Dubrovnik has become an extremely popular destination for tourists over the course of the last decade or so. Dubrovnik was heavily damaged during Siege of Dubrovnik in ’91 and ’92 when it was heavily shelled by the Yugoslav army. While walking the city walls and streets of Dubrovnik, it is worth remembering how recently this region was engulfed in war.
These days, many travellers know about, and travel to Dubrovnik due to the use of the old town as the backdrop for Kings Landing, a fictional city in Game of Thrones.
This is probably your best hostel option if you are really keen to stay somewhere inside the city walls. Due to the location, it is not particularly cheap and common areas are small making socialising with other travellers more difficult, but this is unavoidable in Dubrovnik. Still, a very good option. If they are booked out and you end up booking one of the other similarly priced/ranked hostels within the old town, you won’t be missing out much.
If your after a hostel that is closer in style to what you are probably familiar with in the Balkans then you will need to stay outside of the old town area. The Dubrovnik Backpackers Club is located 10mins by bus away from the old town. It is possible to walk into the old town as well and if you take the right route it is a really nice walk, ask the hostel owners for the best roads to take. They staff here are fantastic, as are the facilities. If a 10 min bus trip into the old town does not bother you, this is the place to stay in Dubrovnik.
This hostel is perfectly located inside the old town, very near the old gate and everything you need in Dubrovnik. The hostel has 24hr free breakfast, basic kitchen to cook up a feed and a common room. The shared bathroom facilities are fine and the rooms are stocked with extra blankets and a hairdryer. The staff are very helpful and there is a market to get food and drinks a hop, skip and jump away. Recommend this place to anyone staying in Dubrovnik.
Sights and Highlights
Dubrovnik is an incredibly well-preserved old medieval port town. The current level of preservation is due to the very high levels of maintenance and reconstruction that takes place each year during the off-season. Just walking around the city and marvelling at the towering buildings and walls is a lovely experience. It is easy to get lost in the back streets of Dubrovnik, away from the tourists and souvenir shops, and feel instantly transported back in time (or into a GoT episode). I recommend reading up on the history of Dubrovnik and the Republic of Ragusa to provide some context to your visit.
It is possible to walk the tops of the city walls themselves. It costs about 13€, so you will only want to do it once. In the peak season both the streets and the walls will become very busy with cruise ship passengers and tourists so you should try to visit as early as possible in the morning. It can also get very hot in the middle of summer both in the streets and on the walls. Finding ways to avoid the heat and crowds is the key to enjoying your time in Dubrovnik during the peak season. The best plan is to get out of the old town during the day time and come back in the late afternoon when both have abated.
Dubrovnik is not a cheap place to travel to and is in stark contrast to the rest of the Balkans in that regard. You will struggle to find the cheap take away available here that you can find so readily elsewhere. It is nearly impossible to avoid the high prices if you eat somewhere within the city walls. The cheapest options for food within short walking distance of the old town are Barba and Coffee & Fast food Yummmi.
Ultimately, the best option for food in Dubrovnik is to ask the hostel staff for directions to the nearest supermarket and then to buy enough food to keep you going for a few days since it may involve a bus trip to reach.
While this place is basically a bar, the main reason to go here is that it is the best place to go if you want to have a swim without need to walk outside of the old town to find a beach. Cafe Buža is located on the seaward side of the city walls. You will need to climb through a hole in the walls to reach the bar. Follow the signs saying Cold Drinks dotted around the old town to find it. It is a popular cliff jumping spot and the view from the water as you swim away from the walls and look back towards the city is amazing.
Look for flashing red and blue lights. This is an interesting, slightly bizarre bar with seating outside on the city stairs, techno music, and may have erotic dancing.
If you are staying inside the old town than you will not need to use local transport at all. However there are some good accommodation options a little out of town that may need a bus to reach. Local bus information for Dubrovnik can be found at libertasdubrovnik.com including a local bus route map.
Getting In and Out
Dubrovnik is well connected to all destinations in Croatia including Split, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes and Zagreb. Internationally there also buses to Sarajevo, Mostar and Kotor as well others further abroad. A comprehensive departure timetable can be found at Libertas Dubrovnik Departures