people near seashore during daytime

13 Things to Know Before Traveling to Dubrovnik

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Imagine a city so captivating that it feels like stepping into a living, breathing museum, where every cobblestone has a story to tell. That’s Dubrovnik for you, a place where history and modern vibes meet in a perfect dance.

From the awe-inspiring City Walls Walk that offers vistas you’ll want to frame, to the hidden gems of local cuisine that’ll make your taste buds sing, Dubrovnik is a treasure trove of experiences.

And let’s not forget the beaches – pebbly shores where the sunsets paint the sky in hues you didn’t know existed.

Having wandered through Dubrovnik’s Old Town for countless hours myself, I’ve uncovered secrets and tips that go beyond the usual tourist guides.

So, if you’re itching to dive into the heart of the Adriatic, keep reading. I’m about to spill all the insider info you need for an unforgettable journey to Dubrovnik. Let’s embark on this adventure together, shall we?

several people gathering on seashore
Dubrovnik

Things to Know Before Traveling to Dubrovnik:

Old Town

You’ve gotta check out the Old Town. It’s like stepping into a time machine.

Picture this: ancient stone walls towering around you, each cobblestone underfoot whispering tales from centuries past. It’s not just any old spot; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is kind of a big deal.

Now, imagine wandering through narrow lanes, each turn bringing you face-to-face with history-soaked buildings and hidden squares. It’s the heart of Dubrovnik, where every corner has a story, from the grandiose Rector’s Palace to the quaint little shops that line the streets.

And here’s a fun fact: Game of Thrones fans might just have a geek-out moment recognizing spots from King’s Landing. But even if you’re not into dragons and drama, the Old Town’s vibe is something else. So, lace up some comfy shoes (those stones can be slippery) and dive into the charm of Old Town. Trust me, it’s the highlight of Dubrovnik you won’t want to miss.

Currency

Alright, let’s talk money before you jet off to Dubrovnik. You might think Europe equals the Euro, but hold up—Croatia has its own Croatian Kuna (HRK).

When you’re there, sipping on a cold drink or snagging some cool souvenirs, remember: those charming little shops and cozy cafes might prefer cash over cards. It’s all part of Dubrovnik’s laid-back charm. Plus, who doesn’t love the feel of some foreign currency in their pocket?

And here’s a pro tip: ATMs are your buddies, but keep an eye out for those sneaky fees. Better yet, grab some Kuna before you go, so you’re not playing hide and seek with an ATM when you’d rather be exploring.

Language

Croatian is the main language spoken in Dubrovnik. But don’t sweat it if your Croatian skills are a bit rusty (or, let’s be real, non-existent). You’ll find that English is pretty much the co-star, especially around the touristy spots, restaurants, and shops. It’s like everyone got the memo that visitors might need a bit of help navigating the menus and signs.

But hey, why not throw in a “Hvala” (that’s “thank you”) or a cheerful “Dobar dan” (“Good day”) here and there? It’s like a magic key that unlocks smiles and friendly nods from the locals. Shows you’re making an effort, you know?

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Best Time to Visit

Dodge the tourist tsunami and scorching temps by circling May, June, September, and October on your calendar. These months are the sweet spot—warm enough to hit the beaches but cool enough to explore the city without melting.

Summer’s peak, July and August, turns Dubrovnik into a hotspot in more ways than one. Think crowded streets and beaches where finding a spot feels like a competitive sport. Plus, prices tend to skyrocket.

But those shoulder months? They’re like Dubrovnik’s best-kept secret. The city’s all yours to roam, with enough elbow room to really soak in the sights. And the Adriatic Sea? Still inviting for a dip.

So aim for spring or fall. It’s when Dubrovnik shines brightest, minus the elbow-to-elbow shuffle. Perfect for snagging that café seat with the best view.

Iron Throne in Dubrovnik
I had a chance to sit on the Iron Throne in Dubrovnik!

Game of Thrones

“Game of Thrones” turned Dubrovnik into a pilgrimage site for fans. Walking through the Old Town, you might just expect to bump into Tyrion Lannister or catch a glimpse of Cersei’s latest scheme.

The city’s ancient walls, Fort Lovrijenac, and those winding, narrow streets played backdrop to some of the show’s most iconic scenes. It’s surreal, like stepping right into your TV screen.

For the full experience, join a GoT tour. Guides love to dish out behind-the-scenes gossip and point out spots you’d miss on your own. Even if you’re not a superfan, it’s a cool way to see the city’s hidden corners and learn a bit of TV trivia.

City Walls Walk

The City Walls Walk in Dubrovnik is a must-do, no ifs or buts about it. Picture this: you’re up high, tracing the outline of the entire Old Town, with the Adriatic Sea on one side and a maze of red rooftops on the other.

These walls aren’t just any old walls. They’ve stood the test of time, repelling invaders and now, welcoming visitors from around the globe.

The walk takes about an hour or two, depending on how many stops you make to snap those jaw-dropping pics.

Pro tip: Hit the walls early in the morning or later in the evening. You’ll dodge the midday sun and the bulk of the crowd. Plus, the light’s just right for that golden hour glow.

So lace up your comfiest shoes and get ready for some epic views. The City Walls Walk is your ticket to seeing Dubrovnik from a whole new angle.

Local Beaches

Dubrovnik’s beaches are like the city’s chill-out zones, where the vibe is as clear and refreshing as the water. Banje Beach is the go-to spot, a stone’s throw from the Old Town. It’s got everything: sun loungers, cool bars, and views that’ll make your Instagram followers green with envy.

But if you’re after something a bit more laid-back, Lapad Beach is your spot. Nestled in a bay, it’s perfect for a lazy day under the sun, with plenty of cafes nearby to fuel up on snacks and drinks.

