Though Dubrovnik might not strike you as an ideal destination for adventure seekers, this tourist-saturated city has more than its fair share of nearby mountains to climb and islands to explore by foot, bike and more. And with temperatures that are sunny and warm for most of the year, rarely dropping below freezing even in winter, those with a hankering to get outta town will have plenty of time for rugged exploration in the southern-Croatia countryside. Add to these on-land options plenty of activities to check out both atop and underneath the beautiful Adriatic Sea and you’ve got yourself something of an unexpected adventure destination here. Provided you can look past the cruise ships, that is. But we digress.
Close to the ancient city itself you may find your possibilities somewhat limited; keep in mind, however, that the 413 meter Mount Srd, which stands watch over both Dubrovnik and its Adriatic coastline, is a challenging little 90 minute hike (provided you resist the temptation to utilize the much quicker and more comfortable cable-car). For a more rewarding mountain top excursion you’ll have to look a little further (28 km/17 miles) southeast to the Snijeznica Mastiff. At 1,234 meters, this deceptive day-hike constitutes the tallest peak in the far south of Croatia. There’s also some fantastic trekking/biking to be had on the island of Mljet, whose western area composes the beautiful and uninhabited forests of the Mljet National Park.
If you’re looking to get out both on or in the water (and this would be an understandable desire, considering your location), your options are pretty much limitless. From kayak rentals which allow you to paddle alongside the sun-bleached walls of the old city to cliff jumping the nearby bluffs of Lokrum Island, there is swimming and boating to be had around every turn in this part of Croatia. Scuba divers may want to investigate the nearby Zupa Bay in what is known colloquially as the Dubrovnik Riviera, which offers access to well-preserved reefs, wrecks and sea walls for all skill levels. Wind surfing more your style? Then make the northwesterly pilgrimage to the Peljesac peninsula, where you’ll discover some of the best summer water-sport conditions in all of Europe. Whatever you’re into, keep in mind that there’s more to this jewel of the Adriatic than shopping and tourist-filled clubs. You just gotta get out there and experience it.