One of the most perfectly preserved walled towns in Europe, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s single biggest single tourist destination, and it’s not difficult to see why. An essentially medieval town reshaped by Baroque planners after the earthquake of 1667, it seems to have been suspended in time ever since.
An expert's guide: where to stay in Dubrovnik
Where to stay in Dubrovnik
In recent years the city has developed a reputation for being overcrowded in the summer season, although this is frequently the result of day-tripping cruise-ship tourists rather than the visitors who come and stick around. For those that do stay in the city, Dubrovnik can still wield overwhelming charm – especially in the mornings and evenings when the cruiser-crowd are back on their ships. Accommodation is spread throughout the city, the modern parts of which extend for several kilometres along the coast. Rooms disappear fast however; and if your heart is set on a particular kind of stay, it’s crucial to book well in advance. Here’s our guide to where to stay in Dubrovnik to help you find the right accommodation.
Dubrovnik’s picturesque Old Town © LParkerTX/Shutterstock
The Old Town
With its calvacade of historical buildings, maze-like alleyways and imposing town walls, the Old Town is by far the most beguiling part of the city in which to stay. Almost all of the available accommodation is in historic houses of considerable vintage, so expect an evocative whiff of history wherever you choose to stay. One word of warning: the Old Town is full of steps and will not suit those with baby buggies or mobility issues.
Best for history and culture: Prijeko Palace
Prijeko Palace boutique hotel in a fabulously-restored 14th-century mansion is packed full of contemporary artworks. On the top floor is a Michelin-listed restaurant – Stara Lozo – with an amazing roof terrace.
Best for rooms with a view: Fresh Sheets Kathedral.
Located on the upper floors of a former guest-house for nuns, the rooms at Fresh Sheets offer some pretty amazing Old-Town perspectives, with birds’ eye views of statues, churches and historic piazzas.
Best for home comforts: Karmen
A family-run outfit offering studio apartments in an old stone house decked out with antique pictures and objets d’art, Karmen is an intimate, friendly and above all, affordable option.
Banje beach, surrounded by red-roofed buildings © xbrchx/Shutterstock
East of the Old Town but still within walking distance of the sights, the residential district of Ploče slopes down towards Banje beach, a busy stretch of fine shingle backed by bars and restaurants. Beyond the beach is a string of luxurious hotels, each with its own private seafront and fabulous views of the nearby island of Lokrum.
Best for all-round luxury: Grand Villa Argentina
With beautifully appointed rooms, lush gardens and a breathtaking panorama of the Old Town walls, the inter-war Grand Villa Argentina hotel is something of a Dubrovnik classic.
Best for a swish hideaway: Hotel Villa Dubrovnik
A secluded modern building hidden below the coastal road, hotel Villa Dubrovnik offers spacious luxury rooms and meticulous attention-to-detail service.
Gruz, Dubrovnik’s ferry port © Baloncici/Shutterstock
Characterised by dramatic cliffs and rocky beaches, Boninovo is one of the most convenient locations in the city, situated midway between the Old Town and the ferry port at Gruž (and just about within walking distance of both). It is also the site of the city’s most evocative cemetery, filled with funerary sculpture and subtropical plants; and the Slavica open-air cinema, the perfect place to catch cult movies on balmy summer nights.
Just beyond Boninovo lies the Lapad peninsula, famous for the (nowadays over-commercialised and rather sterile) Lapad beach and the vivacious row of outdoor cafes along Kralja Zvonimira, Dubrovnik’s most animated coffee-drinking spot.
Best for a stunning location: Hotel Bellevue
The cliff-hugging Hotel Bellevue is arranged vertically, with its reception at the top of the cliff and luxury rooms at the bottom, where there’s also a secluded pebble beach.
Best for middle-of-the-road comforts: Hotel Lero
Hotel Lero is one of those unspectacular but highly efficient medium-range hotels that delivers on all levels, including the kind of lavish breakfast spread that gets you up in the morning.
Best for watching storms: Hotel Rixos Libertas
Another dramatically-situated cliff-side hotel, the Rixos Libertas has become something of a Dubrovnik trademark due to its distinctive, terraced-curve design. The bottom floor of the hotel is right by the shore and is sprayed by waves whenever the sea gets choppy.
Babin Kuk offers up some of the Dubrovnik’s best views © Irina Sen/Shutterstock
Sprawling across a knobbly promontory 5km west of the Old Town, the Babin Kduk tourist settlement was built in the 1970s to attract well-heeled western tourists, with top American architect Edward Durell Stone drafted in to handle design duties. Offering a mixture of manicured park and untamed maquis, the peninsula also boasts well-tended family beaches, seaside walks, and a range of activities for kids. The #6 bus runs down to the Old Town every ten minutes, so you never feel cut off.
Best for style: the Dubrovnik President
Made up of garden-covered terraces descending the hillside towards a small beach, the President is the epitome of Adriatic cool. Facing the Elaphite Islands, rooms come with blissful maritime views.
Best for value: Tirena Sunny
Billed as a moderate 3-star establishment, the Tirena Sunny is actually a rather stylish example of what hotel architecture used to be like in the good old days, with broad stairwells, high-ceilinged rooms and lots of light and space.
Best for campers: Solitudo
Not so much a camping site as a camping city, the enormous partly-wooded Solitudo site is spread across a huge area of the peninsula. Expect on-site eating, drinking and shopping facilities, and live musical entertainment in the summer.
Top image: Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia © Simone Simone/Shutterstock
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