Dubrovnik

The Old Harbour at Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is an old city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia. It is one of the most prominent tourist resorts of the Mediterranean, a seaport and the centre of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Its population is about 43,000 in 2011. Dubrovnik is nicknamed "Pearl of the Adriatic" and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dubrovnik within Croatia

Understand

The city of Dubrovnik (Latin: Ragusa) was built on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages it became the only city-state in the Adriatic to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. Furthermore, Dubrovnik was one of the centres of the development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars.

Today Dubrovnik is the proudest feather in Croatia's tourist cap, an elite destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik used to be an independent republic, surviving mostly on trade. It managed to survive many centuries, with constant threats to its territory, particularly from the mighty Ottoman Empire and Venice. As early as 19th century, it was discovered by celebrities as a place to be seen. George Bernard Shaw once said that "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and find it". Royalty, presidents and diplomats have all favored the city. The late Pope John Paul II was a fan of Dubrovnik and was even made an honorary citizen. Out of the 23 top luxury hotels in Croatia in 2010, 13 were located in Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is steeped in stunning architecture and sculptural detail, and boasts spectacular churches, monasteries, museums, and fountains. A multitude of typical towns and excursions include: The Elaphiti Islands, the attractive town of Cavtat,the Konavle valley, Mljet Island, Korčula Island, Ston and Peljesac Peninsula. The neighbouring towns of Kotor and Perast in Montenegro or Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina also make for intriguing day trips.

Bokar Fortress

Get in

By plane

Dubrovnik airport (IATA: DBV) is about 20 km to the south of the city.

The following airlines operate flights to/from Dubrovnik Airport:

Aer Lingus (Dublin-seasonal), Aeroflot (Moscow - seasonal), Air Berlin (Munich-seasonal, Stuttgart-seasonal), Air Serbia (Belgrade-seasonal), Austrian Airlines (Vienna), B&H Airlines (Sarajevo-seasonal), Bmibaby (East Midlands-seasonal), British Airways (London-Gatwick-seasonal), Croatia Airlines (Amsterdam, Athens, Belgrade-seasonal, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, London-Gatwick, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pula, Rome-Fiumicino, Split, Tel Aviv, Vienna, Zagreb, Zürich), DanubeWings (Bratislava), EasyJet (Berlin-Schönefeld-seasonal, London Gatwick-seasonal), Geneva-seasonal, Liverpool-seasonal, London Gatwick-seasonal, Milan-Malpensa-seasonal, Paris-Orly-seasonal), Estonian Air (Tallinn), Finnair (Helsinki), Flybe (Birmingham-seasonal, Exeter-seasonal, Southampton-seasonal), Germanwings (Berlin-Schönefeld, Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg), Iberia Airlines (Madrid-seasonal), Iberia operated by Air Nostrum (Valencia-seasonal), Israir (Tel Aviv - seasonal), Jetairfly (Brussels-seasonal), Jet2.com (Belfast-seasonal, Edinburgh-seasonal, Leeds-seasonal, Manchester-seasonal), Lufthansa (Munich), Luxair (Luxembourg), Monarch Airlines (London-Gatwick-seasonal, Birmingham-seasonal, Manchester-seasonal), Norwegian Air Shuttle (Bergen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Trondheim, Warsaw),Tarom (Bucharest - Henri Coanda, seasonal) Thomson Airways (London Gatwick, London-Luton, Manchester-seasonal), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-seasonal), Vueling (Barcelona-seasonal), Wizzair (London-Luton-seasonal)

The exact list of destinations and airlines, especially the low-cost ones, changes each year, but there is always a year-round service to/from Zagreb and seasonal scheduled and charter flights to/from many other airports in Europe.

Airport bus transfers

Croatia Airlines operates buses between the airport and the main bus station in Kantafig (45 kn, 45 min), which is 2.5 km northwest of the Old Town. Taxis from the airport to the centre will cost 320 kn. Going to the airport a bus aims to leave the main bus station 2 hr before each international flight, and costs 35 kn. Departure times are also displayed in the tourist information office at Pile Gate. The bus passes close to the Old Town en route to the airport and you can board this bus at the bus stop on Petra Kresimira 4 just above the Old Town, by the lower cable car station. Make sure you wave furiously otherwise the driver may not stop.

