The best neighborhoods to visit

published: 2/8/2023 | February 8, 2023

Dubrovnik is the most popular city in Croatia. It is famous for its historic and well-preserved Old Town (and as a filming location for game of thrones), this picturesque town of 40,000 swells with tourists from May to early October, thanks to the growing number of cruise ships docking here.

However, the vast majority of visitors tend to stick to certain areas. This means that choosing the right neighborhood is more important here than in many other destinations, as it will greatly affect your experience.

To help you decide where to stay in Dubrovnik, I’m going to highlight the best neighborhoods, so you can choose the area that best suits your travel style and budget.

But, before I get into the specifics, here are some frequently asked questions I get asked about Dubrovnik neighborhoods:

What’s the best neighborhood for a foodie?
If you arrive in Dubrovnik by bus or boat, your first step will be in Gruž (pronounced “Groozh”), which has recently gained plenty of great dining options.

What is the best neighborhood for families?
Lapad is only a 10-minute bus ride from the Old Town and has a beautiful beach suitable for families.

What’s the best neighborhood for parties?
Pile (pronounced ‘Pee-Lay’) are narrow streets ideally located to take advantage of the many pubs in and around the Old Town, which lie just to the east.

What’s the best neighborhood for feeling local?
You won’t see this neighborhood on many other listings. Montovjerna is about a 15-minute walk from the Old Town, and is a quiet area with plenty of bars and restaurants frequented by locals.

What is the best neighborhood overall?
While noisy and crowded, Stari Grad (Old Town) is where all the action is.

With those questions now answered, here’s a more specific breakdown of each neighborhood – with suggested accommodation, so you know where to stay in Dubrovnik:

Where to stay in Dubrovnik for food lovers: Gruž

Outdoor market in the Groz neighborhood of Dubrovnik, Croatia

There was a time when nothing was particularly amazing about Gruž. But in the past five years or so, the neighborhood has evolved into a great place to eat. In addition to being home to a major outdoor food market, there are a few great restaurants that make Gruž a destination for those of you who let your stomach and taste buds dictate your itinerary.

The city’s only brewery, Dubrovnik Beer Company, is located in Gruž and has a lovely tap room for sampling beer. When you get hungry stop at Glorijet, Amfora and Kiosk. (The new Museum of Red History, which talks about life in the former Yugoslavia, is also in Gruž.)

Best places to stay in Gruž:

  • budget: Free Bird – One of the newer hostels in town, Free Bird has a common area with a large TV and kitchenette (although no stove). Overall, it’s a very basic hostel, but it’s very modern and clean, the staff is great, and the views from the balcony are amazing. There are also rooms for women only.
  • medium range: Hotel Adria – Most rooms in this comfortable hotel have balconies overlooking the marina. All rooms have large, comfortable mattresses and air conditioning. If you have a car, use of the hotel’s parking garage is free.
  • Welfare: Berkeley Hotel & Spa – Smack in the heart of Gruž, Berkeley is the only luxury hotel in the neighborhood. It has spacious guest rooms, some with balconies overlooking the marina, as well as an outdoor pool, bar, and fully equipped spa.

Where to stay for families in Dubrovnik: Lapad

People relaxing on Lapad Beach on a sunny day in Dubrovnik, Croatia

About 10 minutes or so on the bus to/from the old town, Lapad caters to a mix of locals and tourists. Set on a peninsula, residents love hanging out on the long pedestrian promenade, where there is a non-stop array of restaurants and cafes along the way to the beach. Visitors, especially families, enjoy the quiet beach on the cove, where the lower waves make for a perfect spot for kids to swim. You’ll find far fewer crowds here, too.

Best places to stay in Lapad:

  • budget: Dubrovnik Backpackers Club – Located just on the border of Lapad in Babin Kuk, Dubrovnik Backpackers Club is the least expensive option in the area. The rooms include a few mixed dorms for four and two private rooms for two with en-suite bathrooms and showers. The large kitchen is perfect for cooking your own meals, and there is also a balcony with a beautiful view of the neighborhood.
  • medium range: Art Hotel – Just a 2-minute walk from Lapad’s main beach, the Art Hotel is well-priced accommodations with plenty of comfort and style. The rooms have balconies, some with beautiful views, also air-conditioning, large flat-screen TVs, and minibars.
  • Welfare: Royal Palm Hotel – This is one of the most affordable luxury options in town. The hotel has large guest rooms with ocean views and a great terrace restaurant for more views of the Adriatic Sea. There is a relaxing spa on site as well.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik for parties: Pile

Fort Lovrijenac on a cloudy day in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Pile, just outside the Pile Gate (one of three ways in and out of the Old Town), is a neighborhood of narrow winding streets between the historic center and medieval Fort Lovrijenac and Gradac Park. It’s not necessarily packed with party venues, but it’s not in the Airbnb-centric Old Town and it’s within walking distance (read: stumbling) of walled Stari Grad if you’re inclined to spend your nights imbibing.

