Before this trip, it had been nearly 13 years since I was in Dubrovnik. On that first visit with my boys, we’d been blown away by the beauty of Croatia, the friendliness of the people…and the fantastically cheap prices. It reminded me at the time of what Italy had been like back in my backpacking days, long before mass tourism, hordes of cruise ships, and the euro drove up prices. That earlier visit had been not so long after the Balkan wars; Dubrovnik was still severely damaged, we saw peacekeeping troops in nearby Bosnia, tourists were just venturing back to the area.
I knew tourism had taken off in recent years in Croatia, so I was not unprepared–and I’d planned only a short stay as a result–but still, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed in the changes. Even though tourist season was not yet in full swing, crowds filled Dubrovnik, especially when the cruise ships docked. Prices had soared. Mercedes Benz had apparently bought the city for some weeks and large banners and cars were scattered throughout the old town. “Game of Thrones” souvenirs and tours abounded. It was kind of depressing.
Dubrovnik was still beautiful, though, and the locals were still friendly. And, it was fun to share with David. (Actually, everything’s fun to share with David which has a lot to do with why I married him.) We had a modest, but homey and excellently-located AirBnB apartment in the old town. Officially, our hostesses were two sisters, but they were out-of-town and it was their parents who lived next door who welcomed us and with whom we interacted during our stay. They could not have been nicer.
There’s lots you can pay for in Dubrovnik–including the 120 kuna/$18pp walk around the ramparts that yielded the lead photo above–, so I’ll just post some of the freebies below and review our apartment, a beer bar and a wine bar in future posts.
The best free entertainment in Dubrovnik is just wandering the medieval streets. It really is a beautiful city:
Churches are lovely and free to visit as well, although donations are always appreciated:
Crowds thin at night, so don’t miss an evening stroll. In peak season, you may need to wander further off the beaten path to avoid the blaring techno music some cafés and clubs prefer: