This summer is predicted to be an exceptionally busy one for European travel, and many of the traditional favorites are bracing for a high-traffic season. After an especially busy travel season in 2022, Croatia is expecting another record year for tourism.
And no place in the country is likely to as popular with travelers as the historic city of Dubrovnik, a charming place that should be on everyone’s travel list this year.
When and Where
Located along the southern end of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and about only 90 minutes from Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, Dubrovnik is on track to be a major European hotspot this year.
While the summer is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit, a trip in the fall might be a better idea for those who are seeking fewer crowds and lower prices.
The weather is still warm enough to enjoy that crystal clear Adriatic water, and wandering around the streets of old town Dubrovnik is much more enjoyable in slightly lower temperatures.
September and even October will allow you to explore the city without the cruise ship crowds, and you will likely still be able to lie in the sun for a few hours and cool off in the sea before heading to dinner.
Once you have seen Dubrovnik’s old town, you will realize why it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With historic landmarks everywhere you look, this truly is a history lover’s dream, not to mention a photographer, a social media influencer, a foodie, and just about any other kind of traveler’s dream as well!
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What To See And Do
There is so much to experience here. Aside from the old town, you can head to the many beaches that line the coast in both directions.
Another popular choice is to get up to the top of Mount Srd for a stunning sunset, or if you prefer, take the cable car up there and save your energy for partying late into the night.
If you have some time to spare you can also take a day trip to nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina, and spend the afternoon in the postcard-perfect town of Mostar, just don’t forget your passport.
Explore the nearby islands of Kolocep, Lopund, and Lokrum on a boat trip. From caves, beaches, and hiking trails, these islands offer the nature that you might crave after a few days spend wandering inside the city walls.
Let’s Talk Price
There is no denying the fact that, yes, Dubrovnik can be expensive to visit.
Those who stay in the old town and eat out every meal will see their budget balloon up in no time. This, however, should not deter you from visiting, as there are simple ways to reduce some of the costs of a trip to this stunning Croatian gem.
For example, while staying in the charming and historic walled old city would prove to be quite the experience, choosing a place just outside the walls will give you a much better bang for your buck. Not to mention if you snag a place a bit higher up the hillside, you will get some killer views and can enjoy some fantastic Croatian wine on your balcony while watching the sunset over the old town.
Staying outside the town is made easy by a fantastic local bus system, with cheap, clean, and easy-to-use routes connecting you all over the local area. Of course, finding a place with a small kitchen can allow you to save money on eating out, although you shouldn’t miss out on trying the fantastic Dalmatian cuisine at least once, preferably at one of the restaurants that overhang the cliffs of the Adriatic.
Croatia: Now A Schengen State
Also, something important to realize if you are planning a trip to Croatia this year is that the county has now joined the Schengen Zone, meaning it now uses the Euro (as opposed to the formerly used Kuna), and the borders to other Schengen neighboring states such as Italy, Hungary, and Slovenia are now open, meaning there are no passport checks.
Although do note that Croatia’s other neighbors of Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not Schengen states, and travel between these counties will require a passport and land borers.
Another important factor in Croatia joining Schengen is that it will now be included in the 90-day time limit that most passport holders have within the Schengen Zone.
Where previously you could use your 90 days in countries such as Italy and Spain and escape to Croatia to reset the clock, this is not the case any longer, so do plan accordingly.
For The Game Of Thrones Fans
In case you have heard of a little show called Game Of Thrones, then you should easily recognize sites around Dubrovnik as backdrops straight from the show. As those who are into the new trend of set-jetting know, there is something special about the thrill of standing in the spot where you have seen your favorite characters on TV.
As one of the main Game Of Thrones filming locations, Dubrovnik has taken that new claim to fame and run with it. You will see numerous Game Of Thrones stores, tours, and merchandise around every corner.
Don’t Miss Out!
One area where you definitely shouldn’t skimp on costs is actually seeing the town’s main sights.
One way to do this is a visit to the city walls, and yes, this is the most popular tourist attraction and gets crowded.
The price tag of around $35 is worth the cost for the unrivaled views along the perimeter of the old city.
And if the stroll gets too long, there is a small cafe and bar overlooking the sea, the absolutely perfect place to watch the divers jumping into the sea from the small bars below (Buzz bar being a popular choice).
Hands down, one of the best ways to see the old town is a private tour.
Avoid the many large and impersonal group tours you will see (a surefire way to spot them is to look for the flags being waved in the air by the guides), and find yourself a local who can take you behind the scenes and into the real Dubrovnik.
We can highly recommend taking a tour with Ivan Vukovic, who gives the best private tours of Dubrovnik’s old town.
Ivan took us to explore the areas of old town Dubrovnik that we would have never seen without him, and he even introduced us to locals and helped us connect with the community.
Our day with Ivan was informative, fun, and personable, and we are happy to recommend him to our readers without hesitation.
You can find more information about Ivan’s tours on his website or @dubrovnik_tourist_guide on Instagram.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com