Tourists will be surprised at how much you can pack into 4 days in Dubrovnik Riviera which is more than the Old Town. This incredible Dubrovnik Itinerary will give you a taste of Croatia from the dazzling coastline, traditional Croatian cuisine, thrill-seeking experiences, and delving into the rich history. Are you ready to explore the Dubrovnik Riviera?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. It comes at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Planning your 4 Day Dubrovnik Itinerary
Best Time To Visit Dubrovnik
The ideal months to visit Dubrovnik are April through August. If you are hoping for fewer tourists but still have pleasant weather and more favourable hotel prices, the best time to visit Dubrovnik is April to mid-June and mid-September to October. Generally, it’s great weather in September but we had a little bad luck with some drizzly days, but it did not dampen our spirits.
Getting to Dubrovnik
There are a number of flight options to Dubrovnik from the UK and European airports making this an easily accessible destination. If you are flying from the UK, check Jet2 flights to Dubrovnik as they depart from 10 UK airports.
Find Eco-friendly Hotels in Dubrovnik
You will be spoiled for choice on where to stay when you visit the Adriatic coast as most Dubrovnik hotels are within easy reach of incredible experiences to suit all kinds of travellers.
My stay at Hotel Croatia with Jet2Holidays was the perfect spot nestled into the pine trees overlooking the picturesque town of Cavtat. Boasting Travellife Gold Certification for Accommodation Sustainability, as well as actively promoting the #PlasticFree Adriatic Initiative with Maritimo Recycling, this hotel ticks the boxes for travelling responsibly.
If you are looking for more eco-friendly accommodation options in the Dubrovnik Riviera, Jet2Holidays offer luxury holidays with sustainably-certified hotels such as Hotel Kompas in Lapad, Sun Gardens in Orasac, or Hotel Bellevue in Dubrovnik Old Town. Alternatively, try the 3-star eco-friendly Grand Hotel Park in Dubrovnik City.
How to spend 4 days in Dubrovnik Riviera
DAY 1: Explore Cavtat
Cavtat, located south of Dubrovnik Old Town, is a medieval coastal town, known also as the antique Epidaurus, which was an important Roman colony in the Konalve region. Cavtat is compact and you can quite easily while away a day exploring the town.
Relax in the harbour of Cavtat
The 7km promenade in Cavtat is lined with charming cafes and quaint side streets with views of crystal-clear waters. It’s a serene place to read a book on one of the sunloungers or sample the Croatian wine soaking up the relaxed atmosphere.
Visit the Račić Mausoleum
Wander up to the mausoleum of the Račić family (Our Lady of Angels) which can be seen from around the bay as it is the highest point of the Rat Peninsula. It was built in 1922 and was created by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. The vista over the graves in the Saint Rocco Cemetery is worth the small climb up the hill to reach the mausoleum.
Discover amazing adventures in the Konalve region
Always happy to get an adrenaline fix and an ATV ride with Kojan Koral was the way to go. Following a safety briefing, our safari took us on trodden paths, muddy tracks through wetlands, along some roads, clifftop views of the Adriatic and stop off at St Nicholas Church in Čilipi village. This was an absolute blast!
More adventure experience ideas near Cavtat
Where to eat in Cavtat
It is a hard choice with so many eateries along Cavtat harbour. Here are some restaurant recommendations where you will be guaranteed a mouth-watering menu;
- Ludo More translates as ‘Crazy Sea’ and is a chic restaurant owned by a sibling team who grow their own produce and the brother goes fishing for the daily catch.
- Leut Restaurant has been in the Bobić family since 1971 and is a go-to place for presidents, actors and celebrities who visit Cavtat.
- Konavoski Dvori Eco Green Restaurant is a 20-minute drive from Cavtat on the grounds of an ancient mill next to the Ljuta River offering regional folklore dishes in a tranquil setting.
How to reach Cavtat from Dubrovnik
- The buses (Timetable No10) leave and depart from the harbour near Cavtat Tourist Information Centre to Dubrovnik. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes.
- Ferries from Dubrovnik to Cavtat with Adriana Boat Tours, Vivado Dubrovnik and Sea Line take approximately 45 minutes and are weather dependent.
- Take a group tour of Cavtat from Dubrovnik, or book a private Cavtat tour if that works best for your trip.
DAY 2: Visit Dubrovnik Old Town
Originally called Ragusa, Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century, and has suffered some unstable times with the Venetian conquest in the 13th century, the 1667 earthquake, and the 1991 Serbian attacks. The city of Dubrovnik was added to the UNESCO list in 1979 to restore damage to the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains.
