Are you considering a trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia with kids? We went there with our three kids in August 2021, and in this post I’ll share with you my honest review of great things to do in Dubrovnik with kids. I’ll also offer a few tips on what NOT to do based on our experiences. We absolutely loved our trip to Dubrovnik.
We did not stay in a hotel, so this review won’t include hotel inclusive experiences, rather it will focus on what’s available in the town and surrounding areas. We stayed in a lovely apartment we found on Airbnb. We had never been to Croatia before and had no idea what to expect.
As great a location as our accommodation was (close to a bus route and close to the marina side of town), it did not have a pool. It was BOILING hot for the week we were there, and because we didn’t have access to a pool we headed out and about every day. I think we’d have saved ourselves a fair amount of ‘wandering around money’ by booking accommodation with a pool, and next time we go back this will be the main thing we do differently.
Q: Is Dubrovnik a good family holiday?
A: Yes, Dubrovnik is a great family holiday destination. The city offers a wide range of activities that are suitable for families with kids of all ages. Dubrovnik’s rich history, beautiful beaches, and stunning architecture make it a great place to explore, while the many family-friendly restaurants and cafes offer plenty of options for meals and snacks. The city also has several parks and playgrounds, and many of the beaches have facilities for families, including changing rooms, showers, and lifeguards. Whether you want to spend time exploring the city or relaxing on the beach, Dubrovnik is a great destination for a family holiday.
The Best Things To Do in Dubrovnik With Kids
In no particular order, here are 8 of our personal recommendations of things to do in Dubrovnik with kids.
A Day Trip To Lokrum Island from Dubrovnik
Lokrum Island is one of the largest islands within sight of Dubrovnik. It’s a 15-minute ferry ride from the old town port and you can buy your tickets, anywhere really. There are loads of tour company touts in town. We bought ours right in the old town port.
Lokrum Island is worth a day trip or even just a half-day trip with kids, but the pace of life in Dubrovnik is really chilled and really slow so no need to rush anything. There are no cars or transport on Lokrum Island, but it’s small enough to walk around – only 1.5 miles long. It has an uneven terrain so I’d recommend comfortable walking shoes – trainers are fine. When you get there you need to go to the main office to pay your visit entry fee (which they don’t tell you about when selling you the boat ticket) but it’s a nominal fee.
Lokrum island is inhabited by wild (but tolerant of humans) peacocks. It’s a beautiful island teeming with nature and you can swim just about anywhere. Do note that there is a nudist beach if you veer off to the far left of the island (from the arrival port) but it’s well signposted so no surprise moments.
Other highlights of a visit to Lokrum Island with kids include:
- ‘The Dead Sea Pool’ which is a natural salt water pool in the middle of the island. The high bouyancy of the water makes it very easy to float.
- The Botanical Gardens
- Ruins of the Benedictine Monastary
- Hike to Port Royal – the highest point of the island and a former French garrison.
- Have lunch at one of the restaurants – there aren’t many but the ones that are there serve really delicious food. However, you are welcome to take your own food as there are loads of picnic benches and chairs there.
- Visit the Iron Throne! If you’re a Game of Thrones Fan you will want to visit the Iron Throne. I’ve never watched it, but I still knew about the throne so when we got to the island it was on my list to get a picture sitting on the throne! And I did! Excuse the hair … I can only blame the humidity!
Walk The Dubrovnik City Walls with kids?
The hub of Dubrovnik is the Old Town. When you drive toward Dubrovnik from the airport you can’t miss the spectacular sight of the old town of Dubrovnik. The old town of Dubrovnik is surrounded by a wall. As a resident of York in the UK for many years, I can see the similarities between the two towns. The walls in both are thick, wide, built to protect their inhabitants. Whilst York has its own unique Yorkshire beauty, Dubrovnik’s walls have views of both the stunning Adriatic sea on one side and the red roofs and preserved beauty of the buildings of the old town Dubrovnik on the inside.
The Dubrovnik City walls are 1940 meters long and it’s recommended you put aside 2 hours for the walk, but if you have kids this would take longer. You do need to pay for your entry which you can do at Pile Gate (the main entrance to the Old Town), the Ploče Gate and the Maritime Museum. One other thing to consider is that you need to walk the walls in an anti-clockwise direction. It can be really busy, and I wouldn’t want to be the family carting a pushchair around either. It’s not all one level there are steep steps in certain parts.
Also … here’s a big one: If any of your party are scared of heights, don’t waste your money! Either leave them behind to do something else and go without them, or don’t go. It’s high up, It’s steep. It’s medieval. And it’s imperfect. But it’s 100% worth doing if you’re not terrified of heights. The kids and I loved it – read into that what you will. He knows!
