After traveling to a city I like to think of all the things I wish I had known prior to traveling, or things people tend to ask me before they go. As we went to Dubrovnik a little under prepared, this allowed us to really consider the questions that we thought throughout our time here.
THINGS TO KNOW
Croatian money is called Kuna. 10 Kuna's roughly equals:
British pound: £1.16
European Euro: €1.34
Australian dollar: $2.17
USA dollar: $1.50
There is a reasonable window of opportunity to travel to Dubrovnik. I would suggest deciding on what experience you are after as in the European summer months, tourism will be high. Anywhere between June - August will be high tourist time, and less touristy but still warm weather during September to early October.
Dubrovnik is super safe and would recommend any solo traveler to visit. Still there is a need to be street smart and keep an eye out for pickpockets.
A cost of a beer is roughly 17kuna in Dubrovnik. I would expect this price would vary considerably throughout Croatia, especially on the islands in comparison to land.
Dubrovnik is beautiful to take pictures and videos. The old town can take your breath away and there is always something to see around every corner. There are plenty of locations to take pictures from up high of the old town and of course bring any waterproof accessories if you plan to swim or go sailing.
1. Croatia I believe was once known for being quite a inexpensive country to travel to. Sadly, Dubrovnik is not as cheap as it use to be. You can probably thank Game of Thrones for that.
2. Peak season - We deliberately went at the end of September to avoid the peak summer season. The main problem with this is the weather was a touch cool to enjoy swimming in the clear waters. However, if this isn’t your priority, choose Sept-October time or early April-May to travel to avoid the busy crowds and costly accommodation.
3. Airport Shuttle bus - You can purchase tickets at the airport for a return shuttle bus ticket (or one way). 70Kuna return or 40Kuna one way.
4. Driving in Croatia - In case you were thinking about the idea of driving. We thought about doing this, but I chickened out after reading posts about the roads and Croatian drivers. From what I gather after speaking with other people during my time in Croatia I made the correct choice not to drive. But in saying that, if you are not a nervous driver (like me) you might be fine. Just be careful. There are a lot of winding roads close to the cliff edges (not trying to deliberately put you off).
5. Passing through customs when driving or using public transport - If you are driving or taking a bus from Dubrovnik to north Croatia (or other countries outside Croatia) you will need your passport. The border around Dubrovnik if you look on a map is cut off from the rest of Croatia. You will need your passport to cross into Bosnia & Herzegovina, then back into Croatia.
6. Dubrovnik is not flat! Now, I have traveled to a lot of places around Europe and beyond and this is by far the least flat city I have ever been to. Dubrovnik old town has 4,343 steps - yes. I googled this as I was astounded by how many steps are in this old town. Your calves, butt and thighs will thank you later.
7. Games of Thrones - I suppose you would be disappointed in me if I didn’t mention this. But to also disappoint you I am not really a GOF fan (Kris more so is than me). Whilst there is a strong GOF culture in the old town and you can buy plenty of GOF merchandise, it’s not in your face like it could be. Thankfully the attention is more on Dubrovnik’s beauty and the story of the war in 1991.
8. Pack light and smart - depending where you stay, the streets are mostly cobbled and as said twice already, lots of stairs! My recommendation would be backpacks and if you prefer a suitcase, choose somewhere on the main streets or outside of the old town where a taxi/Uber can drop you off.
9. Book any day trips online rather than in store. Why? It is a lot cheaper.
10. Tourist attractions - if this is your thing, look at buying the tourist card. There are a number of things to do and each attraction sets you back at a minimum of £10-15. A tourist card for 1, 3 or 7 days will set you back anything between £30-45.
11. Old town wall - A must do in my opinion as this is the main highlight of the city. At the time we went, the wall was busy in some areas but relatively easy to get around. During peak season the wall would be highly crowded and warm. I would recommend getting there early (opens at 8:30am, except in winter at 10am), to get ahead of the crowds. It’s a good 2km walk around the whole thing.
12. Tip! Spend time venturing up the stairs in the old town. Although steep, this is where a lot of the beauty and hidden gems lie.
If you have any other recommendations to share, please comment below.