Often called the Pearl of Adriatic, Dubrovnik is a stunning city to explore. With its UNESCO World Heritage City Walls, Old Town, oldest pharmacy in Europe, and breathtaking sunsets, the city will leave you amazed and full of different emotions. However, there are a couple of things you should know before packing your backpack and going straight to the airport.
13 Things You Should Know Before Going to Dubrovnik
1How to Get There
Depending on where you start your trip, there are plenty of possibilities to get to Dubrovnik. If you choose to begin your Croatian trip from Dubrovnik, then you might want to check out flights from your home city to here.
Eurowings flies directly to Dubrovnik from several central cities of Europe, while other low-budget airlines fly to different cities of Croatia such as Wizzair to Split and Ryanair to Pula, Rijeka, and Zadar. From here, you can either rent a car, take a bus, or Jardolinija ferry.
2Best time to visit
If you don’t like big crowds of tourists, then you shouldn’t go during the peak season – July-September. We were there at the end of September, and the city was quite full with tourists. However, we found the sea temperature a bit colder to swim.
Winter time here is quite cold as well, with sea breeze and low temperature. Thus, the best time to visit Dubrovnik is still September and October.
3How expensive it is
Well, VERY! Dubrovnik is the most expensive city in Croatia we have visited. And this doesn’t go with tourists only; it’s costly for locals as well. My advice would be to prepare your own meal at your apartment or hostel and not dine out to minimize your costs. Groceries are a bit above average but it goes a long way, and a bottle of wine in the supermarket is cheap.
To give you a rough idea how expensive dining out is, imagine a non-touristy place outside of a city center, where we bought two slices of pizza, one doner, soda, beer and french fries. We paid almost $31.30 = €26.50
One of the things you should know is that every morning there’s a farmer’s market near the Gruz port with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and seafood. However, if you’d like to buy some freshly caught fish and other delicacies, bear in mind that you need to visit the fish market in the early morning, around 7-8am.
5Locals have a different price than tourists
You might think “this isn’t a surprise. Lots of countries do that!; I get it and completely support the system. Tourism is the main income for many countries and cities. BUT what upset us most was the big price difference between what we, as tourists, and my best friend, as a resident, paid for the same service. For instance, tourist price was triple of what Danijela paid for a ferry ticket to one of the small islands!
Same goes for dining in a cafe or restaurant. The menu for both is the same, but locals get a discount price on the final bill, and the percentage may vary from the venue to venue, going up to 30%.
Croatia has its own currency called Croatian Kuna. There are plenty of exchange offices both inside and outside of the old town. However, one of the things you should know is that the rate shown on the table is low compared to international currency exchange websites. This is because the commission is already deducted.
We found that the best and highest rate for USD was in Stari Grad and not outside of it.
7Entrance to Old Town or Stari Grad in Croatian
There’s no fee to enter the Old Town itself, but you pay 150 Kuna = $23.50 = €19.90 to walk on the City Walls and enjoy panoramic views of the Adriatic sea and gorgeous views of red rooftops.
Dubrovnik’s Old Town gets millions of visitors during summer months. And as the old town is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the maximum recommended amount to visit it is 8,000 people per day, which evidently exceed it at peak season.
One of the main things you should know about the City Walls is that since UNESCO warned Dubrovnik to take measures, the city plans to reduce the number of visitors from next year drastically. Rumor has it, one of the ways to do so is to even increase the admission fee for the walls. So get there soon!
8Dubrovnik Cable Car
Want to see Dubrovnik from above and even watch a spectacular sunset? Pack a snack, bottle of wine and head towards the Srd Hill. You can take the cable car for 140 Kuna for a round-trip ticket or hike up the hill. Another alternative is to use Uber, which is cheaper than a local taxi.
In my opinion, Dubrovnik is a walkable city and no need for you to use public transport. However, some buses go to the Old Town from every district of the town and even from the nearby smaller cities. Each bus stop has well-marked route plans.
We only used bus once, when we were tired from all the walks and island tour in Lopud and paid 12 Kuna for the ticket per person.
Watch a Video of our Trip to Dubrovnik
10Don’t walk in your swimsuit
The country as a whole is very Catholic. And even though Dubrovnik is a coastal city full of masses sunbathing at its beaches, note that locals don’t like tourists walking in the streets in swimsuits, especially if you want to walk in a store or a small convenient shop for a bottle of water after a long day at the bay.
11Nearby non-touristy beach
Dubrovnik’s Lapad district is home to a newly renovated bay for you to swim, escape tourist crowns and sunbath after exhausting walking tours in and around the city. And if you get hungry, there are several bars, cafes, and food courts for your to have a bite.
Similar to other European cities, Dubrovnik has a city pass that reduces the expenses for visiting museums, city wall, restaurants, and transportation. There are one, three and seven-day cards available and each offers different discounts.
We were thinking to get one but then changed our minds. We are not big museum fans and didn’t need to use public transportation at all.
13Two essential words to know
One of the things you should know before visiting Croatia is a couple of words in the native language. Here, ‘Hvala’ (Thank you) and ‘doviđenja’ (Goodbye, pronounced as do-vi-gen-ya) can make a big difference. Being polite and respectful of the culture and traditions goes a long way in every country.