Top Tip For Visiting Croatia: Whilst they are part of the EU, they have their own currency in Croatia – Croatian Kuna. When you’re paying in cash, they prefer Croatian Kuna and often don’t accept other currencies. However, cards are widely accepted in attractions, bars, restaurants and shops.
3. Hire a Speed Boat in Dubrovnik For a Day
Without a shadow of a doubt, this was our adventurous ocean-loving family’s favourite experience of our trip to Dubrovnik with the kids. If you splash out on one specific thing to do in Dubrovnik with kids, it’s this! We hired a speedboat for a half-day exploration of the Elaphite Islands. We had a local guide as the boat driver so he knew where to go to give us the best experiences based on what we wanted.
What did we want? Snorkelling spots, no crowds (remember, this was during the pandemic) and a certain amount of privacy. He took us to the famous ‘Blue Hole’ but as expected on arrival it was very busy so we didn’t stay long. Instead, we went to other lesser-known islands with great safe swimming spots (recommended by locals), that were perfect for our family to explore.
The boat hire included a guide, our fuel, drinks for all of us (local beers, sodas and water). The half-day hire was about 4 hours of our day. We only did this towards the end of our trip, and in hindsight, we should have done it twice. The cost is worth it. We went during the peak season and it cost us around £290 for the half-day – expensive but worth it.
4. The Cable Car Experience
If you exit the walls of Old Town Dubrovnik, you can walk up to the Cable Car base point and catch the cable car up to the summit of Mount Srd. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. There’s a restaurant up there and an amphitheatre that offered the relief of the shade when we went up.
There are crazy people who hike up and down the mountain to reach the summit – but that wasn’t for us in the middle of August! You can also hire a buggy up there to go on a buggy safari. We didn’t do that this time, but next time we’ll definitely be doing it. Check out this amazing video from the Dubrovnik Cable Car company themselves:
5. Take the Day Trip to Lopud Island By Ferry
On our first day in Dubrovnik, we took the ferry from the marina to Lopud Island. It’s a beautiful island, about an hour ferry from Dubrovnik marina. It’s not luxury travel, but it serves the purpose. My top tips for visiting Lopud island are to pack plenty of water, and a picnic for the day. When you get to the island there are quite a few tourist types of shops, which are crazy expensive, capitalising on the day-trippers. However, the further down the promenade you go, the cheaper they get. There’s a monastery to explore too, which is beautiful.
There are a few lovely restaurants and hotels further down, as well as a small park/garden to explore. We were told you can walk over to the opposite side of the island to a sandier beach (which we actually went to via speedboat on the day we hired the speedboat) and next time we’d probably make the trek, but for our first day whilst still adjusting to the heat we were happy with the front of the island.
The beaches in Croatia aren’t very sandy, and they are quite narrow so there isn’t a lot of beach space. You can hire sun loungers and parasols for a small fee on the beachfront. The water in Croatia is so beautiful and clear. We bought the kids goggles and a snorkel and they spent hours looking at the fish under the water. It’s that clear.
The ferry left fairly early in the morning, around 9.00 am, and returned at around 17.30. There are a couple of runs each day both ways, but on the way back, the earliest one at 17.30ish is quite late in the day with kids so you really need to go prepared, especially if you’re going with kids. On reflection, we’d probably have gone over a bit later as it was a long day waiting for the first ferry home. But the day was brilliant.
6. Explore The Old City
This might not be high on your list of things to do in Dubrovnik with kids, but if you’re there you need to spend some time exploring the old city of Dubrovnik itself. It’s such an awesome city to just walk around and soak up the ambience. You can visit the churches, museums, all the gorgeous little shops and of course, stop for coffee, gelato and vino. The buildings of Dubrovnik have retained their old-world charm, every corner your turn, every staircase, every alleyway, is just gorgeous.
If you’re a fan of Game Of Thrones, you will be able to catch glimpses of the movies set in unexpected corners of this vibrant city. GOT is a major commercial aspect of Dubrovnik, but if (like me), you’ve never watched it, you somehow still know some of the scenes and still get caught up with the vibe of it all. You can even go on GOT guided tours, and there’s merch available all over the city.
Another thing to remember is that Dubrovnik has a vibrant port and marina, and when the cruise ships dock the city can feel a bit overcrowded. Like other extremely hot destinations such as Dubai, you’ll find the town quieter in the middle of the day as everyone seeks refuge from the heat. But it comes alive in the evenings and nights!
7. Take The Kids To Captain Candy
Not one to promote specific stores or too many sweets, but as spoils for kids go when on holiday, if you do visit Dubrovnik with kids a visit to Captain Candy is a must. Check out the video I made which shows you exactly why you need to take your kids there. You can watch it on Instagram, please do like and share it!
