In the last few years, Dubrovnik has become one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world.
If you want to get the most out of the city and try to avoid the crowds then choosing where to stay is very important.
Because of this, you will want some guidance on where the best areas to stay in Dubrovnik are located and which ones you should avoid.
In this article you will find:
We asked local Dubrovnik expert Andrea Pisac to put together a guide on where to stay in the city and share her opinions on what she thinks a first time visitor to Dubrovnik should see.
Whether you want to know how to avoid the crowds during peak times, where to get the best view of Old Town or where to find the best beaches, this guide will help you plan your next visit to Dubrovnik.
The Best Places to Stay in Dubrovnik
Old Town Dubrovnik is the best place to stay if you are visiting for the first time. It is close to major attractions, restaurants, and the Adriatic sea.
Gruž is where you want to stay in Dubrovnik if you are on a budget. A great selection of hostels, guesthouses and apartment rentals.
Lapad is where you want to base yourself if you are a family. Close to beaches, great food and easy access to the rest of Dubrovnik.
Old Town has the best nightlife scene in Dubrovnik. Great bars and clubs for anyone who likes to party.
I have seen this magical city at the height of the season when thousands of tourists swarm inside the Old Town.
But I also know how special it feels during quieter times. This is when you can bond with its charms and stories in a more personal way.
Top Neighborhoods to Stay in Dubrovnik
- Dubrovnik Old Town – UNESCO-protected historic center and the hub of main cultural attractions and activities
- Pile – western approach to the Old Town, dominated by stunning Lovrijenac Fortress and offering plenty of amenities
- Ploce – eastern approach to the Old Town, famous for luxury hotels and striking views
- Gruž – A buzzy local area with the biggest farmers’ market and excellent transport connections
- Lapad – picturesque bay with a lively local vibe and a number of great beaches
- Babin Kuk – quiet, secluded area famous for luxury hotels and a wow view to the open sea
Dubrovnik has 5 main neighborhoods.
Map courtesy of Cruiseportwiki
The Old Town is the main tourist attraction, whereas Lapad and Babin Kuk are known for wide-open spaces and lots of great beaches.
Pile and Ploce are closest to the Old Town and are actually names of the historic entrance gates. Gruž is Dubrovnik’s main harbor.
1. Dubrovnik Old Town
It is the majestic Old Town that earned Dubrovnik the title of the Pearl of the Adriatic.
If you’ve been tempted to visit, it’s probably because you saw the stunning images of this Medieval walled city, entirely made of white stone.
Dubrovnik Old Town is quite small and compact but every street and house is part of its timeless appeal.
This is the home of the city’s best historic and cultural attractions.
If you are looking where to stay in Dubrovnik that will keep you central this is the place for you.
The Old Town also brims with great restaurants and unique bars and cafes. And because the place is so exclusive, be prepared for slightly higher prices than elsewhere in Dubrovnik.
This also applies to hotels.
First-time visitors always love staying in The Old Town because all the iconic sights are close at hand.
This is where you can walk along the famous Stradun (the main promenade), tour the amazing City Walls and visit beautiful Baroque palaces, such as Rector’s Palace and Sponza Palace.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik near Old Town
- Best Air BnB in Old Town Dubrovnik: The views from this apartment are just amazing. It sleeps 4 people and you are in the heart of Old Town.
- Best 5-Star Hotel: Hotel Pucic Palace: Housed in the stunning 18th-century palace, this opulent hotel fuses historic charm with beautifully designed details. Free fast Wifi, airport shuttle, room service, babysitting services.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: Boutique Hotel Stari Grad: This historic residence has recently been renovated to a high standard. You will love having breakfast on their rooftop terrace with the panoramic views of the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea. Free Wifi, Airport shuttle, paid parking.
- Best Budget Hotel in Dubrovnik Old Town: Prijeko Palace: Rooms in this historic palace are individually designed and range from the modern to the Baroque style. The iconic view of Dubrovnik rooftops is available from every room. Free Wifi, Family rooms, No parking.
Top Things to See in Dubrovnik Old Town
City Walls – take a walk along 2 km long fortifications that encircle the entire Old Town. The views to several Medieval fortresses as well as to the open sea are amazing.
Stradun is the main street that stretches the whole length of the Old Town and if perfect to soak up its charms.
