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Dubrovnik & Beyond in 1 Week

If you are visiting Dubrovnik, you may have arrived by air, or by car after an overnight train to Split, or by ferry from Rijeka or Italy. Whichever way you arrived at this spectacular city in southern Dalmatia, you’ll want to make the most of every moment inside—and outside—its walls.

Days 1 & 2: Dubrovnik

Settle into your hotel, take a swim, and catch the bus to the Pile Gate (or walk there if you happen to be staying at the Imperial Hilton). Just before you get to the gate, stop at the tourist office (across the street from the Hilton) and pick up a map of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Next, check the time. If it’s between 11am and 5pm, kill time by strolling the Stradun: Explore the Old Town’s churches and museums; stop for lunch, perhaps at Proto; and wait until the sun is low in the sky before you start your walk on the walls. Grab a bottle of water and head for the Pile Gate entrance to the stairs leading to the top of the stone fortification. Doing the entire 2km (1 1/4-mile) circuit atop the walls is a nonnegotiable must-do if you are physically able. After all, you’ve traveled all the way to Dubrovnik and this is the ultimate Dubrovnik experience.

Allow a minimum of 1 hour for this trek, more if you are prone to oohing and aahing at spectacular scenery, or if you want to make a splash jumping off the rocks directly outside the seaward walls before or after your trek. By the time you’ve come down to earth, the promenade on the Stradun will have begun. You’ll be ready for a break, a swim, and a glass of wine, so head to Buža, where you’ll get amazing views of the sun setting over the sea.

Spend Day 2 in Dubrovnik exploring everything Old Town has to offer, including the streets that radiate from the Stradun. You’ll find some interesting surprises here, including the second-oldest synagogue in Europe, galleries, restaurants, and a shop or two. This is the day to “do” the churches, museums, and palaces in Old Town. Be sure to check out War Photo Ltd, too. In the afternoon, take a taxi-boat to the tiny islet of Lokrum and have a swim, or ride the Dubrovnik Cable Car to the peak of Mount Srdj for amazing views down on the fortified Old Town. Have dinner in Otto overlooking the port on the edge of Lapad, but make it an early night because Day 3 will be busy.

Days 3 & 4: A Day Trip from Dubrovnik

An ideal side trip from Dubrovnik is a visit to the Pelješac Peninsula. You can take a self-guided tour or sign up at Atlas or another agency for an escorted tour of the Pelješac vineyards and wineries. If you drive yourself, take the coastal highway north.

The first stop is Ston, the Pelješac town closest to the mainland. Ston’s obvious draw is the 5km (3 mile) 14th-century defensive wall that stretches above the town from both sides and forms a horseshoe in the hills above it. You’ll want to climb this mini–Great Wall of China with a friend just so you can get your picture with the wall behind you. This is not an easy climb (there are lots of stairs), and parts of the wall are still under renovation. Ston and its twin settlement Mali Ston up the road are both known for their oyster and mussel beds, and both have restaurants that serve fabulous versions of these shellfish—savor them for lunch at Kapetenova Kuća. You can walk the salt pans outside town to see how this ancient salt collection method works (you’ll probably have the place to yourself). Stop at the ticket kiosk at the entrance and buy a few bags of souvenir sea salt from Ston.

The Pelješac Peninsula runs for about 64km (40 miles) from Ston to Lovišće and measures from 2.4 to 6.8km (1 1/2 to 4 1/4 miles) wide at various points. However, these parameters are deceptive as Pelješac is quite mountainous, and the end-to-end drive usually takes more than 2 hours. It will be midafternoon by the time you finish with Ston, and you’ll want to visit some of Pelješac’s wineries, which are scattered all over the peninsula.

Day 5: Orebić

From Ston, you’ll head to low-key Orebić toward the far end of the peninsula, where you’ll spend the night at Hotel Adriatic or in the private accommodations you arranged in Dubrovnik.

Orebić is a lively town from dawn to dusk; people stay on the beach and in the sea well after dark. At night the promenade along the waterfront is alive with families walking to and from restaurants and cafes. However, for a truly memorable dinner, drive up the hillside behind town to eat at Panorama—try to arrive in the early evening so you can enjoy the amazing view of the sun setting over the sea before your meal.

Days 6 & 7: Korčula

From Orebić, it is a half-hour’s boat ride to the island of Korčula and the medieval-walled Korčula Town where Marco Polo was supposedly born. Korčula Town is a nice, relaxing day trip, with its majestic cathedral, cobbled alleys, and quaint eateries, though you might well be tempted to stay a night if you look up the luxurious Lešič Dimitri Palace. If you have a car or rent a scooter, you can venture into the island’s hilly interior, and have lunch at Konoba Matein Pupnat. You’ll return to Orebić to spend the night and prepare for the trip back to Dubrovnik.

The trip back to Dubrovnik takes about 3 hours if you drive straight through, but you may end up stopping at more wineries along the way. Once back in Dubrovnik, you can reprise your favorite experiences or see the things you missed when you arrived.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.