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Get High! Walk the Dubrovnik City Walls (2024 Guide)

The best time to enjoy the Dubrovnik wall walk is just before the sun sets,” they say.

True.

The last time we visited, our Croatia itinerary stretched out to a leisurely three weeks. And we did stroll atop the massive Dubrovnik city walls at sunset – when the setting sun bathed everything in a vivid golden glow.

And it was lovely…

But on a couple of previous visits to Croatia, we’ve also enjoyed walking the walls of Dubrovnik in the morning, especially when we were able to beat the crowds!

So really, any time is a great time for walking the Dubrovnik city walls.

Here, then, are tips for walking the epic walls that surround the Old City – including what to expect and how to have the best experience possible. Read on!

Do the Dubrovnik wall walk for amazing views of the Old Town!
You get amazing views when walking Dubrovnik’s city walls!

Guide: Walking Dubrovnik walls

Dubrovnik’s city walls – What you see

Cool facts about Dubrovnik’s walls

Pile Gate – The main city walls entrance

Time – How long does it take to do the Dubrovnik city wall walk?

Tickets – Cost, opening hours, etc.

Pro tips

Exploring the Old Town

Dubrovnik walls tours

Let’s walk it again!

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik wall walk: What you see

A sea of red-tile roofs in the Old Town of Dubrovnik
The Old City of Dubrovnik is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world

Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik,” raved playwright George Bernard Shaw upon visiting the city in 1929.

Shaw was right on.

One of Croatia’s most beautiful coastal cities, Dubrovnik is known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”

When you walk on top of the walls, strolling from tower to tower, you get breathtaking views of both the entire Old Town below and the Adriatic Sea.

Gazing down at the fortified city – designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site – you see a treasure trove of Gothic and Renaissance churches, monasteries, Venetian palaces and ornately carved fountains.

They’re all crammed together with shuttered apartments, hole-in-the-wall boutiques and outdoor restaurants and cafés.

Looking down into the Old Town from atop the Dubrovnik city wall
Looking down into the Old Town from atop the Dubrovnik city wall

It’s a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes – and a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people who reside within the famous walls.

Schoolboys kick soccer balls along narrow cobbled streets. Women hang their laundry in tiny courtyard gardens.

And the jumble of red-tiled roofs is mesmerizing.

Laundry hanging out the window in Dubrovnik
Signs of everyday life – laundry hanging out to dry

On the other side of the medieval stone wall (the sea-facing side), you’ll likely see laughing youths dive off the rocks at the wall’s base into the cobalt-blue sea.

About the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik

The stone walls you see today were built mainly during the 12th to the 17th centuries to protect the city from attack.

The whole length is about 1¼ miles (encircling most of the Old City). Some parts are as high as 83 feet above the ground!

These high walls are super thick too. In some places on the landward side, the walls are almost 20 feet thick. On the seaward side, they’re about 5 to 10 feet thick.

Located along the north side of the walls, the circular Minceta Tower is the highest point of the walls.

The round stone Minceta Tower on the Dubrovnik city walls
Originally built in the 14th century, the Minceta Tower is a fort built within the walls on the north side, facing toward the land

Climb the narrow winding staircase to the top of the tower for the absolute best views in the town.

You can see everything from here – all of the town, Lokrum island in the distance, the 1,000-year-old Lovrijenac Fortress (or Fort Lawrence) beyond the walls and the shimmering sea.

On the western corner of the Dubrovnik Old Town walls is the Bokar Fortress.

Cylindrical in shape, it was built in 1461 by an Italian architect to defend the Pile Gate (the western main entrance into the city).

Another fort built into the ancient walls is St. John’s Fortress (in the southeast corner). Often called Mulo Tower, its purpose was to prevent pirates and enemy ships from accessing the city’s harbor.

As you walk on top of the wall, you’ll note it isn’t flat – it’s a bit of “up and down.”

In fact, the city walls have a total of 1,080 steps (including those at three entrances). We didn’t count them, but a team of young international students apparently has!

