Experience all that the capital of Croatia has to offer without burning a hole in your pocket. From boat trips and watersports to festivals and farmers’ markets, it’s easy to find cheap things to do in Dubrovnik.
Beautiful Dubrovnik in Croatia is justly known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. The medieval town lies along the Adriatic Coast and is recognisable from the marble streets, turquoise waters and beautiful Renaissance architecture. Visitors flock to enjoy the fresh seafood, great nightlife and wealth of watersports on offer.
Dubrovnik tends to be a lot more expensive than other parts of Croatia, like Zadar or Trogir, as it’s the capital city where most tourists head to (as well as Split). But one of the best things about Dubrovnik is that it’s quite affordable when compared to lots of other European destinations and has lots of free or cheap things to do. After all, the old town is just one big UNESCO World Heritage Site asking to be explored.
So if you’re looking to keep costs down or have a bit of a tight budget, this list of cheap things to do in Dubrovnik will help you make the most of your trip, but not your purse. It includes everything from trying local foods to heading out to sea on a boat trip, and hiking, shopping, partying and lots more!
Cheap things to do in Dubrovnik
Whether you’re in the mood to dance, eat, swim or stroll around, here’s my pick of the best activities for an affordable stay in Dubrovnik.
1. Walk the fortress wall
Dubrovnik is a city in a fortress. The 2km wall was built in the 10th century to protect the residents from attack. Today it serves as a must-do walk that lasts about an hour to do the loop. It’s a great route for people watching the folk going about their business in the narrow streets and for locating your bearings in a new town. The new terracotta tiles juxtaposed against the old are a reminder of a very different war torn Dubrovnik back in 1992.
2. Eat some tasty seafood
Straight from the sea and onto your plate via a hot pan – this is the best way to experience seafood. Dubrovnik has some top seafood restaurants where you can enjoy mussels, squid, and traditional fish recipes all washed back with a glass or two of the local wine. Poklisar is one of the best options – you can get wine, a main meal and a dessert for €25. Just so you know; Rakija is the hard liquor of choice around these parts, but be careful…
3. Extreme watersports
With the beautiful Adriatic coast so close it’s the perfect opportunity to rent out a kayak and explore the city from the water. The majestic city walls are lined with secluded caves – perfect for a romantic kayak away from the norm.
4. Enjoy a boat trip
If you fancy exploring the wider area Cavtat is a great little village to visit for less than €9 on the ferry. In Cavtat you’ll find beautiful rooftop restaurants overlooking the harbour, private swimming bays, bikes for hire and the pretty Vlaho Bukovac Art Gallery.
Lopud is another great option for a day trip. It’s about 30 minutes from Dubrovnik by boat and costs around €8 to get to. The boat will drop you off at the old city port where you can high tail straight through and trek to the beautiful Sunj Beach.
You can also go further down the coast and visit Montenegro, Bosnia and the tiny island of Gospa od Skrpjela in the Bay of Risan too.
Dubrovnik is surrounded by the Elafiti Islands. Hop between the little fishing villages and summer houses owned by the locals of the city and you’ll enjoy sandy beaches and tranquil seas. Make sure you hire a bike and tour the largest of the islands, Island Sipan, too.
If you have the option to travel around Croatia, doing so by boat can be an amazing experience. You can read about my MedSailors Croatia Trip from Split to Dubrovnik here.
You can buy local keepsakes aplenty in Dubrovnik. The city is well known for the silver jewellery and embroidered items on offer.
Some of the best areas for shopping are the side streets of Stradun, where you can find lot of traditional souvenirs as well as modern gifts. It’s full of independent boutiques, jewellery shops, art galleries, and plenty of souvenir shops.
Or head to the local open-air Gruž Market. It’s more for fresh produce but you can also find lots of traditional food items that could make unique and inexpensive gifts
6. Take in some live music
You know it’s good when the locals fill it out and Stradun is one of the most popular streets in Dubrovnik. Live music blasts out and the locals get jiggy as night falls. Or you can head to different bars for live music. Love Bar is a good place to try as they have live music inside and on their outdoor roof terrace.
