Did you know there is a beach right at the edge of the historic fortress city of Dubrovnik?
Banje Beach can be a pretty hopping scene, too. So, when you are done strolling the ramparts and gawking at the amazing views from high above the UNESCO World Heritage site that has gained fame in the past several years as the main setting for King's Landing in "Game of Thrones", you just might want to come down to sea level, grab a spot on the beach and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea that lap the rocky coastline.
This isn't a sugar-sand white-powder beach by any stretch. It's rocky and probably requires water shoes (the rocks are smooth) unless you are used to such surfaces.
Dubrovnik is a hugely popular stop on cruise ship itineraries in the Mediterranean, so you are likely to see swarms of people on the fortress ramparts and pulsing through the streets and alleys within the walls. So, plan to get to the beach early to snag a spot while all the others are taking their Game of Thrones tours and before they realize they could have been chilling out too.
Banje Beach gets busy when cruise ships are in port. The attached restaurant and nightclub bar offers beers and food (you pay full tourist prices), as well as a DJ blasting music. It can be a fun atmosphere or annoying depending on what type of experience you are looking for.
But it's a convenient nearby place to enjoy a couple hours in the sun and playing in the refreshing waters. We love stopping by for a couple beers and some swimming time after exploring the town, especially on the hot days that tend to be the rule along the Adriatic Coast in summertime.
Loungers cost about 100 kuna to rent. Yes, that's kuna, the Croatian currency. The bar takes credit cards. We don't rent loungers but instead buy the overpriced beers and sit at the outside area of the beach club in the shade and take turns heading out for a dip. This ends up being a better deal for the two hours we stay at the beach, which is plenty of time for us and a nice way to cap the day before heading back to the ship.
If you just want to come to swim, you can plop down on the beach for free with your own towel or set up on the concrete pier and join the kids who you'll see jumping in the water again and again and again. It's a blast.
Where: Immediately to the west of Old Town Dubrovnik
Cost: Free, but you pay if you want a lounger/umbrella or use the bar's restroom
Hours: Banje Beach Restaurant and Nightclub is open 10 a.m. to 5 a.m. daily
Also: Croatian currency is kuna (several ATMs in port and one at bar); rocky beach, wear water shoes