Pile Gate, Dubrovnik: Main entrance

There are three different entrances to the Dubrovnik walls.

One is at Pile Gate, one is at Ploce Gate (near the Dominican Monastery) and one is close to the Maritime Museum at Fort St. John.

Most visitors enter the fortified Old City through the drawbridge over the 15th-century Pile Gate (or Vrata od Pila). 

The Pile Gate entrance to the walls is thus a convenient one. (We’ve always started at this entrance.)

You have to climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the top of the wall to start your walk.

When you’ve finished your walk, you can exit the walls and enter Dubrovnik Old Town through this same gate – so you can explore the town itself (discussed below).

View through window of Dubrovnik's red tile roofs
A window with a view!

How long does it take to walk the city walls in Dubrovnik?

Old Town of Dubrovnik
The Old Town of Dubrovnik is a photographer’s dream!

Allow two hours to walk the wall if it’s your first time.

While you can do it in an hour, you’ll likely be so blown away by the views that you’ll be stopping to take photos every few feet.

You really want time to soak it all up.

If it’s not too busy (and you’re not too pokey), you may find it will only take you 1½ hours to walk around.

Dubrovnik wall walk
Take your time walking the Dubrovnik city walls – there’s lots to see!

Dubrovnik city walls tickets

Dubrovnik walls price

Entrance tickets aren’t cheap. The cost went up again in 2022.

Tickets for the Dubrovnik city walls walk are now 250 Croatian Kunas (about 33 Euros or $36 USD) per adult.

You can only pay cash (in Kuna) or use a credit card.

If you’d like to buy tickets online in advance, here’s the official City Walls Dubrovnik website.

Dubrovnik Old Town roof tiles
We love all the different colors of the roof tiles

Entry to Fort Lovrijenac

Your single use wall ticket also includes the entrance fee for Fort Lovrijenac (the Fort of St. Lawrence).

It’s valid for 72 hours, so you can visit the fortress, for example, the following day.

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll be jazzed to know the fort features as the Red Keep in the hit TV series. (Here’s more information on the Game of Thrones’ sites.)

Dubrovnik Card

Alternatively, you can buy the Dubrovnik Card from the City of Dubrovnik.

You can purchase a 1-day card, 3-day card or 7-day card.

The 1-day card costs 250 Kunas (about $36 USD), the same as a single ticket for the walls. But the beauty of this card is that it also includes admission to several other Dubrovnik attractions, museums and public transportation – as well as entry to the walls.

Dubrovnik city walls opening hours

The opening hours vary, depending on the time of year:

  • January and February – 10.00 am to 3.00 pm
  • March – 9.00 am to 3.00 pm
  • April and May – 9.00 am to 6.30 pm
  • June and July – 8.00 am to 7.30 pm
  • August to September 15 – 8.00 am to 7.00 pm
  • September 15 to October 31 – 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
  • November and December – 9.00 am to 3.00 pm

Pro tips for your Dubrovnik wall walk

Young woman with camera, walking the Dubrovnik walls, looking out toward the Adriatic Sea
You get a natural high when walking these awesome walls!

One way only!

To walk the medieval walls of Dubrovnik, you must walk in one direction, anti-clockwise.

No going against the flow!

Visitors walking on top of the old city walls in Dubrovnik in summertime.
Everyone walks in the same direction (anti-clockwise) on the wall

Get there early (or late)

Our top tip is to start your walk early to avoid the crowds.

If you’re visiting any time from June to September 15 (peak season), the walls open at 8:00 am. Be there by 8:00 am for the most enjoyable experience.

If you go later in the morning or mid-day, you run the risk of being stuck in a slow-shuffling conga line of visitors, with no way of passing anyone.

Also, there’s very little shade on the walls, and the sun is hot in the summer months. Going first thing in the morning means you beat the heat, and your walk will be more comfortable.

Another good time to walk the walls is late afternoon, as the crowds usually thin out by then.

Avoid cruise ship days

Try to time your visit for a day when there are no cruise ships in port.

