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Dubrovnik

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Travel Guide Europe Croatia Dubrovnik

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Introduction

Dubrovnik is a beautiful and intricate city in southern Croatia. Tourists from Europe and beyond flock to the city, drawn by its warm location on the Adriatic Sea and its historic Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heavy shelling by Serbs in the 1990s damaged the Old City considerably, but major efforts have helped bring it back to its former splendour. Dubrovnik is also a regional hub of trade, thanks in large part to its seaport, which is one of the Adriatic Sea's major ports.

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Neighbourhoods

  • Old City is the walled part of the city and is the main tourist drawcard.
  • Ploce lies just east of the Old City.
  • Gruz is home to a Dubrovnik port and place to search for cheap private accommodation.
  • Lapad is home to a lot of accommodation options, including a few large hotels.
  • Babin Kuk has a few large hotels and the city's longest beach, named Copacabana.

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Sights and Activities

The Old City

Dubrovnik's walled Old City dates back to the 13th century and is the main tourist attraction in Dubrovnik for good reason. Its cobbled streets and narrow alleys are packed with history and bustle with activity. A must is to get up on the wall and walk the perimiter, taking in the great views. Within the walled old city, there are numerous museums, galleries and sights to take in. Listed below are some of the highlights.

  • Pile gate is one of two gates that can be used to enter the walled city. It used to have a moat surrounding it and a drawbridge that closed at night. Now it's a walkway and the door is always open.
  • Stradun is the ancient main street running through the Old City. Along it are any number of important institutions, buildings and attractions.
  • Big Onofrio Fountain can be found near the Pile Gate entrance. It was built in 1438 to provide water from a spring 12 kilometres away. It once was adorned with lots of sculptures, but was damaged in an earthquake in 1667. 16 carved masks remain, with water jets gushing from their mouths.
  • Sponza Palace is a beautiful 16th century building that once served as the custom's house and then as the mint. It now houses the state archives. Several rooms inside are open to the public and dedicated to the history of Dubrovnik. Admission is free, it's open from 10:00am-10:00pm daily.
  • The Dominican Monastery, founded in 1315, can be found near the Ploce Gate. Inside are a beautiful gothic cloister and some prized works of art, most famously Titian's Mary Magdalene with SS Raphael, Blaise and Tobias. It's located at Sveti Dominika 4, open daily from 9:00am-6:00pm (3:00pm in winter) and costs 10kn to enter.
  • Dubrovnik Synagogue - Europe's second oldest synagogue and the oldest Sefardic synagogue in use in the world today. Several artefacts are on display inside, including a 13th-century Torah scroll from the Spanish expulsion of 1492. It's open 10:00am-8:00pm daily and costs 10kn to enter.
  • Rector's Palace, once the seat of government in the old Republic, is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The keys to the city's gates can be found here. Located at Pred Dvorom 3, open 9:00am-6:00pm daily, admission is 15kn.
  • Dubrovnik Cathedral is the third church to stand on this spot, after a 14th century version was destroyed during the earthquake of 1667. That in turn was built atop a 7th century basilica. The remains of both earlier churches can still be seen within the cathedral. The Cathedral's treasury contains the arm, leg and skull of St Blaise, plated in gold. It costs 10kn to enter the treasury.
  • Orlando Column, a column carved in 1417, is a popular meeting place that can be found at the eastern end of Stradun.
  • The Franciscan Monastery includes a 14th century cloister and the oldest pharmacy in Europe still in operation (it opened for business in 1317).

Further Afield

  • Lokrum is a small island in the Adriatic Sea, a short distance from Dubrovnik. Short boat rides leave from inside the old town's harbour every day. There's a ruined old monastery that you can climb to get panoramic views of Dubrovnik, the surrounding coast and the sea. There is also good snorkelling to be done all around the island, and for the really adventurous, the rocky coastline provides some excellent cliff-jumping opportunities. Checking the water you are jumping in before you do so is advisable, with the south of the island providing the highest adrenalin pumping jumps. Sea kayaking around Dubrovnik's city walls is also popular; the majority of the agencies conducting these tours tend to circle around Lokrum Island and stop for lunch at Betina Cave. There is also a nudist 'beach' on the island, but if you can brave the naked old men, it's worth it.
  • Cavtat is a small sea side town that can be easily reached from the city using the local bus route no 10, with buses running every 30 minutes. The pleasant harbour of Cavtat provides an excellant place to relax in one of its traditional cafes. There are some other impressive sites though, which include the Rector's palace and a mausoleum.
  • Elaphite Islands are a small group of islands to the north of Dubrovnik, with only three of them (Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep) being inhabited. Sipan is the largest of the three, though day trips can be made to any of three islands. All three of them boast of unspoilt beaches, quiet villages and a few architechtural sights. The best way to reach the Elaphite islands is to hop on a ferry operated by the Jadrolinija Company.
  • Mljet Island is a beautiful island covered with thick forest and surrounded by lakes. There is also a national park on the western side of the island. The island can be reached by the ferry operated by the Jadrolinija Company.