Franciscan Monastery houses the oldest working pharmacy in Europe that opened in 1317.
Rector’s Palace was once the seat of the government and today is the most important public building.
There are two entrances to the Old Town – through Pile and Ploce Gates.
The Old Town is completely pedestrianized.
This is important to know if you have lots of luggage with you, in which case you can arrange with your hotel to meet you at one of the gates.
2. Pile – Western Approach to the Old Town
Pile is known as one of two gates that lead inside the Old Town.
During high season, this entrance can get very busy with people slowly making their way in and out.
But Pile is also known as the site of the Lovrijenac Fortress – a magnificent 11th-century fort built on a 37 m high rock.
This is also where lots of city buses end their route so it’s easy to reach other Dubrovnik neighborhoods from here.
The area is buzzing with restaurants and cafes that are slightly less expensive than those inside the Old Town.
My favorite Dubrovnik beach – Dance beach – is close by. This is where you’ll find most locals going for a swim.
Best Places to stay in Pile
- Best Airbnb in Pile: Located less than 200m from the old city this 1 bedroom apartment is perfectly situated to avoid the crowds yet be close to everything.
- Best 5-Star Hotel in Pile: Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik: Set in the historic building from the turn of the 19th century, this lavish hotel offers modern 5-star amenities. Free WiFi. Airport shuttle, paid private parking and air conditioning
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Pile: Apartment Aquarius: This is a cozy, pet-friendly accommodation with all the amenities you need. Free Wifi, self-catering kitchen, Airport shuttle. Some units have a balcony.
Check out Availability and Prices on Booking.com
- Best Budget Hotel in Pile: Porta Guesthouse: Bright and airy, this guesthouse is just minutes away from the Old Town. Free Wifi, Family rooms, Airport shuttle, and some rooms feature a sea view.
Things to See in Pile Neighborhood
Lovrijenac Fortress is one of the most impressive sights of Dubrovnik.
The fort is detached from the City Walls and perched on a bare rock overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Its setting is so unique that it often features as a stage for Shakespeare’s Hamlet during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Dance beach [pronounced as Danche] is a wonderful secluded beach right below the Monastery of Mary in Dance.
It’s one of the oldest beaches in town where many locals come for a swim.
Gradac Park is a lovely green area close to the Pile Gate. You can stroll among the meandering paths and catch a fantastic view of the open sea.
Boninovo Cliffs are experiencing quite a morbid rise into a tourist attraction. It was known as a suicide site but today lots of people visit it because of the spectacular views it offers.
One of the advantages of Pile is being so close to the Old Town. You can walk inside in just a few minutes.
Reaching Pile from other Dubrovnik neighborhoods is easy as most bus lines end their root right at the Pile Gate. See this map of Dubrovnik bus routes.
3. Ploce – Eastern approach to the Old Town
Ploce is known for its many upscale and luxury hotels.
This small area boasts the well-known Banje beach and an eye-candy vista of the Old Town.
Ploce is also the name of the Eastern Gate into the Old Town. So staying here means all the major attractions are within a walking distance.
Ploce offers easy access to the charming Old Town port, from where you can catch a boat ride to the nearby Lokrum island.
Cable Car to the Srd mountain is also a short walk away.
And you won’t want to miss this absolute best Dubrovnik panorama from high up the mountain.
Great Places to Stay in Ploce
- Best Airbnb in Ploce, Dubrovnik: Located 5 minutes from Old Town this 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath apartment has amazing views and can sleep 4 people. Perfect for sunrises.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Ploce: Hotel Excelsior – Only 5 minutes’ walk from the Old Town, this seafront 5-star hotel offers many luxurious amenities. It has a private beach, spa, indoor pool, hot tubs, and spa.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ploce: Villa Ragusa Vecchia – The 1830 villa decorated with wood and stone details is moments away from the City Walls. Free Wifi, fully equipped kitchenettes, and paid parking.
- Best Budget Hotel in Ploce: Villa Leoni – Located above the popular Banje beach, this traditional stone house offers modern amenities, including a kitchenette. Some units have access to a sea-view balcony. Free Wi-Fi and parking.
Things to see in Ploce
Ploce is a versatile area where you can easily combine swimming and sightseeing.
Banje beach is one of Dubrovnik’s most popular beaches. It’s a stone’s throw away from the Old Town with epic views to its fortresses and walls. Aside from lounging in the sun, the beach offers plenty of food and drink options.
