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Pros and Cons of Travelling to Dubrovnik, Croatia

In this article, I will speak about the pros and cons of travelling to Dubrovnik, Croatia, as discovered during our short stay.

Dubrovnik was the place where I would part ways with Ana and Tim. I planned a two-night stay before taking the plane to Bucharest, with a short stop in Belgrade (Serbia). They, however, planned to drop me in Dubrovnik and skip it altogether, because it hadn’t sparked up their interest enough to add it to their list.

Pro: Hostel Dubrovnik, in Komolac

My third hostel experience on this road trip. I found it while browsing Hostel World, trying to find accommodation with good reviews, not too far, but not central, and at a good price.  It was actually a difficult task to find it, because, unlike other places in the Balkans, Dubrovnik is more expensive, with a bed in a shared hostel room reaching a price higher than some bed and breakfast rooms from other countries (e.g. Bulgaria).

But anyway, I found the place, reserved the room, then my friends took me there once we arrived in Croatia. They liked Komolac, as it was a really peaceful place. The hostel was fully booked by then, so they searched for a room offered in the nearby houses.

Komolac made them change their mind about exploring Dubrovnik for the afternoon, thinking it was a good spot to recharge their batteries before continuing their drive.

pros and cons of travelling to dubrovnik - where to stay in dubrovnik - komolac

Images © Ana Maria Gavrilă

 

Pro: The streets of Dubrovnik

We took the bus to Dubrovnik and spent the afternoon wandering the streets. Dubrovnik is a very clean town, with wonderful old buildings, extremely well maintained. It was a feast to the eyes to explore the narrow passageways and cobbled streets of Dubrovnik.

pros and cons of travelling to dubrovnik - dubrovnik old town streets

Images © Ana Maria Gavrilă

CON: The merchants and the performing artists

I am sorry to say, but never in my life have I seen artists refusing to perform on the street if you wish to take a photo without paying first. Let me appreciate, then I will reward you, but don’t ruin my experience because you’ll look unfriendly, avid after money and I will avoid you. Even more so if I am trying to take a photo of what’s behind you and you start yelling at me that I have to pay first because you just happen to be in the way.

Another bad experience, not long after that. We arrived in town during Dubrovnik’s annual Summer Festival and there was a show in a square, on public space. The place was very crowded so we tried to find an emptier area. We soon discovered why it was so: a woman who had spread her merchandise on the street in front of her shop was rudely shooing anyone who was approaching the street next to her merchandise (on public space, I repeat) unless they wanted to buy something.

Sure, maybe some will say these are exceptions, as I’ve read some really nice things on Dubrovnik’s inhabitants. But seeing several performing artists plus the shopkeeper behave that way in under 4 consecutive hours doesn’t really paint a pretty picture.

 

CON: Eating at Restaurant Amoret

In the evening, after visiting the harbour area, we stopped in a square at a nice-looking restaurant. My friends ate regular stuff, I chose a dish with a mix of seafood. I figured it’s a good place to eat it, as the harbour is just one street away.

However, the next morning I felt incredibly weak, so I thought taking some vitamins might help. After Ana and Tim left, I went on a walking tour, but felt worse and worse and eventually felt sick. I returned to the hostel and spent most of my last day in bed, feverish, sleeping and feeling every slight movement was a great effort. I forced myself to drink some water now and then to avoid dehydration.

After many pills and almost 20 hours of tormented sleep, I finally felt well enough to continue my journey, and get on my flight.

It was a terrible experience, I had never gone through something similar before, nor after. I wish nobody has to face this during their travels or everyday life.

pros and cons of travelling to dubrovnik - dubrovnik night life

This performing artist was the only one different from the rest. Images © Ana Maria Gavrilă

 

Pro: Game of Thrones walking tours

There are so many tours to choose from which will take you to the spots where the famous series was filmed! They are very interesting and informative, and should also give albums with photos of where you are and how it looked in Game of Thrones.

pros and cons of travelling to dubrovnik - game of thrones black water bay dubrovnik

Believe it or not, I’m in Black Water Bay, King’s Landing

Con: Game of Thrones walking tour guide

The tours are kind of crowded and you might get lost, just like I did. I got sick and stopped. But nobody noticed me because they were staring at what the guide was showing. Eventually, I could hear nothing in my earpiece, as they were out of range.

