TRAVEL | Dubrovnik city guide: top tips for travelling on a budget

Dubrovnik is an absolute jewel, set on the coastline of the Adriatic sea in beautiful Croatia. It is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Steeped in history, Dubrovnik is the perfect mix of sightseeing, adventure and relaxing. However, one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the price.

Unfortunately, thanks to it being a popular tourist destination, particularly for cruise ships, Dubrovnik itself is pretty pricey, especially inside the four walls of Unesco world heritage status old town.

But no fear… here are some tips I learnt along the way to ensure you don’t shock your bank balance too much.

CHEAP PLACES TO STAY IN DUBROVNIK

There aren’t a HUGE amount of hotels in Dubrovnik, and most are set in the areas of Lapad and Babin Kuk just outside the city walls. A lot of them are also incredibly luxurious, thus expensive. If you’re on a budget, opt for an apartment instead, as there are plenty. There are tons to choose from inside the old town – but we opted for a lovely one (Villa Mia) in Lapad, about 5 minutes from Gruz port.

Check sites such as Owners Direct, Airbnb and booking.com for some good deals.

DUBROVNIK PRICES

Croatia isn’t in the EU, and Kuna (HRK) is their local currency, however, a lot of places do accept Euros.  But I believe you don’t need them AT ALL. We paid for our apartment in Euros, and also some excursions – however the rest of the time we paid in Kuna.

We also saw a lot of tourists pay with card, but were told by many that restaurants added 3% on top if you wanted to pay that way – so make sure you have plenty of cash to hand.

I think my biggest money tip is don’t let the exchange rate fool you. £1 may be around 9 HRK , but the prices are more expensive than you think (e.g. it was 15 HRK each for a single bus fare which is around £1.70 a go).

There are some amazing foodie finds in the Old Town 

 

FOOD AND DRINK IN DUBROVNIK 



Food isn’t cheap – and drink especially isn’t. We were shocked that we were pretty much paying London prices inside the old town walls (around £25 for a bottle of wine in most places).

I think where we went wrong at the start was buying hefty lunches too. Save the dining out for the evening, and instead pack your own, share a cheap pizza, or visit a pekara at lunchtime instead.

Pekeras (bakeries in English) are everywhere outside the city walls and sell delicious sweet pastries, croissants and cheese and spinach stuffed breads for around 70p. This is definitely the best way to save you money, and they’re utterly delicious.

Carry your own water round too. We bought 4 bottles from the supermarket, froze two so we had ice cold water in the afternoon, and had another two spare. We also filled them up at the fountains inside the old town (tap water is fine to drink there).

It’s also good to know what restaurants to look out for though – check out my favourite restaurants in Dubrovnik, including some very purse friendly options.

Swimming of the rocks of Lokrum Island is a must

WHAT TO DO IN DUBROVNIK



These can certainly up the cost of a holiday… but you should really do a couple if you can. The best deals we found were the following:

  • Kayaking tours (€30 each). These include half a day of kayaking and snorkelling, a sandwich and a mini tour by water.
  • Three island boat cruise (€32 each). Full day of activity plus many offer a meat, fish or veggie picnic and unlimited drink. So you get a big meal too.
  • Lokrum island (100 HRK return ferry). You can easily spend the day on the island wandering around, having a nice lunch, swimming off the rocks.
  • Walking the city walls (120 HRK). I personally don’t feel as though you need a guided tour of this (unless you’re really keen to get the full historical rundown). So just pay to go in and walk alone.
For me, the cable car was overpriced. At 120 HRK I didn’t feel as though it gave you enough for your money. Yes the view was beautiful… but other than an expensive restaurant and a gift shop, there was little else up there.If you’re desperate to go up Mount Srd, don’t want to pay the cable car prices and love a walk – there is a path up the mountainside that you can walk up and down in about an hour.

Beaches can also catch you off guard. At Copacabana beach, we paid 120 HRK for two sunbeds and a parasol for the day – while others were A LOT more expensive (we saw one beach bed for 900 HRK!). Many beachgoers were just laying their towels down on the concrete or rocks (there are no sandy beaches) so that’s definitely an option too.

We loved the kayaking tour – you can book these at Pile gate!

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN DUBROVNIK



If you’re travelling on a budget, then public transport is your best bet, and thankfully the bus systems are good there if you’re outside the city walls.

The number 6 ran from all the major hotels in Babin Kuk, past us in Lapad and through Gruz port. All buses stop outside Pile gate, the main entrance into the old town – which is completely pedestrianised.

If you purchase your ticket on the bus it’s 15 HRK each way. However if you purchase from any of the little booths by the bus stops it’s 12 HRK each way and 30 HRK for a full day travelling.

To save money we also got the airport bus on the way back, picking it up at the main bus station for 45 HRK each. Much better than the €30 we spent on the way in for a taxi.



The view from the Panorama restaurant on top of Mount Srd

Final thoughts…

Please don’t let the price put you off such a beautiful place to visit. Like most major cities, you can be caught out by prices if you’re a tourist (I’ve recently experienced this in Paris and Barcelona too).

Dubrovnik is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve EVER experienced, and it definitely needs to be on your bucket list.

Feel free to ask me anymore questions in the comments below!

 

 

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