Dubrovnik is full of life and adventures!! You might want to check these tips before you go there!!
My girlfriend and I went for a quick 4-day visit to Dubrovnik in July, and besides the hot temperatures, I must say, I have been surprised by this city and the people living here in a very positive way.
First, let me mention that Croatia was accepted in the European Union the 1st of July of 2013. This is really important to know and to keep in mind while in Croatia. It’s only been 4 years since they’ve entered the Euro Zone, and this means that people are still not used to talking in another currency than theirs (Kuna).
With this post I will try to tell you my experience in Dubrovnik so you can avoid running around like a chicken with no head!
1. Money Exchange
Once at the airport, you will notice a huge line of people at the Currency Exchange desk trying to exchange money. My advice here is: Don’t!
The exchange rate at the airport is around 25% higher compared to the rates of any local bank in the city. We ended up at this enormous line of people paying 20€ more than the local bank we went afterwards.
The reason for this is simple, if someone tells you that you’re going to a country with not much integration with the Euro, once you’re there, you’ll want to change all your budget as quick as possible to avoid getting high quotations in Euros, Dollars, or Pounds.
In fact, it’s not a bad idea to change some money at the airport, but only the exact amount that a taxi or bus will cost you!
There are local banks open untill late afternoon that will get you a better exchange rate than at the airport. They are not hard to find!
Here is a link to the OTP Bank in case you want to check their rates.
Getting around the area of Dubrovnik is quite easy, however, the information you will find on the web is mainly on Blogs. Google Maps has no public transportation coverage yet (July 2017) in Dubrovnik.
My girlfriend and I decided to stay at a town near by called Cavtat. It is a town 5km away from the airport and at 22 km from Dubrovnik.
We read on a Blog post that is was quite easy to go from the airport to Cavtat with a local bus that would cost us around 50 Kunas each – around 7€ per person – but, once at the airport, they told us the service stops at 12:00 PM. So…screw! Taxi service from the airport to Cavtat is worth 120 Kunas – 16€ –
Car rentals are a good option, but we decided to move around by bus. Local buses cover most of the area of Dubrovnik. One way trip from Cavtat to Dubrovnik is 25 Kunas each – 3,30€ – so, we decided to move around by bus and save the extra money that a motorcycle or a car rental would cost you.
Another good option if you’re in Cavtat is the ferry. It costs 100 kunas each – 13,50€ – and the return ticket from Dubrovnik or Lokrum Island is included. If you’re in Croatia during the summer, you’ll want to consider fresh option like the ferry!!
So, take the bus or the ferry!! Here is a link to a popular company that does the route: Adriana Ferries.
3. Where to Sleep
Dubrovnik during the summer is packed! We were not too sure to do the trip for this reason, but, we decided to explore towns nearby as the adriatic coast has one of the most beautiful sea colors i’ve ever seen!!
Cavtat, is a city 22 km away from Dubrovnik that offers a nice bay area, cool swimming spots, nice sunsets and cozy apartments that you can rent at a very reasonable price.
Our apartments were “Nina apartments”, in the top of the hill of Cavtat. You can check them out here: Nina Apartments.
Apartments in Cavtat are between 25€ to 60€ per night depending on the time of the year you go. It is very important to book with 20 days of advance as they have no more than 4-5 rooms each and they get booked very fast during high season.
4. Where to Eat
The area of Dubrovnik and Cavtat is full of restaurants and take-away bars where you will find a big variety of options.
As many tourist destinations, you could expect to have high prices for coffee or sandwiches but, in fact, this place has very reasonable prices.
When we did a day trip to Dubrovnik, we ate at a restaurant inside the old town that was very nice. For 2 sandwiches and 2 lemonades we spent around 150 Kunas – 20€ -. If you want more fancy stuff, there are plenty of restaurants that offer super duper menus with fresh fish or nice meat, but, we went for the low cost options this time.
Another way to eat is to buy slices of pizza or take away sandwiches at the different food stands you will find. Usually, you’ll spend between 40 to 80 kunas – 5€ to 10€ –
In case you want to check out some cheap restaurants here’s a list from TripAdvisor:
5. Places of Interest
There are plenty of activites you can do in Dubrovnik and the area around it! Water sports, city tours, turquoise water beaches, Island trips and even a Cable car trip to the top of Mount Srd! I’ve selected the ones I found MUST-VISIT:
Dubrovnik city tour
Dubrovnik is a city with a lot of history, the Kingdom of Ragusa as it was known for decades offers 2 different parts: The old town and the modern part.
The old town is where you will find all these terracota rooftops so typical to see from any photos of the city. Game of Thrones chose this destination because its beautiful location and fortified walls around the old city. For us, the perfect day was to get lost inside the walls of the old town and discover cool photo spots! And the most important thing, it’s free! (unless you choose to pay a 150 kunas – 20€ – to walk on top of the walls). We obviously chose not to..
There are many monuments and places of interest you can see inside the city walls, I discovered an app right before our trip that helps you plan your route in many cities in the world: Visit a city . Maybe many people know about this app, but I just thought it was very usefull! (not receiveing any compensation from them).
