Fighting Through the Crowds in Dubrovnik

Fighting Through the Crowds in Dubrovnik

Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. I’ve never really liked that saying, it seems so old fashioned (as many sayings are I suppose) but it does apply in the case of Dubrovnik.

To go to Croatia and skip Dubrovnik doesn’t make sense to me. But I’ve heard of visitors avoiding the city due to overcrowding. I have a terrible aversion to crowds and massively touristy destinations but that would never stop me from visiting, places are popular for a reason after all.

Dubrovnik’s popularity stems from its sheer natural beauty. Perched overlooking the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia, it has the crystal clear water Croatia is famous for, almost year round cloudless skies, peaceful nearby islands and of course the beautiful stone walled city.

Dubrovnik is So Beautiful!

But then there are the crowds.

Not only does Dubrovnik draw crowds as Croatia’s most famous tourist destination, the bigger problem comes from the cruise ship day trippers. A typical summer day sees a traffic jam of huge cruise ship liners and smaller vessels blocking the sea around the port and out towards Lokrum Island.

Views Over Dubrovnik

But then there’s those stunning city walls.

The 2km walk around the city walls is what Dubrovnik’s all about. It’s the chance to admire the architecture, the mountains, the sea and the islands in the distance. To not walk the city walls would be a huge regret for me.

View from the City Walls

But then there’s the wall of people everywhere you go.

I hate people as much as the next person but what are you going to do? They aren’t going away.

Above the Crowds

But then there’s the churches, monasteries, synagogues and museums.

Dubrovnik has a long and fascinating history spanning at least 1300 years. Some of the more interesting periods are back when it was Venice’s main rival, followed by the Habsburg era, Yugoslav rule and then the siege of Dubrovnik in 1991.

Church in Dubrovnik

But then there’s the crowded churches, monasteries, synagogues and museums.

Queuing up to visit attractions is annoying.

Attack By Canon?

But then there’s the delicious food.

Seafood is the star throughout Croatia or go for the tasty grilled meats and Italian influenced dishes.

Dubrovnik's Rooftops & Parasailing

But then there’s the overpriced food.

Well, yeah. The service can be a challenge too.

Dubrovnik's Small City Beach

Anyway, you get the idea. Yes, Dubrovnik is crowded and often overpriced but it’s countered by the outright amazingness of the city.

Travel Blogger in Dubrovnik

At least there are easy solutions to the crowds.

Visit in the off season. I know that’s not always possible and the weather might not be as warm but visiting in May, June or September will make your experience so much more enjoyable.

Stay overnight in Dubrovnik to avoid the day trippers. Visiting the old town in the early morning or late evening is like visiting a different city.

Avoid eating in the old town unless you have a trusted local’s recommendation. Try the restaurants in Cavtat instead, just south of Dubrovnik.

Ditch the midday crowds by visiting one of the nearby islands. Lokrum, Mljet, Korcula and the Elaphiti Islands are all gorgeous, although they can get busy too.

Lokrum Off the Coast of Dubrovnik

Korcula: Day Trip from Dubrovnik

Even better, escape Croatia with day trips to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Kotor, Perast or Budva (also super touristy) in Montenegro.

Incredible Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Budva: Full of Russian Tourists

So is it worth fighting the crowds to visit Dubrovnik? Of course I’m going to say yes. I love Dubrovnik and plan to make my third visit later this year (in the off season).

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


Comments

  1. I wanted to visit Dubrovnik, Mostar, and Budva this summer, but I was worried about the crowds too. I guess it’s pretty difficult to avoid them in the summer.

    • Yeah, there’s not too much you can do in the summer except get up early and stay out late. But it’ll be worth it. 🙂

  2. Oh, so beautiful!! Crowds no crowds – Dubrovnik is on my list for sure! Thank you for this post. It is so detailed – I will use it a guide! 🙂

  3. I’ve just started planning a trip to Croatia for this autumn. Keep the tips coming! 🙂

  4. I actually wanted to visit Croatia and all it’s beauty this last Summer (as a side trip from Czech) but was put off by the many people saying it was overpriced and overcrowded. But you know what? So are many other places I have loved ;), so with your advice, I will be rethinking that whole thing and drooling over beautiful Croatian travel photos again!
    xX Zoe

  5. Just found your site. My son and I are visiting Dabrovnik in July ( we know it’s not the ideal time) but he is a teacher. I was last there in 1969 in the late winter. Veryyyyyy quite. There was a yellow submarine in the bay on the edge of town heading north.

    • I understand not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to choose their holidays. 🙂

      How interesting that you were in Croatia in the 60s. It must be a completely different world now. I’d love to hear how you find it on your return.

  6. Hi Andrea , I would love to see Dubrovnik , would definitely turn to you for advice 🙂

  7. Can you please tell me what camera do you use to take this photos?? 🙂

    • These were taken with a Canon 550D which is quite old. I think the latest version of that camera is the 700D. But I no longer shoot with that. I now use an Olypmus EM1 mirrorless camera which I much prefer.

  8. I love this post! I’ve not visited but it’s on my list of places I’d like to go this year. You’re right, it’s worth dealing with crowds to explore a city for yourself.
    Lovely images and really love the tone of your articles x

    • Thanks for the lovely comment. I hope you enjoy Dubrovnik when you eventually go. It really is a beautiful place.

  9. Dubrovnik is simply amazing and I have been there several times and you have captured the essence of the city with your amazing pictures. Love it and keep up the good work.

  10. Dubrovnik is still on my travel list! Lovely photos! However, it now looks like we might be staying in Australia longer so I guess I’ll have to enjoy your beautiful country instead. 🙂

  11. Hi again Andrea,
    One tip we were given was to stay till the evening because the streets which are polished marble just glisten. We couldn’t understand until we saw it. Yes they glisten like silver.so glad we stayed on shared a pizza in one of the back streets which wasn’t expensive. Then spent the next hour taking picture after picture. Wish I could post one here for you. I won’t hijack your blog but I could send you a link if you want me to.
    Steve

    • I checked out some of the photos on your blog. It looks as lovely as I remember and the sunsets are gorgeous. I definitely agree about staying in the evening. I hope to return one day to see it again.

  12. Hi Andrea, I went to Dubrovnik in the off season and I loved it. It was rainy most of the time but I’d rather deal with rainy (still pretty) pics than peak season crowds. I’d visit again in a heartbeat (off-season)!