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If you’re planning a trip to Dubrovnik and wondering, “Should I rent a car?”, you’re not alone. I’ve been to this stunning Croatian city twice, and each experience was great, all thanks to how I chose to get around.
The first time I visited, it was part of a road trip with my own car. Driving into Dubrovnik was an adventure in itself, with scenic views greeting me at every turn.
The second time around, I opted to rent a car, as I was staying in the area for 7 days. While Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a gem that can keep you enchanted for a couple of days, there’s so much more to see in the surrounding areas that are just a drive away.
In this post, I’m going to break down the pros and cons of renting a car in Dubrovnik based on my experiences.
When booking your Dubrovnik car rental online, I recommend and use Discover Cars. They search and compare many car rental companies, so you get the best deal — and have FREE cancellation up to 48 hours before your rental.
Whether you’re there for the historic streets, the breathtaking beaches, or the mouth-watering Croatian cuisine, knowing how to navigate this gorgeous city and its surroundings can make or break your trip.
So, let’s dive in and figure out if renting a car in Dubrovnik is the right move for you!
Pros of Renting a Car in Dubrovnik
So, you’re thinking about renting a car in Dubrovnik? Let me walk you through some of the advantages that come with this choice.
Flexibility at Its Best
First off, having your own set of wheels is like holding a golden ticket to freedom and flexibility. Imagine this: no sticking to bus schedules or waiting around for taxis.
You get to create your own itinerary, stop wherever you want, and spend as much time as you like at each spot. Whether it’s a sudden decision to watch the sunset from a secluded beach or a spontaneous detour to a hidden mountain village, a car makes all of this possible.
Dubrovnik is more than just its stunning Old Town. With a car, you can easily explore the lesser-known gems that are a bit out of reach otherwise.
Think about driving to the tranquil Konavle Valley or the picturesque Pelješac Peninsula. These places are like treasure troves of local culture and scenic beauty, and they’re just a drive away.
Convenience and Comfort
Let’s talk comfort. Traveling with kids, or with a lot of gear? A car is a lifesaver. You can keep all your stuff with you, have a place to leave your purchases, and not worry about lugging bags on and off public transport.
Plus, if your accommodation is outside the city center, a car means you’re not tied to the limited routes of public transport.
Cost-Effective for Groups
If you’re traveling as a family or a group, renting a car can be surprisingly cost-effective. Splitting the rental and fuel costs often works out cheaper than buying multiple bus or tour tickets.
Especially if you’re planning to roam around a lot, those individual ticket costs can really add up.
Cons of Renting a Car in Dubrovnik
Alright, we’ve talked about why renting a car in Dubrovnik can be awesome, but let’s flip the coin and see the other side. It’s not all smooth driving; there are a few bumps on the road you should know about.
The Challenge of Navigation
First up, driving in Dubrovnik can be a bit of a headache, especially if you’re not used to narrow and crowded streets.
The Old Town, a major highlight, is a no-go zone for cars, and the areas around it can get pretty congested. It’s like trying to navigate through a maze sometimes, and if you’re not a confident driver, this can be more stressful than it’s worth.
Parking: A Real Pain
Let’s talk about parking. Finding a spot in Dubrovnik can feel like a treasure hunt but without the fun part.
Parking spaces are as rare as a quiet day in the Old Town, and when you do find one, it can be expensive. We’re talking about shelling out quite a bit of cash, especially during peak season. So, if you’re on a budget, this is something to seriously consider.
Those Extra Costs Add Up
While we’re on the subject of costs, renting a car isn’t just about the rental fee. There’s fuel, insurance, and possibly hidden costs like cleaning fees or charges for extra drivers. These expenses can sneak up on you and give your wallet a surprise workout.
We can’t ignore the environmental aspect either. More cars mean more emissions, and in a city that’s already dealing with pollution and overtourism, adding to that problem isn’t ideal. If you’re eco-conscious, this might weigh on your decision.
The Stress Factor
Lastly, let’s not forget the stress factor. Dealing with unfamiliar traffic rules, worrying about finding parking, and the possibility of scratches or dents on the rental can add unnecessary stress to what should be a relaxing vacation. Sometimes, it’s just nicer to sit back and let someone else do the driving.
Tips for Those Who Choose to Rent a Car
Decided to rent a car in Dubrovnik? Cool!
Here are some handy tips to make your driving experience as smooth as possible.
Pick the Right Car
First things first, choose your car wisely. In Dubrovnik, smaller is usually better. A compact car will be much easier to maneuver through narrow streets and to find parking for.
Plus, it’s generally more fuel-efficient – good for both your wallet and the environment.
