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During the seventies sunny, romantic, beautiful Dubrovnik was a favourite of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The sea in the sheltered harbour is a wonderful emerald colour, the 13th-century walled old town is historic, red-roofed and a wonder in Baroque marble with the main drag, the Stradun, probably one of the world's loveliest main streets. Many of the best places to stay in Dubrovnik are within easy reach of all these highlights and our recommendations vary from cheap'n'chic guesthouses to luxurious romantic stunners.
During the nineties the video cameras in Dubrovnik were here to record the war. But the city has picked itself back up, cleared the damage and is back to being beautiful and buzzy. Michelin-starred chefs are moving in and the cafe culture has a definite something of the riviera about it. If anything, the recent struggles experienced makes it a more thoughtful place for visitors. The museums that much more fascinating now everything has been carefully restored.
What not to Miss
- Rife with gorgeous architecture, Dubrovnik has numerous churches, monasteries, museums and galleries worth visiting. The Stradun, with its Baroque houses and shops is a definite highlight. As are the city walls, which are famous the world over.
- It's also known for its boutique shopping and diamonds - obviously part of the appeal for Ms. Taylor.
- The old town is where most visitors will head for first. While it is small enough to navigate on foot, be aware that this is somewhere it's easy to become charmingly lost in. There are signs, but they're out of date, so your best bet is to travel the narrow alleyways based on your whims - and which ones look most interesting.
- Many of the main sights are within the old walls, including the Gothic Renaissance Sponza Palace, the Bell Tower and its fantastic bronze bell-striking statues, the museum in the Rector's Palace and Fort Lovrijenac.
- To really see the loveliness of Dubrovnik ascend Mount Srd for the museum and spectacular views. You can walk up, but if you don't fancy it there's a cable car.
- One of Dubrovnik's oldest and most original attractions is the Pharmacy in the Franciscan Monastery - here they sell hand creams and other toiletries made using ancient recipes. It has been in operation since the construction of the monastery until now, so there must be something in the products to keep people coming back.
- In the Middle Ages Dubrovnik, then an independent republic, rivalled Venice as an Adriatic port. That's where the wealth that built this gorgeous city comes from. The same wealth supported artists, authors, poets, scientists and other scholars and Dubrovnik became a seat of learning and culture.
- As well as visiting Dubrovnik's multiple forts, museums, old palaces and churches it's also worth visiting the Old Port and the Maritime Museum. And, if you're interested in the recent conflict, War Photo Limited, the photographic gallery, is a powerful experience.
- Stroll the Stradun in the evening and around Lapad beaches in the daytime. This is definitely one of the prettiest parts of Dubrovnik with lovely pedestrianised streets busy with cafes and restaurants. If you walk around the headland you'll see all the tiny beaches - the ones only a few people can fit on and that you can only reach by ladder.
The best places to stay in Dubrovnik will get incredibly busy during the peak summer months, so you'll either have to plan ahead and book early or else come in spring or autumn, before or after the crowds.
The Best Places To Stay In Dubrovnik
Some of the city's classiest hotels are situated along Ploče's waterfront. The district's also home to the city's main public beach, Banje, and offers great views of the Old Town.
- The Hotel Excelsior is modern five-star hotel in a great location close to the Old Town and with beautiful Adriatic views. There are 158 rooms - some are quite palatial, with their own terraces, plus a superb spa.
- The Villa Allure of Dubrovnik is a stunning little guesthouse hotel with nine contemporary rooms with elegant decor and wonderful sea views from sprawling terraces. There is a pool and you’re also a short walk from the beach.
- If you’re looking for something smaller, the Villa Orsula might be perfect. It has just 11 rooms, but the amenities are fantastic, including a terrace restaurant headed by a renowned chef. The sea views are incredible and the whole vibe is Mediterranean.
- The Grand Villa Argentina is a stunning villa turned 127-room hotel positioned right on the waterfront. It has a private beach as well as a full service spa, three excellent restaurants, two pools and lush gardens.
- The Villa Dubrovnik is certainly luxurious enough for Elizabeth Taylor to consider with its private beach, private ocean view balconies, excellent Mediterranean restaurant and the possibility of having a jacuzzi on your balcony. Though the simple, modern decor and clever way the hotel has been built into the rock face may not be opulent enough for her tastes.
- The Stradun Apartments are a collection of boutique-style apartments in the Old Town. Light and airy with contemporary decor. Each apartment sleeps up to four and offers all the mod. cons. plus the style of staying in a 17th-century townhouse.
- Roko House is a great choice if you're on a budget. Here you'll find simple yet stylish accommodation, both rooms and suites, situated in the centre of the Old Town within easy reach of Dubrovnik's highlights. Plus rooms start from as little as £70 per night.
- Built into the walls of the Old Town, St. Joseph’s is a six-room guesthouse dating from the 16th century. Luxurious and elegant, you’re right in amongst the best of his city’s rich cultural heritage.
