With beautiful blue skies and sparkling seas, Dubrovnik is mostly known as a summer destination. Winter in Dubrovnik might not seem like an obvious choice for a city break but it’s actually a great time to visit. Dubrovnik in the winter time means fewer crowds, better hotel prices and milder weather. It turns into a perfect winter city break in Europe as its Mediterranean climate means milder winter temperatures than you might be used to.
Winter in Dubrovnik
Facing out over a glistening Adriatic sea is the walled city of Dubrovnik. It has imposing stone walls surrounding the old town and a mix of Baroque and Renaissance architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage site is wildly popular with tourists. Summer in Dubrovnik sees vast numbers of cruise ships dock at its port. Visit Dubrovnik in winter and enjoy a long weekend of sightseeing, wine tasting and bar hopping.
Dubrovnik has exploded in popularity in recent years. Especially since it became an iconic Game of Thrones filming location. Game of Thrones fans now roam the cobbled streets, eager to get a ‘shame steps selfie’. Severe overcrowding in the summer has resulted in announcements of caps to visitor numbers. This is an attempt by Dubrvnik yo improve visitor experience. I would recommend you visit Dubrovnik in the winter season, to avoid the crowds and to help sustainability.
Dubrovnik winter city break
If you don’t fancy battling the selfie stick-wielding summer crowds then why not consider visiting during the off-season? I visited in Dubrovnik in October when crowds are fewer and temperatures are pleasant. I spent a fabulous 48 hours in Dubrovnik for a European city break. I spent time exploring the old town, staying at a beautiful resort and drinking Croatian wine. I definitely prefer Dubrovnik in the winter season, it’s so peaceful. Here’s a guide to some of the best things to do in Dubrovnik in the winter.
City walls Dubrovnik
Walking Dubrovnik’s city walls is the best way to get a birds-eye view of the old town. It is one of the best Instagrammable walks in Europe. The full circuit of the 24m high and 6m thick walls is a two-kilometre walk. The walk offers a range of views including battlements, patchwork red roofs and fortresses. Walking Dubrovnik’s walls in winter means that there will be fewer crowds and milder temperatures as well.
I would recommend having a Dubrovnik walking tour with a qualified and knowledgeable guide. By booking a Dubrovnik walking tour in advance you can experience Dubrovnik’s old town with a professional local tourist guide, licensed by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism.
Why not book a tour of Dubrovnik?
By having a Dubrovnik professional tour guide the sites are put into proper historical context. Dubrovnik has a fascinating history, it was a powerful merchant republic, trading with the east and with Africa. It was also invaded by a jealous Venice in the 12th century. It then became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1815. Dubrovnik then became part of Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik sustained substantial shelling during the 1991-1995 war. and you can still see war damage in Dubrovnik to this day.
I am always amazed at the sheer volume of knowledge of tour guides. I have no idea how they are not only able to reel off so many historical facts? It’s also amazing how they can make history also make it sound interesting as well. It’s not often I find myself nodding along saying “Oh I would LOVE to know more about the reinforcement of the Pile Gate.”
I visited Dubrovnik in October and I found this was the ideal time to walk the city walls. It was pleasantly quiet and peaceful, and there was perfect winter temperature. Fewer crowds meant there were plenty of photo opportunities, without having to battle for a space. There are lots of Instagrammable places in Dubrovnik. You could spend a good few days hunting for them all.
Dubrovnik’s Panorama Restaurant
Dubrovnik’s Panorama Restaurant offers unparalleled views of Dubrovnik. You can dine 415 meters up Mount Srdj, at this contemporary restaurant. You can get to Dubrovnik’s Panorama Restaurant by foot, car or cable car. The food is beautifully presented so you can get amazing #platedpics for your Instagram. The best time to visit Dubrovnik’s Panorama Restaurant is in the winter as you will have more chance of securing a window seat.
It’s frankly very hard to concentrate on your dinner when you have such spectacular views. I was lucky enough to sit right by the window and had lovely views of the old tow. The restaurant also has perfect lighting for a spot of food photography. It definitely offers the best view of Dubrovnik’s old town.
Fresh seafood and steak feature heavily on the menu. Local and seasonal produce is used where possible. I savoured a selection of dishes including Beef tenderloin carpaccio with artichokes. Ribeye steak with potato mousse and sauteed mushrooms. Dessert was a wonderfully light and ridiculously moreish Cheesecake. This was accompanied by a few different glasses of Croatian wine. I would recommend the lovely Plavac Mali red personally. It’s one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik for tasty dishes and panoramic views.
Dubrovnik’s Panorama Restaurant is really popular. You often have to make a reservation for 4 to 5 days in advance, especially if you want to dine at Sunset. Visiting the restaurant in the winter means that you are far more likely to get a table at this coveted dining spot.
Dubrovnik wine tasting
Wine lovers should endeavour to visit Croatia’s famous wine growing region, Pelješac Peninsula. Pelješac Peninsula is a 90-minutes away from Dubrovnik and is home to some pretty wonderful vineyards. It’s a beautiful drive from Dubrovnik with some stunning scenery. Pelješac Peninsula is famous for Croatian wine. Croatia is not really known for its wine internationally, The names of Croatian wines are complicated [try pronouncing ‘Pošip’ after several glasses of vino]. Production is often very small and Croatian vieyards don’t really export their wines.