8. Get an Ice-cream / Gelato every day.
Dubrovnik gelato or ice cream is just amazing! They give you massive portions and we had one just about every day. On the last day, we were there, we were getting the bus into town and recognised the guy from the ice-cream shop getting on the bus with us. The girls said hello to him, which took him a bit by surprise. When we got to his ice cream shop later that day he gave us all an ice cream on the house. Somehow that girls enjoyed the free ice cream more than the ones we’d paid for! Funny how kids do that isn’t it! lol
Obviously, I’m sure there are loads of other things to do in Dubrovnik with kids, but these are our 8 favourites to share with you.
5 More things to do in Dubrovnik with kids:
We didn’t get to do everything there is to offer in Dubrovnik, sadly, but here are a few other ideas of things you can do with kids in Dubrovnik to make the most of your time in this gorgeous city:
- Go Sea Kayaking – Older kids and teenagers will love a sea kayaking adventure along the Dubrovnik coast. There are several tour operators that offer guided tours.
- Take a Game of Thrones Tour – If your family is a fan of the hit TV show Game of Thrones, there are several guided tours that take you to the filming locations in Dubrovnik.
- Visit the Maritime Museum – The Maritime Museum in Dubrovnik is a great place to learn about the city’s maritime history, including ancient shipbuilding techniques and maritime trade.
- Visit the Dubrovnik Aquarium – The Dubrovnik Aquarium is a small but informative aquarium that is perfect for kids.
- Go to the Beach – Dubrovnik has several beautiful beaches that are great for families, including Banje Beach, Copacabana Beach, and Lapad Beach. See further details below about the best beach in Dubrovnik for kids.
Other common questions we get asked about our family visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia:
Q: How many days do you need for Dubrovnik?
A: I think Dubrovnik is a great place to visit, and to do it justice I’d recommend 4 days in Dubrovnik is ideal. After that, I’d suggest moving on to visit some of the other amazing places in Croatia. Next on our list is Split. The number of days you need in Dubrovnik largely depends on your travel style and interests. If you only want to explore the Old Town and take a few day trips, three to four days is usually enough time. However, if you want to explore more of the surrounding area or take part in activities like sea kayaking, hiking, or island hopping, you may want to stay for a week or more.
Here is a rough breakdown of the time you may want to allocate for different activities in Dubrovnik:
- Old Town: 1-2 days
- City Walls: 1 day
- Beaches: 1-2 days
- Day trips (e.g., Lokrum Island, Mljet Island, Ston, Kravice Waterfalls): 1-2 days
- Other activities (e.g., sea kayaking, cable car ride, Game of Thrones tour): 1-2 days
Keep in mind that this is just a general guide, and the amount of time you need in Dubrovnik may vary depending on your interests and pace of travel.
Q: What is the best month to visit Dubrovnik?
The best time to visit Dubrovnik largely depends on your travel preferences. Here are some factors to consider when deciding when to visit:
- Weather: Dubrovnik has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is from June to August when the weather is warmest and sunniest. However, if you prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, you may want to consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of May or September/October.
- Crowds: Dubrovnik is a popular tourist destination, and the Old Town can get crowded during the peak tourist season. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder season or even in the off-season when tourist numbers are lower.
- Events: Dubrovnik hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in July and August and the Feast of St. Blaise in February. If you’re interested in attending these events, plan your visit accordingly.
- Budget: Prices for accommodation and activities are usually higher during the peak tourist season, so if you’re on a budget, consider visiting in the shoulder or off-season when prices may be lower.
Overall, the best time to visit Dubrovnik depends on your travel preferences. If you want to enjoy sunny weather and take advantage of the beaches, plan your visit for the summer months. If you prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder season or off-season.
Q: Is Dubrovnik a walkable city?
Yes, Dubrovnik is a very walkable city, especially in the Old Town area. The Old Town is a pedestrian-only zone, and its narrow streets and alleys are perfect for exploring on foot. The main sights and attractions, such as the City Walls, the Stradun (the main street), and the many churches and museums, are all within walking distance of each other.
However, keep in mind that Dubrovnik is built on a hill, so there are some uphill climbs and stairs to navigate, especially if you want to access the City Walls or the cable car to Mount Srdj. It’s also worth noting that the streets and alleys in the Old Town can be quite steep and uneven in places, so comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
If you want to explore outside of the Old Town, there are several scenic walking paths and trails that offer stunning views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. These include the path around the City Walls, the path up to the cable car station, and the path to the nearby hillside village of Bosanka. Overall, Dubrovnik is a great city to explore on foot, and walking is one of the best ways to soak up its rich history and culture.
