- 1 Guest Author: Olivia McDonald
- 2 Reasons To Visit Dubrovnik: The Pros
- 3 Reasons Not To Visit Dubrovnik: The Cons
- 4 Tips for Visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia
- 5 Must-Visit Landmarks in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- 6 Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?: FAQs
- 7 The Verdict: So Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?
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If you’re wondering, is Dubrovnik worth visiting? You’ve come to the right place!
In this blog post, we’re diving into one of my favorite cities to explore whether you should add this destination to your European adventure.
As a prime tourist spot in Croatia, Dubrovnik has long drawn travelers to its ancient walls, stunning architecture, and interesting history.
But what does 2023 and beyond have in store for this coastal gem?
Read on to uncover the current state of Dubrovnik, from its vibrant cultural scene and beautiful beaches to the potential impact of tourism and the ever-changing travel landscape.
So, if you’re on the fence about planning a trip to Dubrovnik this year, let’s unravel the mysteries and find out if it’s truly worth the journey.
Let’s get started!
Reasons To Visit Dubrovnik: The Pros
Below are my top reasons why you should visit Dubrovnik this year. From gorgeous scenery to culinary delights, let’s get stuck into the pros of exploring Dubrovnik.
✔️ The stunning landscapes
The city of Dubrovnik is one of if not the most beautiful medieval towns. It’s a treat for the eyes, surrounded by limestone hills and the Adriatic Sea.
Every way you look, there is something new to discover.
Walking around the cobblestone streets feels like you are in the midst of a fairy tale.
Plus, the city is surprisingly spotlessly clean!
✔️ The city’s rich history
A UNESCO World Heritage site and home to numerous old landmarks, it’s no wonder Dubrovnik has incredible history drawing travelers to learn more.
History buffs will revel in outstanding medieval architecture and a fortified old town dating back to the 7th century.
Walking around feels like you’ve dived into your Renaissance history book. Although the city feels like a museum, stop by one of Dubrovnik’s many museums, including Rector’s Palace and Red History Museum.
✔️ Seafood galore
Situated on the stunning Dalmatian coastline, it’s no surprise Dubrovnik is proud of its fresh local produce. A growing cosmopolitan gastronome hotspot, Dubrovnik serves various fresh seafood and local dishes.
And with over 350 restaurants to eat in, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss out on trying some of the local favorites.
Dishes to try on your trip include black risotto, grilled fish, dirty macaroni, and octopus salad.
✔️ Relaxing beaches
Slip, slop, slap on your sunscreen; it’s time to head to the beach!
Dubrovnik offers some of the most relaxed beaches in Europe. And the beauty of the beaches is only enhanced by the contrast of the spectacular old town walls in the background.
The Mediterranean climate guarantees many sunny days, but the only downside is that all beaches are pebble, not sand.
During the summertime, beaches near the center of Dubrovnik are unsurprisingly rather busy. For a more secluded beach, check out Lapad Beach, a little further out.
✔️ It’s a walkable city
Dubrovnik is the perfect city for exploring on foot!
You can leave your high heels or dress shoes at home and opt for comfy sneakers or sandals.
The city’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it easy to navigate on foot.
Walk around the bustling Stradun, where you’ll find charming shops and tempting gelato stands. Get lost in the maze of narrow alleys and stumble upon hidden gems, like cozy cafes tucked away in quiet corners.
And, of course, remember to climb up the ancient city walls for a breathtaking view that will leave you breathless (in a good way, of course).
So grab your most comfortable shoes, hit the pavement, and let Dubrovnik’s walkability lead you to unforgettable experiences.
✔️ You’re at a gateway to the Balkans
Did you know that Dubrovnik is the perfect gateway to exploring the stunning country of Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Just a stone’s throw away from Dubrovnik, you can hop across the border and dive into a whole new world.
Grab your passport and embark on a 1-hour road trip along the scenic coastal roads, where rugged mountains meet the sparkling Adriatic Coast.
Montenegro has breathtaking landscapes, from the dramatic fjords of Kotor to the pristine beaches of Budva.
The first time I visited Dubrovnik was actually on a day trip from Montenegro. For such a quick trip, it’s amazing to explore the similarities and differences between the two counties.
If you’re craving a little more adventure beyond Dubrovnik, don’t miss the chance to venture into Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina.
✔️ Game of Thrones surrounds you
Calling all Game of Thrones fans! Yes, I’m talking to you!
Get ready to step into the real-life backdrop of your favorite show in the enchanting city of Dubrovnik.
You’ll feel like you’re walking through the Seven Kingdoms as you explore the iconic locations that brought the fantasy world to life.
