If you’re dreaming of an authentic holiday in Croatia but want to avoid Dubrovnik’s crowds of tourists, plan your stay in Cavtat. This pretty coastal town has everything you need for a relaxing holiday while it’s only a 30-minute trip from Cavtat to Dubrovnik.
Where is Cavtat, Croatia?
Cavtat is a pretty, coastal town situated in Croatia’s southern Konvale region, near the international Cilipi airport. The small town is an ideal base for those who love to explore as it is just 22 kilometres from the border with Montenegro and 20 kilometres from its more famous neighbour, Dubrovnik.
Things to do in Cavtat, Croatia
Entering Cavtat (pronounced tsavtat) the winding road slopes steeply down to the harbour which is at the heart of this small town. Mink coloured stone houses with creamy white shutters, and bright terracotta roofs line the hillside and compete for space around the photogenic harbour front. There are a number of small apartment complexes and a couple of large hotels, but as these are situated on the edge of the town, the delightful appearance of Cavtat has been preserved.
Explore Cavtat’s Harbourfront
There are actually two, ‘u’ shaped harbours in Cavtat which culminate in green covered peninsulas stretching into the sparkling Adriatic. On a clear summer’s day, the contrasting colours are breathtaking.
The harbour to the right of the town also houses the small bus station, a car park and the tourist office but the main part of town lies in the harbour on the left side of Cavtat.
Here is where restaurants and cafes with pleasant outdoor terraces and harbourfront decks offer picture-perfect sunset locations. Popular with locals, tourists and day-tripping visitors from Dubrovnik, it is worth reserving a table at one of these venues to secure a scenic dinner spot.
Stroll along the palm-lined promenade while admiring (or ogling!) the impossibly grand millionaires’ yachts which moor up daily in scarily tight spaces!
Cut through the parade of small shops and restaurants and head up the silent, sloping cobbled lanes past whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant bougainvillea. These peaceful lanes are devoid of tourists and an ideal place to wander around.
Take in the Views from Racic Mausoleum
A short walk from the summit of this quiet residential area leads to the hilltop Cavtat cemetery with expansive views of the town from the 1921 Racic Mausoleum.
Visit Cavtat’s Churches
Nestled below the Mausoleum on the harbourfront is the tiny Church of Our Lady of the Snow Monastery, while at the other end of the promenade is the beautiful Church of St Nicholas, whose hourly tolling bell adds to the pleasant ambience of the town. Inside the 15th-century church of St. Nicholas you can view stunning, 19th-century paintings by the locally born artist Vlaho Bukovac, whose nearby home is also a museum housing some of his artwork. Both churches welcome visitors every day and to their Sunday services.
Taste Your Way Through the Farmers’ Market
Opposite the church of St Nicholas, is the small, friendly farmers’ market, held daily on the harbourfront. Sample and buy delicious cheeses, colourful fresh fruit and vegetables and mouth-watering homemade ice creams and pancakes. Enjoy your snacks with a cold Pivo (beer) while watching the sunset, or if your timing is right, take in a water polo game in the harbour’s open sea arena.
Discover the Rectors’ Palace
Further around the harbour, you can also visit the fascinating, diverse private collection of the Cavtat born 19th-century lawyer Balthazar Bogisic, in the ornate Renaissance building ‘The Rectors’ Palace.’
Swim at Cavtat’s Beach
The central location in front of the Rectors Palace is where local people go swimming. A concrete deck with gentle slopes enters the clear, warm water. It is a great spot to linger and mingle.
Follow the curve of the harbour to find the zoned swimming area popular with families, located near the sails of the Spinnaker restaurant. This strip of pebbly beach gets very busy in the summer months!
Walk the Peninsulas
The two peninsulas that help to form Cavtat’s harbours are very pleasant to walk around; each walk takes approximately one hour – if you can resist the temptation to stop at an isolated spot for a swim!
The pedestrian-only paths offer welcome shade due to the dense pine trees as well as a cooling breeze off the adjacent sea. The right-hand side peninsula walk is a maintained concrete path and can get busy with afternoon, shade seeking walkers. The peninsula walk on the left side is on an uneven forest path and is more secluded and peaceful.
Hike the Ronald Brown Way
There are some long distance walks in the local area which start or end in Cavtat such as the long, coastal Ronald Brown Way which winds around the Konvale coast to neighbouring Ćilipi.
It is possible to walk one way and catch a bus the other way. The tourist office at the bus station in Cavtat can help with enquiries about this walk. Make sure to set out with plenty of water, especially on a hot summer’s day, as there are no facilities on the route.
Take a Boat from Cavtat to Dubrovnik
There are many, reasonably priced boat trips on offer at the harbour such as trips to local fishing or snorkelling spots as well as the fabulous 45-minute trip across the Adriatic to Dubrovnik. While visiting Dubrovnik by boat is more expensive than going by bus, the cooling, scenic journey offers fantastic views of Dubrovnik’s famous walls as you approach the harbour of the old town. It is an unmissable day trip from Cavtat.
To complete a perfect day exploring Cavtat, don’t miss the opportunity to have an ice cream from Kuca Sladoleda (House of Ice Cream) opposite the farmers market. It offers a dazzling array of ice cream colours and flavours and is always busy.
Dangling your feet in the clear Adriatic, eating an ice cream or enjoying a drink while watching a spectacular sunset, Cavtat is a place to make memories.
More Day Trips from Cavtat, Croatia
Hotels in Cavtat, Croatia
Use the map below to locate the best hotels in Cavtat and book with the best rates on Booking.com.