One of the most perfectly preserved walled towns in Europe, Dubrovnik is Croatia’s single biggest tourist destination, and it’s not difficult to see why. A medieval town reshaped by Baroque planners after the earthquake of 1667, the city seems to have been suspended in time ever since. Here's our guide on where to stay in Dubrovnik.
In recent years the city has developed a small reputation for being overcrowded in the summer season. This is 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 still wields overwhelming charm. To Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik is also known as King’s Landing. Accommodation is spread throughout the city, the modern parts of which extend for several kilometres along the coast. Rooms can disappear fast and if your heart is set on a particular kind of stay, it’s crucial to book well in advance. Here's our guide on the best places to stay in Dubrovnik.
With its cavalcade 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 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
This boutique hotel is housed in a fabulously restored 14th-century mansion, packed full of contemporary artworks. A beautiful Michelin-listed restaurant,Stara Lozo
, is situated on the amazing roof terrace.
Best for rooms with a view: Fresh Sheets Kathedral
Fresh Sheets is located on the upper floors of a former guesthouse for nuns. Its rooms offer some pretty amazing Old Town perspectives, with birds’ eye views of statues, churches and historic piazzas.
Best for home comforts: KarmenA family-run outfit offering studio apartments in an old stone house, each decked out with antique pictures and objets d’art. This is an intimate, friendly and above all, affordable option.
East of the Old Town, but still within walking distance of the sights, the residential district of Ploče slopes towards Banje beach, a busy stretch of fine shingle backed bars and restaurants. Beyond the beach is a string of luxurious hotels. Each boasts its own private seafront and fabulous views of the nearby island of Lokrum.
Best for all-round luxury: Grand Villa Argentina
Grand Villa Argentina hotel is something of a Dubrovnik classic. It is recommended by its beautifully appointed rooms, lush gardens and breathtaking panorama of the Old Town walls.
Best for a swish hideaway: Villa DubrovnikA secluded modern building hidden below the coastal road, Hotel Villa Dubrovnik offers spacious luxury rooms and meticulous attention-to-detail service.
Characterized by dramatic cliffs and rocky beaches, Boninovo is one of the most convenient locations in the city. It is situated midway between the Old Town and the ferry port at Gruž, and is just about within walking distance of both. This 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 latter is the perfect place to catch cult movies on balmy summer nights.
Just beyond Boninovo lies the Lapad peninsula, famous for Lapad beach and the vivacious row of outdoor cafes along Kralja Zvonimira. Caffeine fiends will love it here: this is Dubrovnik’s most animated coffee-drinking spot.
Best for a stunning location: Hotel Bellevue
The cliff-hugging Hotel Bellevue is arranged vertically, with reception is at the top of the cliff and luxury rooms at the bottom. At the hotel's feet you'll find 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. Delivering on all levels, including the kind of lavish breakfast spread that gets you up in the morning.
Best for watching storms: 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.
Sprawling across a knobbly promontory 5km west of the Old Town, Babin Kduk tourist settlement was built in the 1970s to attract well-heeled western tourists. Top American architect Edward Durell Stone was drafted in to handle design duties, creating a mixture of manicured gardens 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: Dubrovnik President Hotel
The President is the epitome of Adriatic cool. Made up of garden-covered terraces descending the hillside towards a small beach, it also faces the Elaphite Islands. Rooms come with blissful maritime views.
Best for value: Tirena Sunny
The Tirena Sunny is a rather stylish example of what hotel architecture was like in the good old days. Expect broad stairwells, high-ceilinged rooms and lots of light and space.
Best for happy 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. There's on-site eating, drinking and shopping facilities, and live musical entertainment in the summer.
Top image: Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia © Ihor Pasternak / Shutterstock.