Wander through the ancient streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, and you’ll recognize the winding alleys that Cersei Lannister once walked.
Stand atop the mighty city walls and relive the epic battles that took place in King’s Landing.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply appreciate the architecture, Dubrovnik will transport you into the fantastical realm of Westeros.
So grab your cloak, channel your inner Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the Game of Thrones universe, right here in Dubrovnik.
Reasons Not To Visit Dubrovnik: The Cons
Now onto the not-so-fabulous aspects of Dubrovnik. From large flocks of people to expensive bites to eat, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of.
❌ The city gets crowded
After going through the reasons why you should visit Dubrovnik, it’s no surprise Dubrovnik draws flocks of people from across the world.
But let’s address the elephant in the room: the crowds. Brace yourself for the influx of eager sightseers and Game of Thrones fans, especially during the peak summer months.
The Old Town’s narrow streets can get packed, and you might find yourself navigating through selfie sticks and tour groups.
It’s like a never-ending dance where you must sidestep your way through the masses.
But with a little patience and some strategic planning, you can still find secluded pockets, hidden corners to explore, and breathtaking views to soak in on your own.
Try and embrace the energy and excitement of the crowd, and let it become part of your Dubrovnik adventure. After all, a bustling city is a testament to its popularity.
You can make the most of your time in this remarkable destination with a little flexibility.
❌ Dubrovnik can be very touristy
Dubrovnik’s Old Town can get pretty crowded, and you might be surrounded by fellow travelers with cameras around their next rather than locals.
And let’s not forget the souvenir shops that seem to be on every corner.
Luckily, I don’t believe it’s as extreme as the fate of places like Venice, Mykonos, or Phuket.
While it’s true that Dubrovnik has become a major tourist destination, it still has pockets of authenticity if you know where to look.
Leave time in your itinerary to explore beyond the main thoroughfares and the quieter alleys, where you might stumble upon hidden gems, local cafes, and family-run shops.
Talk with the locals, try some traditional dishes, and seek out cultural events or festivals that showcase the city’s true character.
❌ Dubrovnik can be expensive for visitors
Hungry and thirsty in Dubrovnik?
Get ready to loosen those purse strings!
Let’s talk about the not-so-pocket-friendly side of the city: the food and drinks prices.
Dining out in Dubrovnik can put a dent in your budget; from trendy restaurants to charming cafes, you’ll find that the cost of meals and drinks is on the higher side, especially in the touristy areas.
So, be prepared to splurge a little to indulge in local delicacies or sip on a refreshing cocktail by the Adriatic Sea.
That being said, you can find reasonably priced dishes bursting with flavor by seeking out local spots off the beaten path.
And with any travel throughout Europe, there are many ways to stick to your budget, including reducing eating out.
But remember, it’s all about finding a balance between treating yourself and keeping an eye on your wallet.
So, tighten those belts (literally and figuratively) and get ready to savor Dubrovnik’s culinary delights, even if it means giving your budget a little stretch.
❌ Limited public transportation
Let’s talk about the logistics of getting around Dubrovnik.
Now, when it comes to public transport in Dubrovnik, here’s the scoop: it’s a bit on the limited side.
Don’t expect there to be the London tube or the Paris hop-on hop-off buses.
But Dubrovnik’s compact size makes it super walkable, and you can easily navigate the main sights on foot.
If you’re feeling tired or want to venture a little further, use one of the local buses that exist. They might not run as frequently as you’d like, but they can get you to some key spots outside the city center. Just be prepared to embrace a more relaxed pace.
And hey, if all else fails, there’s always the option of hopping in a taxi or ride-sharing service to get you where you need to go.
So, stretch your legs, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore Dubrovnik at your own pace, even if public transport isn’t its strong suit.
❌ Get ready for hot summers
Summer in Dubrovnik? Get ready to turn up the heat!
We’re talking about scorching temperatures, folks.
The summer sun in Dubrovnik can be a little brutal, so be prepared to lather on that sunscreen; bring along a trusty hat and shades and a bikini to slip into.
When the temperature rises above 30°C, the city’s cobblestone streets can feel like you’re walking on fiery coals.
To cool down, dive into those crystal-clear waters and cool off like a local. Whether you’re lounging on the famous Banje Beach or sipping on a refreshing cocktail at a seaside bar, there are ways to keep cool on your trip.
But don’t forget to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade, though—after all, you want to enjoy the sunshine without turning into a grilled lobster!
❌ Limited activities
Here’s the deal: while the city is undeniably beautiful and steeped in history, the range of activities can be limited.
