The Best Balkan Beaches: Dubrovnik

When you come to Dubrovnik, there is no doubt that you are going to stop at least at one of its world-renowned beaches. Sure. Dubrovnik has the Old Town with its Game of Throneswalking tours, but the sun and surf are what this coastal center has been famous for since the city’s beginning. However, not all beaches are created equal. Some are touristy, others cater to a more local crowd, some are a touch out of the way … Dubrovnik has a diverse collection of relaxing places for you to tan, swim, and flaunt that beach bod you have been working on.

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Lapad from a distance (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

Before we start though, we have to talk about Croatian beach etiquette. Stereotypes are never a good thing, but the beaches of Dubrovnik are what one might imagine a typical European beach to be. Do not be surprised if there is an abundance of Speedos (Guilty!), a handful of topless women, and the occasional naked child. Showing skin is not an issue in Croatia.

You should feel safe leaving your belongings with your towel on most beaches. Only on Banje, a tourist beach, you may want to keep an eye out on your bags. On the smaller more intimate sands, err, shall I say pebbles, theft is not a concern.

Food and drink-wise, I suggest hitting up the supermarkets instead of going to the expensive beach bars. Bring your water bottles too! The beach showers are Croatian tap water, which is safe to drink, so fill ‘em up!

So now, let’s begin:

Lapad Beach

Location: Lapad (At the end of Uvala Street)

The main beach on Lapad, it is the most crowded with tourists of the adjacent beaches. Sporting a pebbly shore that turns into a sandy one, it is a popular destination with a few restaurants up on the shore and beachgoers in the seats.

It gets way too crowded during the day, but the shallow waters, sandy bottom, and easy access by foot makes it the perfect place to night swim.

Vis

Lapad_Vis 2 Beach
Vis beach (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

Location: Lapad (Next to Lapad Beach)

Most of the beaches are named after the hotels they are in front of. Vis, in front of Hotel Vis, is another popular beach, full of people and a little rockier than its neighbor, Lapad Beach.

Vis has a few inflatable water structures that swimmers can pay to play on and geographically curves around the bay, extending the area for people to sunbath and relax. There is a larger local population here, but it is still a tourist beach.

Splendid

Splendid
Splendid (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

Location: Lapad (Up the far hill from Vis)

A locals’ beach, Splendid lacks sand, but makes up for it with its general seclusion. A rocky beach with a small (slightly expensive) restaurant overlooking the water, you will find many Croatian beachgoers and a collection of other European swimmers here, spending the afternoon in the sun.

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Splendid (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

The beach gets crowded starting at around five and six o’clock PM. Croatians go to the beach in the late afternoon to escape the sun when it is at its harshest. Brave the sunshine to get a little more space or do as the locals and go after a late lunch.

This is the Croatian crew’s favorite beach. It’s just a little walk away and has free bathrooms. Not too shabby.

Titova

Titoa 1
Titova (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

Location: Lapad (Across the wall at Splendid)

Another more locally visited beach, Titova is a tiny, boasting a small patch of rocky sand on the water. It is the smallest beach on this list, perfect for couples and easily accessible by water and land from Splendid. It essentially is the same area.

Banje

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Banje (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

Location: A little ways past the Old Town, across from the island of Lokrum

Croatian for ‘bathroom’, Banje is a majorly touristy beach next to a fancy restaurant with aquatic sporting activities for hire by the shore. Some Croatians dislike this beach, and I have to agree with them. There are things floating in the water, it is crowded, the sea isn’t crystal clear like the other beaches, and there is no space to spread your things around. Not to mention, you have to pay to use the bathrooms and showers.

Banje
Banje (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

With all that said, it has some great views of the Old Town from above and below by the rocks.

Šunj

Location: Lopud

A sandy beach mostly occupied by Croatians and boat tours, it is a perfect place to visit with children. Warm, shallow waters that stretch out into the sea, it is a safe environment that is only lacking sustenance-wise. If you haven’t read about my island hopping trip to Lopud, let me just suggest avoiding the awful fast food café here. On the plus side, the bathrooms are not that bad for a moderately isolated island.

There is a nude section to the left (if you are facing the water), and bring towels because you have to pay for the beach seats until the late afternoon. And, the sand is hot!

The Dubrovnik sun is tremendous. I do not think I have ever had a tan line like this before. Be sure to use sunscreen; it is what responsible adults do.

Lopud - Sunj
Šunj (Photo credits by PintsizedPioneer)

Coincidentally, Dubrovnik is hottest when it is the high tourist season, July through August. Prepare yourself for 90 degrees Fahrenheit weather in a slightly humid climate. Just wear something a little lighter to the beach, bring and drink your water, and don’t be afraid to just stay in the sea for hours. Enjoy.

I have been a little under the weather lately, so I haven’t been able to spend too much time exploring the city. But, do not count me out yet. More to come about traditional Croatian foods, a little more island hopping, and officially walking the walls of Old Town. We go back in August, so let’s get ‘er done.

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