By train

There is no train to Dubrovnik. A narrow gauge line used to link Dubrovnik to Sarajevo but was closed in 1976.

The closest rail station is at Ploče, less than 2 hr by bus from Dubrovnik. From there, you can connect to trains to Mostar and Sarajevo. Trains to points north can be boarded at Split, a 4 hr bus ride from Dubrovnik.

By car

The trip from Split along the coastal road (Jadranska magistrala or D8) is a beautiful scenic journey through small, quaint villages and other tourist destinations. Just know that in the summer months the trip is likely to take several hours longer than anticipated. What looks like a short trip on a map can take 6 hr.

A much faster way of simply getting from Split to Dubrovnik by car is to take the A1 highway to Ploče and then continue via Opuzen and Neum to Dubrovnik.

By bus

The main bus station is in Kantafig, near Port Gruz and the Tudjman bridge, 2.5 km northwest of the Old Town. Local bus 7 operates between this station and Babin kuk, and bus 1 serves Old Town.

Direct buses run to/from Zagreb (205-234 kn, 11 hr, 7 daily), Korčula (100 kn, 3 hr, 1 daily), Mostar (100 kn, 3 hr, 2 daily), Orebic (100 kn, 2.5 hr, 1 daily), Rijeka (400 kn, 12 hr, 3 daily), Sarajevo (160 kn, 5 hr, 1 daily), Split (100-150 kn, 4.5 hr, 14 daily), Zadar (200 kn, 8 hr, 7 daily). In the high season, there is also a daily bus leaving at 11AM going to the Montenegro cities of Herceg Novi, Bar, Kotor, and Budva. And at 15h to Prijedor and Banja Luka (10h) in Bosnia. A one-way trip to Budva costs 128 kn, or €15. The return tickets are much cheaper and advisable, just look out for the choice of the bus company.

When coming by bus from Split or cities further north, police officers may board the bus and you may be asked for a valid identity document when crossing the Neum corridor which belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the bus companies list trip duration of approx. 4 hr, be prepared for a ride of closer to 5.5-6 hr, including Bosnian border checks.

When travelling into Montenegro and the Airport sit on the right hand side (not behind driver) for best views, and vice-versa for the return. Travelling to Bosnia, sit on the left hand side (behind the driver) for best views.

A departure listing for the international bus station is available at the website of the city bus operator. Further details can be found online

On all intercity buses you pay a separate fee of €2 or 10 kn to the driver for luggage. So keep some change ready.

By boat

St. John Fortress
Cruise ships
Jadrolinija

Get around

Stradun

The Old Town can be comparatively difficult to navigate on first appearances, as it really is a warren of little streets. There are however signs at the entrances to many of these streets advertising what businesses, shops, restaurants and accommodation are to be found in that direction.

That being said, some of these signs appear to be either intentionally misleading or woefully out of date. For example, there is no office of any bus company within the Old Town, despite what the signs may say.

The city is completely pedestrianised and easily small enough to get around on foot, some of the streets are a little steep though.

By bus

If you are not staying in Old Town, it's relatively simple get there by bus, as just about every one leads to the Old Town. However, it might be advisable to get a timetable just in case. It costs 12 kn (just over €1.5) for tickets bought at any kiosk,or 15 kn bought on the bus; ticket valid for 1 hr. At selected kiosks (including the international bus station) you can purchase a day pass for 30 kn. This pass is valid for 24 hr of unlimited travel on the city bus network, starting from the first validation. The easiest way to get from the Main Bus Station to the Old Town is by using the (mostly modern and air-con equipped) buses number 1, 1A and 1B, which circulate almost constantly. These buses can be boarded from the bus stop just outside the Main Bus Station. Apart from this, there is another bus service which comes inside the bus station and drops you directly at the Old Town. Schedules are available at the information counter of the Main Bus Station.

Car rental

See

Dubrovnik was heavily bombed in late 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence (part of a series of wars in the region). Almost all of the damage has been repaired; however, if you look closely around the old town, mortar damage in the cobblestone streets and bullet marks in the stone houses are visible.

