On a recent trip to Craotia, Dubrovnik was on the ‘to visit’ list.
After asking a few people, who have been to Croatia a number of times, to tell me if it’s worth visiting this famed city, the resounding answer was ‘YES’.
So holiday booked, we are all excited going to Dubrovnik….
Well… after a 7-day visit here’s what I’d tell a friend over a cup of coffee, if they asked me whether it’s worth going to Dubrovnik….
- Dubrovnik Old Town city wall is worth going round as you will have an opportunity to admire the city and its surroundings from a number of vantage points and have a few beautiful pictures.
- Take serious sun protection if you are doing it on a nice day as there’s nowhere to hide when you are up there.
- It’s a great place to do a bit of exercise – walking up and down old town’s steep streets you’ll definitely burn off those pastry and ice-cream calories.
- The old town, unfortunately, is so polished and tourist-oriented that it’s almost devoid of any character and personal charm. You won’t see any locals in the old town relaxing or simply going about their lives (apart from those working in shops, cafes and restaurants). It’s packed with tourists and all activities seem to be built around them.
- Prices are sky-high. Here’s a simple comparison: a cup of espresso everywhere else in the country is between 6 and 12 kuna, but in Dubrovnik, for a smallest espresso cup be prepared to dish out at least 22 kuna. We ended up going for food and coffee to places outside the old town – they are all cheaper, quality as good as everywhere else and full of locals!
- Food: overpriced and underdelivered. I’d say it happens to such places almost inevitably when there is an almost continuous flow of captive customers.
- Shops seem to be more expensive than in any European capital, although there are some lovely boutiques worth simply wandering around.
- Dubrovnik has been a subject of a number of high profile film productions and there are numerous excursions on offer where you can trail the filming locations and have pictures taken in your favourite scenes. You’ll be mobbed by agents trying to sell these to you at the old town entrance, you can’t miss them!
- Attitudes: In Old Town restaurants we found the attitude towards the customer seems quite blasé and sometimes even rude – we’ve been told to go to other countries when we tried to quiz the ingredients in a dish since it did not agree with me.
- We booked accommodation for a week – that’s far too much for Dubrovnik. I would say a couple of days is plenty.
- There are some beautiful seaside spots just outside Dubrovnik. Something like 5-10 minute drive away we found a very pleasant spot where we ended up going almost every day when it was not raining (we were very unlucky with the weather….).
- On the hindsight, if I were going to spend a holiday in Dubrovnik, I would book my accommodation outside Dubrovnik somewhere in one of numerous small villages/towns around and go on a couple of day trips to the city.
- Best time to go – I’d say it’s May or September, to avoid the summer crowds, although when we went in May, the weather was still quite fresh and rainy.
If you are a type of traveller who looks in a place for authenticity, quirkiness and character, I’d say spend your time and money elsewhere in Croatia, there are other charming places which seem to strike a better balance between the ‘tourist destination’ and ‘local life’.