Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most iconic tourist cities in the world, but how does it shape up as an experience for families and children? To make a vacation in Dubrovnik a relaxing experience the whole family will enjoy and remember, engage in fun activities in a variety of locations during your visit to Dubrovnik. We promise that the effort is worth it, and here are our recommendations!
Feel the buzz of the Old Town
Children in Dubrovnik will have a lot of fun roaming around the streets, towers, walls, and fortresses of the city. Stroll down the central and most charming street of Old City, Stradun, which has been connecting the eastern and western gates of the city since the 11th century. Enjoy the history, the architecture, the social buzz, or gelato in the heart of Dubrovnik. We suggest a return early in the morning or late in the afternoon to prevent traffic.
Surrounding the historic heart of the city, the city walls are one of the most iconic sights of Dubrovnik stretching over 1940 meters and providing spectacular views of the famous red roofs as well as the sea. Rolling through the city walls can be a unique activity for youngsters, with many fortresses, bastions, and towers to be found. Needless to mention, this adventure provides a variety of places for catching remarkable moments in wonderful photos.
Explore Dubrovnik’s museums
Did you know that the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) was the second-largest naval force in the Mediterranean and third-largest in Europe, after Venice and the Netherlands in the mid-sixteenth century? Served by forty-four consuls in various ports? With the aid of skilled diplomacy, Dubrovnik’s traders travelled freely, and the city had a large fleet of merchant ships in the fleet. At the Maritime Museum, you can marvel at the rich maritime past of Dubrovnik, which has been preserved across more than five thousand artefacts. Also, you can learn how the sailing heritage has developed over the years, all the way from Antiquity.
If you want to get to know the traditions and folk costumes of the old Republic of Dubrovnik, the Ethnographic Museum ‘Rupe’ is worth a visit. Translated into English, ‘rupe‘ means holes referring to nine-meter-deep pits cut into the rock used to store state grain and wheat stocks in the old days. Granary stocks in 15 such holes in total have been adequate to feed Dubrovnik for a whole year, so Dubrovnik citizens never knew famine.
Another ancient treasure can be discovered inside the Franciscan monastery. Tiny but intriguing, the Old Pharmacy is the third oldest pharmacy still in operation in Europe, established in 1317. Seven centuries ago, Friers had over 2,000 recipes for anything from ordinary drugs to secret poisons and formulas. Nowadays you can purchase a choice of essential oil items harvested from several Mediterranean plants found in the lush garden behind the monastery, such as sage, mint, oranges, and roses.
Wander around Lokrum island
Put aside some time to visit the lush oasis of Dubrovnik, just a stone’s throw away from the ancient Old City Walls. Lokrum, a small island and a nature reserve is a peaceful and idyllic place to get away from the city rush, only a 10-minute boat ride from the Old Town. This hidden gem is especially enjoyable for families with children. Discover the salt-water lake in the middle of the island, take selfies with peacocks, watch rabbits play on the meadows, have a picnic in olive groves, stroll through the Maximilian Gardens or visit Fort Royal, the location where some of the Game of Thrones scenes were made.
If you’re just interested in reading the various myths and legends, get a local guide. There are many stories about Lokrum and Dubrovnik, but two of them stand out. Once upon a time, the great King of England, Richard the Lionheart, found refuge in Lokrum after a serious sea storm and promised to build two churches in gratitude. They can still be found in Dubrovnik today!
The other legend is the Benedictine curse after the exile from the monastery where they lived for centuries. Just before leaving the island, the monks held a final mass and circled the island three times, cursing all the later owners and owners who had died of unnatural causes.
Thrilling tours and experiences
Hollywood’s finest have always considered Dubrovnik as the perfect movie-making location. From the golden era in the 1960s with Sophia Loren, Yul Brynner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton to the more recent years as a hotspot for holidaying A-listers, like Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Owen Wilson, Michael Douglas, and Catharine Zeta-Jones, just to name a few. Yet nothing shone from the light of Hollywood like the world’s famous Game of Thrones.
All fans of this famous epic fantasy probably know that King’s Landing, Dubrovnik, was the main filming location in Croatia. Enjoy views of the red-roofed skyline that is known as the Capital of the Seven Kingdoms as you explore the ancient old town. We recommend the “Game of Thrones” tour, where you can look at the imaginary Blackwater Bay from the spectacular perspective of the fort and imagine the bloody Blackwater War taking place outside the old walls of Dubrovnik.
Those thirsty for adventure can also visit Dubrovnik Escape Room, another exciting family experience in Dubrovnik. Choose between ‘Save King’s Landing’ quest inspired by Game of Thrones or ‘Secret treasure of Dubrovnik’ adventure inspired by Dubrovnik culture & history.
No visit to Dubrovnik will be complete without a beautiful panoramic view of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, and the best way is to take a cable car ride to the Srđ mountain. On a clear day, the view is 60 km (37 miles) long! While you’re there, you can also visit the Croatian War of Independence Museum inside the Imperial Fortress to discover Dubrovnik’s time and life under siege in 1991.
Do not miss the islands
Croatia is known as one of the greatest beach and sailing destinations in Europe, with its spectacular coastline, endless islands, beautiful beaches, and pristine waters. No wonder, as the Adriatic Sea is considered as one of the cleanest in the world. If this caught your attention then a day’s enjoying the seaside might be just for you.
Embark on a sailing trip with a professionally licensed skipper to explore the surrounding Elaphite Islands and secluded bays with ideal swimming spots. While the Croatian coast offers a selection of beaches to choose from, there are only a few sandy beaches and one can be found on the small island of Lopud. Sandy beach Šunj, known for its shallow azure waters and lush vegetation, is a truly divine place to experience the warm Mediterranean sunshine.
Water sports are also very popular in Croatia, offering sea lovers a lot more than swimming or sunbathing. Enjoy water activities such as jet and water skiing, snorkelling, or exploring the islands on your own with a rented boat. A Jet Ski Safari will show you the secluded caves of the beautiful island of Koločep, such as the Blue Cave on the southern side of the island, where you can comfortably anchor and swim through the crystal-clear blue sea. Some spots are only accessible from the sea, so it’s worth a visit. No matter which of these choices you select, we’re sure you’re going to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and have the adventure to remember.
Christian Larss Kreković is a General Manager at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik. Sun Gardens Dubrovnik is a luxury resort on the Adriatic coast in Croatia offering bespoke guest experiences.