Old Town

City walls

Walk on the walls around the old town, great views. It is highly recommended to visit the walls during the early morning hours or the late afternoon hours during mid-summer months as it can become hot.

Dubrovnik is surrounded by City Walls which are 2 km long and for which it is famous all around the world. Through the history City Walls were protection from the enemy, today Dubrovnik City Walls brings the visitors from the whole world who want to see this city- museum. There are 3 entrances to the City Walls: on Stradun by the Pile gate, by fort Saint John’s and at the Custom’s House gate.

Within the City Walls you will see Fort Minceta and Fort St. John’s on the south-eastern side. Also, within the City Walls are Fort Lawrence at Pile and Fort Revelin at Ploce. The main entrance to the City Walls is by the Inner Pile Gates.

Minceta Fort is one of the most beautiful cultural attractions in Dubrovnik. It is situated on the northwest side of the city inside the City Walls. It was built according to the design of Renaissance builder Juraj Dalmatinac. St. Luke’s Tower you can see walking along the landward side of City Walls up to Ploce Gate. St. Luke’s Tower has protected the entrance to the Dubrovnik harbour throughout the history of the city.

St John’s Fort was constructed in 16th century and it is really worth of visiting- on its ground floor you can visit the Aquarium, and on first and second floor you can visit Maritime Museum. (more about it at the end of the page).

Bokar Fort is situated on the seaward of City Walls. It was designed by Florentine architect Michelozzi in the 15th century.

Hours: 08:00-19:00. Entrance fee to the walls: 100 kn for adults, 30 kn for children and 30 kn for students with a valid student card.

Churches

Inside the Church of St. Ignatius

Museums

Some museums offer a discount ticket if you visit more than one museum. For example its 40 kn for the Rectors Palace, 45 kn for Rectors Palace and Ethnographic museum, and 50 kn for Rectors Palace, Ethnographic museum and Maritime museum. You can use these tickets on multiple days.

Beaches

Banje Beach and the Old Town

Other

Do

View of the City

Sailing and boat trips

Dubrovnik is an excellent starting point for exploring southern Adriatic coast primarily Elaphite islands, Korčula, Pelješac and Mljet. There are many charter agencies where you can charter a sailing or motor yacht which are based in Dubrovnik. Majority of them operate from ACI marina Dubrovnik (42°40,3’ N 18°07,6’ E) which is based in Komolac about two nautical miles away from the entrance to the port Gruz, and only 6 kilometres away from the old town. It is open throughout the whole year.

Dubrovnik is characterized by Mediterranean climate and generally light NW winds, making a yacht charter holiday very popular with couples with younger children and less experienced skippers and crews. A strong north wind known as the Bora is more usual during autumn and winter.

When you charter a yacht through charter agency and arrive to designated marina there are a few things that need to be done. The most important thing is the yacht check in (usually Saturday around 16:00). Take your time doing yacht check in. Familiarise yourself with the chartered yacht and with the yacht equipment.

The rule of thumb is the more time you take for the yacht check in, the less time you will need for the yacht check out. After that you have to do the shopping for the charter vacation.

Don't neglect the grocery shopping because the sea is unpredictable and you don't want to get stuck on the boat without anything to eat or drink. You can do the shopping in a marina however the prices are usually much higher there, or you can order from yacht provisioning services who usually deliver the products to the marina at no extra fee.

  • Marina in Dubrovnik, . The only marina in Dubrovnik (formally in Komolac city) designed for sailing yachts and touristic catamarans, which start cruises in Dubrovnik. It is about 5 km from the city centre of Dubrovnik, in Rijeka Dubrovacka.
  • In Jam Yacht Supply, . Online provisioning catalog where you can order from a large selection of groceries and other products months in advance and everything you order awaits for you in the marina. This is convenient because it takes the load of you and the things you must do when you arrive at the marina for your sailing holiday.

Festivals

Cable car

Buy

A lane with tourist shops in Dubrovnik

There are many local artisans who specialize in domestic crafts. Popular purchases include: handmade tablecloths, linens and napkins. Many merchants claim that the necktie was invented in Croatia. Another local specialty is little dolls dressed in local garb.

