Sun-kissed beaches, staggering natural landscapes, spirited cities and some seriously crave-worthy cuisine – captivating Croatia has it all.
While in Dubrovnik, you can experience all of this at, and although we’re pretty sure you can never tired of its endless charm, it’s always nice to have a change of scenery and tick off as much of your Croatia wish-list as you can while you’re here, right?
Then day trips are not to be missed. To get to these spectacular spots, you can venture across land by car or bus or sail through the magnificent Adriatic on a boat. Where will you choose to visit?
You get two countries in one on this exciting trip. Just a two-and-a-half-hour-drive away, you’ll find the magnificent city of Mostar, one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest cities. From Dubrovnik, just head along the coast towards Slano, before driving north to cross the border and on towards Mostar.
Spread across the Neretva River, this jewel hosts striking structures, picture-perfect views and gorgeous greenery. During the Balkan conflict, the city was heavily damaged, but after the UNESCO-listed Old Bridge and much of the Old Town was fabulously rebuilt in 2004, it’s made a miraculous comeback.
The restored Old Bridge, also known as Stari Most, is one of its most iconic sights. It stretches across the river, connecting the two sides of the city and diving off the unique hump-backed bridge has become somewhat of a local tradition. So much so that an annual diving competition is held here and it’s now featured in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
The winding alleys that surround it are great for getting lost in. Lined with independent shops and market stalls, the old town is where you can purchase quirky souvenirs or pick up lunch to-go and enjoy it by the water.
Hire a car and adventure as you wish or join a guided tour and have all the driving taken care of. Don’t forget your passport! As you’re crossing the border into another country, you’ll need to have it handy for ID purposes.
Escape to Mljet, one of Croatia’s greenest islands, by hopping on a ferry or catamaran from Dubrovnik. It only takes around an hour to reach this haven, so you could be exploring in no time.
If you’re a fan of outdoor activities, you’ll love it here as the vast Mljet National Park encompasses the whole north-west part of the island. And it’s here where you can enjoy everything from kayaking and swimming in the salt water lakes to walking and cycling on well-marked paths.
It’s also a foodie’s heaven, producing some hugely popular varieties of wine, olives and cheese. The seaside villages of Pomena and Polace are your best bets for restaurants that serve up these lovely local products.
For this one, simply stroll down to Gruž harbour and catch a ferry across to explore this idyllic archipelago.
There are 14 islands in total here but it’s only Koločep, Lopud and Šipan – the three largest – that are permanently inhabited. And the population of these three all together is still less than 1,000. Sounds bliss to us! Koločep and Lopud are entirely car-free too, so if you’re looking to escape the bustling streets of Dubrovnik, these could be the perfect bases for your day trip.
Organised tours can take up to nine hours, where you’ll set off in the morning and return to Dubrovnik in the early evening. You’ll start on the evergreen isle of Koločep, before heading to historic Šipan – the largest of the archipelago – and Lopud with its stunning sandy beaches.
Three hours north of Dubrovnik sits Split, Croatia’s second-largest city. Similar looking to Dubrovnik, its winding streets are terracotta topped too and filled with as much charm.
Step back in time to the Roman period as you stroll the fortress-like centre and admire striking Diocletian’s Palace. The palace boundaries house more than 200 buildings, encompassing around half of the Old Town. Hidden among the streets, you’ll find quaint cafés and bars alongside tiny souvenir shops.
If you’re wanting to take some time out, make a beeline for the beaches. They’re known as some of the best in the country, boasting white shingle shores and crystal-clear turquoise water. Claim your spot and soak up the rays or head to a laid-back beach club and sip signature cocktails.
You could hire out your own car and take the scenic route at your own pace or join a group of fellow explorers on a bus trip. However you decide to travel, it’s not to be missed!
Cross the border into Montenegro to explore Kotor. It’s just a two-hour drive south along the coast and the enchanting towns you’ll pass en route will make the journey time pass in a flash.
This dreamy setting is sandwiched between dramatic mountains and rolling hillsides. Its medieval Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and once you’ve spent a few minutes here, you’ll certainly see why. Come night time in Kotor, the maze of lit-up streets look even better and cafés and bars are alive with mingling locals enjoying live jazz music.
One of the highlights in Kotor is Our Lady of the Rocks. Shrouded in mystery, it’s a teeny tiny man-made island and church that’s floating out in the centre of the bay. Right beside it, you’ll see another small island covered with cypress trees. This is known as Sveti Djordje or ‘Islet of the Dead’.
If you’re not up for driving, there’s a bus service that runs from Dubrovnik to Kotor. It takes a little longer but at least you won’t have to worry about following a map!
Cool Cavtat is only 30 minutes from Dubrovnik and when a gem like this is right on your doorstep, it would just be rude not to check it out.
The tree-lined harbour is backed by a pretty promenade where you can while away the days and enjoy a spot of people-watching. Admire high-end yachts bobbing up and down in the water or stop for lunch in one of the waterfront restaurants.
As with most Croatian cities, the old towns are usually the most charming parts, and this is one that’s no different. See the mix of old and new architecture existing together and soak up the atmosphere. But be warned, there are lots of steps, so if you’re a little unsteady on your feet, it’s probably not the best choice.
Getting there is easy though. Simply hop on the local bus which departs from Dubrovnik centre or sail straight into the Old Town in a water taxi and take in the serene seascapes along the way.
Posted: 24th Jul 2019.