7. Get a birds-eye view
The cable car ascent up the Dubrovnik Mountains takes just four minutes to complete the 405 metres. Once at the peak you can enjoy panoramic views over the old town and Dubrovnik’s surrounding walls.
8. Explore Dubrovnik’s Farmer’s Market
Every morning the local farmers gather in Gundelic Square to sell everything from sun-ripened figs to homemade wine, brandy and sweet Adriatic honey. It’s a great spot for a bit of souvenir shopping and you can find some items must cheaper than other places – that’s why I put it on my list of cheap things to do in Dubrovnik.
9. Climb every mountain
Or at least Mt. Srd anyway. Make it to the peak (1350 feet) and you’ll be rewarded with captivating views of Dubrovnik, Bosnia, Herzegovina and the rest of the Adriatic Coast. Once at the summit, you can explore Fort Imperial, a Napoleonic fortress, and enjoy a meal or a drink at the restaurant with panoramic vistas. Or pack a picnic to keep this activity as close to free as possible.
10. Go to a festival
As well as the nearby Garden Festival, Hideout and Outlook festivals you can also enjoy a more local affair. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is a 45-day event with music and live plays and some free events too. It’s one of the cheap things to do in Dubrovnik compared to the other festivals that usually cost a bit more.
If you happen to be about on World Music Day, you’ll be able to enjoy a free concert by Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra too!
11. Relax at one of the top beaches in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik’s beaches are as varied as they are beautiful. From the sandy shores of Banje Beach, near the Old Town, to the more secluded rocky coves found along the coast, each beach offers its unique charm. Sunbathing, swimming, or simply enjoying the sunset over the Adriatic can be an unforgettable experience.
12. Picnic at Gradac Park
Located above the Old Town, Gradac Park is a great spot for relaxing or having a picnic The park’s tall pine trees provide shade, and its paths are perfect for leisurely strolls. You’ll most likely find locals playing chess or see artists sketching. There are lots of other similar parks around too if you decide to spontaneously stop at one on a day out in Dubrovnik.
Oh and if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might recognise this scene from Joffery’s wedding.
13. Visit the Rector’s Palace
The Rector’s Palace is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, once the seat of the Rector, the figurehead of the Republic of Ragusa. Today, it houses a museum displaying period furniture, paintings, and artefacts that portray the civic history of Dubrovnik. The entrance fee is reasonable, making it accessible to most visitors.
14. Sunbathe like a local on the rocks of Danče
Sunbathing in Dubrovnik isn’t limited to sandy shores and crowded beach clubs; many locals prefer the rugged serenity of the rocks of Danče. Situated to the west of the Old Town, Danče’s rocky outcroppings offer a less touristy experience.
Bring a towel or mat to make the rocks more comfortable, and join other Croatians as they bask in the Mediterranean sun, occasionally diving into the sea to cool off. Make sure to also pack some water and snacks, as there are limited facilities in this secluded spot.
15. Visit Lokrum Island
For around 200KN per adult (which is just under £25), you can catch a 10-minute ferry from Dubrovnik to Lokrum Island. It has pine forests, a monastery, fortress ruins, swimming holes like the Dead Sea Lake and botanical gardens. If you did watch Game of Thrones, it was used as the city of Qarth.
The ticket price includes entry to the Natural Reserve and a round-trip, so all-in-all, it’s a great day out for under £25 (excluding food).
16. Get romantic at the Love Stories Museum
A fairly new museum to Dubrovnik, the Love Stories Museum is one of the best cheap things to do in Dubrovnik for romantics. It’s a collection of personal love stories from people around the world, as well as legends and myths, film and TV, music and more. You can also sign their Love Wall too.
Tickets to the museum are €9 for adults, and less if you have the Dubrovnik card.