Dubrovnik Cable Car
If you want to explore the city from above, you have the option to grab a Cable car and go to Mount Srd and enjoy the beautiful views of the Old City. Check out the Cable car website to know their updated prices: Dubrovnik Cable Car
If you prefer the cheap option, there is also the possibility to go up Mount Srd hiking. I read a very nice review from this hike, but at this time of the year it was too hot to spend 1 and a half hour hiking uphill. Read this blog post about it: Mount Srd Hike
They say the views from up there are amazing!!
There are a lot of beautiful beaches in Dubrovnik and the afeas around it. We went to 3 beaches recommended by the locals.
Banje Beach is located outside Dubrovnik and it is very easy to access. After exiting the city walls from the south point, you walk like 10 minutes and there are these stairs that go down the beach very well indicated.
It is a little rocks beach were you can lay your towel and you won’t feel much. You have the option to rent a hammock if you want, although the hammock zone and the free zone are separated by a bar. We disn’t see necessary renting a hammock as the sea view is the same on both sides.
Pasjaca Beach is located 40km away from Dubrovnik and it is easy to access by bus, but the return bus leaves at 18:00 and you have a 30 minute walk from the beach to the bus stop.
The spectacular about this beach is the way you access to it. There is a wodden stairway to the beach that pases through a cove next to a cliff! Yes, I know, sounds crazy but this place is unique. If you’re staying in Dubrovnik, it is worth grabbing the bus or your transport early in the morning as the beach itself is not very big and it can be challenging to find a spot!
From Cavtat, it is a bit more complicated as there aren’t many buses that go there and the return bus leaves at 13:30 to Cavtat, so, unless you have a car, the only possibility is that you leave early in the morning, return late afternoon to Dubrovnik, and grab a bus to Cavtat!
This Island is located right in front of Dubrovnik and there are plenty of fun things to do there!!
We saw Kayak tours departing from Dubrovnik, Ferry Lines and small motor boats you can rent to get to the Island. In our case we went by Ferry from Cavtat and there were ferries almost every hour, but the return time was at 17:30 the latest.
A two way ticket from Cavtat costs you 100 Kunas – 13,60€ – per person. Also, if you want, you can return to Dubrovnik instead and you will have more return options for the same price!
Once you arrive, you see a small path with indication signs with the different places you can visit. I wasn’t able to visit all of them, so I’ll recommend 4:
The Nudist Beach
Once you start walking through the path, the second beach you find is a nudist beach. It wasn’t our preference to stay there, but we saw a spectacular view and I decided to take out the tripod and set up the camera XD
The beach itself is nothing else than a bunch of huge rocks over a cliff and to swim you have to find your way down, but it seems quite easy.
The Dead Sea of Lokrum
The next spot we visited was what they call “The dead sea”. A small cenote with very salty water that helps you float better (not my case, I always sink no matter what).
It is a gorgeous place. It is like a super small lake with a cove surronded by huge walls. There isn’t much space to place your towel, but the views and the water are fantastic!
Right next to this place is a small heart-shaped cove that you can take beautiful photos!
This photo shot is quite difficult to take as there is a small pond in the middle and you have to climb through the rocks to get there. Unfortunatly, my camera only has a 10 second time shot so, I asked a guy to take the shot for us!
Following through the rocks towards the sea there is a cliff with cool jumping spots!! Despite my girlfriend’s fears, I’m a big fan of jumping off cliffs. The rocks there allow you to place your towel almost anywhere. It was very fun to watch some young boys jump off before I could get an idea of what I was going to do.
On top of the Island there is a medieval Fort with excellent views of Dubrovnik and the sea around! The hike uphill will take you around 15 minutes if you start from the cliffs where the jumping spots are. By the way, the hike uphill will get you thristy, make sure you have enough water.
6. Gear and Equipment
The beaches in Dubrovnik and surrondings are mainly made out of rocks. The water sometimes is hardly reachable unless you climb around a few rocks. Specially in Cavtat, there are many little beaches that you will lie your towel on top of a rock.
Also, bear in mind that the water is crystal clear and you’ll want to explore the bottom of the sea everytime you go to any beach. Seriously, it is beautiful!
Therefore, my recommendation in terms of what to bring if you go to Dubrovnik is the following:
- Snorkeling gear (I bought snorkeling gogles there and that’s about it)
- Proper water shoes to jump in the water and have rocks underneath your feet.
- Exterior pillow where you can lie your head (I used a rolled sweater)
- Water protection for your devices (iphone, camera…)
- Tripod – It is hard to take steady shots with so many rocks.
- Sun screen!
With this you’re all set to enjoy the paradise of the Adriatic Sea!!
7. Best time to Travel
I’ve read a lot of things about when to travel to Dubrovnik. After my experience in July I’m a bit confused of what to recommend.
In July, there are plenty of tourists everywhere, but, it isn’t too anoying. There are a lot of little beaches where you can find a good spot and also, if you are patient, you can take photos like if there wasn’t people around (check my Instagram feed!)
On the other hand, from June to September it’s high season! So, if you’re looking for best deals and still enjoy of good weather, my recommendation is you go begining of October.
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Spoting Ace Destinations!