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Dubrovnik on a Budget: 8 Money-Saving Trip Tips

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Dubrovnik – the Pearl of the Adriatic – is Croatia’s most visited destination. Each summer season, the city sees record-breaking crowds – and as the number of tourists increase, so does the cost of visiting Dubrovnik. If you are wondering if Dubrovnik is expensive, it is, but no need to worry. There are still plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik on a budget.

As budget-conscious travelers, we believe that it is possible to visit any destination on a budget. In fact, we have made several trips to Dubrovnik – and have always been able to keep our budget in check.

 

Dubrovnik Prices FAQs

Before we jump to list of ways to save money in Dubrovnik, Croatia, we want to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions. 

 

Is Dubrovnik Expensive? 

Expensive is a relative word – and as Dubrovnik relates to the rest of Croatia and the Balkans region, there is no doubt that Dubrovnik is expensive. Activities, accommodations, restaurants and bars all tend to cost more in Dubrovnik than in other nearby destinations. 

That said, Dubrovnik is one of the best cities in Croatia to visit – and it would be a shame to miss it just because it is pricey. Our tips will help you plan a Dubrovnik cheap trip! 

 

Are there Cheap Restaurants in Dubrovnik? 

While few and far between, there are a few Dubrovnik budget restaurants where you can still get a taste of the local flavor without emptying your wallet. We share a few of the best places to eat in Dubrovnik for cheap on our list at #4. 

 

Are there Activities in Dubrovnik for Free? 

Yes, there are free things to do in Dubrovnik! To be honest, some of the very best things to do in Dubrovnik don’t cost a dime. 

Travelers on a rock bottom budget could easily plan their time discovering Dubrovnik…and not spend a cent. 

 

How to Best Plan a Vacation to Dubrovnik for Cheap? 

There are many ways to plan a vacation to Croatia on a budget. Our tips for cheap things to do in Dubrovnik will help get you started. 

As you research Dubrovnik trip ideas, be sure to stay organized. Planning ahead is a great way to save money, but only if you keep on top of the details. We recommend using a planner, like our Travel Planner printables.

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8 Tips for Visiting Dubrovnik on a Budget

Wave crashing on rocks at secret viewpoint in Dubrovnik, Croatia

As Dubrovnik prices increase, some may wonder if a low-cost Dubrovnik trip is still possible. We can assure you: it is! Let’s jump right into our 8 tips for visiting Dubrovnik on a budget. 

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#1 Wander the Dubrovnik Old Town

Sunrise over Banje Beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Within the confines of the historic defensive walls is Dubrovnik’s beautifully preserved Old Town – and sightseeing in Old Town is absolutely free. Walk through the grand Pile Gate, wander along the Stradun and up the steep alleys to hidden churches and cozy alleyways.

Skip the pricey tours and use our easy-to-follow Self-Guided and Free Dubrovnik Walking Tour.

While there is no cost to enter the Dubrovnik Old Town, you might be tempted to purchase an ice cream while you enjoy your stroll. Fortunately, a single scoop cone from most shops still costs about $2 USD.

 

#2 Explore the Dubrovnik Coastline and Hilltops

Fort Lovrijenac, also known as Game of Thrones' King's Landing, in Dubrovnik, Croatia

It’s easy to get lost in the architecture and beauty of Old Town Dubrovnik, but getting out of it is equally stunning…if not more so. Escape the crowds of people, breathe in the fresh air and go on a free Dubrovnik adventure to find the best viewpoints in the city.

 

Coastline Trails in Dubrovnik

The coastline trails extend to the east and west of the Old Town. Along the route, trekkers are treated to some of the most captivating views of Dubrovnik from afar. If you keep walking, you’ll find your way down to the clear, blue water and #3 on our list.

 

Dubrovnik Hilltop Views

For an elevated view of Dubrovnik, go to the top of Mount Srd – which you can do on foot for free! 

A round trip ride on the cable car costs nearly $30 USD per person. However, budget savvy travelers can skip the ride and hike up the zigzagging switchbacks to the top of Mt. Srd without spending any money at all. 

Alternatively, compromise and buy a more affordable one-way fare for the cable car and ride up to the top…then hike back down to the city on the trail. An even more frugal option would be to ride the local bus #17 to Bosanka and make the short and easy walk up from there (and hike back down the zigzags).

