.
There are several relaxed and low-key bars and restaurants in Mlini providing dining options. Lanterna offers tasty seafood meals, while Oleander is one the beach and has live music. If you fancy a great steak or visiting Mlini as a family, Puntizela, the kid-friendly restaurant set in woodland is an option for you. Another restaurant, Ruzmarin is ideal for couples serving excellent food and great wine.
You can get to Mlini easily by bus, taxi, or private car. Perhaps the best way, though, is by boat. It might take longer, but you’ll have spectacular views of the Croatian coastline. The boat lines also connect Mlini to many of the surrounding islands
Day trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro
If you are looking for a seaside getaway just a short drive from Dubrovnik, check out Herceg Novi. This small resort town in Montenegro might not be huge but it offers visitors a quieter and sunny getaway compared to the busy tourist hub that is Dubrovnik.
In the center of town, you’ll find a small Old Town square with numerous cafes and shops as well as historic buildings. A great thing to do in Herceg Novi is to just wander through the streets since there are churches, stairways, and alleyways that lead in all different directions. There are a number of towering old stone fortresses that are a throwback to the town’s important defensive position at the Bay of Kotor.
Down at the shoreline, there is a lone promenade that runs along the town’s waterfront. Montenegrins love spending time in cafes so you can find seaside patios and restaurants which are great for enjoying a coffee at any time of the day. You can also head for the waterfront beaches – but remember that along this part of the Adriatic many of the beaches are quite rocky!
It’s easy to get to Herceg Novi from Dubrovnik. You can take the bus heading for Kotor and get off at the bus station right off the main roadway. From there, it’s a short walk into the heart of town. If you drive, it’s the same route – and you can find a place to park along the palm-treed streets.
By Penguin and Pia
Visiting the town of Kotor is one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik. The journey takes around two hours by car one way if the border crossing is swift. You can also use a bus or an organized tour.
Kotor has a stunning location, lying on the western edge of the Gulf of Kotor surrounded by towering limestone mountains. The main attraction in Kotor is the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enter the Old Town by the North or South Gate to explore the maze of narrow winding lanes lined with individual honey-colored buildings. Visit the 12th century Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Tryphon or the Orthodox Church of St Nicholas. Kotor is also known for its abundance of cats so cat lovers should head to the Cat Museum.
One of the best things to do in Kotor is to climb the city walls. 1,350 zig-zagging stone steps bring you to the Fortress of Saint John, 280 meters above Kotor. The view from the fortress over the bay is breathtaking.
From the harbor, you can catch boat trips to various locations around the bay such as Perast or the blue cave. Swimming in the bay is another must-do activity as it changes your perspective of your surroundings.
The town can get very busy when a cruise ship arrives; sometimes multiple ships visit in one day. Check the online cruise ship timetable in advance of your visit and plan your trip when there are no cruise ships visiting.
By Map Made Memories
Stari Bar or Old Bar in English is a town in southeast Montenegro, making it another option for a day trip from Dubrovnik.
Stari Bar is impressive not only from outside but from the inside as well. It hides a great history as it was occupied by Romans, Venetians, Hungarians, Serbians, and Ottomans until it became part of today’s Montenegro in 1878.
Sadly, the 1979 earthquake demolished most of its historical landmarks, especially the famous aqueduct that supplied the town with water. This forced many residents to abandon the city. Nowadays, the Old Bar is partly restored, and it’s a fantastic place to explore and learn about Montenegrin history.
Stari Bar is a perfect place to explore on foot. You can walk around the remains of old stone houses, admire the old churches, the clock towers, and the town gates.
A short distance from Stari Bar is the oldest olive tree in Europe called Stara Maslina, with a circumference of 10 meters. The tree is over 2,000 years old and looks rather like a bunch of small trees growing over the old tree. Unfortunately, the accidental fire burned inside the tree.
To get to Stari Bar from Dubrovnik, first, you have to arrive at Bar town, taking about 2:30hrs by car. Alternatively, you can take a bus which will take a bit longer. The old town is located just 5 kilometers from the new town. Note: the entrance fee to the Stari Bar is one Euro.
By The Travelling Twins
Day trips from Dubrovnik to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mostar, famous for the iconic Old Bridge, is one of the most popular day trips from Dubrovnik. The one-way journey should take around 2-3 hours, depending on the waiting time at the border, but it’s worth the time.
The Old Bridge with the green Neretva river flowing below is one of the most beautiful views you will ever see and crossing the bridge is an unforgettable experience. Be sure to take comfortable shoes with you – the bridge is a bit steep and slippery.
Apart from the bridge, there are more things to do in Mostar such as wandering around and shopping for souvenirs at the charming old town. Mostar is one of the best places in the Balkans for buying souvenirs as the prices are very affordable.