Knowing what to do in Dubrovnik for one day can be tricky, so here are my highlights to get an overview of the rich history, impressive architecture, and the allure of Dalmatian coast postcard views
Walk the Walls of Dubrovnik
The Walls of Dubrovnik are 1940 metres long with 6 fortresses (Bokar, St John, Lovrijenac, Revelin, St Lucas, and Minčeta) and were mainly built between the 12th to the 17th centuries to protect the city from attack.
The walk up the steps is rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Stradun and the terracotta skyline of the Old Town. Save some energy to go up Minceta Tower. This fortress was built in the 14th century and is the highest point of Dubrovnik.
Entrance fee for City Walls of Dubrovnik: Tickets cost 250 kuna (Sept 2022) and include the entrance fee for Port Lovrijenac (Fort of St. Lawrence). You can pay at the booth or online in advance.
Visit the Old Pharmacy + Monastery
The Old Pharmacy in Dubrovnik is among one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe. It is located in the Franciscan Monastery and was originally founded in 1317 for the friars and then opened up to the general population to use.
Wander through the cloister of the Franciscan Monastery taking note of the 120 columns with heads of Dalamation dogs, and human faces by sculptor Mihoje Brajkov. Look up to see the arches adorned with frescos depicting the life of St. Francis.
Visit Dubrovnik Cathedral
Dubrovnik Cathedral is officially known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It dates back to the 12th century, although the ruins of former cathedrals have been discovered that date back to the 7th century.
On the exterior, see the ever-present Saint Blaise who watches over the city, and the interior is a real beauty with three naves, a dome comprising of several Baroque-style altars and beautiful paintings. It’s free to enter so pop in to admire it for yourself!
Do the Dubrovnik Walk of Shame
On the south side of Gundulic Square, Game of Thrones fanatics will recognise the Baroque Jesuit steps by Saint Ignatius Church from the iconic scene in which Cersei Lannister walks naked through the streets of King’s Landing. Cafes are cashing in on the tourists selling ‘Burgers of Shame’ and GOT memorabilia in souvenir shops.
Enjoy the foodie culture in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik Old Town is awash with marvellous cafes, charming coffee shops and top-notch restaurants.
- Kopun Restaurant – Family-owned establishment creating old Croatian recipes with an elegant twist.
- Dubravka 1836 Restaurant – Near the west entrance, you get views of the fortresses during the day. The unique pizzas and Buzara-style mussels were winning choices.
- Peppino’s Artesanal Gelato – Whether you love ice cream or not, you can’t fail to fall in love with its creative flavours.
- Cafe Buza – I hear this bar is the best sunset place on the clifftop to wind down after a day of wandering. Unfortunately, we were not blessed with the sun so I had to pass on this experience.
Is 1 day enough for Dubrovnik Old Town?
Dubrovnik Old Town has so much packed into a relatively small area so you can cover this traffic-free zone quite easily in a day. However, if you want to spend longer over lunch, wandering around museums or have a flash of bad weather (like we did), you may find a few activities still on your list of things to see in Dubrovnik.
- Take the cable car up Srd Hill to catch the panoramic views. If the cable car scares you a little, you can get an electric tuk-tuk ride or do a sunset hike to the summit instead.
- Take a trip to Lokrum island nature reserve for swimming, see the Benedictine monastery, hike to Fort Royal and see GOT film locations. You can get the Lokrum ferry or take a sea-kayaking tour.
- Du the Wire is the longest coastal zipline above the Adriatic, which sounds like an epic zipline. Start from the steep cliffs near Dubrovnik Old Town, and let velocity take over.
DAY 3: Explore the Pelješac Peninsula
Ston and Mali Ston are located on the Pelješac Peninsula in Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Taking 1 hour to reach from Dubrovnik, visitors can easily explore the Ston and Mali Ston in one day and cover the highlights of oysters, salt pans and defensive walls.
Oyster-catching in Mali Ston
Take a short boat ride over the Oyster Bar in Mali Ston Bay to learn and taste, of course. Oyster farming has been found to exist in Mali Ston Bay since the Roman period, and now around 40 families farm the Ostrea Edulis oysters grown only in these waters. The painstaking process takes 3 years with a yield of around 40 million oysters a year, all of which, are eaten locally.
At the Mali Ston oyster farm, you will be served oysters straight from the sea with a little lemon squeezed on top, paired with a crisp Croatian wine and an astonishing backdrop.
Walk the Walls of Ston
The defensive walls of Ston (Stonske zidine) are the longest complete fortress system in Europe, and second in the world behind the Great Wall of China. Originally 7km long, the wall is now 5.5km and links Ston to Mali Ston.
Wander around the fortress Veliki Kaštio before climbing higher along the wall with incredible views over the salt pans.
