The airport is 25km from the city and there are various companies that run bus services which go to the edge of the walled city at the Pile Gate and then to Gruz. Buses back start from Gruz and then seem to stop at the Cable Car Station not very convenient. There are also various companies doing transfers for around 20 euros.
The main ferry port is in the suburb called Gruz which is about 10-15 minutes from the old town, Libertas the local bus company have a number of routes that run from the Pile Gate to the port and from the port if you arrive by ferry.
You can buy a single ticket on the bus but need the correct change therefore it is better to buy a ticket from a news kiosk or the Libertas kiosks at various stops. The cost of a ticket from a kiosk is cheaper than on the bus, you can also buy day tickets from Libertas kiosks the main one being at the Pile gate. They also supply maps of their routes.
Check out the usual booking sites such as www.booking.com or www.venere.com there are very few hotels in the old town, most hotels are either in Lapad or past the city beach at Ploce, the answer if you want to stay in the old town is a bed and breakfast or an apartment.
We stayed at House Tereza www.house-tereza.com which we booked through Booking.com, the location was ideal just off the Prijeko the street which runs parallel to the Stradun. This meant it is not up dozens of steps as many apartments are.
On a previous visit to the city we used a company called Rose of Dubrovnik, www.dubrovnikapartmentsvillas.com who were very helpful however some of their properties are at the top end of the market but still worth checking out.
The city is full of day visitors from cruise ships and this means that many of the restaurants have a reputation for trying to get customers inside and not being very good this applies in particular to the street called Prijeko, parallel to the Stradun.
Some of the best and most reasonably priced eating can be found in Gruz and also Lapad outside the old town but easily reached by bus. There are exceptions in the old town and some we tried are below.
Moskar, Prijeko 16, is one of the few restaurants on the street that does not try and persuade you to eat at their restaurant, it has no need to as it is invariably full. We ate there twice once for lunch and again for dinner on our last night, the food is excellent, the staff charming and while not cheap it is excellent value for the quality.
Lady Pi-Pi, Antuninska 2, perched almost on the walls is a real gem. They do not take reservations and since the seating is on an open vine covered terrace they close when it is very wet but it is so worth going. The views are outstanding but you forget that when the grilled food arrives, the meat mixed grill and the mixed fish and seafood grill are among the specialities. The food is very good, the house wine very drinkable and the service friendly. It is an absolute bargain just wish we had been able to go back again.
Zuzori, Cvijete Zuzoric 2, just off the Stradun this is owned by the same people as Pizzeria Oliva, see below, but is more upmarket and serves “modern Mediterranean cooking” it was good but not cheap however our server had an unfortunate manner. The rest of the staff seemed far more pleasant.
Pizzeria Oliva, Lucarica 5, offers an excellent choice of thin crust pizzas in two sizes, reasonably priced house wine and friendly service, what is not to like.
Pantarul,Kralija Tomislava 1, is in the Lapad area and easily reached by bus. It is currently No 1 in Dubrovnik on Trip Advisor. A modern spacious restaurant it does some seriously good cooking and is incredibly reasonably priced unfortunately on the night we went the speed of service was very slow. This was noticed by our server and the bill was adjusted accordingly. Based on reviews I think this was just a unfortunate one-off so it is highly recommended and booking for dinner is essential.
Belverdere, Iva Vojnovica 58, in Lapad and easily reached by bus from the Pile Gate this was a firm favourite on our last visit. It was so good to go back and find that the quality is still as good as ever. Lovely service, great staff and some still there from our previous visit. Booking is recommended for dinner and the terrace is a lovely place to dine.
Amfora, Obala Stjepana Radica 26, in Gruz opposite the ferry port is a lovely modern restaurant with a range of special lunch dishes that are very reasonably priced. Porat just along the street also gets great reports.
Sesame, Ul Don Frana Bulica 7, just outside the Pile gate was recommended, unfortunately we did not get a chance to try it and having looked at the menu I really wish we had, the choices had me drooling.
Cafes & Bars
Since our last visit the number of bars and cafes has increased hugely and it is lovely to see a couple of good wine bars opening. In general the bars in the lanes between the Stradun and Prijeko cater for a young crowd and are packed and loud. The bars on the Stradun particularly near the clock tower attract an older crowd but the prices are high however there are some exceptions.