Dubrovnik is more about soaking in the ambiance than a bustling hub of adrenaline-pumping adventures.
There are still a few exciting options to keep you entertained, from hopping on a boat to the Elaphiti Islands to riding the cable car to see a bird’s eye view.
Or why not take a guided Game of Thrones tour that whisks you away to the filming locations of this epic show?
And if you’re up for an adrenaline rush, you can try cliff jumping or kayaking along the dramatic coastline.
So, while the activities in Dubrovnik might not be as extensive as in some other destinations, there are still enough options to keep you busy.
Tips for Visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city with a rich history and plenty of things to see and do. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
1. Stay inside the City Walls
With its popularity as a tourist destination, Dubrovnik can get crowded during peak season, and finding a place to stay can take time and effort.
Although it may be a little pricier, staying inside the walls is unique when visiting Dubrovnik.
It’s honestly priceless to walk out of your door and into the Dubrovnik old town. Spend the extra cash to stay inside the walls; you won’t regret it!
However, if Old Town accommodation is truly outside your price range, consider looking for accommodation in neighborhoods like Ploče or Boninovo, which are within walking distance of the Old Town but less expensive.
You can also consider renting an apartment or staying in a hostel to save money.
2. Plan to see more than just the old town
Many visitors to Dubrovnik make the mistake of thinking there’s not much more to the town than the whitewashed walled city.
This Unesco World Heritage site is the city’s symbol and a bucket-list item for travelers all over the world.
However, there are many other things to see and do in Dubrovnik, such as taking a day trip to Trsteno Arboretum or visiting Fort Lovrijenac.
3. Buy tickets in advance
Many of the popular attractions in Dubrovnik, such as the cable car to Mount Srd, can have long lines during peak season. To avoid wasting time waiting in line, buy your tickets in advance online.
4. Be respectful of the locals
Dubrovnik is a small city, and the locals take pride in their heritage. Respect their traditions and customs, and try to learn a few basic phrases in Croatian.
This will help you to connect with the locals and make your trip more enjoyable.
5. Make sure to try the local cuisine
As a traveler to Dubrovnik, one of the things you must do is try the local cuisine. Dubrovnik has a fantastic food scene, and you won’t be disappointed with the variety of dishes available.
Here are some local foods you should try:
Dubrovnik is located on the Adriatic Sea, so it’s no surprise that seafood is a staple of the local cuisine. Some of the must-try seafood dishes include:
- Black Risotto (Crni Rižot) – a popular dish made with squid ink, rice, and a variety of seafood.
- Grilled Octopus (Hobotnica na Gradele) – a dish made with grilled octopus, olive oil, and lemon juice.
- Ston Oysters (Stonski Školjki) – considered some of the best oysters in the world, these are grown in the nearby town of Ston and are a must-try for seafood lovers.
No meal is complete without dessert, and Dubrovnik offers some delicious options. Here are some desserts you should try:
- Dubrovnik Rozata – a creamy custard dessert similar to crème brûlée, topped with caramel sauce.
- Arancini – candied orange peel dipped in chocolate- a perfect treat for sweet tooth lovers.
- Figs – Dubrovnik is known for its figs, which are often served with cheese or honey.
Make sure to try as many local dishes as possible during your visit to Dubrovnik. Whether you’re a seafood lover or have a sweet tooth, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
6. Plan your budget–and stick to it!
Dubrovnik can be an expensive destination, but there are ways to make it more affordable. Before you arrive in Dubrovnik, set a daily budget for yourself and stick to it.
This will help you avoid overspending and ensure you have enough money for your trip.
7. Take advantage of free activities
Dubrovnik has many free activities that you can enjoy, such as walking along the city walls, visiting public parks, and exploring the beaches.
You can also visit museums and galleries for free during certain times of the day or week.
Must-Visit Landmarks in Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Old Town is the heart of Dubrovnik and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a pedestrian-only zone that is home to many historical buildings, churches, and museums.
You can explore the narrow streets and alleyways, visit the Rector’s Palace, and walk along the Stradun, the main street of the Old Town.
You cannot visit one of Europe’s famous walled cities without climbing the stairs to the top and walking the loop around the Dubrovnik city wall.
The walls were built in the 13th century to protect the city from invaders, and they offer breathtaking views of the Old Town, the Adriatic Sea, and the surrounding islands.
The walls are 2 kilometers long, and walking around them takes about 2 hours. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.
The view from the top is breathtaking, and it’s a great way to get some exercise while seeing the sights.
Lokrum Island is a nature reserve just a 10-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik.
The island is home to a botanical garden, a monastery, and a fortress.