Wine Tasting Tour Pelješac Peninsula
If you love a glass or two of vino then it is definitely worth booking a Wine tasting tour of Pelješac. By booking a private, full-day wine tasting tour from Dubrovnik you can visit several locally-owned wineries with a qualified guide. Wine tours will normally include transport from your hotel. Visit family-owned wineries and chat with the winemakers and sample a selection of stunning Croatian wines. I visited three vineyards on a wine tour of this region. I learnt more about locals wines such as Plavac Mali, whilst sipping on a glass or two of the good stuff of course.
The first stop was at the picturesque Milos vineyard. It has flowing vines, pretty stone buildings and old-fashioned basement cellar. Wine production has been in the Milos family for generations. Milos Vineyard has its own on-site wine cellar that you can take a peek at. They will also explain their fermentation, bottling and ageing of wine process. It’s one of the prettiest vineyards in Croatia. These guys knock out some pretty amazing quality wine, of the Plavac Mali cultivar. We sampled several of their wines, ranging from dry to half sweet to dessert wines. I was feeling pretty lively after drinking several glasses of wine. Around 10 am it dawned one that this was Vineyard one of three. Luckily, I am a DELIGHT, when inebriated.
Korta Katarina Winery
The next stop was the Korta Katarina winery, who produce a variety of premium Dalmation Coast wines. Where Milos was small and rustic, Korta Katarina winery is housed in a large and modern estate. It’s one of the best places for wine tasting in Croatia. We were lead through to the gleaming ‘tasting room’ that was set up in a style that I can only breathlessly describe as ‘Pinterest goals’.
The room was set up beautifully. Shiny glassware, fresh flowers and beautifully presented plates of cheese, olives and deli meats. It all made for a gorgeous wine tasting experience. We sampled several of Korta Katarina’s premium wines over lunch, including Plavac Mali, Sabion, Pošip and Rose. You can also take your wine onto the terrace for beautiful sea views and wine tasting contemplation. It’s one of the best places for wine tasting on the Dalmatian coast.
After a marvellous wine tasting session, we were wobbling out the door and on to our final stop, ‘Navis Myseterium’. This nautical styled establishment has several ‘barnacle covered’ chests of wine on display, giving it a rather ‘hipster bar in Shoreditch’ feel. The sea chests aren’t just for decoration, they are visual evidence of the journey below the sea that their wine takes. Their Premium wine Plavac Edivo, is sunk 18-25 metres below the sea after it has been bottled. It’s then aged for one to two years. It’s one of the more unusual wines of Croatia that’s for sure.
This was too much for my wine-addled brain to properly process. “But won’t it taste all salty and stuff?” I enquired in the slow, deliberate voice I use when trying to appear sober. Bemused staff explained that the wine is stored in perfect thermal conditions under the sea, covered with a layer of shells, algae and coral. They assured me that their wine does not lose its quality or aroma in the process.
Dubrovnik old town bars
There are many bars in Dubrovnik, especially in the old town. There are lots of cool pavement cafes and atmospheric bars. There’s a wide variety of establishments serving a range of beers, Croatian wines and cocktails. Go exploring down narrow alleyways and see what hidden bars you can find when wandering around the pretty old town. Be aware that the bars in Dubrovnik’s old town are expensive though.
The winter temperatures of Dubrovnik mean that drinking outside is possible. It depends on what month you visit. The best bar for outdoor drinking in Dubrovnik has to be uber cool, Buza bar. This joint is known affectionately as the ‘hole-in-the-wall’, as to get to this unique bar, you have to go through a hole in the wall, [‘buža’ literally means “hole”]. Once you are the other side, you are can grab a drink at their cliffside bar and enjoy beautiful views of the Adriatic, as you sink a cold beer or two.
Wine Bar Dingac Skaramuca
If wine is more your thing, you can go wine and cheese tasting in one of the many wines bars in Dubrovnik’s old town. I visited Wine Bar Dingac Skaramuca, right off of Old Town square. Here you can sit on rustic wine barrel seats covered with a blankie. Our devilishly handsome waiter gave us a selection of local wines to taste as well as paired cheese and snacks. The wine went down a treat and it was nice to have the different wines explained to us as we sipped away. Dingac Skaramuca is the sort of establishment where the space-time continuum doesn’t seem to apply. You think you have been drinking and chatting for 20 minutes, but somehow 4 and a half hours have gone by and you can’t remember the name of the hotel you are staying in.
Prices can be high in Dubrovnik’s old town, which is something to keep in mind when bar hopping. I think that it is worth spending a little extra to enjoy picturesque pavement seating and amazing foodie finds. It’s also really nice to walk around the old town at night when it’s all lit up. If you are travelling with a significant other, a romantic walk around the old town is a must! If you are visiting Dubrovnik during the autumn, you will find there aren’t as many crowds, so you can have a serene, candlelit dinner with your beloved.
