Croatia Dubrovnik Europe

How NOT to Do Dubrovnik

August 19, 2016
Avoid disaster in Dubrovnik

Our recent trip to Dubrovnik wasn’t quite what we expected; we fell in love with the city itself but we encountered a few unexpected challenges during our time in the walled city.  So you don’t make the mistakes we did, we’ve put together the following guide for you.  Here we go…

Don’t visit Dubrovnik during August if you can avoid it.  You’ll spend most of your day battling crowds of tourists which isn’t much fun at the best of times, especially in the summer heat and in such close quarters. 

Do head to the walled city towards the end of September; this was recommended to us as the best time to visit.  At this time, the tourists are, for the most part, gone, temperatures are lower but still pleasant and the ocean is still warm after the blazing summer.

Don’t leave walking the city walls until the middle of the day – they’ll be crowded and there’s no shade once you to the top.

Do try to make it up the wall early in the day.  The midday/afternoon sun is unforgiving so going up before the heat of the day will allow you to walk around and admire the spectacular views in comfort (and you may even get a photo or two unobstructed by other travellers!)

Don’t jump straight into a taxi or onto the cable car without weighing up your options – a tour may be a better choice.

Do consider joining an Eco Tuk Tour outing up Mt Srdj.  Put the money you would have spent on the cable car or taxi towards the tour and enjoy seeing Dubrovnik like a local.  You’ll hear the most amazing stories of what life was like in the area during the civil war and will learn lots about the origins of this beautiful city (plus you’ll get to visit a number of spots around Dubrovnik in style). 

Our guide, John, also recommended catching the boat over to the island of Lokrum ( for 100 kuna each, return) to spend the day swimming and hiking – and though we decided to head over to Montenegro instead, it sure did look gorgeous over on the island. 

Don’t relegate Bosnia or Montenegro to being a day trip from Dubrovnik; both countries are amazing and deserve more time than that if possible.

Do book yourself some time overnighting in these countries if you can wangle it.  We had two nights in Kotor, Montenegro and two nights respectively in Mostar and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – even with six nights, we’ve left with a taste of each beautiful country but a desire to come back and explore.  Given the chance, we’d love to see Bosnia in the wintertime and explore the bays of Montenegro at our own pace.

Don’t wait until the last minute to book accommodation in peak season.  August is the busiest time for the walled city and visitors flock to it – we learnt the hard way that prices only go up.

Do plan ahead and lock your Dubrovnik accommodation in.  The idea of seeing where the wind takes you might sound romantic but chances are, it will come back to bite you!

However, if you do end up arriving in town without accommodation…

Don’t stay at Ana’s Hostel, especially not in their overflow rooms at Stella’s.  Having been charged the equivalent of €60 each (that’s €120 or NZD180 between us!) we were given a bunk each in a shared dorm (thankfully nobody else was silly enough to pay that so at least it ended up being private) with a broken shower and cold water.  Outside our window, a bar played music so loudly that I didn’t manage to sleep until 2.30am when it was eventually turned off.  We tried talking politely with the owner in the morning just to be yelled at – not impressed!

Do pick up a room from one of the ladies at the bus stop.  We’d been told that we’d be able to pick up a reasonably priced room from someone holding a sign at the station but when the old lady barely spoke a word of English, was struggling to walk (and would have to walk us to our room which would be a fair way away) and didn’t have any photographs of the room, we got spooked.  What a mistake this was!  We were told later that the old ladies generally offer rooms that are of reasonable quality and at a fair price; we instantly regretted our decision to head to old town.

…but whatever you do

Don’t miss Dubrovnik!  It is one of the most beautiful old towns we’ve ever seen and absolutely gorgeous sitting against the crystal clear water, protected by its towering city walls.

Use our tips to help ensure you have the an amazing time in Dubrovnik!

Do you have any helpful tips to share?  If so, we’d love to hear from you…

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