Here’s the thing, though: Dubrovnik’s beaches are mostly pebbly, not sandy. So, if you’re planning to spend the day, a beach mat or a thick towel is a good shout. And water shoes? Total game-changer. They’ll keep your feet happy while you’re wading into the crystal-clear Adriatic.

So, pack your beach bag, grab some sunscreen, and get ready to lounge Dubrovnik-style. It’s all about sun, sea, and pebbles.

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birds eye view of village near body of water
Dubrovnik City Walls stretch approximately 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) around the city and reach up to 25 meters (82 feet) in height at certain points.

Sustainable Tourism

Dubrovnik is not just a stunning city; it’s a place that’s feeling the weight of its own popularity. That’s why sustainable tourism is the buzzword here. The city’s doing its bit to manage the crowds and preserve its charm, and as visitors, we’ve got a role to play too.

It’s all about being mindful, like choosing local eateries over the big chains, or picking up unique crafts from local artisans instead of mass-produced souvenirs. It’s these choices that help keep the city’s culture vibrant and authentic.

And here’s a simple but powerful move: walk or use public transport. It’s not just good for the planet; it’s the best way to soak in the city’s vibe. Every step in Dubrovnik is a step through history.

So, let’s make our visit count for all the right reasons. Sustainable tourism in Dubrovnik? It’s about enjoying the city while ensuring it remains awesome for generations to come.

Cable Car to Srd Hill

You can’t say you’ve seen Dubrovnik until you’ve seen it from the top of Srd Hill. And the coolest way up? The cable car. It’s like an express elevator to the best view in town. In just a few minutes, you zoom up from just outside the Old Town to a panoramic vista that’ll have you pinching yourself.

Up top, it’s not just about the view (which, by the way, is epic). There’s a cozy restaurant where you can grab a bite with a side of breathtaking scenery. And if you’re into history, the Imperial Fortress up there is steeped in it, dating back to the Napoleonic Wars.

Sunset tip: Time your ride for the evening. Watching the sun dip into the Adriatic, casting a golden glow over the Old Town and the Elaphiti Islands, is something you won’t forget. It’s the perfect wrap-up to a day in Dubrovnik, trust me.

Entrance Fees

When you’re mapping out your Dubrovnik adventure, keep in mind that exploring isn’t always free. Those jaw-dropping spots around the city? Many have entrance fees, and they can add up quicker than you can say “Where’s the nearest ATM?”

Take the City Walls, for example. Walking this historic perimeter offers unmatched views and a real feel for Dubrovnik’s past. But there’s a ticket involved. The same goes for the museums and galleries sprinkled throughout the Old Town, each with its own price tag for entry.

Here’s a tip: Budget for these experiences. They’re worth every Kuna for the memories and the Insta-worthy shots alone. And hey, consider grabbing a Dubrovnik Pass if you’re planning to hit multiple spots. It might save you a few bucks and streamline your sightseeing.

So, while you’re soaking up the sun and culture, just remember to keep a little stash ready for those entrance fees. It’s all part of the Dubrovnik experience!

a castle on a cliff over the ocean
A unique aspect of kayaking in Dubrovnik is the opportunity it provides to explore the stunning Adriatic coastline and nearby islands, such as Lokrum.

Dining

Dubrovnik’s dining scene? It’s a feast for the senses. Seafood here is the real deal, fresh from the Adriatic. Picture tucking into a plate of grilled fish or squid, with the sea just a stone’s throw away. And let’s not forget about čevapi, those mouthwatering Balkan sausages that’ll have you coming back for more.

For a taste of tradition, seek out a cozy taverna serving up peka – slow-cooked meat and veggies under a bell-like dome.

And when in Dubrovnik, wine is a must. The local whites and reds are like sipping on the region’s history and geography, each glass a new discovery.

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So, dive into the culinary delights of Dubrovnik. From bustling street food spots to intimate eateries tucked away in narrow alleys, every meal is an adventure. Just remember, dining here isn’t just about the food; it’s about savoring the moment and the stunning backdrop.

Day Trips

Dubrovnik is your perfect launchpad for some epic day trips that’ll spice up your Insta feed and fill your travel diary with unforgettable stories.

First up, the Elaphiti Islands. Hop on a boat and let the adventure begin. These islands are like hidden gems, each with its own vibe, from sun-soaked beaches to sleepy, olive-grove-dotted villages.

Got a thing for gardens and greenery? Trsteno Arboretum is your spot. It’s not just a garden; it’s a slice of paradise with a view of the sea, making it a perfect picnic spot.

Feeling more adventurous? Cross the border to Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina. Imagine sipping coffee in the historic streets of Mostar or gazing at the Bay of Kotor, surrounded by towering mountains.

So, grab your camera, pack some snacks, and get ready to explore beyond the city walls. Trust me, these side adventures are the cherry on top of your Dubrovnik holiday cake.

Tipping

Navigating the tipping culture in Dubrovnik doesn’t have to be a head-scratcher. Here’s the lowdown: tipping isn’t mandatory, but it’s a nice way to show appreciation for good service.

In restaurants, if you’re nodding with satisfaction after a meal, leaving a 10% tip is a solid thumbs-up to the staff. But, if service is already included in your bill, no need to add extra unless you’re feeling super generous.

When you’re sipping on that perfectly crafted espresso or cocktail at a café or bar, rounding up your bill or leaving some loose change is the way to go. It’s like giving a high-five for that caffeine fix or drink mix.

For taxi rides, a similar vibe – just round up to the nearest convenient amount. It’s all about that casual nod to good service without any strict rules.

So, keep it easy, keep it breezy, and when in doubt, a little extra change with a smile goes a long way in Dubrovnik.


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!


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