The Pharmacy, at the Franciscan Monastery creates hand creams and other toiletries based on ancient recipes. The pharmacy is one of the oldest in this part of Europe. It has been operating from the time of its foundation to the present day.

While wandering around the Old Town, you will come across many shops that sell Croatian goods such as wine and textiles.

If you have transport there is a Lidl (German discount supermarket) 5 km east of the Old Town near the village of Čibača - this is where the locals shop to avoid steep Dubrovnik prices.

Bicycle parts and service

Somewhat surprisingly, some car parts shops in the Dubrovnik area sell bicycles; they are easy to notice, as new bikes are standing outside in front of the shop. These shops may also carry some bicycle accessories and spare parts, but they don't do any bicycle repair. As of 2014, there was no real (full-time) bicycle shop in town; there was one person (Tonći Kera, see below) who works as a bicycle mechanic in his spare time, in a shed next to his apartment building, while holding a day job elsewhere.

Eat

Sponza Palace (Pałac Sponza)

There is a wide range of restaurants in the Old Town, mostly offering a very similar menu of local seafood and some meat dishes. The cuisine may not be very imaginative, but it is usually of good quality and very fresh.

Restaurants can be crudely separated into (slightly) cheaper tourist-trap places, and more expensive but first class gastronomic restaurants. There are a few pizzerias, mostly wood-fired and quite acceptable. The Kraš chocolate sold at stores is delicious. Remember that Dubrovnik, more so than the rest of Croatia, is well aware of its status as a tourist hot-spot. Rents for restaurant premises are high and consequently the prices on the menus reflect this.

Note that in the off peak season of November–March nearly all the top-end restaurants close, leaving only a handful of desperate tourist trap enterprises operating and still charging high prices. You can however still eat well and discounts can be negotiated.

Dubrovnik cuisine is characteristically not very spicy and is famous for traditionalism. Many popular meals are characteristic of Dubrovnik such as zelena menestra (it is the name for many sorts of cabbages and other vegetables with meat), the meat dish pašticada and the famous caramel-based dessert dubrovačka rozata.

Since Dubrovnik restaurants are quite popular, many mid-range and high-end establishments provide the option of online reservation. English-language menus are found everywhere.

Budget

Mid-range

Street dining in Dubrovnik

Splurge

Drink

Old City of Dubrovnik

The most popular hard alcohol in Croatia is home made rakija. This is a very strong distilled drink made from a variety of fruits. Examples include šljivovica, made from plums, loza, made from grapes, and orahovica, made with walnuts. All are quite strong.

There are many excellent local wines from both the Pelješac Peninsula and Konavle and it is often less expensive than soft drinks like Coca Cola. However, be careful when purchasing wine from unlicensed dealers. Though the price is very attractive with some being as low as 10 kn or €1.5 per litre it can sometimes be of low quality. Croatian beer is also good and popular, though none is made in the Dubrovnik region.

Cafes

There are numerous cafes throughout the Old Town and the entire city with prices varying according to the location (particularly, those located on the Stradun are by far the most expensive but you are paying for the ambiance and people-watching as well). Most cafes serve a wide variety of drinks all day.

Bars

Walk towards the sea from Stradun near the Ploce gate, and you'll hit a tiny square with outdoor seating by 4 or 5 different pubs, with live music playing, and large cocktail pitchers with very low alcohol content.

Clubs

Sleep

Private rooms are a good option for those on a budget, starting from around €10 per person for comfort and privacy exceeding those of hostels. The downside is that they may be far from the Old Town, so make sure you check the location. Owners letting out these rooms accost buses at the bus station, so you can ask around and even bargain a little.

Budget

Mid range

Splurge

Stay safe

Stay legal

Connect

Internet cafes

In Dubrovnik internet cafes are plentiful. Rates are generally 25 kn/hr.

Cope

Laundry

Most private accommodation do not offer laundry facilities. If you are staying awhile and are looking for somewhere to wash your clothes then you might require a self-service laundry

Go next

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