Buzz Bar, Prijeko 21, is a great bar, prices are incredibly reasonable and they do excellent cocktails, craft beers and other drinks. The staff are very friendly, the tables outside are much prized but there is plenty of space inside although smoking is allowed.
Libertina, Zlatarska 3, is the old town locals bar open in the morning and the evening, it was great to see it still going strong on our return. The staff and customers are friendly and it is very cheap and could easily be your local for the duration of your stay.
Glam Café, Palmoticeva 5, is in one of the many lanes off the Stradun and specialises in craft beer. It is run by a lovely guy who really knows his beers and it is reasonably priced. You can have a beer there while waiting for a table in the wine bar opposite.
D’Vino, Palmoticeva 4A, was recommended to us by the guys from Paradox Wine Bar in Split, they have a wide range of local wines and serve meat and cheese platters. The staff are friendly and the wine flights of white or red are a great introduction to Croatian wine types. These are on offer in the afternoon at a reduced price, a good time to try them.
Malvasia Wine Bar, Dropčeva ul. 4, is our other recommended wine bar in the old town. Only open in the evenings it is managed by the daughter of a Croatian wine grower who is incredibly knowledgeable. The wine bar showcases wines from the owners own vineyards.
Café Bar Art, Ul Don Frana Bulica 7, is just outside the Pile Gate, a lovely shaded garden with reasonably priced drinks and quirky décor including seats made from old baths.
Buza Bar, Crijeviceva 9, if you do the wall walk then you will see it otherwise seek out the signs for cold drinks, whatever you do find it and have a drink on the terraces situated on the rocks, if you are brave have a swim, what a setting. Not cheap but a must.
Cave Bar at the More Hotel in Lapad is another cliff bar terrace but also has the bar inside a cave, not the easiest place to find but well worth a visit. Again as you would expect not cheap also swimming is only permitted for residents.
Lots of bars do coffees in the morning and are happy if you pop into the nearby bakers to buy your pastry to have with your coffee, Gallerie Bar, Kuniceva 5 is a great example, beware that a night it becomes a loud, raucous bar packed with people drinking cocktails out of buckets. Laura, Frana Supila 1, just outside the walls on the Ploce side, is a local bar with a pleasant terrace where you can also do this.
If you go out to Lapad then visit one of the many bars on Iva Vojnovica just before the Belvedere restaurant, they all have terraces and very reasonable prices.
When we visited eight years ago we enjoyed the decent house wines but did not try any of the more upmarket wines. Before this visit we had been advised that Croatian wines were now competing with some of the best in the world after the move to small independent producers in the last twenty years. More white than red is produced with Istria producing Italian style whites and further south there are some big Mediterranean style reds.
The grape varieties are not ones we would recognise so look out for whites from Grasevina, Bogdanusa and Malvazija which is similar to Malvasia. The main red variety is Plavac Mali, related to Zinfandel but don’t let that put you off is you are not currently a Zinfandel fan. Look out for Dingac and postup when buying Plavac Mali and be prepared to be impressed.
There is also now an interest in craft beers as in most of the rest of Europe and many bars are keen to tell you about the local beers produced in the region.
When the hoards of visitors arrive for the day from the cruise ships, the best bet is to head out of the centre and come back when it is at its best and quietest.
Walk the walls, but do it early to avoid the crowds and the heat, realistically it takes and hour and half and you can start from near the Pile Gate or the Ploce Gate, a bit more difficult to find.
Go to Lapad take the bus to the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel and walk back stopping at Lapad Beach.
Visit the gallery of Modern Art in Ploce on Frana Supila, it is a wonderful building with interesting exhibitions and permanent collection.
War Photography Gallery, Antuninska 6, is very worth visiting and brings back to you how recently the city was in fact a war zone.
Take a Ferry from Gruz to the Elaphite Islands, the ship calls at the three main islands and it is possible to do two in one day, the second Lipud is lovely and the last Sipan is worth a visit, the return fare to the furthest island is very cheap.
Cavtap down the coast is also worth a visit, this can be done by boat or by bus.