With over 250 sunny days per year and a stunning setting on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a top destination for anyone who loves to watch the sun drop below the horizon amidst a meditative play of oranges and magentas.
The medieval Old Town's picturesque stone walls and the glittering sea with its constellation of islands become even more beautiful as they bask in the seductive glow of the setting sun.
Bird’s-eye views from Mt Srđ
Towering 412 metres directly above Dubrovnik's Old Town, Mt Srđ is perhaps an obvious choice, but the views certainly deliver, stretching all the way across the Adriatic Sea to Italy on clear days. A four-minute cable-car ride, a short twisting drive or a brisk 45-minute hike up a serpentine path brings you to the top of the hill. As the sun begins to set, walk past the Napoleonic fortress to the barren karst plateau, where views of the Elafiti Islands bathing in a pink haze redefine infinity. Then toast the Old Town’s glowing terracotta roofs with a glass of local wine at Panorama restaurant by the cable-car station.
Picture-perfect views of the Old Town from St Jacob's beach
This west-facing beach boasts full-frontal views of Dubrovnik's Old Town from its vantage point a couple of kilometres to the east. The pebbles of St Jacob's (Sveti Jakov) beach sit precisely 163 stairs beneath road level, so for a more serene and stylish arrival, inquire about boat transfers with any of the vendors at the Old Town harbour. The low-key beach restaurant makes St Jacob’s beach a great option for a full day of sunbathing followed by a million-dollar sunset view.
Paddle off into the sunset
If you're looking for an active way to enjoy the Dubrovnik sunset, kayaking pioneers Adventure Dalmatia have the answer. Their three-hour sunset kayaking tours set out from the small beach in the bay of Pile by Fort Bokar and paddle beneath the monumental City Walls towards mystical Lokrum Island, stopping off at the striking Betina Cave beach for a snorkel on the way. The trip includes snacks and a glass of local wine to toast the sunset, and you'll definitely feel like you earned it.
An evening stroll round the City Walls
Although Dubrovnik's famous medieval City Walls generally close before sunset (with last entrance at 7.30pm in high summer and 3pm in winter), smart visitors come towards the end of the day when day-trippers have departed and the midday heat has begun to subside. Swallows rise for their last swirl of the day, dotting the Old Town’s red roofs with the hypnotic synchronicity of their flight. Start the two-kilometre anticlockwise walk around the walls at the Ploče Gate entrance to get the steepest climbs out of the way first and finish your visit with the best views out over the sea.
A drink and a dip at a hole-in-the-wall bar
Part of the adventure of drinking at Dubrovnik's buža bars (literally 'hole-in-the-wall' bars) is finding them. After passing through Bošković square, you hit the City Walls and decide whether to turn left along the walls towards swanky Bard or right for the more rustic Buža. Either way, you'll pass through a hole in the wall and emerge at a perfect sunset drinks venue perched on the rocks above the waves. Don’t forget to bring your swimwear if you want to take a refreshing dip from the rocks.
Sunset cruise aboard a three-masted ship
What could make you feel more like a VIP than sailing into the sunset holding a glass of champagne? It couldn’t hurt to do so aboard a ship that actually featured in hit TV-series Game of Thrones – the Karaka, a faithful replica of a 16th-century merchant ship. The 2.5 hour cruise includes a buffet dinner served at dusk. The route circles passes by the island of Lokrum and gives great views of the City Walls, all dreamy in the twilight. Departure times from the Old Town harbour vary according to sundown times, so double-check when booking.
Family fun at Uvala Lapad
If you need something to keep the kids entertained while you wait for the sun to go down, Uvala Lapad could be the place for you. A pedestrianised strip lined with cafe-bars and children’s parks leads down to the inviting Lapad Bay: a string of rocky shores and pebble beaches framed by a relaxing boardwalk. Kids love the central beach, which is backed by a playground. It's the perfect place to sit back and watch the sun’s glorious descent over Grebeni Rocks.
Treats on the terrace and cocktails in a cave
Slatki Kantun’s relaxed terrace lounge is perfectly poised between the deep forest greens of the Petka hills and the sparkling Adriatic, halfway along the lovely promenade that encircles Lapad Bay. Tuck into one of their seductive selection of sweet treats whilst you watch the colours dance on the horizon, and then as the sun drops follow it down to sea level, where you’ll find the perfect spot for an aperitif: Cave Bar More, set in an atmospheric cave.
Splendid isolation at Kamen Mali beach in Cavtat
Cavtat, Dubrovnik’s amiable sidekick about 15km further down the coast, never gets as busy as its superstar neighbour. Revelling in typical small-town serenity, its refined seafront attracts the latest fashions from the yachting world. The serenity grows as you round the pine-wooded Rat peninsula towards Kamen Mali, a wild, rocky oasis poised on its tip. The nearby islands, spread against the distant outline of Dubrovnik on the horizon, set the perfect stage for a sun dive. Bus number 10 and Old Town boat transfers allow you to return to Dubrovnik from here past dark.
Stunning vistas from Sivi Soko viewpoint
Only accessible by road, the 484-metre high Sivi Soko (Grey Falcon) viewpoint boasts some of the most impressive vistas in the region. The stone platform in the hills above Cavtat bedazzles with 360-degree views of the green Konavle villages, Cavtat bays and Adriatic islands. To find your way here, turn off the D8 motorway at Zvekovica and follow the signs to Duba Konavoska. After a series of uphill switchbacks, head to Velji Do village. The stone platform appears on the left just as the view open up after a swirling drive through the barren karst landscape.
First published in December 2016