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Events and Festivals

  • Dubrovnik summer festival, from mid-July to mid-August, is a major event in the city, with over a hundred performances held at various venues in the Old City.
  • The Feast of St Blaise - St Blaise is the patron saint of Dubrovnik, whose birthday has been celebrated on Candlemas for over 800 years. On February 2, white doves are released from St Blaise’s Church, and the day of festivities sees a morning mass, grand parade with reliquaries and images carried by elaborately costumed local people and festivities in the square around the church. The historic event is on UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list.
  • Carnival Celebrated every February in Croatia for the last 600 years in the heart of Dubrovnik, Carnival on Stradun Street is crowded with locals in fabulous costumes or futuristic get-ups, riders in medieval armor carrying lances, street theater performers and bands. The main parade is magnificent and there are jousting competitions, masquerade balls and street parties.
  • Libertas Film Festival is an international film festival celebrating independent films.
  • Dubrovnik International Film Festival.

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Weather

Dubrovnik's climate is typically Mediterranean with wet, mild winters and dry, hot summers. January is the coldest month (9 °C) and August the warmest (25 °C). Temperatures in the peak season of July and August can reach as high as 38 °C. During winter, the city is considerably quieter, which in itself can make it a good time to visit.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max12.2 °C12.3 °C14.4 °C16.9 °C21.3 °C25.2 °C28.3 °C28.7 °C25.4 °C21.4 °C16.6 °C13.3 °C
Avg Min6.5 °C6.4 °C8.5 °C10.9 °C15.2 °C18.8 °C21.5 °C21.7 °C18.7 °C15.2 °C10.8 °C7.8 °C
Rainfall95.2 mm89.2 mm97.7 mm90.9 mm76.1 mm48.6 mm24.1 mm59 mm78.7 mm109.9 mm141.9 mm125.3 mm
Rain Days11.210.911.611.29.56.74.44.56.410.311.312.5

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Getting There

By Plane

Dubrovnik airport (IATA: DBV) (ICAO: LDDU) is situated some 20 kilometres south of the city. Croatia Airlines operates domestic flights to and from Zagreb and depending on the season, from Osijek, Zadar and Pula. They also have international connections to the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, as well as Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. Other airlines flying into Dubrovnik include Aer Lingus (Dublin), Estonian Air (Tallinn), Jetair Fly (Brussels), British Airways and Thomson Airways (London) and Flybe (Birmingham).

In total, there are a couple of dozen of airlines serving the city, some of them only offering seasonal (summer) flights.

A taxi ride from the airport will set you back about 200Kn. Atlas provides a bus service to the Old Town or Gruž, but hotels are not necessarily within walking distance of either drop off point. Taxis are usually available to pick you up at the drop-off location.

By Train

There is no train station in Dubrovnik. The best you can do is catch a train to Split and then catch the bus from there. If you are travelling from Sarajevo or Mostar, you can also catch the train to Čapljina (BiH) and a bus from there. It is about a 2-3-hour bus ride to Dubrovnik from there. The train used to run all the way to Ploče, but the line was discontinued in 2013.

By Car

The coastal drive into Dubrovnik is a stunning trip along a road clinging to seaside cliffs. Along the way, there are many scenic towns and picturesque beaches to stop off at. Allow plenty of time for the journey from Split, as traffic can be bad and the winding roads do slow you down.

By Bus

Buses to Dubrovnik arrive at a newly constructed bus station in the Gruz neighbourhood. There are 8 buses daily from Zagreb, making the journey in about 11 hours. Buses run regularly along the coast from Zadar via Sibenik, Trogir, Split and Makarska to Dubrovnik. If you are catching coming from the direction of Split, then you will pass through Bosnia-Hercegovina briefly. It's worth having your passport handy, although a check is unlikely.