Understand the Parking Rules
Parking in Dubrovnik can be tricky, so it’s crucial to get savvy about parking rules.
There are different parking zones, each with its own pricing and time limits.
Zone 1 is the most expensive, so if you can park a bit further and walk or take a bus, your wallet will thank you.
Also, many hotels offer parking – sometimes it’s included in the room rate, sometimes not. Always check in advance!
Make sure you’re covered with adequate car insurance. This can save you a lot of headaches in case of any bumps or scrapes.
When renting, you’ll be offered various insurance options. It might seem like an extra expense, but it’s worth it for peace of mind.
Familiarize Yourself with Local Driving Laws
Brush up on Croatia’s driving laws. For instance, headlights need to be on during the day from the end of October to the end of March.
Also, the blood alcohol limit is lower than in many other countries.
Staying informed helps you avoid fines and ensures a safer driving experience.
Be Prepared for Toll Roads
If you’re venturing outside Dubrovnik, be aware that some highways in Croatia are toll roads. Keep some cash or a credit card handy for these tolls. They’re generally not too expensive, but it’s good to be prepared.
Embrace the Scenic Routes
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the drive! The Croatian coastline offers some spectacular scenic routes. The drive along the Adriatic Coast, for example, offers breathtaking views. Just remember to keep your eyes on the road!
Day Trips from Dubrovnik to Go on with a Rental Car
Got your wheels ready in Dubrovnik? Awesome!
Now, let’s talk about some incredible day trips you can take. Trust me, having a car will open up a whole new world of exploration. Here are five must-do day trips:
1. Korčula Island
Just a couple of hours’ drive and a short ferry ride from Dubrovnik, and you’re on the beautiful Korčula Island. It’s like stepping into a fairytale with its medieval towns, vineyards, and crystal-clear waters.
The birthplace of Marco Polo, Korčula Town, is a mini-Dubrovnik with fewer crowds. Don’t miss out on tasting the local white wine – it’s a treat!
2. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Crossing borders? Why not!
Mostar is about a 2.5-hour drive from Dubrovnik. This city is famous for its stunning Old Bridge (Stari Most) and the eclectic blend of Ottoman, Slavic, and Mediterranean cultural influences.
Remember to bring your passport for the border crossing. The mix of cultures, architecture, and cuisine here is absolutely fascinating.
3. Kotor, Montenegro
Another cross-border adventure is Kotor in Montenegro, roughly a 2-hour drive away.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is nestled in a spectacular bay and is known for its well-preserved medieval old town and stunning mountainous backdrop.
The drive along the Bay of Kotor is breathtaking, with plenty of spots to pull over and soak in the views.
4. Pelješac Peninsula
If you’re a foodie and wine lover, Pelješac Peninsula is your paradise. About an hour’s drive from Dubrovnik, this area is renowned for its fine wines, especially Dingač and Postup.
Visit the quaint little wineries, enjoy the gorgeous beaches, and don’t miss out on tasting the freshest oysters straight from the sea in Ston, a town famous for its historic walls and seafood.
5. Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Last but not least, the Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina are about a 2.5-hour drive from Dubrovnik. It’s a natural wonder not to be missed.
You can swim in the refreshing waters of the falls, enjoy a picnic, or just relax in the beautiful natural surroundings. It’s a perfect spot to unwind and connect with nature.
Check out Discover Cars to find out what rental cars are available in Dubrovnik for your travel dates!
Each of these trips offers something unique, from historical towns to natural wonders, and having a car makes these experiences easily accessible.
So, pack some snacks, make a killer playlist, and hit the road – adventure awaits!
Travel tips and tricks:
- Save big on flights with Skyscanner.com – This incredible tool lets you find the most affordable airfare to your dream destination. You’ll love their “Whole Month” feature, which displays the best prices for the entire month. If you’re flexible with travel dates, this is a game-changer for scoring the cheapest tickets.
- Stay in the heart of the action – I always find the perfect accommodation on Booking.com. Their map view lets me filter hotels by my budget and select ones that are right in the center of it all. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this easy way to book your ideal stay!
- Go beyond the resort – I’m all about making the most of my trips, and GetYourGuide.com has been a lifesaver for booking unforgettable tours and day trips. It’s the most hassle-free way to dive into the local culture and explore the hidden gems in every new place.
- Hit the road with DiscoverCars.com – There’s no better way to explore your destination than by car! Renting a vehicle has never been easier, and with their competitive prices, you’ll have the freedom to create your own adventures.
I highly recommend trying these tools for yourself – not only will you save money, but you’ll also create memories that last a lifetime. Happy travels!