What No One Will Tell You About Visiting Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a big hitter when it comes to places to visit in Croatia. As such this means that finding places to park your camper van (if travelling this way like us) for a reasonable price is near impossible. Some campsites charge upwards of 45 Euros per night.
Using all our resources and after much research we decided to not stay in the main town and booked a campsite in Kupari. You can also find cheaper accommodation like we did by staying outside of the main city. For 15 Euro a night, our campsite was located about 20 minutes down the road. You can access Dubrovnik from here by local bus, but we decided that the more fun way (and also an excuse to make an experience out of it) was to travel by boat.
Kupari is a really interesting place to stay, it is pretty deserted and this is mainly because the beaches have empty hotels that were used a bases for the army. They were destroyed during the Croatian War of Independence and have not since been inhabited. Covered in graffiti and overgrown with weeds it’s like something out of an apocalypse movie. Imagine sunbathing on the beach as you would in a resort, but turn around and the desolate hotels stare back at you. A little eerie but something really amazing to experience. Unfortunately this was the last year that you would be able to see these hotels like this as the land has been bought by a luxury development company who will be building a Four Seasons hotel in their place. They won’t be in bad company as the 5* Sheraton is located just around the bay, also a 10 minute walk from the campsite.
HOT TIP – If you fancy a dip in their pool, you may just be able to walk through the lobby and downstairs, grab a towel from the pool boy and lay on the sun loungers for a while and take a swim. Just saying……
We decided to use Adriana Cavtat, the boat transfer company that our campsite suggested. If you travel to Dubrovnik and want to take the same boat, I don’t recommend using this company. The transfer itself is lovely but they are never on time and often get full from the previous stops so you can’t get on the boat that you have been waiting 40 minutes for. It isn’t worth the hassle and there are other providers who seemed more reliable. The views on the journey are awesome, arriving into and departing from Dubrovnik this way is just magical so I highly recommend getting on a boat at some point during your stay.
Dubrovnik is by far the most busy city that we have visited in Croatia. It is overwhelming how many people visit, and we didn’t visit in peak season. Also bear in mind that we visited in the middle of May and it was 38 degrees! Even the gelato shop manager was pointing out how hot it was for us, but nothing compared to the temperatures they normally experience – over 40 degrees.
The reason it gets busy it because:
- It is an absolutely gorgeous walled city that is so well preserved you cant help but fall in love and tell all your friends about it so they want to come and visit. The views from walking along the wall are just insane.
- Since Game of Thrones came out and everyone realised that Croatia is where it is filmed, and Dubrovnik in particular is Kings Landing then the city has really thrived with this tourism. Tours, merchandise, souvenirs you name it.
- Cruise Ships – hoards of cruise ship tours come to Dubrovnik to experience this beautiful city so the streets are filled with walking tours.
To avoid the busy period – come out of season, like really out of season. Find out when the cruise ships are not docked in Dubrovnik so there will be a massive reduction in tourists. This way you stand a chance at experiencing this beautiful place in a little more peace.
The best part of Dubrovnik – walking along the city walls. To be honest, we didn’t do any research on this but knew it was a must do activity. So we were pretty surprised to find out that the entrance to the walls is 20 Euro per person, for us on a very tight budget this was a major splurge. But it was 100% worth it. The journey will take you a good 1 – 2 hours, mainly because the views are just to die for and there are so many nooks and crannys to discover. But also because it is so busy and wide enough for just one person you end up queuing in places.
My main tip would be to not walk the walls at midday, there is practically no shade and maybe 1 or 2 places to find refreshments along the way.
Once we walked the walls we headed down in to the town to discover what other treasures there were. There are plenty of amazing restaurants, bars and shops interspersed with old churches and museums. Take a walk along the waterfront and admire the views, or even take a boat ride out to sea to visit an island.
Have you been to Dubrovnik? What are your tips for visiting?