Lazareti is a set of historic buildings just outside the Old Town’s port that were once used as a quarantine. Today the buildings house exhibitions space, cafes and the popular Lazareti music club.
Porporela is a popular seafront walkway with the view to the City Walls and the Revelin Fortress. It’s a perfect place for a romantic stroll.
Lokrum island is a special forest vegetation reserve. You can easily reach it on a boat that leaves several times a day from the Old Town’s port. The island is pretty magical and a much-beloved place for swimming.
Srd Cable Car is the best place to catch a memorable view of Dubrovnik and its surroundings. On a clear day, you can see as far as 60 km into the distance. There is also a great restaurant at the top of Srd mountain.
Ploce is within walking distance to the Old Town.
Ploce is also the Dubrovnik neighborhood closest to the Cilipi airport.
Most hotels in Ploce have their own shuttle bus that takes you from the airport into town.
Getting to Ploce from other Dubrovnik neighborhoods is easily done by bus.
4. Gruž Harbor
Gruž is the name of the neighborhood and of Dubrovnik’s modern harbor. This is where you can catch a ferry to many islands in the Dubrovnik archipelago.
The area also features the largest farmers’ market in Dubrovnik where you can get daily fresh and delicious fruit and veg.
Dubrovnik’s main bus station is also located in Gruž.
Hotels in Gruž are generally less expensive than in other areas.
From here, it’s super easy to reach any other Dubrovnik neighborhood. The bus station is also the main traffic hub for out-of-town routes from where you can take awesome day trips.
Gruž has a lively local feel to it with lots of stores, cafes but also other amenities, such as car rentals and a tourist office. Parking is also easily available.
Where to Stay in Gruž
- Best Airbnb in Gruž: This 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment is perfectly situated close to the ferry and bus station. Clean, modern and a fast bus ride to the city center.
- Best 5-Star Hotel in Gruz: Hotel Adria – Great Dalmatian food and most rooms feature a view to the Elaphiti Islands and Lapad Bay. The closest beach Bellevue is 15 minutes walk. Indoor pool. Free Wifi and parking.
- Best Mid Range Hotel in Gruz: Berkeley Hotel & Day Spa – This family-owned hotel has modern rooms and apartments. There is on-site wellness, spa, and massage. Paid on-site parking and free Wifi.
- Best Budget Hotel in Gruz: Hotel Petka – Only 600 m from the beach in Lapad Bay, this hotel has good amenities and most rooms have a sea view. The on-site restaurant excels in Dalmatian cuisine. Free Wifi and paid private parking.
Things to see in Gruž
Gruž is a great place for taking day trips from Dubrovnik.
Elaphiti islands is a beautiful archipelago with three biggest islands Lopud, Kolocep and Šipan.
Ferries from Gruž depart frequently. If you go early, you can see all three islands on a round trip in a day.
Sunj is a sandy beach on Lopud island that is worth a day trip on its own. If you want to spend a quiet day swimming, take a ferry only to Lopud and back.
Trsteno is the biggest arboretum in Croatia dating back to the 15th century. The park brims with unique trees and plants and also features the stunning Renaissance palace that was once the summer residence of Gucetic-Gozze noble family.
Ston is a historic town on the nearby Pelješac peninsula. It boasts the world’s second-longest fortifications (after the Great Wall of China), amazing seafood (especially oysters) and superb local wine. Take a bus from Gruž main station and do a day trip.
Cavtat is a small historic town south of Dubrovnik that features beautiful architecture and beaches. It’s sometimes called the little Dubrovnik. This is the place to spend a day if you want to avoid tourists throngs in the Old Town.
Buses 1A and 1B go from Gruž to the Old Town. Bus number 7 goes to Lapad. You can check this map of Dubrovnik bus routes.
From Gruž main bus station buses operate on out-of-town routes, such as towards Trsteno arboretum, Ston on Pelješac peninsula and Cavtat. Check the timetable here.
Lapad neighborhood is a leafy residential area located about 3 km northwest from the Old Town on the Lapad Peninsula.
Unlike the historic Dubrovnik where streets and houses are built from stone, Lapad abounds with greenery that meets long stretches of the seashore.
Lapad is known for several gorgeous seafront hotels. But even with plentiful accommodation, the area gives off a flair of airiness, especially through awesome views onto the open sea.
