The southernmost part of the Republic of Croatia, the Dubrovnik-Neretva region is full of Mediterranean and seascape gems of nature and history. Most famous for its capital, the city of Dubrovnik, it is an area rich in national parks and parks of nature, pristine scenery, ancient ruins, wonderful islands and islets covered in forests, and the best shellfish cuisine in the country.
To help you get to know this region we have complied a guide of its best and most accessible locations. We hope it inspires you to visit this amazing part of Croatia and enjoy a holiday in its stunning scenery.
1. City of Dubrovnik
The capital of the Dubrovnik-Neretva region is a world-famous tourist destination. Its predecessor, the city of Ragusa, was founded in the 7th century AD, and has been an attractive location to empires and nations ever since. It was governed by the Byzantine Empire and the Republic of Venice, added to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy following the Napoleonic Wars and incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Its history, however, is most famous for the period between the 14th and 19th centuries when it was a free state, answerable to no one but itself. It was also the most prosperous era in its development, during which its wealth increased and it became a prolific producer of literature.
2. Old Town of Dubrovnik
An incredible number of historical locations in Dubrovnik testify to its rich history. Its historic center, the Old Town, is embraced by the massive 13th century rampart, keeping the old city’s white cobbled streets safe from the passage of time. The Old Town has been included to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
3. Dubrovnik Cathedral
This impressive baroque building was built during the late 17th century and early 18th century. Its vault contains a large number of religious paintings and relics.
4. Dubrovnik City Walls
Two kilometers long, these walls have been protecting the city of Dubrovnik for centuries. Strolling down them will be the crown of your walk through Dubrovnik so don’t miss to set aside some time to admire the view of the city on one side and the seafront on the other.
5. Stradun street
Main and the most popular street in the Old Town of Dubrovnik and a fantastic place to have a cup of coffee during your morning walk around town and a glass of wine in the evening.
Outskirts of Dubrovnik
Aside from the incredible Old Town, Dubrovnik is not short on charming little spots scattered around and about, parks and beaches that are worth a visit for the stunning views and the beautiful landscape that surrounds them.
6. Orsula Park
Next to an old archaeological site located on an old trade route, the view from this charming romantic park will be as stunning at sunrise as it will be at sunset.
7. Betina Cave Beach
This beautiful cave beach can only be reached by a sea route, but don’t for a moment let that discourage you. Aside from the fact that the scenery is stunning, the cave was also the place where the scientist Marin Getaldić conducted optical experiments.
8. Lokrum Island
This pretty little island is located across from Dubrovnik, a short boat ride away. A perfect place for a day’s getaway, it feels like a big cozy garden full of beautiful natural and historical sites.
9. Lokrum Legend
There is a curious legend attached to the island, too, that might explain why Lokrum belongs to everyone and no one at the same time.
10. Lokrum’s Dead Sea
This little island has its own salt lake surrounded by rocks and pine trees, an amazing spot that looks like it could have come straight out of a fantasy movie.
11. The Cloister Garden
This garden is a part of the Gothic-Renaissance monastery. Its fine formal structure of terraces is full of Mediterranean and some exotic plants, with the remains of stone staircases adding to its centuries-old charm.
The Dubrovnik-Neretva region is known for its beautiful islands, some of which have been declared national parks and parks of nature. A tour of the islands is an experience unto itself, a perfect blend of a nature walk and sightseeing.
12. Island of Korcula
This island is believed to be the birth place of the famous explorer Marco Polo. Some evidence suggests it was inhabited in the pre-historic times. What we do know for sure is that its cultural heritage attests to the presence of the Greeks, the Romans, the Illyrians and the Byzantine people. This abundance of history has placed Korcula on the UNESCO’s list of protected cultural areas.
13. Town of Korcula
The statute of this fortified town written in the early 13th century is the oldest written legal document in Croatia. This town is also famous for being the possible birth place of Marco Polo, the famous explorer.
14. Vela Spila Cave
Vela Spila is an archaeological site inside a cave, with a proven sequence of sediments from the late Mesolithic to the Neolithic age, with occasional human presence dated to 20.000 years BC. Don’t miss to visit this gorgeous historical and natural site.
15. Head of St. Anthony
To get to this lovely little church you’ll have to climb about a hundred stairs leading to it, but the satisfaction of the view will be worth it.
16. Lastovo Island
This island is located off the south-eastern coast of the island of Korčula and together with the islets surrounding it has been declared a nature park. The wealth of its cultural heritage includes a five hundred year old Carnival parade. While its woods and beaches are famous enough, it is also one of the least light-polluted places on the planet, a feature that has earned it its nickname as “the island of crystal stars”.
17. Lastovo Island Nature Park
This nature park is comprised of forty six different island, islets, reefs and cliffs and a sea abundant in flora and fauna. The people of Lastovo have been living in harmony with nature for hundreds and hundreds of years, and you will be able to get a taste of this life by taking a walk along one of the hiking trails that cut across the island.
18. Island of Mljet
A part of this outermost island of the Dubrovnik archipelago has been declared a national park. The whole of the island is quite stunning, though: covered with a dense Mediterranean forest and riddled with hiking trails it will prove to be a paradise for all nature aficionados, as well as for anyone who wants to experience the complete tranquillity of nature.