Q: Is Dubrovnik pushchair friendly? Can you use a pushchair to explore Dubrovnik with kids?
Dubrovnik’s Old Town area, which is the city’s main tourist attraction, can be challenging to navigate with a pushchair. The Old Town is a pedestrian-only zone with narrow streets and many steps, which can make it difficult to push a stroller or pushchair around. Some of the streets are also cobblestoned, which can be bumpy for both the pusher and the child.
However, if you plan to visit Dubrovnik with a pushchair, there are some things you can do to make your visit more comfortable. Firstly, consider bringing a lightweight and compact stroller that is easy to maneuver in tight spaces. You can also rent a baby carrier or sling to make it easier to explore the Old Town’s many stairs and uneven surfaces.
Some parts of Dubrovnik outside the Old Town, such as Lapad and Babin Kuk, have more flat and easily accessible streets, which can be more pushchair-friendly. There are also some parks and playgrounds in Dubrovnik that are suitable for families with young children.
Overall, while the Old Town area of Dubrovnik can be challenging to navigate with a pushchair, it is still possible to visit with young children. With a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy all that Dubrovnik has to offer while keeping your child comfortable and safe.
Q: Can you get around Dubrovnik without a car?
Yes, it is very easy to get around Dubrovnik without a car. The Old Town area, which is the main tourist attraction, is a pedestrian-only zone, so the best way to explore it is on foot. Most of the major sights and attractions in Dubrovnik are within walking distance of each other.
If you need to travel further afield, there are several public transportation options available. The city has a comprehensive bus network that connects the Old Town with other parts of the city and the surrounding areas. The buses are affordable and frequent, making them a convenient way to get around.
If you want to explore the nearby islands or coastal areas, there are regular ferry and boat services available from Dubrovnik’s port. These services can take you to popular destinations like Lokrum Island, Mljet Island, and the Elaphite Islands.
Finally, there are also taxis and ride-sharing services available in Dubrovnik if you need to get around quickly or don’t want to take public transportation. However, taxis can be more expensive than other forms of transportation, especially during peak tourist season.
Overall, getting around Dubrovnik without a car is easy and convenient, thanks to its pedestrian-friendly Old Town, public transportation options, and ferry services to nearby islands and coastal areas.
Q: Are there sandy beaches in Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik is known for its beautiful coastline, but it does not have many sandy beaches. Most of the beaches in Dubrovnik are pebbly or rocky, with crystal-clear water that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
One of the most popular beaches in Dubrovnik is Banje Beach, which is located just outside the Old Town. Banje Beach is a pebbly beach with crystal-clear water and offers stunning views of the Old Town’s medieval walls. There are also plenty of amenities available at Banje Beach, including sun loungers, umbrellas, bars, and restaurants.
Another popular beach in Dubrovnik is Copacabana Beach, which is located in the Babin Kuk area, a short bus ride from the Old Town. Copacabana Beach is a pebbly beach that is ideal for families, with shallow water and plenty of water sports and activities available.
If you’re looking for a sandy beach near Dubrovnik, you may want to consider visiting the nearby island of Lopud, which has one of the few sandy beaches in the area. Sunj Beach on Lopud Island is a beautiful sandy beach with shallow water that is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
Overall, while there are no large sandy beaches in Dubrovnik, the area offers plenty of beautiful pebbly and rocky beaches with clear water and stunning scenery.
Q: What is the best beach for kids in Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik has several beaches that are suitable for kids, with calm waters and plenty of amenities available. Here are some of the best beaches for kids in Dubrovnik:
- Banje Beach: Banje Beach is a popular pebbly beach located just outside the Old Town. The water here is crystal clear and calm, making it ideal for kids to swim and play. There are plenty of amenities available at Banje Beach, including sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, and bars.
- Copacabana Beach: Copacabana Beach is another popular pebbly beach located in the Babin Kuk area, a short bus ride from the Old Town. The water here is shallow and calm, and there are plenty of water sports and activities available for kids.
- Lapad Beach: Lapad Beach is a large pebbly beach located in the Lapad area of Dubrovnik. The water here is calm and shallow, making it ideal for kids to swim and play. There are also plenty of amenities available, including sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, and restaurants.
- Sunj Beach (Lopud Island): While not located in Dubrovnik itself, Sunj Beach on Lopud Island is one of the few sandy beaches in the area and is perfect for kids. The water here is shallow and calm, and there are plenty of water sports and activities available.
Overall, there are several beaches in Dubrovnik that are suitable for kids, with calm waters and plenty of amenities available. It’s worth visiting a few different beaches to find the one that best suits your family’s needs.