An Afternoon Stroll through Ploče & Viktorija
While most of suburban Dubrovnik spreads west from the walled city, its most well-heeled neighbourhoods lie immediately to the east. Grand villas and hotels sprang up here in the 1920s and '30s, taking advantage of spectacular views of the old town and some lovely beaches. A stroll along the road shadowing the coast provides a window into Dubrovnik's glitzy side.
Start with lunch at reasonably priced locals' hangout Pizzeria Tabasco. Order a tasty wood-fired pizza and enjoy it sitting on one of the shady terraces hidden between the old town and the cable-car station.
Call into Kawa, a hip design store selling Croatian-designed oddities such as cushions in the shape of Nikola Tesla's head and the Happy Čevapi range of T-shirts (cartoon images of gleeful-looking sausages). Stock up on domestic craft beer and wine for later.
Drop by the Lazareti arts centre to see what's on during your stay and take a look at its historic buildings and courtyards. This walled-in complex was built between 1590 and 1642 as a quarantine station to protect the city from the plague. It now hosts art exhibitions, cinema screenings, club nights, live music and folk dancing.
Take a stroll along Banje Beach, the busiest and most glamorous of Dubrovnik's beaches. Stop for a drink at the flash beach bar, hire a lounger or throw a towel down on the eastern end of the shingly beach for free. Late at night the bar morphs into a club.
Museum of Modern Art
Visit this excellent gallery for its architecture and the view from the sculpture terrace, but particularly for its excellent collection of Croatian art. Built in the 1930s as a residence for a Dubrovnik shipowner, this interesting building includes elements of Modernism while tipping a hat to the Gothic and Renaissance architecture of Dubrovnik's historic core.
Sveti Jakov Beach
Wander past Dubrovnik's grandest houses to the most 'local' of Dubrovnik's beaches, Sveti Jakov Beach, positioned at the far end of the coastal strip. Take a late-afternoon swim in the deliciously clear water and stay to watch the sun set over the old town from the terrace of the beach bar.
- Beautiful beaches
- Local art and design
On Foot It takes mere minutes to walk here from the Buža or Ploče gates.
Bus Routes 5 (from Babin Kuk) and 8 (from Gruž) circle through Ploče and Viktorija.
Beach-Hopping in Lapad
Despite the presence of various large resort complexes hugging the coast, the hilly Lapad Peninsula retains a much more lived-in feeling than the rest of Dubrovnik. Local families flock to the casual cafe-bars and pizzerias lining Šetalište Kralja Zvonimira, the buzzy pine-shaded pedestrian promenade leading to pretty Lapad Bay, all year round.
Velika & Mala Petka Forest Park
Start with a morning stroll through this shady 43-hectare park encompassing the big and little Petka hills. Few tourists make their way up here; you're unlikely to encounter more than a handful of local joggers and people walking their dogs.
Stop for lunch at this bright and breezy neighbourhood bistro but don't be fooled by the casual vibe: this is one of Dubrovnik's very best restaurants. The homemade bread and pasta are superb.
Follow the buzzy cafe-lined pedestrian strip down to the clear waters of Lapad Bay and one of Dubrovnik's most family-friendly beaches. Local kids race around the park and splash about on the inflatable floating playground. Facing due west, it's a popular spot to watch the sun set over the water and Koločep Island.
Cave Bar More
Situated on the walkway that traces the northern edge of the bay, this beach bar has a sunny terrace by the water but make sure you head into the natural cave itself, where drinks are served in the cool depths of a stalactite-filled cavern.
Coral Beach Club
Across the other side of the Babin Kuk hill, Coral is the peninsula's ritziest locale for lazing on loungers, drinking cocktails and cooling off in the crystalline sea.
Less upmarket than its neighbour, Copacabana also has loungers, bars, a restaurant and masseurs at hand, but there's more room to spread out your towel on the pebbles and splash about in the water with the kids.
Finish your beach day with a delectable sashimi platter at Dalmatia's best Japanese restaurant, tucked away in an unassuming set of neighbourhood shops at the centre of the peninsula. Wash it down with local wine, Japanese beer or sake.
- Neighbourhood eateries
Bus Catch bus 4 from the Pile Gate to Hotel Palace and pick up the path through the forest-park at the end of the road.