When I looked around, I couldn’t find them anymore. I didn’t even know how to give them back the device. I understand, maybe a lost paying customer doesn’t really matter enough to go looking for them, because the tours are fully booked anyway. But perhaps the device should have had enough value for their business to return. Just saying.

 

Pros and cons of travelling to Dubrovnik: Conclusion

Maybe I got unlucky. I truly hope I got unlucky. Because the city is gorgeous, but the people who are running businesses in it have ruined my one encounter with it. It left me with the impression of a place where people are so used to getting tourists and money from tourists that they think they can behave however they want. Because people will still come, and they’ll still leave their money there, regardless of what they’re getting for it.

Will I ever go back to Dubrovnik? Who knows…? Only time will tell. But I can say one thing for sure: there are many other gorgeous places in Croatia which attract me a lot, and I’d like to give those a go before I ever return to Dubrovnik.

What about you?

Have you been to Dubrovnik? What was your experience like?

What are your pros and cons of travelling to Dubrovnik?


where to stay hostel

 

Where to stay in Dubrovnik

Hostel Dubrovnik
A short bus ride away from Dubrovnik Old Town, in quiet Komolac. It is close to the sea, but also provides a swimming pool. Near several restaurants and three supermarkets. Free Wi-Fi, lockers, towels and car parking. Rent a bike and laundry service available.

Check-in is from 17.00 to 23.00 and check-out by 10.00.
Cancellation policy: 72 hours before announced arrival.

Address: Tenturija ul., 20236, Komolac, Croatia
Tel. 592-198-8790 | Website

Book on Hostel World (7.6 rating)

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Disclaimer

I wrote a review to Amoret’s facebook page and got a customer-friendly reply, which is always appreciated. Exact quote available below:

“Dear guest did you know that the ownership changed in Amoret, and we are doing everything different then in the past, I am really sorry about what happened in the old Amoret, we are still the old restaurant Amoret in name only, with best regards owner Toni Ban”

When I will come to talk about this experience in Dubrovnik, I shall mention that some things might have changed, but it is up to everyone to make their own choice. Personally, I will apply a saying we have in Romanian: once you’ve burned yourself, you’ll even blow in yoghurt to cool it before tasting it.

30 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Travelling to Dubrovnik, Croatia

  1. Marcel says:

    I haven’t been to Dubrovnik yet, though I visited Croatia several times and I’ve heard that people in Dubrovnik are the least friendly in the country! Try going up north next time – it is less crowded but still amazingly beautiful 🙂

  2. Shelley says:

    I have never been. Sounds like a great place to visit. Sorry to hear that you got sick

  3. Mirley Guerra Graf says:

    How fun to be able to visit so many great places! I haven’t been to Croatia but if I ever go to Greece, I may need to stop by Croatia too.

    • Mirela (The Travel Bunny) says:

      You really should! And also, maybe you won’t do my mistake of not stopping in southern Albania. If you’re planning to visit Corfu, you’ll find short one-day cruises to the Albanian seaside 🙂

  4. Shannon says:

    Croatia is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go! I’m sorry your didn’t have the greatest experience. Food poisoning especially is never fun! But it definitely looks like the city has a lot to offer!

  5. Kate Andrews says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous and thank you for sharing your honest opinion. My sister has been to Dubrovnik and she loved it so it’s definitely on my list.

  6. Julie - Why not Ju says:

    I loved Dubrovnik, but its been years and years since i gave it a visit and it was less touristic back then. So bumed to hear they lost you at the game of thrones tour. thats really a bad business move… Hope you didnt miss too much!

  7. Lauren Pears says:

    Ooh the old streets do look very pretty. Croatia is so high on my list of places I want to go, although I think Split appeals to me more than Dubrovnik. Have you been to Split?

  8. Amy Kennedy says:

    Thank you for such a very candid review. The pictures do look lovely, it is a shame that those unpleasant moments happened. Hoping it can and will improve 🙂 Nice post!

  9. kemi says:

    Croatia is on my travel list. So sorry you had a not-pleasant time and I’m sure those people are not representative of the city’s inhabitants. I hope not! Maybe over the years, they’ve gotten sick of tourists and are lashing out?? No excuse, though.