Visit the Salt Pans of Ston
The Ston saltworks is the oldest and largest preserved in the history of the Mediterranean and is considered the purest. Salt is a big deal in this region and, has been harvested since Roman times, and still uses the same technique with low walls and natural evaporation. In days gone by, salt was worth the same as gold and was used as local currency, known as ‘white gold.’
If you’re visiting the peninsula from mid-August to mid-September, there is a month-long Pelješac Salt Festival so you can truly immerse yourself in a gastronomic experience of traditional food and wine.
Go on a wine-tasting tour
The Pelješac region produces some of Croatia’s best-known wines owing to its’ mountainous mesoclimate, perfect environment for viticulture. The most famous wines of the region are Postup, Dingac and Putnikovići from the Plavac Mali grape and if you want to soak up the knowledge from a local expert, book a wine tour in the Ston area. Wine connoisseurs would find it hard not to take a taste of Croatia back home with them, these are seriously good wines.
Drive over the Pelješac Bridge
The newly opened (July 2022) Pelješac Bridge is understandably a source of big excitement for Croatian people as it connects the Dubrovnik–Neretva County to the rest of the Dalmatia region. This allows much easier accessibility without having to drive through the Neum corridor of Bosnia & Hercegovina.
The 2.4km Pelješac Bridge, designed by Slovenian engineer Marjan Pipenbaher helps with travel and tourism, local commutes and increased trade including the shellfish from Mali Ston Bay.
DAY 4: Visit Mljet Island
Known as the Green Pearl of the Adriatic, Mljet is one of the most southern of the Dalmatia islands, famous for its lush and undulating green forest, with two salted lakes (Veliko and Malo).
Located 23 miles from Dubrovnik, Mljet island is only 37km and 3.2 km and the nature reserve covers one-third of this on the western side. Mljet Island is a must-visit location for a nature fix with turquoise waters and forests brimming with Aleppo pine trees. Don’t miss this little piece of Croatian paradise.
Visit St. Mary’s Islet
Plan your trip well to St Mary’s Island (Sveta Marija) as the solar-powered boats leave once an hour from Pristaniste, Mali Most or Soline in the summer, and less frequently in off-peak season. If you’re feeling energetic, you can paddle across the Veliko Jezero (large lake) by kayak!
The island features St Mary’s Church and Benedictine Monastery which were built at the end of the 12th century, and are among the oldest church complexes in the Adriatic. The complex has been rebuilt, extended and even fortified to protect it from pirates.
Walking around this island within an island will only take 15 minutes, so you can make time for a delicious lunch at Restaurant Melita at the mini port. Expect some traditional dishes like Octopus salad cooked with local flavoursome produce which is topped off nicely with a crisp Croatian wine (or beer).
Water activities on Mljet
With two idyllic lakes in Mljet, you really can’t avoid water activities whether it’s kayaking, snorkelling or swimming.
If you are not a fan of cold-water swimming, Mljet is perfect for you. The water in the lakes of Mljet is warmer than the sea and can reach up to 25°C (76°F) in the summer months.
There are various spots around Mljet to hire kayaks. Mali Most (Small Lake) is the best location if you are just heading over for the day as it’s only a short walk back to Polače harbour to catch your return boat to Dubrovnik.
Cycling activities on Mljet
When you land in Polače, you will see many signs about renting bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters in the national park, or you can rent directly on the harbour to begin your adventure straight away. Many places also rent kayaks, and canoes such as the location at Mali Most. They are generally open from 9 am–7 pm but can organise outside of hours in advance if you are planning an early start.
Hiking and Walking on Mljet
Time to get your hike on! Mljet has a 43km trail with four dedicated and well-marked paths consisting of longer and shorter routes, so depending on your ability, there is a trail for all. I wish I’d had the chance to take a hike to the enchanting Odysseus Cave on the island’s south coast.
There are signs around the island but you can also grab a map from Mljet Tourist Information Centre at the port when you land on the fast boat.
How long do you need in Mljet?
By the time you have got the boat over from Dubrovnik to Polače (1.5 hours each way), you really don’t get a full day to explore Mljet to the max. I’d recommend an overnight stay to do some hiking around the island, or just to switch off and bask in the sunshine and serenity. There are options to stay in the 3-star eco-friendly Hotel Odisej, beautiful private accommodation and campsites.
If you only have one day in your itinerary for Mljet and want to make the most of this Croatian paradise, you may want to go for the easy option of private or group tours to Mljet National Park.
Jet2Holidays and Dubrovnik Tourism Board invited me on this wonderful trip and I hope you lots all the itinerary. Even though this trip was sponsored, my opinions are my own.