- The Pucic Palace is probably more along Elizabeth Taylor's style. This historic townhouse has been converted into a traditional looking hotel with plenty of charming, luxurious feeling features. There's art on the walls, parquet underfoot and a beautifully frescoed bar and restaurant. The wonderful location means this is perfect if you want to be in the heart of the old town.
- The Amoret Apartments are a collection of traditional apartments located just five minutes walk from Buza Beach with wonderful views over the Old Town. Each apartment has a kitchenette, wi-fi and extra beds. From around £65 per night.
The Lapad Peninsula's ideal if you fancy a quieter spot with magnificent ocean views. Located about 4km west of the city's Old Town, it also boasts a number of lovely beaches.
- The Hotel Kompas is a stylish, ultra-modern hotel in a spectacular spot right by the sea. There are 173 rooms, most with superb views, plus a choice of bars, an excellent restaurant and a deluxe spa.
- Glass-fronted, state-of-the-art Hotel Bellevue may also be too modern looking for Liz. But if she was looking for fresh and neutral with spectacular views and an excellent spa then who knowns. Very tech-friendly, within easy walking distance of the old town and nightlife and with its own beachside restaurant as well as an indoor one, the Hotel Bellevue is definitely one of the best places to stay in Dubrovnik for city breakers. There is a private beach and watersports facilities.
- Once a castle holiday home now a 13-room boutique hotel, the Boutique Hotel Kazbek is on the bay of Lapad and has stunning rooms and suites benefitting from the castle’s original features. There’s also a fantastic restaurant and pool.
For an Apartment or Villa
If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, Booking.com.
- Dubrovnik airport is 20 kilometres outside the city centre. Airport buses drop passengers at the Pile Gate just outside the Old Town - the Old Town is pedestrianised - and at Dubrovnik Bus Station, which is next to the ferry port. The cruise ships disembark passengers at Gruž port, which is about three kilometres - or ten minutes - from the Old Town.
- If you want to hire a car - which we highly recommend if you’re staying in Dubrovnik and you want to see more of the Dalmatian Coast - we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
- Summer has the nicest weather, but this is peak time for visiting Dubrovnik and between the cruise ships and those restricted by school holidays, it’s pretty busy. There’s a cap of 8000 cruise ship visitors a day but that’s still a large number. So the best times for most of us to visit are May-June or September-October when the days are long and sunny, the sea is still warm enough for swimming, the attractions and restaurants are all open - but you don’t have to queue for them.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Dubrovnik
Villa Orsula 11 rooms from £534Dubrovnik
The ultimate in romantic chic. A beautiful traditional Mediterranean villa with stylish modern rooms and fantastic amenities. Luscious gardens lead to a private beach, a renowned chef provides fantastic cuisine from terraces, and sea views drift over the bay and islands. Luxurious, highly romantic.Views - Breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, Lokrum Island and Dubrovnik Old Town.Foodies - Delicious Mediterranean cuisine by executive chef Thierry Caruel.Romantic BreakCity Style
St Joseph's 6 rooms from £175Dubrovnik
A stunning 16th century guesthouse set within the walls of Dubrovnik's old town. The luxurious rooms are appointed with style and elegance, fittingly playing tribute to the city's rich culture and heritage. Surrounded by the old town's enchanting streets, it's the perfect place for a romantic break.Local exploring - Right in the heart the UNESCO-protected Walls of Old Town Dubrovnik, and only minutes from the Stradun Promenade.Romantic Break - An enchanting escape for two- the elegant and stylish suites are steeped in romance and history.Sights nearby - The old walls of Dubrovnik, Onofrio's Fountain and the Franciscan Monastery Dubrovnik are all with two minutes walk.Sailing - This hotel serves as a perfect stopping point on a sailing trip around the Dalmatian coast.Recommended by - I Escape
Villa Dubrovnik 56 rooms from £116Dubrovnik
A beautiful Five Star hotel crafted by local architects from the rock face in Dubrovnik. Designer rooms, suites, and villas are contemporary with sea facing balconies, some with private jacuzzis. Excellent restaurant, pool, spa, private rocky beach, and lots of privacy. Romantic luxury.Views - Fabulous views over the Adriatic and of the old city.Families - 2 villas sleep 6 each.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.GroupsRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet
Hotel Bellevue, Dubrovnik 77 rooms from £142Dubrovnik
State of the art glass hotel set in the cliff face in central Dubrovnik. Contemporary designer rooms, family suites, and suites have neutral tones, all the high techery and private balconies. Two restaurants, excellent spa, and immediate access to all the sights. A luxury spot, very family friendly.FamiliesBeach LifeSights nearby - Easy walking distance of the Old TownViews - Fabulous views across Miramare BayRecommended by - Kiwi Collection, Tablet, CN Traveller
Pucic Palace 19 rooms from £175Dubrovnik
A historic townhouse hotel in the the centre of Dubrovnik's old town. The sandstone building has traditional rooms and suites with wooden beamed ceilings, parquet floors and paintings on the walls. Lovely frescoed bar and restaurant. An authentic choice right in the thick of it. Family friendly.City StyleSights nearby - Bang in the centre of the Old Town, just minute from the old portDiving - Good diving nearby.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - I Escape, CN Traveller
Villa Pattiera 12 rooms from £98Cavtat, Dalmatian Coast
A good choice for a less touristic holiday on the Dalmatian coastline. A traditional hotel in the town of Cavtat within striking distance of the beach. Simple, but very spacious, rooms have parquet floors and mahogany furnishings. A bit off the beaten track, but better value.Traditional - All rooms are furnished with antiques and have oak floors.Sights nearby - 40 mins to Dubrovnik by boat taxiSailing - Can be booked nearby.Local markets - Good for local colour.
