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. Plus, it's also close to several of the 10 best beaches in Croatia. Here's our guide on where to stay in Dubrovnik.
Old Town: the best area for first-time visitors
You haven't seen Dubrovnik until you’ve explored its historic heart of marble and gleaming baroque architecture wedged within the old city walls. And its main artery, Stradun, is simply one of the most beautiful streets in Europe.
To many, Stradun – also known as Placa – is Dubrovnik, that glistening marble-paved thoroughfare that runs between Pile and Ploče Gates. This route takes a leisurely tour along this main artery and off to the many museums, galleries and squares within the walls of the old town, all of which is pedestrianised.
With its cavalcade of historical buildings, maze-like alleyways and imposing town walls, the Old Town is by far the most beguiling part in where to stay in Dubrovnik. 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.
Not sure where to start exploring the city? Use our guide on the best things to do in Dubrovnik and make your own programme.
- 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, is situated on the amazing roof terrace.
- Best for rooms with a view: Old Town Port Apartments. Located in the very centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, Old Town Port Apartments is just steps off the famous Stradun Promenade and features apartments and studios with unique views of the sea and Old Harbour. All units are uniquely furnished and feature modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning.
- Best for home comforts: Karmen. A 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.
Ploče: where to stay in Dubrovnik for the beach
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.
The walk from Ploče Gate leads northeast along a quiet coast road, visiting the Museum of Modern Art and ending at a secluded cove, with an optional trip to Mount Srd.
In the height of summer, it can be oppressively busy within the City Walls when the cruise ships dock and passengers descend on the Old Town. Escaping the crowds with a stroll along the shore road gives you a different perspective on the city. And a trip up to Mount Srđ rewards you with sweeping views of the coast.
- Best for all-round luxury: Apartments Villa Victoria. Located only 1.3 km from the UNESCO-protected Dubrovnik Old Town, Apartments Villa Victoria offers air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi access and a balcony in each unit. The pebbly Banje Beach is 900 m away.
- Best for a swish hideaway: Villa Dubrovnik. A secluded modern building hidden below the coastal road, Hotel Villa Dubrovnik offers spacious luxury rooms and meticulous attention-to-detail service.
Discover 'the Pearl of the Adriatic' with our tailor-made tour to the hilights of Croatia trip to Dubrovnik and over famous cities.
Boninovo: one of the most convenient places to stay in Dubrovnik
Characterized by dramatic cliffs and rocky beaches, Boninovo is one of the most convenient locations where to stay in Dubrovnik. 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.
- 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 Premium. 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.
Gruž: the different side of Dubrovnik
Gruž, across the water, does not have a lot to offer the visitor except for lively fruit, vegetable and fish markets but it is the place to catch the scheduled catamaran to Mljet and the Jadrolinija ferries to Mljet and Korčula and onwards to Split. It’s also where the giant cruise ships dock, and this is one of the sites that has been suggested for a new giant aquarium that is supposedly in the pipeline.
The long-distance bus station (Autobusni Kolodvor) is a short way from the harbour. If you have time, though, it is worth a wander, especially in the morning when the area bustles with local life and gives a very different impression of Dubrovnik from the one you will get in the Old Town.
Like Lapad, Gruž is opening more restaurants and cafés that cater for residents as much as for tourists. Amfora is worth seeking out.
- Best for peaceful location: Hotel Lapad. This attractive 19th-century building with a modern wing is on the Lapad side of Gruž Harbour, 3km (2 miles) from the Pile Gate and on a bus route. Rooms in the new wing have air conditioning. There’s a pool and a boat service to the nearest beach in summer.
- Best for budget: Hotel Petka. Close to the ferry port, this functional hotel is good value. Get a room with a harbour view and balcony if you can. It’s also on a regular bus route into the old town.
Lapad peninsula: where to stay in Dubrovnik for families
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. Also, if you are looking where to stay in Dubrovnik for a family holiday take a close look at this particular area.
A walk around the peninsula takes you to the heart of Dubrovnik’s summertime playground and some of its most popular beaches. Out of season, the sea views are just as spectacular.
The great majority of Dubrovnik’s hotels are to be found on the Lapad peninsula, just a short bus ride from the Old City, and close to Gruž harbour. Although many new developments are changing the face of these suburbs, they remain pleasant, family-friendly, tree-filled areas with delightful bays. This route is a great introduction to the area and encompasses a delightful walk past Lapad Bay.
- Best for honeymoons: L’Orangerie. Offering a terrace in each unit, Dubrovnik Luxury Residence – L’Orangerie is located only a few steps from a pebbly beach in Dubrovnik and provides air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi access. The UNESCO-protected Dubrovnik Old Town is 3.5 km away. Free garage parking is provided on-site.
- Best for sea views: Royal Neptun Hotel. Renovated in 2015, Royal Neptun Hotel Dubrovnik is a peaceful beach-front property on the Lapad Peninsula. Surrounded by fragrant pine trees, it boasts magnificent panoramic sea views. Most of the rooms feature a balcony and free WiFi access is available throughout the property.
Babin Kuk: where to stay in Dubrovnik for gardens
Where Zvonimira meets Uvala Lapad and the broad beach with its giant concrete slide at the water’s edge. You’ll also see the beginning of a narrow path on the right that leads westwards along the coast.
This is the start of a pleasant walk around the Babin Kuk peninsula, with pine trees framing crystal-clear waters, oleanders drooping from gardens, people fishing from the rocks, cats dozing in the sun and plenty of opportunities to swim from the rocks.
Although ladders have been conveniently placed to help you in and out, many of the rocky paths leading to the sea need a certain amount of surefootedness, particularly on the way down.
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 Hotel. 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 spa: Argosy Hotel. Featuring indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a restaurant and a wellness centre, Valamar Argosy Hotel is located in Babin Kuk, 5.7 km from Dubrovnik Old Town. The hotel overlooks the Adriatic Sea and offers stylish rooms with free WiFi in all areas.
Pile: busy transport hub area in Dubrovnik
The Pile area is situated opposite the Pile Gates, one of Dubrovnik's popular attractions, on the western side of the Old Town. It is a small but very lively neighbourhood of Dubrovnik.
Pile is an important transport hub for the city so it is well known for frequent traffic jams. Keep in mind that tourists peak in the summer months and this part of the city is quite busy at these times. There are many restaurants, cafes and shops and businesses, all of that makes Pile a great place where to stay in Dubrovnik.
There is usually a bit of a scrum outside the Pile Gate as passengers are disgorged from tour group buses. Above it all, a figure of Sveti Vlaho (St Blaise), the city’s patron, holding a model of Dubrovnik, looks down with a benign expression. Through the gate and down a few steps is the inner gate, and immediately to the left, inside the fortifications, is one of the three entrances to the City Walls.
- Best for couples: Apartments Solitudo. Located in Dubrovnik, 700 m from Copacabana Beach and 1.5 km from Lapad Bay Beach, Apartments Solitudo provides accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a garden and a terrace.
- Best for patio with a view: Apartments Novak. Set 600 m from Dubrovnik’s Old Town and Banje Beach, Apartments Novak features air-conditioned accommodation with sea views. Each apartment or studio comes with a furnished balcony or a patio.
Dubrovnik is one of the reasons why Croatia is a perfect honeymoon destination.
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Top image: Aerial view of Dubrovnik, Croatia © Ihor Pasternak / Shutterstock.