Dubrovnik is far from being just a walk-round museum of cultural treasures and churches. It also stands in the middle of a spectacularly unspoiled natural landscape, and is ideally suited to an active holiday of paddling, peddling and generally pottering around.
The easiest way to stretch your legs is to embark on a mission to conquer Mount Srđ, the stark 412m-high summit that watches over Dubrovnik to the north. Otherwise catch a ferry to an offshore island such as Lopud, Šipan or Mljet, where numerous walking trails forge through untouched Mediterranean landscapes.
Most popular of the organized activities in the Dubrovnik region is sea kayaking, with several local agencies offering half- or full-day paddles focusing on the nearby islands of Lokrum, Koločep and Lopud.
Cycling is beginning to take off in the Konavle, the beautifully rustic coastal strip that runs southeast from Dubrovnik to the Montenegrin border.
With the chance to go scuba diving or sailing in coastal waters near Dubrovnik or Mljet, or try out free climbing or horse riding in the Konavle, there’s no shortage of variety.
Big game fishing
The great thing about a country of such small size and perfectly along the sea is that wherever you go, the sea is relatively quick and easy to reach whether it’s by your own car, rent a car or plane!
Another bonus is the delights the sea offers, from culinary to recreation and adventure. For those who seek a true escapade, the sport of fishing and for that matter big game fishing is a buzz. In recent years the sport has been a drawing card for gentlemen in suits and working uniforms, the very moment they turn into fishermen and are driven by the sea is when the adrenaline pumps exponentially through your veins, meaning you leave behind your everyday life and immerse yourself into the serene world of the Adriatic Sea.
It is an exciting sport using fast boats on the open sea to catch powerful fish such as tuna and marlin. Licences are for sale in travel agencies. The largest and most prized catch on the Croatian Adriatic is bluefin tuna, which is in season from August to January. Other “big game” which can be caught in this way include swordfish (sabljarka), greater amberjack (gof), Atlantic bonito (palamida), dolphin fish (lampuga), and blue shark (modrulj).
It can be organised via phone and can last up to half a day or the entire day, it can be midweek or over weekend depending on your preference, weather conditions and the availability of the ship.
The usual period is from May to November. Perhaps the best thing is that everyone can participate, whether they are beginners or experienced fishermen, since an experienced captain who leads the tour adapts to the experience of the participants and makes sure that everyone savours their adventure. One does not need to bring anything on board - all equipment is included, along with a snack and drinking water.
CyclingFor those seeking more of an active holiday and are keen on seeing more than the city itself, why not choose from the 60km of cycling roads and tracks that are available throughout the Konavle area. Bicycles can be hired at Cavtat tourist agencies (look in our Getting Around section) where you can also get detailed instructions and road maps. In case you are already near Konavle itself, contact the Konavle Tourist Association for more information.
Theme routes: Cavtat-Močići-Čilipi (starting point Cavtat – Bus Station)/Cavtat-Zvekovica-Miljasi (starting point Cavtat – Bus Station)/Čilipi-Gruda-Ljuta-Pridvorje (starting point Čilipi – Main square).
HikingGet a taste of the fresh outdoors on foot! Visitors who prefer walking can investigate Konavle by strolling down the nicely decorated pathways which lead you to unique beaches along the Konavle rocks known only to locals. For more information, contact the Konavle Tourist Association.
Paths: Cavtat-Močići-Čilipi/Čilipi-Radovčići/The “Ronald Brown” Path.
In the city itself, the town beach is Banje, just outside the Ploče gate of the city walls. The expanse of white pebbles has a super view of the Old Town and is suitable for children and non-swimmers. Or you could creep through the Buža hole in the southern city walls and take a dive off the rocks there – the crystalline water is truly tempting.
You could take a taxi boat from the Old Town’s harbour to Lokrum island (50kn return), where the beaches are immersed in lush greenery, plus there’s a naturist beach and shallow saltwater lake.
Just west of town is the Danče promontory, a rocky beach a little more exposed to the open sea, offering refreshing waves. Further east is the beach below Hotel Bellevue – a spectacular stretch of pebble and shingle backed by cliffs.
About 15min walk east of town is the Sveti Jakov beach, under the abbey of the same name. The pebble and shingle beach offers great views of the city and of Lokrum. You can get here by taking bus no. 5 to the end of the line. You need have no fear as to the quality of the water near the Old Town; the water quality is constantly monitored and is excellent. If, however, you would like to get away from the centre, you can head for the Lapad peninsula. The deep Lapad bay is ringed with beaches, all different. Uvala Lapad is sandy, while others are pebbly, rocky or concrete. There are plenty of facilities such as showers, toilets, watersports and refreshments.
On the side of the Babin kuk (“grandmother’s hip”) peninsula, the Copacabana beach has water slides and other fun stuff. If you don’t fancy taking the coast path and finding your own personal piece of heaven, you could always hire a pedalo and take the scenic route…
Another option is to take a ferry and take a day trip to Koločep or Lopud islands, both of which have fine sandy beaches and opportunities to explore.
Or, head south of the city to the resorts of Župa Dubrovačka, which have some of the most attractive white pebble beaches in the country (take bus no. 10 or 16).