Famous for being one of Croatia‘s most interesting cities and a filming location for the popular series “Game of Thrones”, Dubrovnik welcomes millions of visitors each year. Whilst it’s orange-topped roofs, seaside views and winding cobblestone paths that lead to historic monuments are admittedly alluring, you shouldn’t ignore its prime location either — situated near the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, the destination is also a perfect jumping pad to these two countries.
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Take advantage of the convenience and head on day trips to explore some of the top attractions in Dubrovnik’s neighbouring countries. The varied cultures and histories of these other Balkan countries will not only be eye-opening but will also deepen your understanding of the region as a whole. Of course, your travels will also lead you to witness some simply breathtaking scenery!
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The arched bridge in Mostar, Stari Most, is one of the country’s most recognisable icons and a stroll at this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must when you’re in town. During the warmer season, thrillseekers enjoy jumping off the 24-metre-tall bridge into the clear blue waters underneath — though the act is warned against– whilst a host of spectators gather around to witness the feat. As one of the most diverse cities in the region, Mostar’s culture and architecture boast Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslavian influences, making it a fascinating destination to explore.
The journey to Mostar takes two and a half hours per way but buffer in more time for your day trip if you’re planning to stop by the Vjetrenica Caves en route. This sprawling underground cave system is the largest in the country and you’ll come across several small lakes and cave drawings that are estimated to be 10,000 years old.
Kravica waterfall, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Not a fan of the crowds clamouring to get a good view of the waterfalls at Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park? Take the lesser-known route to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Kravica waterfall, which is a three-hour drive from Dubrovnik per way, to enjoy the sight of approximately 20 waterfalls cascading over mossy rocks in relative peace. Dubbed a “mini-Niagara” by Lonely Planet, the 25-metre-tall falls are surrounded by vibrant green pools that are perfect for swimming leisurely in; you can also opt to take a rowboat up close to the falls. Don’t forget to head for a 15-minute walk up the hill if you’d like to take in a panoramic view of the Kravica waterfall from up high.
Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
If you identify as an adventurous and curious wine lover, Trebinje will be right up your alley. At this under-the-radar town located in the heart of one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two wine regions, you can drop by several family wineries that utilise both modern and traditional wine production techniques. Some of the varieties you can expect to find here include the white Zilavka and the reds Blatina and Vranac. You’d be hard pressed to find good Bosnian wine outside of the country’s borders due to storage and bottling difficulties so it’s recommended that you travel to the source itself if you wish to taste the top tipples the country has to offer. Best of all, the slowly burgeoning wine region is only a 40-minute drive away from Dubrovnik, making this an easy trip.
One of the more popular destinations in Montenegro, Budva stands out for its beautiful beaches and old town. Choose from 17 beaches to unwind at and bury your toes in the fine sand as you gaze out to the sparkling Adriatic sea, then delve into an exploration of the destination’s historic centuries-old churches and palaces. A visit to the picturesque Sveti Stefan islet, which is connected to the mainland and surrounded by two pink beaches on each side, will also be one of the highlights of your trip. Budva is a two hour and forty minutes drive away from Dubrovnik.
This gorgeous destination hugging the coast of the Adriatic Sea and surrounded by towering peaks has been dubbed one of the most beautiful places in Europe time and time again. Wander into the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s well-preserved Stari Grad that dates back to medieval times to learn about local history, visit abandoned old Austro-Hungarian Fortresses and scale the Upper Town Walls for breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor. A one-way journey to Kotor from Dubrovnik takes two hours and 15 minutes.