Additionally, sit in one of the cafes and drink famous Bosnian coffee, thick and strong. If you are brave enough you can go to the minaret at Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque – the staircase is very claustrophobic but the view from the top is breathtaking.
If you have some extra time be sure to see parts of Mostar beyond the Old Town. You will find many destroyed buildings, the sad reminder of the Balkan War in the 1990s, but you will also see some great street art and a vibrant city.
You can combine a trip to Mostar with visiting other interesting places in the Herzegovina region, such as Blagaj, Pocitelj, or Kravica Waterfall. It is possible to go to Mostar by bus, rental car, or an organized tour.
By My Wanderlust
If Plitvice and Krka National Parks are the jewel of Croatia, Kravice Waterfalls is of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, less touristy with almost no big crowds. It gets most visitors in the summer but feels more like a spot for locals to relax on the weekend rather than a tourist hotspot. Another bonus is that swimming and climbing in the falls are allowed.
Summer is the dry season, and the most popular time to visit, so the waterfalls will be smaller, calmer, and easier to swim near. For amazing views, visit in spring, during the rainy season when the cascading river will be at their fullest with lush green foliage all around.
The entrance fee ranges around $6-$12, depending on the season and also includes entrance to the nearby Kocusa Falls and the Museum of the Monastery of St. Anthony in Humac.
With a restaurant, snack stands, and kayak or bike rentals, Kravice Falls is the perfect spot for a beautiful and relaxing day trip. Many travelers often combine it with a visit to Mostar when planning their day trips from Dubrovnik. There are plenty of organized tour options, or rent a car and spend time exploring along the way. Be prepared for potentially long waits at the border crossings depending on the day, season, and crossing location.
By That Traveling Family
Trebinje is a wonderful little riverside town in Bosnia-Herzegovina that is just a 40-minute drive inland from Dubrovnik. If you’ve enjoyed Dubrovnik but are maybe looking for somewhere less crowded or more off the beaten path, then Trebinje might be just your thing. The town is not so well known among tourists, therefore it has preserved its essential character, giving you the perfect chance to sample the local culture of the Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Republika Srpska).
The best thing about visiting Trebinje is just to see the local life. Be sure to stroll the market and try some cevapi sausage or burek, or take a walk by the river and see the town’s old stone bridge.
There are many sights in the surrounding area, including numerous vineyards, the ancient ruins of Fort Strac (no entry fee), the Hercegovačka Gračanica Serbian Orthodox monastery, as well as the Trvdos Monastery, producing wine and where monks can take you on a tour telling you all about the wine-making process. Note that you’ll need to book the wine tour in advance.
It’s best to visit Trebinje by rental car as bus connections from Dubrovnik are limited. Having your own car also lets you easily explore the surrounding sights. Getting around by taxi is also possible, though. Private taxis are quite affordable in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as the prices are far below anything you may have seen in Dubrovnik.
Even though you can visit Trebinje from Dubrovnik, you can easily do the reverse. In fact, Trebinje is getting popular among some budget travelers as a cheaper base to stay at while taking trips to the more expensive Dubrovnik.
The town now has a backpacker hostel, Hostel Polako, which also organizes many activities in the area.
Off the beaten path day trips from Dubrovnik
Croatia is full of not-so-well-known, gorgeous destinations. Stretching out to the Adriatic sea, the Pelješac Peninsula is one of those under-the-radar destinations that could end up wowing you if given a chance. With its renowned wine counties from where wines like Dingac and Postup come from, it’s a paradise for wine lovers. That being said, its pebbly beaches, charming old villages, salt flats, and fortresses make it much more than just wine tourism. And add to the fact that it’s still largely free of tourists, and not crowded.
Ston is where most visitors stop first. With its extensive fortification walls that you can hike, beautiful churches, and salt flats, it is a picturesque town on the peninsula. If you are into seafood, you must sample the farmed oysters and shellfish out there. There are many wonderful beaches like Prapatno, Mokalo, Trstenica for beach lovers. And Orebić, the heart of Pelješac’s wine country, is full of small, family-owned vineyards that you can explore.
Renting a car from Dubrovnik and driving is the best way to get to the Pelješac Peninsula. You can also rent a motorcycle in one of the towns, which would give you a lot of flexibility to visit the place.
However, there are buses that run from Dubrovnik that will take you to Ston. There are also tour companies that offer pre-arranged day trips. A day is pretty good to cover the peninsula. But in case you want to spend the night, there are many options to choose from in Ston and Orebic.
Although Croatia is not part of the Schengen zone, you can visit it by getting a Schengen visa, if it’s not visa-free for you.
By The Visa Project
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Croatia travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
- Book affordable flights on Skyscanner, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
- Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Croatia, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
- Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda
- Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
- Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here