Walking the Dubrovnik walls is a top excursion. If you can help it, you don’t really want to be doing your wall walk at the same time as hundreds of cruise passengers.

Check this CruiseDig website for Dubrovnik – it’s one site that shows the Dubrovnik cruise ship schedule. You can also ask your hotel, as they will likely know too.

If you can’t arrange your visit for when there are no cruise ships in port, going early or at the end of the day should still mean you’ll avoid bumping elbows with cruise passengers.

Most cruise excursions don’t get going until 9:00 am or later, and they usually take passengers back to the ship by 4:30 or 5:00 pm.

There's so much to photograph on the Dubrovnik Old Town wall walk.
Everywhere you look, there’s something to photograph on the Dubrovnik Old Town wall walk

Take a break

Several cafés along the way offer the opportunity to sit in the shade with a coffee or cold drink. (But if you can wait until you finish your walk, so much the better, as you’ll have more choice of pretty cafés in the town, and the costs are less.)

There are also toilets along the walls.

What to bring

If visiting in summer, take a bottle of water with you – it can get hot up there on the wall! Wear a hat too.

And your feet will thank you if you wear comfy shoes or travel sandals.

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik Cathedral
The dome of the Dubrovnik Cathedral rises elegantly above the skyline

Okay, so you’ve finished your walk on top of the walls – and you’re keen to get an up-close look at some of the attractions in the town itself.

The Old Town of Dubrovnik is compact enough that you won’t get lost.

It’s easy to simply stroll about on your own. And because vehicles aren’t allowed inside, you can walk the marble-paved streets and alleyways without fear of being mowed down by a scooter or car.

Franciscan Monastery

Among the many historic buildings you can tour is the Franciscan Monastery.

In the gardened cloister, a pharmacy dating back to 1317 – the third oldest in Europe – still operates.

It’s also a museum. On display are the ceramic bowls, metal instruments, and mortar and pestle sets that the monks used to prepare medicines.

Dubrovnik Cathedral

Roman Catholic cathedral in Dubrovnik
The Roman Catholic cathedral in Dubrovnik was rebuilt several times over the centuries

Another beautiful sight is the present-day cathedral from the 18th century. (An earlier one, destroyed by an earthquake, was said to have been financed by King Richard the Lionheart.)

Inside the cathedral, you can see gold and silver reliquaries, along with a priceless 16th-century painting (“Assumption of the Virgin”) by the Venetian artist, Titian.

War Photo Limited

Old wars, new wars – a canon serves as a reminder…

Throughout the city, occasional pockmarks on houses and patched roofs remind you of the bombing the city received in the early 1990’s by the Yugoslavian army.

The Croatian war ended in 1995, and today the city has been virtually restored.

If you’re interested in Croatia’s complex relationships with its neighbors, visit the museum of war photos called War Photo Limited (open April to October).

We found it a very moving experience. 

Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Plan your trip between July 10 and August 25, and you’ll catch the Dubrovnik Summer Festival (founded in 1950).

Held each year, the 45-day event is filled with more than 70 ballets, operas, poetry readings, theater shows and concerts.

Dubrovnik city walls tours

You get a unique perspective of the Old Town when walking the Dubrovnik city walls.
Going on a guided walking tour is an excellent way to learn more about Dubrovnik

All three times that we’ve walked the walls of Old Town Dubrovnik, we’ve gone without a tour guide.

But to learn some of the rich history of Dubrovnik, there are several top-rated Old Town and city walls tours (all very reasonably priced). You may like one of these:

Walking the wall in Dubrovnik: Let’s do it again!

Walking the walls of Dubrovnik is one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik!
No doubt about it, walking on top of the city walls is one of our favorite things to do Dubrovnik!

When deciding what to do in Dubrovnik, you won’t lack for options.

In the city, you can enjoy everything from riding the Dubrovnik cable car up Mount Srd to swimming at a Dubrovnik beach.

As for the best day trips from Dubrovnik, you can swim and kayak in the beautiful Elaphiti Islands or take the ferry to Korcula.

