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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 city. Each summer season, the city sees record-breaking crowds – and as the number of tourists increase, so does the cost of visiting Dubrovnik. But, no need to worry: there are plenty of things to do in Dubrovnik on a budget. Even as budget-conscious travelers, we have made several trips to the city – and have always been able to keep our budget in check.

 

8 Tips for Visiting Dubrovnik on a Budget

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

 

#1 Wander the Old Town

Within the confines of the historic defensive walls is Dubrovnik’s beautifully preserved Old Town. Wander along the Stradun and up the steep alleys to hidden churches – or use our easy-to-follow Self-Guided and Free Dubrovnik Walking Tour. There is no cost to enter the Old Town, but you might be tempted to purchase an ice cream while you enjoy your stroll. 

 

#2 Explore the Coastline and Hilltops

It’s easy to get lost in the architecture and beauty of the Old Town, but getting out of it is equally stunning…if not more so. Escape the crowds and breathe in the fresh air. Follow the coastline trails to the east or west of the Old Town for captivating views of the city from afar – keep walking and you’ll find your way down to the water. For an elevated view of the city, climb up Mount Srd.  {Read our guide to the best Dubrovnik Viewpoints!}

 

#3 Take a Swim

Banje Beach is Dubrovnik’s pebbly beach just outside the Ploce Gate and the Old Port. There is a beach club that charges for chairs, but it’s free to spread your towel on the sand, soak up the sun and cool yourself with a swim in the sea. Keen on a more adventurous swim? Head to the pier of the Old Port and follow the path to the right to the outside of the city walls. Use the ladders bolted to rocks to lower yourself into the water or jump right in! {Read our guide to the best Dubrovnik Beaches!}

Sunrise over Banje Beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

#4 Pack a Picnic and BYOB

The cost of eating and drinking in Croatia is low…but that rule doesn’t apply to the Pearl of the Adriatic – and the cost of eating out in Dubrovnik can quickly add up. There are some Dubrovnik cheap eats – like kebabs and burek – 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 make your own meals.

Keep your Dubrovnik costs to a minimum by heading to the local market or Konzum grocery store (located on the same square as the market) and buy picnic items – like meat, cheese, bread, olives and wine – then find a picturesque spot on the coast to dine with a view.

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 less than mediocre beer is difficult to justify (the cost of drinks in Dubrovnik Buza start at $8 USD – and that’s just for a bottle of beer). Instead, grab a few 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 bathrooms.)

JetSetting Fools watching sunset with BYOB drinks, Dubrovnik, Croatia JetSettingFools.com

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#5 Stay in an Apartment

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 plenty of Dubrovnik hostels, too. However, finding cheap hotels in Dubrovnik isn’t so easy.  We have found the best deals by renting holiday apartments through Airbnb (where we have stayed in apartments in Dubrovnik Old Town as well as outside the city gates and as far as Lapad).

Not only do Airbnb apartments tend to be less expensive, but we have saved money by having our own kitchen and making money-saving meals at home. There are many Airbnb apartments to choose from – both inside and outside the city walls. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, read our tips for Airbnb before booking – and use this link to create your account and save money on your first stay!

Airbnb Apartment, Dubrovnik, Croatia JetSettingFools.com

 

#6 Choose activities wisely

Like most destination cities, 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 the city without going broke.

  • Prioritize – Don’t aim to tackle all of Dubrovnik’s attractions. Pick the one – just one – that is most appealing and skip the rest. Or, at the very least, combine top sights with a single ticket, like the Dubrovnik Cable Car, City Walls and Walking Tour combo.
  • Alternatives – Seek out cost-saving alternatives to popular activities. Rather than hiring a guide to lead you through the city, use our Free Dubrovnik Walking Tour. Instead of paying for a Game of Thrones tour (Game of Thrones Tour cost: $70 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: $23 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!).
  • Dubrovnik Card – 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 ($31, $41 or $57 USD, if purchased online). To save money, we highly recommend purchasing a 1-day 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, but we only ever used public transportation to travel between the new port (on arrival by boat and by bus) and the city center.  
  • A note on Walking the Walls – 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 around the city. Bring a good guidebook or map 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.  

 

#7 Visit in the Off-Season

Dubrovnik is still a very seasonal city and the prices of activities and places to stay in Dubrovnik vary by season. At the height of summer, the city is crushed with crowds and prices for hotels, apartments and sights skyrocket. Prices 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 DIY Day Trips from Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik day trips are a great way to see more of the region. You can book Croatia tours through Viator, but if you are visiting Croatia on a budget, planning your own day trips from Dubrovnik using public transportation is a more affordable option. Lokrum, Korcula and Hvar are popular Croatia islands that can be visited on Dubrovnik day trips – and possible by ferry in the summer months.

Utilize the inexpensive ferries (check for ferry schedules online with Jadrolinija and Krilo) or get on board one of the regional buses (which are even cheaper than ferries) to nearby towns or cities. 

 

Find our free tips for things to do, self-guided walking tours and DIY itineraries for the most popular cities in Croatia on our Croatia Travel Guides Page

Croatia Travel Guides by JetSettingFools.com

 

Our Top Tips for your Trip to Dubrovnik on a Budget

 

Where To Stay in Dubrovnik

When we visit Dubrovnik, we usually stay in Airbnb apartments. We have stayed in a studio apartment inside the Old Town, a 2-Bedroom apartment just outside Ploce Gate, a sea-view apartment in Lapad and an economy apartment at the Gruz Port. We always visit in the shoulder or off-season – and have never paid more than $50 USD per night for Airbnb accommodations. 

Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!

We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. 

Hotels and Hostels in Dubrovnik

However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Dubrovnik hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Or, find a deal on a hotel room by bidding on Priceline

Budget travelers can also search for Dubrovnik Hostels, like Hostel EuroAdria, Hostel 365 for U and Hostel Angelina Old Town.  

 

Getting There

Dubrovnik can be reached by plane, bus, boat or car. Flights to Dubrovnik land at the international Dubrovnik Airport and are quite seasonal, with few flights in the winter. New in 2019, for those of you traveling to Dubrovnik from the United States, there are now direct flights from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik on American Airlines! 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.

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSettingFools, after all!) and when we do need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.

To get from city to city when flights are not possible, we usually rely on public transportation and, in Croatia, that means buses.  Our preferred bus company is FlixBus – as most buses (but not all) are economical, clean and comfortable with on-board wifi, seat-back entertainment, refreshments and a toilet – 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.

 

Before You Go

  • Dubrovnik is a walkable city…but only if you have the right shoes! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos (that can later be beautifully compiled into a travel photo book). We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
  • It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city! Make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving.
  • We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
What To Do in Dubrovnik: A Guide of the Top Things To Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

ALSO READ: A Guide of the Top Things To Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Start planning your trip to Dubrovnik! 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!

 


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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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