D’Vino Wine Bar
There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from in the old town, you could spend an evening wandering the side streets and the squares and diving into pubs, or dining at a pretty pavement table. Recommended places to try are D’Vino Wine Bar, a tiny wine bar that offers Croatian wine tasting in Dubrovnik. Alternatively, why not feast on Dalmatian cuisine and fresh fish dishes at Villa Ruža?
Dubrovnik in winter is a much cheaper time. Dubrovnik hotels will have much better rates, restaurants have deals and Dubrovnik guides charge less. You can get a really good Dubrovnik hotel deal in the winter and even grab a bargain on a luxury hotel in Dubrovnik. Search for Dubrovnik hotels online on websites such as HotelsCombined to get a fantastic deal.
Luxury Dubrovnik Hotel
If you are on a short city break to Dubrovnik then why not pamper yourself with a luxury Dubrovnik hotel? Rather than opt for a plain old hotel room, spoil yourself with a fabulous seaside hotel. Valamar has a range of hotels in Dubrovnik including the Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel, a gorgeous 4-star hotel. Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel is just 15 minutes from the old town and just 250m from the beach. They have a range of stylish, park view or sea view rooms, or luxurious suites to choose from, I think it is worth investing in a Dubrovnik hotel room that offers sea views.
Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel
I stayed at the Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel for my Dubrovnik winter holiday. From the moment you wander into this ultra chic hotel, you are aware you are somewhere a little bit swanky. Impossibly beautiful and immaculate Croatian women are sipping wine as a string quartet plays in a lobby bar. I make a mental note to put my ‘nice shoes’ on as soon and brush my hair, as humanly possible.
This is where you come to relax, to wine and dine and to spa my darlings. This stunning hotel has a range of luxurious facilities including the Ragusa Spa, indoor and outdoor pools, fine dining restaurant and my favourite, a wine bar terrace with a gorgeous view of the water.
I belive that European city breaks are all about balance, there should be time for sightseeing, shopping and soaking up the culture but there should also be time to unwind. I used to treat city breaks as a never-ending checklist of activities. I would spend most of my time running around the city ticking off the attractions I thought I should see. There would be selfies by statues, navigating metro systems and hours and hours of walking. It was exhausting. I now try to enjoy the sights and make sure there is time to relax, after all, you’ve come away to get away from it all.
Luckily Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel offers plenty of opportunities to de-stress and unwind out at their luxurious Ragusa Spa. It’s one of the best spas in Dubrovnik. with saunas, jacuzzi and treatment rooms, as well as a ‘women only’ Afrodita Spa. I made sure to make full use of their spa and pools in my quest to relax, not writing, Instagramming, planning my next trip, having an existential crisis, just simply being. Foodies will also love the Langusto fine dining restaurant at the hotel, here you can enjoy seafood specialities, premium wine, delectable desserts and stunning views of the Elaphiti Islands. It’s the place to come if you are looking for a luxury spa in Dubrovnik.
Momenti restaurant Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel
Visit the Momenti restaurant in Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel for incredible fine dining with a Croatian twist. I had a fabulous three-course meal that included potato salad, grilled fish and cake. The dishes were served with a selection of quality Croatian wines that were perfectly matched to the dishes.
I would really recommend a stay here if you are looking to relax in luxurious surroundings with stunning sea views. Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel is both accessible to the old town and yet far enough away to secluded and a bit ‘away from it all’.
Game of Thrones filming locations Dubrovnik
If you happen to be a huge Game of Thrones fan like myself, winter is the time to see Dubrovnik’s Game of Thrones film locations. You will be able to get clear shots of Game of Thrones filming sites, such as Bokar Fortress and grab your ‘Shame step selfies’, without having to elbow other Instagram divas out the way. You can book a Dubrovnik Game of Thrones Tour with a qualified guide. You can follow in the footsteps of your favourite “Game of Thrones” characters and spot the iconic filming locations.
Dubrovnik in winter prices
Visiting Dubrovnik in winter is a different experience than visiting in the summer. Summer holidays in Dubrovnik will most likely focus on boat trips, sunbathing at Banje Beach, or kayaking tours. Dubrovnik in the winter season is milder, with fewer crowds and cheaper prices. Hotel rooms will be cheaper, tours will be cheaper and restaurants may be cheaper. I would recommend buying a Dubrovnik City Card to save money. You can buy it in advance online for a discount price. It allows you to visit museums, the city walls and to travel on buses.
I would definitely recommend visiting Dubroknik in the winter. It’s a real chance to explore a popular tourist destination during a quiet period. You won’t have to battle huge crowds, selfie sticks and cruise day trippers. It also is a more sustainable way of visiting Dubrovnik, as you aren’t adding to overcrowding in the summer. Would you have a winter holiday in Dubrovnik? Let me know in the comments below.
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Disclaimer: My Stay at Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel was complimentary. They did not review or approve the content and all views remain my own. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no additional cost to you. By clicking these links you are supporting Pip and the City and helping to keep the content free. Massive thanks for your ongoing support.