 

#3 Take a Swim at Dubrovnik Beaches

Man swimming outside city walls in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Spending time at one of the Dubrovnik beaches is a top activity in the summertime. Banje Beach is Dubrovnik’s most popular beach and located just outside the Ploce Gate and the Old Port.

The Banje Beach Club charges a per day fee for use of the lounger chairs, but it’s free to spread your towel on the pebbly sand, soak up the sun and cool yourself with a swim in the Adriatic Sea.

Keen on a more adventurous swim? Head to the pier of the Old Port and follow the path to the right and outside of the Dubrovnik walls. Use the ladders bolted to rocks to climb in and out.

 

#4 Cheap Places to Eat in Dubrovnik

Generally speaking, the cost of eating and drinking in Croatia is relatively low…but that rule doesn’t apply to the Pearl of the Adriatic. Trust us, the cost of eating out in Dubrovnik can quickly add up.

There are some Dubrovnik cheap eats, but eating and drinking in Dubrovnik’s restaurants and bars can be real budget busters. For a meal that doesn’t break the bank, plan to prepare your own food that can be transported as a picnic meal. 

 

Cheap Restaurants Dubrovnik

You’re on vacation and you want to enjoy yourself…so where can you eat in Dubrovnik for cheap? We are highlighting a few of the best cheap restaurants in Dubrovnik. 

 
Barba

Barba Dubrovnik is a seafood restaurant at a bargain price! The fish street food restaurant in Dubrovnik Old Town is known for their octopus (seriously, try the Octopus Burger!), but they also have calamari, oysters and shrimp menu options. 

 
Pizzeria Tabasco

Just outside the city walls, Pizzeria Tabasco makes incredible wood-fired pizzas at affordable prices. We recommend eating it on the terrace along with the inexpensive house wine. 

 
Presa

A fast food joint serving local dishes, Presa is a good place to get a taste of traditional Balkan food – like Cevapi (it’s one of our favorite Croatia dishes!).

 
Pekara Bakeries

Small bakeries – called pekaras – are a good spot to pick up cheap things to eat in Dubrovnik, like Burek (a satisfying meat pastry), sandwiches and pizza cuts (slices). 

 

Dubrovnik Supermarket

While eating at inexpensive establishments will keep your Dubrovnik costs to a minimum, you can really save some money by heading to the local market or Konzum grocery store (there’s one in the heart of the Old Town located on the same square as the market).

The Konzum store has everything to make cheap meals at home. That said, we recommend buying affordable picnic items – like meat, cheese, bread, olives and wine – and finding a picturesque spot on the Dubrovnik Coast to dine with a view!

 

Drinking for Cheap in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik’s famous buzas – bars clinging to the rocks overlooking the sea and accessed through narrow ‘holes in the wall’ – are hard to resist, especially at sunset. However, the steep upcharge for cheap beer is difficult to justify. (The cost of drinks at a Dubrovnik Buza start at $6 USD for a small bottle of beer.)

Instead, grab a few cold beers from the grocery store or corner market and walk through the bar to the lower platforms (without tables or chairs) for a BYOB sunset. (Note: arrive early to get a good spot, but keep in mind that you won’t have access to toilets.)

 

#5 Choose Dubrovnik Activities Wisely

Like most popular vacation destinations, Dubrovnik has plenty of tourist attractions that are certain to leave your wallet a little bit lighter.

Among the most popular activities in Dubrovnik are walking the ancient city walls, riding the cable car to Mt. Srd and joining a Game of Thrones tour – all of which cost a small bundle. Other activities, like visiting museums, hopping on a boat ride to Lokrum Island and other Dubrovnik tours aren’t exactly cheap either.

While travelers visiting Dubrovnik on a budget might choose to pass on all paid-for activities, we have a few money-saving tips that might help experience them without going broke.

 

Limit Spending on Dubrovnik Activities

Prioritize what you spend your money on in Dubrovnik. Don’t aim to tackle all of Dubrovnik’s attractions. Pick the one – just one – that is most appealing and skip the rest.

At the very least, combine top sights with a single ticket, like the Dubrovnik Cable Car, City Walls and Walking Tour combo.

 

Find Money Saving Alternatives

Seek out cost-saving alternatives to popular activities. Rather than hiring a guide to lead you, use our Free Dubrovnik Walking Tour. Instead of paying for a Game of Thrones tour (Game of Thrones Tour cost: $50 USD), find the sights on your own with a Game of Thrones self-guided tour.