Villa Allure of Dubrovnik 9 rooms from £175Dubrovnik
A stunning little guesthouse-hotel. Contemporary classic rooms have four poster beds, beige tones, and elegant furniture. Wonderful sea views from sprawling terraces, swimming pool, and walking distance to the beach, restaurants, and Dubrovnik's stunning Old Town.Views - Stuning views over the Mediterranean and Dubrovnik Old TownBeach LifeSights nearby - Close to Dubrovnik's historic old townSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Roko House 3 rooms from £70Dubrovnik
A simple but stylish collection of rooms and apartments with kitchenettes in central Dubrovnik. Creamy rooms and two bedroom suites have wooden floors and minimal furnishings. An excellent value spot for families, groups of friends, or those on a budget.Value chicFamiliesSights nearby - House of Marin Drzic, Dubrovnik Aquarium, Dubrovnik Cable Car, Onofrio's Fountain and Franciscan Monastery.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
Stradun Apartments from £87Dubrovnik
A boutique collection of apartments in the Old Town. Light, airy, and contemporary decoration within a 17th century townhouse. Each suite has all the mod cons, including DVD players, and a kitchenette. A great option for a family or a couple for a summer beach holiday or a winter retreat.Families - Each apartment sleeps up to 4.Beach LifeHoneymoonsSailing - Take a boat to Elaphiti islands - Kolocep, Lopud or Sipan - for walking, swimming, sunbathing.Recommended by - I Escape
Grand Villa Argentina 127 rooms from £231Dubrovnik
A stunning Dalmatian villa sits on the waterfront with breathtaking views, its own private beach, and a full service spa. Rooms and suites, slightly traditional, but very luxurious with private balconies. Three excellent restaurants, beauty salon, spa treatments, two pools, and picturesque gardens.Spa breaks - A full service garden-view spa.Views - Fabulous views from all angles.Foodies - Three excellent restaurants.Luxury
Amoret Apartments from £63Dubrovnik
Traditional apartments, excellent value, just a five minute walk from Buza beach. Apartments have kitchenettes, extra beds, wifi, and wonderful city views over the Old Town. Rooms are rather antique but offer unbeatable rates. Ideal for anyone on a budget, very convenient too.Views - Stunning views over the Old Town.Value chicSights nearby - Dubrovnik's Old Town is a highlight.Kayaking - Adriatic Kayak Tours.Recommended by - I Escape
Hotel Excelsior 158 rooms from £172Dubrovnik (Ploce)
A modern five-star hotel with mesmerising vistas of the Adriatic. A short walk from Dubrovnik's stunning historic centre, the hotel's superb spa is the perfect place to relax after a day's exploring. Palatial rooms fitted with terrace showcase the area's natural beauty. A coastal oasis.Spa breaks - Excelsior has a strong focus on wellness, making it the perfect place for a relaxing spa break.Local markets - Wander through the bustling markets of the historic fortified Old Town of Dubrovnik.Snorkelling - Perfectly situated to explore the abundant sea life of the Adriatic.Seaviews - Enjoy sublime views out onto the Adriatic sea.
Boutique Hotel Kazbek 13 rooms from £187Dubrovnik
A luxury boutique castle hotel, previously a holiday home, in the heritage bay of Lapad. Stunning rooms and suites, traditional in style with wooden beamed ceilings and attractive furnishings. Fantastic regional restaurant, pool and courtyard, and speed boats to hire.Beach LifeTraditional - The summer castle of a Croatian noble family.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Johansens
Hotel Kompas 173 rooms from £146Dubrovnik
A stylish ultra modern hotel, with a spectacular seaside positioning. Hotel Kompas offers guests a first-class staying experience from chic rooms, to superb vistas, atmospheric bars, an excellent restaurant and a deluxe spa. Perfect for simply relaxing or exploring Dubrovnik.Local exploring - Ideally placed for exploring the enchanting city of Dubrovnik and the stunning surrounding Dalmatian Coast.Beach Life - A romantic hotel in a sheltered bay on the Lapad peninsular, perfect for a seaside escape.Fishing - The hotel can organise sea fishing trips for guests.Sights nearby - Fifteen minutes bus ride from Dubrovnik old town.