Whatever your plans, just be sure you put the Dubrovnik city walls walk high on your list of things to do in Dubrovnik!

The next time we visit the medieval town, no doubt we’ll stroll the marble-paved Stradun (main thoroughfare) again.

And we’ll probably check out more shops.

For sure, we’ll plonk ourselves down at an outdoor café for more cappuccinos (maybe more cake too!).

Cappuccino and cake in Dubrovnik Old Town
Plenty of outdoor cafes in the Old Town are good spots for taking a break from sightseeing

But we’ll also walk the walls of Dubrovnik again. 

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

You won’t lack for accommodation choices in this beautiful city.

On our last visit, we stayed at the Hotel Excelsior, about a 10-minute walk from the Old Town.

If you want a deluxe room with a sea-view balcony, an outdoor terrace (where you get up from your beach lounger and dive right into the sea) and a gorgeous indoor swimming pool, this is your place.

Pssst! Book dinner one evening at Sensus Restaurant.

Sitting out on the terrace at dusk here – sipping bubbly rosé while gazing at the Old Town’s twinkling lights – is romantic dining at its most memorable.

For more Dubrovnik tourist information

See the Dubrovnik Tourist Office website.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!


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Walking the Dubrovnik City Walls

Photo credits: 2, 4, 6, 8, 11 to 13, 15 to 17, 19 to 22 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Dani B.

Friday 17th of October 2014

I have travelled to Croatia on a number of occasions.

I first fell in love with the place when I was just 23 and on my first (old enough to remember) European trip. I was in awe of its authenticity and beauty. It is the one place in Europe where you feel like you have stepped into a time warp and gone back into a medieval paradise. It's so beautiful! I just used to stand there and gaze in the distance and think to myself - how is it possible that something is so beautiful?

If you want to visit beautiful smaller places, here are my recommendations - GOOGLE them. Porec, Rovinj, Motovun and Bale (in Istria); the islands of Losinj, Rab and Cres; Zadar, Sibenik and Vodice (and drive to Island Murter and visit Betina, Murter and Tisno via Tribunj). Also stop at Skradin (Bill Gates' favourite) and visit Krka Waterfalls and on your way to Split, stop in Primosten (stunning).

In Southern Dalmatia, one cannot miss Trogir, Hvar, Korcula and my favourite, the southern island of Vis and also Mljet and Lastovo Island.

Then as you head towards Dubrovnik by car, you must stop in Makarska or anywhere along the Makarska Riviera - all its towns are beautiful (Brela and Punta Rata, Tucepi village...).

Apart from the obvious, Croatia has way too much to see. I say for a small country in size, per capita, it has the highest density of beauty and things to see of any European country. One secret spot which I will let you in on that you will all thank me for is a town 40 mins outside the Plitvice Lakes, where everyone should at least have dinner or base themselves when visiting the famous lakes. This place is called Rastoke, a village built on waterfalls - A hidden gem.

Janice and George

Saturday 18th of October 2014

Wow! Thanks for the detailed suggestions! We too especially love Croatia. We've traveled beyond Dubrovnik but could return to the country in a heartbeat. We have really fond memories of swimming off Mali Losinj and strolling the streets of Korcula and Trogir. But you've suggested some places we haven't visited - you make us want to return to Croatia and check them out personally :-).

Nat

Sunday 20th of July 2014

So beautiful, I do hope we get there some day. Thanks for sharing.

Frank

Sunday 20th of July 2014

Lovely post about Dubrovnik, guys! We too love to walk the walls and to watch the everyday life of its residents from above. Dubrovnik is a really inspirational city and one of a kind. Thanks so much for sharing. Next time in Croatia, drop us a line, and we'll be happy to meet you and show you around.

Suki F

Friday 18th of July 2014

What a gorgeous place! I loved your photos.

Donna Janke

Friday 18th of July 2014

I haven't visited Dubrovnik, but it's beautiful. I love the red tiled roofs.