Don’t take the roundtrip cable car ride (Dubrovnik Cable Car cost: $28 USD); instead, hike to the top of Mt. Srd for free or ride the Cable Car or City Bus up and then hike down (which is our favorite way to enjoy Mount Srd!).

 

Buy the Dubrovnik Card to Save Money

If walking the walls (Dubrovnik City Walls cost: $30 USD) and museums are top of your list, consider purchasing a Dubrovnik Card, available for 1, 3 or 7 days ($35, $42 or $50 USD, if purchased online). To maximize the money you save, we highly recommend purchasing a 1-day Dubrovnik Card and visiting all sights of interest in one day.

The Dubrovnik Card also includes public transportation, which would otherwise cost about $2 USD per ride. We share more tips for getting around Dubrovnik for cheap in the next section. 

 

Make the Most of the Activities You Choose

If you do choose to spend money on expensive Dubrovnik activities, be sure to plan ahead and make the most of the experience. 

For example, walking the Walls in Dubrovnik is an expensive activity, no doubt…but it is a truly unique experience while staying in Dubrovnik.

In order to get the most for your money, we recommend getting an early start before the crowds arrive and allowing plenty of time (3+ hours) to walk on top of the walls at a leisurely pace.

Bring a good guidebook that will help locate sights as you walk – and if you’re a history buff, consider splurging for a Dubrovnik City Walls Tour. It’s also important to bring plenty of water and maybe a snack so that you can relax and thoroughly enjoy your time.  

 

#6 Plan DIY Day Trips from Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik day trips are a great way to see more of the region. You can find the best Croatia tours on Viator. Just be sure to carefully read fellow traveler reviews and comparison shop for the best value tours.

However, if you are visiting Croatia on a budget and find that the tours are too expensive, planning your own day trips from Dubrovnik can be a cheaper route.

You can rent a car, but using public transportation may be a more affordable option. Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kotor, Montenegro are popular overland day trips from Dubrovnik that can be reached by one of the regional buses. 

Croatian Island Hopping is also possible from Dubrovnik on a budget! Utilize the catamarans (check the schedules online with Jadrolinija and Krilo) to spectacular destinations like Korcula and Hvar that provide truly wonderful scenery!

 

#7 Visit Dubrovnik in the Off-Season

Empty Stradun street at night in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is still a very seasonal destination and the prices of activities and places to stay in Dubrovnik vary drastically. At the height of summer, the city is crushed with crowds and prices for hotels, apartments, restaurants and sights skyrocket.

Prices in Dubrovnik dip lower in the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) and hit rock bottom in the winter.

{Read our interview from The Dubrovnik Times regarding visiting Dubrovnik in the off-season}

 

#8 See Dubrovnik on a Day Trip

Peering through a hole in the bridge to Old Port in Dubrovnik, Croatia

One of the things to makes Dubrovnik so expensive is the pricey accommodations (we share tips in the next section on finding affordable places to stay).

However, if you can’t find a cheap place to stay in Dubrovnik that fits into your budget, then consider staying somewhere nearby – like Herceg Novi, Montenegro – and take a day trip to Dubrovnik instead.

With a little bit of planning ahead of time, you can see the best sights in Dubrovnik in a single day. 

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Travel Tips: Planning a Trip to Dubrovnik on a Budget

Looking over the rooftops in Dubrovnik, Croatia

We have a few more tips for planning a cheap Vacation to Croatia – and remember to get our Trip Planning Printables to stay organized as you make plans!

 

Where To Stay in Dubrovnik on a Budget

Keeping accommodation costs to a minimum is key to any Dubrovnik Budget.

When deciding where to stay in Dubrovnik, there is a wide range of accommodations, from expensive luxury hotels in Dubrovnik Old Town to affordable guesthouses outside the city gates – and there are some Dubrovnik hostels, as well.

However, finding cheap hotels in Dubrovnik isn’t so easy – especially in the summer season – so we have a some advice for finding the best place to stay for your trip. 

 

Stay in a Dubrovnik Holiday Apartment

We have found the best deals on accommodations in Dubrovnik are vacation rentals.  

Offered through both Airbnb and Booking.com, holiday apartments tend to be less expensive than most hotels in Dubrovnik. Plus, travelers can save money by having their own kitchen and making money-saving meals at home. 

There are a variety of vacation rentals to choose from – both inside and outside the Dubrovnik city walls. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, read our tips for Airbnb before booking.