Best places to stay in Pile:

  • budget: Villa Garden Hostel – Located near Gradac Park, Villa Garden Hostel consists of a group of private rooms, each with either one bed or two single beds. The property has a fun and active common room and a beautiful terrace to enjoy the Adriatic sea breeze.
  • medium range: B&B Villa Dubrovnik Garden – This bed and breakfast is located on a hill overlooking the Old Town and the Adriatic Sea. The six rooms are nicely appointed with huge beds and beautiful views. The staff is excellent and can help you plan your trip and book excursions as well.
  • WelfareHilton Imperial Dubrovnik – Part of one of the few large international hotel chains (operated by Hilton) in Dubrovnik, the Imperial is actually a historic property. It’s ideally located just outside Pile Gate in the Old Town and has a lovely lobby bar and great sized rooms with very large and comfortable beds.

Where to stay in Dubrovnik to feel like a local: Montoverna

Secluded Bellevue Beach in the Montoverna district of Dubrovnik, Croatia

The main draw of this neighborhood is ulica bana Josipa Jelacica, which means nothing to tourists, but to locals it is – or at least used to be – a party street, lined with bars. It has even earned the nickname “Bourbon Street” (after New Orleans’ infamous party street). Today it’s more varied, but it’s still a good place for a coffee or an evening drink at a few bars down the street if you want to hang out at the locals’ go-to spots.

The street is also home to one of the city’s best dining options: Marija’s House, where chef Marija Papak cooks exquisite local cuisine on the covered terrace of her home.

Best places to stay in Montoverna:

  • budget: Vila Marija – Just a 15-minute walk to/from the Old Town, this guest house offers private rooms as well as studio apartments complete with their own kitchens. There is a beautiful terrace outside and the host is very kind and welcoming.
  • medium range: Hotel Lero – This is a long, rectangular, multi-storey hotel with a courtyard pool and rooms overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Rooms feature air conditioning, plush robes, coffee makers, satellite TVs and large wardrobes.
  • Welfare: Hotel More – This cliffside hotel is located right on the water. All 72 rooms and eight suites have balconies overlooking the sparkling Adriatic Sea. As a bonus, the hotel has the most unique bar in town, if not all of Croatia: Cave Bar More, which, as the name suggests, is located in an actual cave right on the water.

Best overall neighborhood in Dubrovnik: Stari Grad

Main Street in Stari Grad, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Stari Grad, or the Old Town, is Dubrovnik’s main attraction and the main reason millions of people visit. If you come during high season, expect the limestone-covered streets to feel like sidewalks in Times Square, with foot traffic causing serious congestion. Having said that, this is why you come here and probably where you might spend a lot of your time.

There are some decent restaurants in the old town. But despite the many pizzerias here, stay away from pizza at all costs; You will be disappointed.

Also, avoid the restaurant-lined Prijeko ulica, nicknamed “Banditenstrasse” by locals, because it’s the street where tourists go to splurge on bad food and bad restaurants (which have a history of defrauding tourists).

Instead, just enjoy staying in the Old Town, taking in the medieval atmosphere of the place as you wander the narrow streets.

Best places to stay in Stari Grad:

  • budget: City Walls Hostel – This award-winning three-story hotel features a spacious common room, a small but fully equipped kitchen, and a free basic breakfast each morning. Coffee and tea are also available in the kitchen throughout the day.
  • medium range: La Vita e Bella II – This collection of elegant rooms is set in a 13th-century house in the heart of the Old Town. All units feature air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and premium amenities, including little touches like Bose speakers and robes/slippers.
  • Welfare: Hotel St. Joseph – Housed in a 16th-century building, St. Joseph is one of the few hotels located within the walls. And she’s cute! The six rooms have kitchenettes, rain showers (some also have huge bathtubs), and enough space to make you want to stay awhile. The staff is very friendly too.


Dubrovnik is best experienced if you spread yourself out, and don’t rely entirely on the overcrowded Old Town for all your fun and exploration. There are plenty of great, quiet, and beautiful neighborhoods in Dubrovnik that will allow you to beat the crowds while still enjoying all that the city has to offer.

And since the town is relatively small, you’re always a short bus ride away to get to everything, ensuring that you won’t miss anything this stunning medieval city has to offer.

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