Dubrovnik is definitely having a moment.
Located in southern Croatia and fronting the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is what perfect Instagram pictures are made of. Predominately known for it’s Old Town stone walls that date back to the 16th century, Dubrovnik attracts more and more tourists each year and is also UNESCO’s Heritage List. This year the city was named Best City Break Destination and the Champion of Croatian Tourism by The National Tourism Board.
Dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic,’ Dubrovnik is a one of a kind city and people flock to see the home of “The Game of Thrones.” Many people who reside in Croatia never get to visit Dubrovnik due to its reputation for being the most expensive city in the country.
Here are a few things to consider before visiting Dubrovnik..
1. It Actually IS Relatively Expensive.
If Dubrovnik is your first destination in Croatia, then you may not notice the surge in prices. However, if you arrive from anywhere else in the country, you will notice a massive difference. In Zagreb, a decent cocktail will set you back about 45kunas ($7US) but in Dubrovnik be prepared to pay at least 110kunas ($17US). This may not seem like a lot of money but it all adds up and compared to the rest of the country, it’s almost double. A dinner for 3 in Old Town (with drinks) will set you back at least 650kunas ($96US). I visited Cafe Buza, one of the most famous bars in Dubrovnik and was surprised to pay 94kunas ($14US) for two apple ciders! I found this outrageous.
2. Locals Pay Less in Dubrovnik.
Know how to speak Croatian? Well, make sure you exercise those language skills because it’s an inside fact that locals pay less in Dubrovnik and sometimes it’s up to 30% off the final bill. For example, at the Aquarium tourists pay 60kunas for entry but a local will be charged half that price. This also applies for all restaurants, bars and taxi rides. It is very normal for a Croatian person to ask for a “local bill” and receive a sum off their total but the amount is at the discretion of the venue.
3. In Summertime, it’s Packed!
Don’t like large crowds of tourists? Perhaps don’t visit Dubrovnik during peak season which is July-September. While Dubrovnik has the longest tourism season in the country (9 months), it’s still more popular during the summer time. If you have some time to burn, why not visit Cavat? Located 15km south of Dubrovnik and not so jam packed with sweaty tourists, Cavat is considered one of the most beautiful locations in Croatia and far from the tourist trap that Dubrovnik is known for being.
4. Can’t Handle The Heat? Don’t Take Your Shirt Off!
This year, Dubrovnik’s local council issued a statement saying that any male caught walking around the City’s Old Town could be fined 100€ on the spot. This also applies for shirts that are unbuttoned.
5. Croatia Doesn’t Use Euros.
Despite being in the EU, Croatia doesn’t use the Euro currency. If you are being asked to pay in Euros, chances are you are not in a reputable place. Croatian businesses legally should only be charging in Croatian Kuna. By the way, in all bars, cafes and restaurants you’ll notice the staff leave a receipt on your table as they place your order. If they fail to do so, you’re not obliged to pay when you leave.