Sun-soaked Dubrovnik has culture in spades – stupendous medieval walls, beautifully preserved monasteries and palaces, and a whole slew of museums and galleries. However it also has plenty of beaches (most of them quite small) both close to the old town itself and in the surrounding area. Some of these are very well known and extremely popular, others a little more remote and well hidden.

Whether you’re after a refreshing dip or a place to lounge by the water’s edge with a cocktail, read on and discover some of the best beaches in and around Dubrovnik. If you really want to beat the crowds, you could also join a kayak tour and paddle off to one of the swimming spots less easily accessible on foot or on wheels, such as the rocky coast of the nearby Elafiti Islands.

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People swimming and sunbathing on the Banje sea beach, with the old town of Dubrovnik in the background.
You can swim or sunbathe with views of the old town of Dubrovnik © Goran Jakus / Shutterstock

Banje Beach

Just a hop and a skip from the harbor, this popular pebble beach has stunning views of the old town, and plenty of facilities including restaurants and sun-loungers. This is Dubrovnik’s main city beach, so it’s also enormously popular – meaning it’s best to get here early before it fills up. It’s good for families, and in the evening transforms into a lively beach bar and party spot. Just walk along from the Ploče Gate past Lazareti.

Sveti Jakov Beach

A little way past Banje but still less than a 25-minute walk from the old town, this local favorite is set below cliffs and is accessed by a flight of steps leading down from the Sveti Jakov Church. The alluring stretch of shingle and pebble beach has sun-loungers for rent, and there’s a restaurant, bar, and toilets. Like Banje, it also has stunning views of the old town. If you don’t feel like walking, you can take bus 5 or 8 from the old town.

Copacabana Beach

Located on the northern shore of the Babin kuk peninsula at Seka Bay, the chic Copacabana is rather smaller than its Brazilian namesake – but is still a good spot for a swim, sunbathing and enjoying that requisite cocktail. You’ll find a small armada of white sun-loungers and cabanas, and a gentle arc of pebble beach – and there’s a restaurant and bar. Take bus 2a or 6 from Pile. 

Kayaking at sunset in Croatia
Get out on the water on a kayaking tour to visit secluded island beaches © Peter McBride / Getty Images

Buža 

These rocks below the city walls, accessed by a doorway off ulica od Margarite, are something of an iconic spot for swimming and sunbathing (or sipping a drink or two), though they’re not quite the (relatively) hidden gem they once were. There are a few small tables with sun umbrellas, served by a small bar, and a few concreted areas where you can try to fit a towel or just jump off into the sea. The rocks at Buža are not sheltered, so it’s not the best choice for kids.

Šulići Bay

This little pebble beach is right next to the Pile Gate, sandwiched between the Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses. Nevertheless it’s less busy than Banje, and is quite sheltered, and the water is just as clean. There are no facilities on the beach, but you’ll find cafes and restaurants not much further than a swung towel away. 

View of the Island Lopud in Croatia
Lopud is a great option for families with the shallow sandy Šunj Beach © TPopova / Getty Images

Šunj Beach

Šunj is a sandy beach – one of the very few in the Dubrovnik area – on the island of Lopud, one of the Elafiti Islands. The water is quite shallow, making it a fantastic place for families. You’ll find sun-loungers for hire, and there’s a restaurant set in the woods just behind the beach. You can walk across the island to the beach from the small town of Lopud, where the ferry arrives – it’s about 30 minutes on foot, or you can take a ride in one of the taxis (read: golf carts) which ply the route. Jadrolinija runs ferries to Lopud from Dubrovnik several times a day.

Lokrum

The little island of Lokrum, just a 15-minute boat ride from the old town, has a rocky shoreline which makes for some lovely swimming spots. There’s also a shallow saltwater lake in the centre of the island, if you want something a little less rugged and rocky – the high salt content has earned it the nickname of the Dead Sea Lake. The southern part of the island is a naturist beach.

Pasjača Beach

For something a bit more wild and isolated, try this – Pasjača is a narrow, pebble beach which comes with a stunning setting at the base of a sheer cliff, and is accessed by a longish path which tunnels through the rock in places, and steps. The beach is actually man-made, having been created in the 1950s, though you’d never guess it. Pasjača lies out past Cavtat and Dubrovnik airport, a good 30km from Dubrovnik near the village of Popovići – but is well worth the effort of getting there, and has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are no facilities on the beach, so take water and food with you and carry all litter back to the car park.

Veliki žal

Around 30km northwest of Dubrovnik facing the island of Šipan, Veliki žal is a beautiful stretch of stones and pebbles backed by a narrow band of greenery, just below the Jadranska magistrala (the main coastal highway, D8). It’s a good choice for families, and is a little less busy than the beaches close to Dubrovnik itself. There’s a small bar and restaurant, and a few water-sports on offer. Take bus 12, 15 or 21 from Dubrovnik.

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