 

Hotels and Hostels in Dubrovnik

Although we have typically found apartments to cost less than hotels, travelers can still find deals on Dubrovnik hotels. Before starting your search for affordable hotels on Booking, read our tips for Booking the Best Hotels for Cheap

Budget travelers can also search for Dubrovnik Hostels, on Booking. Some top hostels in Dubrovnik that get great reviews are Hostel EuroAdria, Hostel 365 for U and Hostel Angelina Old Town.  

 

Cheapest Place To Stay in Dubrovnik

One of the best ways to find cheap places to stay is to expand your search beyond the Old Town. You can save a lot of money by not staying in the center. 

We have stayed inside the city walls on our winter visits, but we have stayed outside the Dubrovnik Gates since in an affordable apartment in the Lapad district and in a budget economy apartment at the Gruz Port. 

 

Getting To Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik can be reached by plane, bus, boat or car.

 

Flying to Dubrovnik

Flights to Dubrovnik land at the Dubrovnik International Airport (DBV) and are quite seasonal, with very few flights in the winter. For US travelers, there are direct New York to Dubrovnik flights for the summer of 2022!

Travelers flying to Dubrovnik should start their search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner. But first, read our tips on Find the Best Flight Fares

 

Ferry Boats to Dubrovnik

If traveling to Dubrovnik by boat, there are two main ferry companies that service the Dubrovnik Port of Gruz – connecting the city to other Croatian port cities (ie. Split to Dubrovnik), as well as Italy. Check for ferry schedules online with Jadrolinija and Krilo

 

Taking the Bus to Dubrovnik

Travelers already in the Balkans will likely find that taking a bus to Dubrovnik is the most affordable way to get there. 

Our preferred bus company is FlixBus – as most buses (but not all) are economical, clean and comfortable – and they are currently expanding to more locations in Croatia. Otherwise, we search for bus routes on BusCroatia, but always confirm routes and times at the bus station.

 

Getting Around Dubrovnik for Cheap

The cheapest way to get around Dubrovnik is by walking! That said, visitors who opt to stay in Lapad or near the Gruz Port can use public transportation to travel between their accommodations and the city center.  

A one way ticket on the bus costs about $2 USD if you buy it from the driver – and slightly less if you purchase the ticket in advance from a Tisak kiosk. 

A convenient all-day bus pass is good for 24 hours and only costs about $4 USD. 

 

What To Pack for Your Trip

Now that you are ready to go to Dubrovnik, we have a few tips for what to pack! Find all of our advice on our Travel Packing Tips page – and be sure to grab your FREE Packing Checklist!

 

Comfortable Shoes

Dubrovnik Old Town is stunningly beautiful – but there are a lot of stairs and slick stones, too. Be sure to wear good walking shoes. I like to wear these sneakers and Kris wears Merrell trail shoes for everyday sightseeing. Use our tips for the Best Travel Shoes for more advice!

 

Travel Camera

Rather than buying souvenirs, we take photos – we think our personal shots are better than anything you could buy in a store. That said, we recommend buying a real camera for your trip so that you capture the true beauty of the city. 

We use a Canon Rebel DSLR with an 18-135mm lens. We love that it is easy to use, takes quality photos and is one of the more affordable travel cameras

 

Sun Protection and Beach Gear

The sun is intense on the Dalmatian Coast! Bring plenty of sunscreen (it can be pricey in the Old Town shops) and remember to pack all of your necessary beach gear – like a bathing suit, a wide brimmed hat to shade your face and polarized sunglasses

 

Day Pack

Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you will want to travel with a great day bag to organize all your everyday essential travel items in!

 

Croatia Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential – don’t skip it just because you are on a budget! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, check out the affordable plans with World Nomads.

Plan Your Complete Dubrovnik Vacation!
What To Do in Dubrovnik: A Guide of the Top Things To Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

 

Start planning your trip to Croatia! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

Visiting other Top Croatia Cities like Makarska, ZagrebOsijekRovinjSibenik or Zadar? Find all of our detailed guides for things to do on our Croatia Travel Guides Page

 

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11 thoughts on “Dubrovnik on a Budget: 8 Money-Saving Trip Tips

    • Hello Elice – We were in Dubrovnik the last week of February. There were no crowds, but there were also a lot of restuarants closed. We had a couple of rainy days, but warm, sunshine, too!

  1. Anonymous

    The pics of you and Kris are great! It’s wonderful that you are able to have a terrific time together without spending a whole lot of money……very impressive!

  2. Anonymous

    It must be true that “the best things in life are free” — it looks you like you found a lot of the “best things” in Dubrovnik!!!

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