19. Odysseus Cave
The Greek myth says that the hero Odysseus spent seven years in this very cave after being shipwrecked. Whether this is true or not, its how the cave got its name, and became one of the most popular nature sites of the archipelago.
20. Saplunara beach
This gorgeous bay is a protected site of nature, a stunningly beautiful combination of white sand and turquoise sea.
21. Roman Palace in Polace
The remains of this ancient complex include a palace, two basilicas and a swimming pool, a heritage rich enough to have been declared a protected cultural site by the Croatian Ministry of Culture.
22. Mljet National Park
In early March of 2022. the rangers of this national park confirmed the first sighting of the Mediterranean monk seal in the Adriatic since 1980s. This speaks volumes about the Mljet National Park: it is a safe place for so many botanical and animal species that they haven’t all been recorded yet. Wrapped in lush Mediterranean vegetation, strolling this park will bring you one step closer to that primeval feeling of being in harmony with nature.
23. Elaphiti Islands
The Elaphiti Islands are a group of small islands that form a part of the Dubrovnik archipelago. The name Elaphiti, meaning “deer”, was given to them by the Roman author Gaius Plinius Secundus, though no deer sightings have ever been recorded on any of these islands.
Among the thirteen of the Elaphiti islands only three are permanently inhabited, but they are all equally adorned with pristine Mediterranean landscape and all the peace and quietness it offers.
24. Kolocep Island
The two bays of this picturesque islands, also the locations of the island’s only two towns, are connected with with a promenade. Three kilometers long, it makes for a great hiking or jogging trail. Covered with olive and palm trees and pine woods, in the complete absence of roads and cars, a visit to this island will be the best summer gift you can give yourself.
25. Lopud Island
A single village located in the Lopud bay, a cove on the opposite side of the island, lush Mediterranean vegetation, no cars and no roads save for the walking and hiking trails - this island has everything you could possibly want if you’re looking to reconnect with nature or spend your summer holidays in the romantic and intimate ways.
26. Sipan Island
The largest of the Elaphiti islands, Sipan has the total of thirty four churches dotting its Mediterranean landscape. You might think that’s a lot, but this little place actually made it to the Guinness book of records as the island with the largest number of olive trees based on its size.
27. Daksa Island
The smallest of all the Elaphiti Islands, Daksa used to be a home to the Franciscan order whose monks built a monastery here in the 13th century. You can still see its ruins adorning the landscape of the island, and visit the lighthouse built at the end of the 19th century.
28. Peljesac Peninusla
The archaeological data found on this peninsula suggest that it was inhabited as early as the Neolitich age. Its most famous ancient inhabitants are the Illyrian tribe Plereii, who were no doubt attracted to settle there by the lush Mediterranean vegetation and plenty of valleys and meadows necessary for husbandry.
The modern age economy of Peljesac is notable for its wine and fishing. It is also the most important area for shellfish farming in Croatia, with the town of Mali Ston being famous for its shellfish dishes.
29. Town of Ston
This town was once the main fortress of the Ragusa Republic, which is no wonder since it is famous for its defensive walls, the outer of which is over five kilometers long. They hide a peaceful little town with stone houses and remains of ancient sites, a charming secluded place of tranquillity.
30. The Ston Walls
An impressive piece of medieval architecture, the outer Ston wall is the second longest of its kind in Europe, over five kilometers long. If you follow its route it will take you all the way to Mali Ston, the fishing village famous for its shellfish farms.
31. Mali Ston
This lovely little fishing town sits in the Malostonski Bay, a protected nature reserve due to its pristine sea which offers optimal conditions for oyster and shellfish farming Mali Ston is so famous for.
32. Shellfish and oyster cuisine - Restaurant Bota Šare
It comes as no surprise that Mali Ston has the best shellfish and oyster menu far and wide. Oysters here travel the shortest possible route from the sea to any of the fine restaurants that prepare them, and the moment they are delivered to your plate they could not be any more fresh than they are.
The Bota Šare restaurant in Mali Ston grows its own shellfish and other seafood and prepares them following old traditional recipes while using contemporary cooking techniques. To accompany this splendid cuisine there is a great wine list that will add that little extra something to your dinner.
33. Shellfish and oyster cuisine - Restaurant Kapetanova kuća
It goes without saying that this restaurant, located on the very shore of Mali Ston, makes great shellfish dishes, but what sets it apart from all other restaurants is the creamy mussel risotto and seafood dishes paired with home-made pasta. It sounds a lot like a culinary symphony to us.
34. Nakovana Fortress
Uninhabited now, this settlement is at least eight thousand years old. It was the home to the Illyrian tribes who kept a fertility shrine in this area. This location is a part of the hiking trail leading right through it, and if you happen to be an artist this place is purported to be very inspiring.
35. Vucine Bay
This little Bay is a visually stunning place, with the dark and light blue sea washing over the white pebbled beach encircled by lush green trees. Don’t miss to have at least a quick swim here since the lagoon looks quite exotic.
36. Zuljana beach
Accessible only by sea, this beach is hidden in the landscape of trees, rocks, cliffs and the peak of St. John, towering over it at a height of almost 470 meters. If nature sought to protect this place so well you know it must be gorgeous. If you’re an exceptional swimmer you can swim your way to this beach from the Vucina Bay.