Dubrovnik was definitely our highlight of the trip. I simply felt in love with this city within seconds. At no doubts it was love at first sight (shhh don’t tell this to my husband!). It is full of beautiful scenery, history, fascinating sights and great food. Everyone will find something for interesting there!
Unfortunately since Games of Thrones, Dubrovnik became darn popular city and crowds are just unavoidable in anytime of the year. However if you do your research well and plan your day properly, you will enjoy this city fully without getting cranky with all the people around you. Let’s face there is nothing worst to queue with grumpy children in the heat (particularly as not everyone is super friendly to actually let you go first!). Last year due to number of visitors, the Mayor of Dubrovnik launched a hasty plan to limit number of entrants to the Old Town to 8.000.
Dubrovnik was the city we were looking most forward to. We knew it was stunning and it has so much to offer, but we were slightly worried that due to visiting it in high season it might be very busy. Here are our tips how we managed to explore this stunning place without ruining our trip by an overwhelming number of visitors.
LOOK AT CRUISES DAYS
The old town is seriously compact and although there are lots of side alleys and street, you will not enjoy them with pram (plenty of them have stairs or are super narrow). Usually during peak season (June-August) on the cruise days, there might even 10.000 tourists arriving and with the last year applied limits all of them won’t be available to enter to the old town. On this website (portdubrovnik.hr/girica1.php), you can find coloured days to show which are quietest and most busy days.
We found out that Saturday was a red day, so we made sure we saw most of the attractions in Old Town on Friday, that included as well a City Walls walk. On Saturday we managed to do some sightseeing first thing in the morning, but around 9:30am we decided to take a cable car to enjoy the views from the Srd Hill. GET EARLY AND BET THE CROWDS
In our case, this wasn’t too difficult to achieve. Our girls usually wake up anytime between 6-7am, so we made sure that we got an Uber by 7:45am and be in Old Town by 8am. We loved strolling around the Stradun with no crowds (there would be still delivery vans driving around).
On Friday around 8:30am we did as well City Wall Walk. It was our favourite attraction in Dubrovnik, but I’m pretty sure it would be ruined if we decided to walk around 11am due to the amount of people and heat. It was amazing as we could really take our time to enjoy it, stopping at any point to take pictures or take a moment to check the views and not feeling pressed by other tourists who would be queuing behind us. Every day from 10 o’clock onwards, there would be massive queues to buy the ticket (you might want to check other entrances if Pile Gate gets really busy) or people walking in single file.
Additional if you decide to walk the City Walls get prepared. The prams are not allowed as it gets really narrow in some places and you get a lot of steps. We left our pram at the bottom (the staff is so friendly that looked after it) and we used our two carriers as girls are still pretty young and wouldn’t be able to walk all that distance. Make sure to bring few snacks and some water as it gets really hot (there are is no shade along the walk). We thought we won’t be able to do a whole walk, but make sure you do as the views are just stunning from every corner. SEE THE NARROW STREETS OR LESS CROWDED PLACES INSIDE THE CITY WALLS
Anytime we would wonder off the Stradun street, it would feel like we are in totally different city. We highly recommend visiting Dominican Monastery as we were the unique ones visiting this stunning attraction at that time. We managed to have a bit of rest, sit down and enjoy the quiet next to whole hassle and bustle.VISIT PLACES OUTSIDE OF CITY WALLS
Dubrovnik has so much to offer than just Old Town. Try to plan in ahead and check the busiest days, so you can work around it. You can take a boat trip to Lokrum, get a lift via a cable car to Srd Hill or visit Lovrijenac. AVOID PILE GATE
Pile Gate is the most frequent entrance to the Old Town as after cruisers dock all the passengers are brought directly to this gate. However there are another two entrances Ploce Gate and Buza Gate, so check them as well if it gets really crowded. STAY IN LAPAD
Every day we had a routine of sightseeing first thing in the morning and then having a beach time in Lapad where we rented our airbnb apartment. It is perfect location for the families as there are many nice beaches, playgrounds and bars. Many locals actually live there so this area doesn’t feel touristy at all. Moreover we would get usually an Uber to the city centre as it wouldn’t be much more expensive compare to two bus tickets and gets as within 10-15 mins to the Pile Gate. If you decide to eat out as well, you have a chance to eat local food with much more reasonable prices compare to Old Town.COME IN DURING OFF SEASON TIME
This might sound very obvious, but Dubrovnik is stunning all year round. Apparently May is the best time to see it as it is warm enough and it doesn’t get busy. It is a city that you could easily see as a weekend gateway as well.