Although in the peak season, it feels like you are on a conveyer-belt of tourists, this city still remains spectacular and well worth a visit if in the area! With stunning ancient walls, forts and uniform terracotta roof tiles, Dubrovnik is picture perfect. I spent a lot of time here and got to know the city really well, although would only recommend a visit for a few days as it can be quite a tourist trap.
The views over the Old Town are some of the most stunning I’ve seen in Europe; and when you first see the walled city it does take your breath away.
Dubrovnik is well connected to other Croatian cities and islands, as well as other Balkan destinations such as Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The view from the city walls of Dubrovnik
Where To Go
- City Walls Walk is definitely worthwhile, but make sure you bring your student card (and it must not be expired or have no expiry date stated). The ticket for the Wall Walk will also get you into the fortress which has great views back over the whole of the Old Town.
- Walk up the mountain behind the city to have spectacular views; although the walk is a bit of a slog, it beats paying lots and queuing for the cable car.
- Swim in secluded beaches such as the small beach below Lovrijenac. This will get you away from the hoards of deck chair and beach umbrella obsessed tourists on some of the more popular beaches.
- Catch the ferry over to Lokrum Island where you can wander around an old monastery, go cliff jumping, swim in lagoons, try your luck on the rope swing, or admire the weird amount of peacocks present. Way more relaxed than mainland Dubrovnik but still with the famous Croatian beach atmosphere.
Where To Stay
As far as Croatia and the Balkans go, this is a very expensive place to visit and it is definitely worthwhile booking in advance.
Booking.com has a wide range of guesthouses dotted around the Old Town, varying from far away to really close. Some are absolutely gorgeous, as many older Croatian couples open their homes up to guests over the summer months and will provide amazing hospitality.
AirBNB was less fruitful in Dubrovnik than in other Croatian cities, but there were still options. As a couple or group, this may still be cheaper than renting hostel rooms, but as a single it may not be so cheap.
Hostel Villa Angelina is in the Old Town and is a fantastic hostel. Although the room sizes are small and it is a bit pricier than a guest house, it is in an amazing Old Town location and the staff are lovely. There is a great atmosphere here, and if you are looking for a hostel experience – this was great.
What To Eat
Restaurants here are pricey and tourist-trappy, so it is best to cook your own meals if you can. If you want some cheap food on the go, head to a local supermarket or bakery and order a burek (twisted pastry filled with meat, cheese or spinach/ricotta). In an alleyway off the main Old Town strip there is a little place which does burgers and salads for really cheap, it is called Presa and is amazing. Filling and actually not overpriced (unlike most other places in Dubrovnik)!
For cheap coffee, just outside the city walls there is a café called Sesame, which does espressos and Americanos for around 7 kuna. There is an outside shaded area which is really appreciated when it gets hot.
For alcohol-related beverages… a big 2L bottle of beer will set you back less than $3AUD in a supermarket. But if you prefer more upmarket drinks there are plenty of places to choose. If you want a drink with a view, check out Buza Bar where you can have your drink, admire the sunset and watch cliff jumpers!
When To Go
In the summer months it is really busy and makes visiting Dubrovnik quite unpleasant, although it is best to be there when it is warm. So compromise by trying to get there around the end of May/start of June before the SailCroatia tours and other cruise boats really get going and clog the tiny Old Town streets.
View of the Dubrvonik Old Town
How To Get Around
Dubrovnik is best to access by walking as it is quite small. Many guesthouses will be behind the Old Town on the hill, which can be a bit of a hike but will have great views.
The main bus and ferry port is quite far from the main area, so a bus between the terminal and the Old Town is a good idea. It is around 15 kuna, but remember that these buses are absolutely stacked and the Croatian ladies will not appreciate your hefty luggage (learned this the hard way). Prepare for a hectic bus journey with occasional muttering about how much room you are occupying.
In my opinion, the nightlife is better in Split and other Croatian cities, but there are still places to go out in Dubrovnik and a lot of people love it. There are a couple of pretty decent clubs, but not that many good bars. So it’s good to have pre drinks with people in a hostel and then go out to the clubs. Some have entry fees and the drinks are pretty pricey once inside, but this is pretty standard.