You can also swim in the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, sunbathe on the rocky beaches, and hike through the pine forests. Don’t miss the peacocks that roam freely on the island.
It’s a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Mount Srd is a hill that overlooks Dubrovnik and offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.
You can reach the top of the mountain by taking a cable car or by hiking up the hill.
At the top, you can visit the Homeland War Museum, which tells the story of the Croatian War of Independence, or enjoy a meal or a drink at the restaurant and bar surrounded by stunning views.
Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?: FAQs
Before we wrap up this post, let’s cover some frequently asked questions.
Is Dubrovnik worth the hype?
As someone who has visited not once but twice, I can confidently say Dubrovnik is definitely worth the hype! It has a special place in my heart and will always remain one of my all-time favorite travel spots.
The sights, architecture, and atmosphere are so unique you can’t replace the experience with any other destination. The stunning walled city has loads to explore, from strolling through the Old Town to discovering the best sun-soaked beaches.
Dubrovnik truly is an unforgettable destination and rightfully earns the hype it receives.
How many days do you need in Dubrovnik?
Dubrovnik is small enough that you can see the beautiful town in one day just by walking around.
But generally speaking, I recommend you spend around three days in Dubrovnik. Within three days, you can explore the Old Town and the iconic sites, such as Sponza Palace and Luza Square.
You will also be able to squeeze in a few hours by the beach, sampling some Croatian food, snapping some photos on the spectacular defensive walls of the old town, drinking takeaway mojitos before a night out, and exploring the surrounding towns and islands.
If you prefer slow leisurely travel with plenty of time to stumble across and explore hidden gems, and want to include a day trip to neighboring Montenegro, I would suggest four to five days.
Which is better to visit, Split or Dubrovnik?
Now this is a tough question to answer as both Croatian cities have incredible sights on offer! Having visited both, I can only recommend you, too, allocate time to squeeze in both!
After all, there’s a reason Game of Thrones chose to film in Dubrovnik! The food in Dubrovnik also trumps the food in Split by a pinch.
I would say the nightlife and party scene has more happening in Split, with some pretty insane clubs and bars on offer. If you’re up for it, join the local pub crawl; it’s a great way to meet other travelers.
Split takes the prize when it comes to day trips beyond the town center. One of the best day trips from Split, and a key drawcard for visiting Split instead of Dubrovnik, is the day trip to the absolutely incredible Krka Falls.
Overall, Dubrovnik is a better travel destination for foodies, Game of Thrones fans, and those seeking spectacular architecture.
Split, on the other hand, offers superior nightlife, better day trip options, and is generally cheaper.
What is the best time to visit Dubrovnik?
The peak tourist season in Dubrovnik is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is warm and sunny (30° / 23°), and the city is alive with events and festivals.
But of course, this means it is the busiest time, with the streets can be crowded with people and prices at yearly highs.
You may opt for a more relaxed and budget-friendly visit by visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) or fall (September to October).
During these months, the weather is still beautiful, and you can enjoy the city’s attractions without the overwhelming flocks of people.
If you can only break from work during the winter months, don’t worry, Croatia is amazing year-round! The winter weather rarely drops below double digits during the day and averages a gorgeous 13° / 7°.
During this time, there are fewer travelers and a rather peaceful atmosphere, though some attractions may have reduced availability.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Dubrovnik depends on your personal preferences, budget, and whether you prefer vibrant energy or a quieter experience!
Is Dubrovnik a party town?
While Dubrovnik certainly is vibrant and a whole lot of fun, it is not necessarily known as a party town.
Dubrovnik nightlife is more subdued than other Croatia spots, such as Pag and Hvar.
That said, Dubrovnik does have some awesome bars and clubs, perfect for young travelers.
You can find trendy cocktail bars, live music venues, and even occasional beach parties during the summer months.
The Verdict: So Is Dubrovnik Worth Visiting?
After exploring the various aspects of Dubrovnik, it’s time to deliver the verdict: Is Dubrovnik worth visiting?
Despite the tourist crowds, higher prices, and some compromises on authenticity, Dubrovnik continues to draw travelers with its undeniable beauty, rich history, delicious food, and stunning coastal setting.
The city’s well-preserved Old Town, magnificent city walls, and Game of Thrones connections only add to its allure.
So, if you’re willing to embrace the crowds, plan your budget wisely, explore beyond the tourist hotspots, and savor the city’s genuine charms, then Dubrovnik is definitely worth a visit.
It’s a place where history, natural beauty, and a touch of fantasy converge to create an unforgettable experience.
So pack your bags, embark on a journey to the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” and create memories that will stay with you long after you’ve bid Dubrovnik farewell.
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