The old city of Dubrovnik deserves the praise it gets – to spend a few hours walking around the old town is like stepping back in time a few hundred years. The history and architecture mean it’s not a place to miss out on. Because of the cities popularity, prices are high – meaning that staying here any length of time is going to hurt your wallet. Aside from the historic part, there is little else to see, so a one night stay or even a day trip will ensure you have had the Dubrovnik experience, without blowing your budget.
Unless you want to splurge on a fancy meal, avoid eating at a restaurant in the old town – it can be very expensive. Saving money in Dubrovnik is possible ; use bakeries and supermarkets outside the city walls for daytime snacks. There is also plenty of good quality fruit at the markets.
Consider staying in the Lapad area as the hotels have better rates than the old town and it is only a 5 minute bus trip away. The few hostels in Dubrovnik are expensive, and it often makes more sense to rent a room in an apartment or guesthouse, particularly if there is more than one person. Locals greet tourists at the bus station with accommodation offers… so if your arriving on the spur of the moment, it can work out cheaper if you haggle.
The bus and ferry port are right next to each other, a good 25 minute walk away from the old town. There are bus stops outside the old town gate which take you to the station – look for numbers 1, 3 and 6. International buses go to Bosnia and Montenegro daily, as well as the other main Croatian cities via Split. Ferries travel to the nearby Elfati islands.
• Step back in time – the old town is Dubrovnik’s most famous attraction and rightly so because it’s a beautiful place. Narrow streets, and the large city walls add to the allure. It can easily be covered in a couple of hours, including visits to the church and bell tower. The city gets very busy, very quickly… so get up early and visit in the morning, if you want a hassle free browsing experience.
• Take a day trip to a different country – visit Kotor in Montenegro or Mostar in Bosnia– set off early and spend the day roaming around one of these beautiful relaxing towns. It doesn’t really matter which one you pick as your unlikely to be disappointed by either. Both are around 3 hours away by bus.
• Ride the Cable car – For less than 10 Euros you can use the cable car to get you to the top of Srd mountain, behind the city. There’s a museum and snack bar once you reach the top. Alternatively, you can spend a few hours hiking up the mountain for free! There are great views of both Dubrovnik and the surrounding islands on the way.
• See Lopud – one of the islands close to the city, it is 30 mins away by ferry and makes a good day trip. There is a sandy beach at Sunj, one of the few in Croatia, and it’s a nice place to relax and swim, particularly out of the high season months.
• Visit the War Photo Museum – within the walls of the old town. It has a selection of photographs from the Yugoslavia independence wars and other battles from around the globe. The museum is an interesting detour and makes you think about what people have to endure for freedom.
• Go to a beach – Banje beach is next to the old town and is clean but can be busy. The Lapad area is five minutes by bus from the old town and has a nice pebbly beach with less tourists.
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