Dubrovnik is well known for its magnificent Old Town that is encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. These stone walls surround the city and are a major tourist attraction for visitors coming to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Made even more famous by recently being cast as the stage for Kings Landing in Games of Thrones, walking the city walls in Dubrovnik is more crowded than ever.
In this guide I share my top tips for walking the Dubrovnik city walls from when to go, what to bring and what to expect. And I include my favourite tip for avoiding crowds and how I managed to have the walls to myself for most of the walk without getting up at the dawn!
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE DUBROVNIK CITY WALLS
Most websites and reviews will recommend that you go either morning or late afternoon to walk the walls and I completely agree with this!
Depending on the time of year that you visit the opening times vary:
- January & February – 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
- March – 9.00 am – 3.00 pm
- April & May – 9.00 am – 6.30 pm
- June & July – 8.00 am – 7.30 pm
- August to September 15 – 8.00 am – 7.00 pm
- September 15 to October 31 – 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
- November & December – 9.00 am – 3.00 pm
*Opening times are correct at the time of writing, but I always recommend checking these against the official tourism site at the time of your visit.
We visited at 8.30am which was that perfect time to start the walk. There was a short line of around 4 people at the ticket office, no line to enter the walls and there were only a few people walking on the wall at this time meaning in many stretches we didn’t see any other people! Obviously people gathered at some of the more specific photo spots, but be patient as people always move on.
TICKETS FOR THE CITY WALLS
As of 2019, Dubrovnik City Wall tickets cost 200 HRK (around US $30) per person. Tickets include one-time access to the Dubrovnik City Walls (you can’t enter and leave the walls once you start the walk), as well as a visit to the nearby Lovrijenac Fortress within 3 days of purchasing the ticket.
Alternatively, you can purchase The Dubrovnik Card which includes entrance to the city walls and several other attractions, museums and public transportation. The Dubrovnik Card is 250 HRK for 1 day or 300 HRK for 3 days, and you save 10% if you buy the card online. If you plan to visit other places around the city the card may be cost-efficient for you if you are planning to spend 200 HRK just for the city walls.
We purchased our tickets at the ticket office beside the Pile Gate, adjacent to the entrance to the city walls. Hold onto your ticket as you will need to show this at the other entrances as you make your way around the walls.
THIRD PARTY TICKETS
I do not suggest buying tickets via third party online websites besides the official Dubrovnik Card website. I read various reviews that people who bought their “skip the line” tickets online in advance, only to find out they had to collect them from a tourist office on the other side of the Old Town at 9 am when the walls open at 8 am. This meant despite their efforts to beat the crowds, by booking ahead they ended up arriving later to the walls than people buying tickets on the day.
CITY WALLS ENTRANCES
There are three different entrances to walk the city walls, but in all cases you must walk counterclockwise around the walls, starting with views of the sea first. The main entrance is at Pile Gate, but you can also start the walk at the entrance by St Lucas Fortress (St Dominic’s street) and the entrance by St John’s Fortress.
I personally liked starting at the main entrance as you begin with magnificent views of the city, the ocean and Lovrijenac, or St. Lawrence Fortress, which is often referred to as “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”, is a fortress and theater that sits outside the western wall.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The walk around the walls will take you around 1.5 – 2 hours depending on how busy the walls are on the day that you are visiting. Most websites state around 2 hours, it took us 1.5 hours to walk the entire city walls going at a slow pace and taking lots of photos. But we were fortunate it was very quiet the day we visited – see my pro tips on avoiding crowds below!
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFOREHAND
- Cafes: There are 4-5 cafes serving snacks, coffee, ice creams, and waters along the route around the walls. These cafes are the perfect break points throughout the walk and are situated with magnificent views out over the Adriatic. There are a good number of table and chairs, with umbrellas for some shade from the summer sun.
- If you enter through the Pile Gate the first place to get some drinks and water is around 15 minutes into the walk. However, I would recommend waiting for one of the larger cafes with seating. Do note that these cafes will be more expensive than ones outside the Old Town due to the convenience of them being directly on the walls.
- Toilets: There are toilets available throughout the walk so don’t panic and not drink water – stay hydrated!
- Be Prepared For a 2km Walk: The walk is 2 kilometers and there are a good amount of steps upwards and downwards throughout. I suggest wearing comfortable shoes with some grip as some of the stone can be slippy.
- Bring A Hat & Sunscreen: Even early in the morning the temperatures are high and it is easy to get sunburned if you are not prepared!
- Bring Water: Water is available at the cafes but always good to bring your own in a reusable bottle rather than buying a plastic water bottle and to save some money. Read more tips here on how to reduce your single use plastic when travelling.
- Walk Early Morning Or Late Afternoon: Depending on the time of year, plan the walk either early (8-9 am) or late (5-7 pm) in the day to avoid the midday heat. We did not walk at sunset, but many people say this is a beautiful time to walk the walls, then you could reward yourself at the end with an Aperol spritz or glass of wine with a view of the Adriatic from one of the bars on the rocks such as Buza Bar.
- Get There Early: The Dubrovnik City Walls open at 8 am so get there early to avoid crowds. Do not go at midday! We heard stories of the crowds being backed up with no room to walk freely, just shuffle along behind one another.
- Check The Cruise Ship Schedule and if possible arrange your trip to Dubrovnik on the days when there are no cruises porting. Simply use the CruisetoPorts tool or the Crew-Center.com List to see which days the cruises are coming in. You can also use AvoidCrowds.com which is a handy website for finding the least crowded days in major tourist cities.
DUBROVNIK CITY WALL TOURS
I was quite content walking the city walls without a guide, but I think going with a tour guide would be beneficial for learning more about the history of this part of Dubrovnik. There are several City Walls and Old Town Tours to choose from.
WHERE TO STAY IN DUBROVNIK
I stayed at the Hotel Bellevue which is around a 10 minute drive from the Old City. It’s a beautiful newly refurbished hotel with a gorgeous private beach you can enjoy during your stay. You can read my full Hotel Bellevue review.
Other highly rated places to stay in Dubrovnik include:
I hope you have found this guide to walking the city walls helpful in planning your own trip to Dubrovnik and experiencing this piece of history first hand.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit the city walls in Dubrovnik, Croatia. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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Read More About Croatia
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