International buses run from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo, Medugorje, Trebinje, Mostar, Caplina) and Montenegro (Kotor, Budva, Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, Podgorica). There is lengthy bus trip from Trieste in Italy that runs every day and an even longer one from Münich and Frankfurt that runs most days.

By Boat

Domestic
Jadrolinija runs a ferry service down the coast from Rijeka, stopping off at Split, Stari Grad, Korčula and Sobra on the way, taking up to 20 hours to make the trip. The view of the coast line is the main entertainment on the trip.

Italy
From Bari, Azzurraline (summer) and Jadrolinija (all year) have crossings to Dubrovnik.

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Getting Around

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.

The sea taxis (like a motorboat) operate from the bay area, and go to the castle, they accommodate about 3-4 people and are a generally good option. Not expensive, but not cheap either. Still, it's a worthwhile choice for families.

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 [4] 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. Busses in Dubrovnik are operated by Libertas and a map of the bus network can be found in their website.

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Eat

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.

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Drink

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.

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.

  • Culture Club Revelin - Culture Club Revelin is situated in the Revelin Fort in the Old Town core and it is a unique place where past and present come together. Its impressive view of the entire city and a carefully selected program have launched Revelin to the central spot of nightlife in Dubrovnik. Address: Svetog Dominika 3, 20000 Dubrovnik
  • Skybar - Spacious and vibrant, the Skybar is one of the best places to party into the night when in Dubrovnik! Sky bar offers a vast range of cocktails, beers, smoothies and spirits are reasonably priced and served in a long lounge area. Purple walls, blue neon lights and mirror balls made from cocktail glasses comprise the decor Address: Brsalje, 20000 Dubrovnik

For those travellers looking for a good pint, there are a few Irish pubs within the old town walls. The prices aren't exactly cheap, but there is a small of selection of decent Croatian beers. In terms of clubs, they are pretty non-existant within the old town, but the bars do stay open late.

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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.

View our map of accommodation in Dubrovnik or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are available in all major cities. They are relatively cheap and reliable. A free Wi-Fi signal can be found virtually in every city and can be found in cafés, restaurants, hotels, some libraries, schools, colleges etc. Mostly it's free, but sometimes a fee is required or you can use it for a limited time only. Internet connections with unlimited downloads costs 178 kn (€24) per month via T-Com and just 99 kn with some other providers like Metronet or Iskon.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Croatia is: 385. To make an international call from Croatia, the code is: 00.

Croatia uses the GSM 900/1800 system for mobile phones. There are three providers, T-Mobile (also operates the Bonbon prepaid brand), Vip (also operates the Tomato prepaid brand) and Tele2. Over 98% of the country's area is covered. If you have an unlocked phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for 20 kn. There have been promotions in which SIM cards were given avay for free with newspapers (7 kn) and sometimes even literally handed out on the street. GSM phones bundled with T-Mobile or Vip prepaid SIM cards can be found in post offices, grocery stores and kiosks at varying prices.

An alternative to using a mobile phone is Calling Cards which can be found in postal offices and kiosks, there are two providers, Dencall and Hitme. You can buy cards from 25 kn.

Post

Hrvatska Posta is the national postal service of Croatia and has pretty fast and reliable service throughout the country and internationally. It takes several days by airmail to other countries in Europe, but over a week to the US for example. They have a direct link to the pricelist, where you can see the prices of sending postcards, letters and parcels both domestically as well as to other countries. Post boxes are yellow in Croatia and the times of collections are indicated on the box. The opening times of post offices vary, but mostly they are open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Friday and until 2:00pm on Saturdays, though some might keep shorter or even a longer hours, just ask around. You can buy stamps here, or at newsstands. Prices start at around 10Kn for sending a letter or postcard to neighbouring countries, a few more further away. If you want to send packages internationally, it might be better to check companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS. They are reliable, fast and usually not much more expensive than Croatia's postal service.

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Quick Facts

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Population
43,770 (2001)
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 42.642756
  • Longitude: 18.110658

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This is version 54. Last edited at 9:24 on Aug 10, 17 by Utrecht. 41 articles link to this page.

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