17. Go cliff jumping
One of the craziest bars is the Cliff Jumping Café known locally as Buza. It’s built into the fortress wall and offers an incredible view of the sea and the passing ships. You can also jump off and into the Adriatic Sea – if you dare.
How to have an affordable and budget-friendly stay in Dubrovnik
One of the effective ways to save money is to embrace self-catering instead of eating out, which can be more expensive in the city. Visitors can roam local markets and buy fresh, seasonal ingredients to cook themselves, which is a viable budget option. However, Dubrovnik does have some amazing restaurants so it’s worth trying a few if you can afford it.
Staying in neighbourhoods within walking distance but outside the old town, like Ploče or Boninovo, or in well-connected areas like Lapad, Babin Kuk, and Gruž, may provide more affordable accommodation, mainly in private apartments. Additionally, tourists on a budget can take advantage of the local supermarkets, such as Konzum in Gruz Bay, for cheaper options, or shop at LIDL, which is the cheapest supermarket in the area.
You could also get the Dubrovnik card. Also known as Dubrovnik Pass, it provides access to various historical and cultural sites to offer lots of cheap things to do in Dubrovnik. It is designed to save both time and money for tourists, offering free entrance to selected museums, galleries, and other attractions, as well as free access to public transportation.
You can choose from these types of Dubrovnik Card
- Day Pass (24-Hour Valid Card): This card allows entry to eight selected sites and comes with free public transport, including city walls and various museums.
- 3 Day Dubrovnik Pass: Valid for three days, this card provides access to five museums, two galleries, and city walls. It includes ten bus rides on public transport.
- 7 Day Dubrovnik Pass: Valid for seven days, this card grants access to five museums, two galleries, city walls, and 20 bus rides on public transport.
How to buy and activate Dubrovnik Card
The Dubrovnik Card can be purchased online, saving up to 35%, or at various locations in Dubrovnik including travel agencies, tourist offices, and hotels. Activation starts when you visit the first cultural institution, with the date confirmed on the back of the card, and each place can only be visited once with the card.
Quicklist of 17 cheap things to do in Dubrovnik
- Walk the fortress wall
- Eat some tasty seafood
- Extreme watersports
- Enjoy a boat trip
- Take in some live music
- Get a birds-eye view
- Explore Dubrovnik’s Farmer’s Market
- Climb every mountain
- Go to a festival
- Relax at one of the top beaches in Dubrovnik
- Picnic at Gradac Park
- Visit the Rector’s Palace
- Sunbathe like a local on the rocks of Danče
- Visit Lokrum Island
- Get romantic at the Love Stories Museum
- Go cliff jumping
What to do in Dubrovnik without money?
Although many attractions in Dubrovnik require a fee, there are still activities and places to enjoy without spending money. You can explore the lovely sandy beach of Lapad Uvala or the pebbled Banje Beach, both of which offer opportunities for swimming and sun-worshipping, and they are accessible to the public. You can also explore the new part of town and surrounding regions that are free from hordes of tourists or consider enjoying a homemade picnic to take to the many parks.
Is Dubrovnik very expensive?
Dubrovnik is known as the most popular destination in Croatia, and the demand is reflected in its prices, particularly for alcohol, accommodation, and eating, which tend to be higher than elsewhere in the country. However, you can find affordable accommodation and ways to enjoy the city on a budget, especially with this list of cheap things to do in Dubrovnik.
How much money do I need per day in Dubrovnik?
It’s difficult to say how much you will need as it depends on what you plan to do there. However it is possible to spend as little as £30 if you plan to buy from supermarkets instead of eating at restaurants, and make the most of free or cheap activities in Dubrovnik.
How to see Dubrovnik on a budget?
Seeing Dubrovnik on a budget is entirely possible with some careful planning. From self-catering accommodation to using local transport, you can really do Dubrovnik for quite cheap. The Dubrovnik card also helps cut the cost down if you want to go to lots of attractions.