With many cafes, restaurants, and shops frequented by the locals, you won’t have a feeling of being in a tourist ghetto.
The reason number one for staying in Lapad is to enjoy the sun and the sea to the fullest. Wherever you walk in Lapad, a beach is just around the corner.
Read my post about why it’s a good idea to look for a wild beach in Croatia.
Best Hotels Located in Lapad
- Best Airbnb in Lapad: A 1 bedroom, 1 bath luxury apartment with sea views and a pool right on the Lapad Peninsula. Close to beaches and bus stop is only 50m away for access to the old town.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Lapad: Hotel Dubrovnik Palace – Completely refurbished with bespoke details by the Croatian award-winning designer group 3LHD, the hotel boasts views of the Adriatic sea and the nearby Elaphiti Islands. Free Wifi and parking, wellness center, and Private beach.
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Lapad: Hotel Lapad – Set in a beautiful historic building, the hotel enjoys a quiet location overlooking Gruž harbor. There is a large outdoor pool and all rooms feature a sophisticated mix of traditional and modern decor.
- Best Budget Accommodation in Lapad: Hotel Zagreb – Surrounded by a lush garden, this hotel features comfortable and fashionably set out rooms. There are 4 illuminated tennis courts close to the hotel.
Things to see in Lapad
Lapad Beach is the largest beach in Dubrovnik. You can easily spend a whole day there. There are plenty of bars nearby as well as a range of beach activities to keep you occupied.
Petka hill is a lovely forested area where you can stretch your legs and enjoy panoramic views of the Adriatic sea.
Cave bar in Hotel More is one of the most unique places to have a drink. It’s nestled deep inside a natural cave that was incorporated into the hotel design and stretches over three levels.
Dubrovnik Escape Room is a treat for the Game of Thrones fans. Their rooms are inspired by GoT storylines and characters and you actually get to save King’s Landing.
Bus numbers 5 and 6 connect Lapad with the Old Town and bus number 7 gets you from Lapad to Gruž.
Bus number 4 connects Hotel Dubrovnik Palace and other seafront hotels with the Pile Gate.
6. Babin Kuk
Featuring lush greenery and ample seashore, Babin Kuk peninsula is a perfect area for a quiet and exclusive holiday.
You can always dip into the Old Town for the cultural and urban experience.
But while here, pamper yourself in luxe hotel amenities, laze on the beach or enjoy long romantic walks.
Babin Kuk is also ideal for a family holiday, with lots of open space for children and plenty of water sport activities.
Unlike Lapad or Gruž, Babin Kuk is not a residential area where you’ll rub shoulders with the locals. This is the place for an intimate and exclusive getaway.
Most hotels are more expensive than in other Dubrovnik areas.
Where to Stay in Babin Kuk
- Best Airbnb on Babin Kuk: Perfect for a family vacation. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms, 5 minutes to the beach and beautifully decorated.
- Top 5-Star Hotel in Babin Kuk: Hotel Neptun – This splendid seafront hotel offers gorgeous panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. Most rooms have a balcony. There is a unique cliff-top pool, spa and fitness center on-site. Free Wifi and parking.
- Top Mid-Range Hotel in Babin Kuk: Boutique & Beach Hotel Villa Wolff – Surrounded by Mediterranean greenery and palm trees, this hotel is known for its excellent seafood. Free Wifi and lots of sports activities at an additional charge.
- Top Budget Hotel in Babin Kuk: Hotel Perla – The hotel lies along a nice promenade with charming bars and cafes, with the closest beach only 100 m away. The on-site restaurant offers a rich choice of local cuisine. Free Wifi.
Things to do in Babin Kuk
Just pamper yourself with luxury hotel amenities and enjoy the great outdoors.
Copacabana Beach is the longest beach in Dubrovnik. With lots of food and drinks offered on-site, it makes a great whole-day outing.
Solitudo Beach is another option for enjoying the sea. It’s a short walk east of Copacabana beach.
Coral Beach Club offers a more upscale beach experience and is one of Croatia’s best beach clubs, known for its cocktails.
Bus number 5, 6 and 7 stop in front of the Hotel President and connect Babin Kuk with the Old Town.
Whatever brings you to Dubrovnik you can be sure that you will find exactly what you are looking for. It is a charming city that you will want to return to again and again.
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