  10. Lena says:

    I am really sorry you had so many bad experiences. I have never been to Dubrovnik but it is on my bucket list. I have however been to Croatia 3 times before and I never had bad experiences with locals no matter if they were in the tourism industry or not. I hope yours was an exception and that other visitors to Dubrovnik will have a better time than you.
    And to you, I can only say, try to come back and hopefully, you will have a better experience the second time.

  11. Delisa Zak | Destination: Overlooked says:

    Sorry that you had some not so fun experiences in Dubrovnik…I really would like to go to Croatia but have been considering avoiding Dubrovnik due to the overtourism. Part of it might be time of year as well, perhaps more pleasant in the shoulder season.

  12. Ryan Biddulph says:

    This is a tough one Mirela. Only because the moment I visit a world renowned place I know it’s gonna be crowded, a hurried experience and hands down, since customer turnover is so high, food poisoning is a distinct possibly. So sorry you had to go through that. I became ill after eating seafood 3 times about 10 years ago. Never again. Plus I only eat at local haunts. Locals know the best places, plus return daily for eats, so if a few folks got food poisoning the place would close due to a bad rep. Local word carries fast while tourists in and out within hours cannot kill a touristy restaurant’s rep as quickly.

    Ryan

  13. Julia says:

    Dubrovinik was also love and hate for me as well. I love how the city looks, but being so overtouristy and crowded and the most expensive in Croatia, made me not to enjoy it as much as I did with the other Croatian places we visited.

    Julia,
    Romania

  14. Laura says:

    I have not visited Croatia yet, thank you for the candid review. It is a shame that you became ill, and I love your pics!

  15. Yvette Benhamou says:

    It sounds like you went to a city looking for the familiarity of a television program and got let down by the fact that actual people live there. Sorry you got sick, but the people making their livings off of performing or selling wares don’t owe you a photo opp. I can’t imagine how annoyed I would be if a popular television show began shooting in my hometown and the entire place became not only overrun by tourists, but I myself became part of the scenery. I don’t even like having my picture taken by people I’m friendly with. Also, people who are on a paid tour are supposed to look at and follow the tour guide, so if you need more attention than that, perhaps choose a more intimate tour in the future.

    Anyway, empathy is one of the best things we can learn from travel, so perhaps this was meant to be a learning experience.

    • Mirela (The Travel Bunny) says:

      Actually, I didn’t go there for Game of Thrones. I went to Dubrovnik because it had an airport, and I needed a plane to get home because I had to go back to work. The fact that there was Game of Thrones stuff was just a perk, that’s all.

      I didn’t want to photograph the people selling their merchandise, just some performing artists. Who put themselves on display, who put on a show to get money. If one wants money, they should offer a better customer experience, in my opinion.

      And bothered by a popular tv show? Because it brings tourists to my hometown, which translates in more money for everyone running a business? How awful, yes. Personally, I wish my city would get more tourists than it currently does. City Hall would have to work faster on all its unfinished projects, if that were the case.

      Anyway, I have been to cities that don’t need a series to be popular and have lots of tourists. And the people living and working there were very nice, and offered great customer service and customer experience. Just saying.

      As for the tour.. as an event organizer, I always watch out for the details, but most of all, I take care of my participants and the experience they’re getting. And I have people with first aid training and/or an ambulance on stand-by to take care of those who have health issues. Now, I didn’t need all the attention I’m willing to give to my customers, but maybe enough attention to make sure I didn’t faint on the street and be left alone. That’s what really scared me.

      And empathy? I think that’s a bit ironic, Yvette. But I did learn to avoid places like Dubrovnik. No going to Barcelona for me anytime soon. 🙂

  16. Anja says:

    I’m a Croatian that hasn’t been to Dubrovnik in years. Without a doubt it is a beautiful town, but mass tourism brings some cons that I simply have no interest in discovering by myself. If I decided to travel to Dubrovnik, I would certainly go out of the main season, to be able to appreciate its beauty, good food and hospitality. I think the cons you mentioned are a usual thing in overcrowded places. :/

  17. Danila Caputo says:

    We have spent many summers in Croatia when I was younger but never to Dubrovnik. I’d love to visit, even if I’m sorry to read you had a mild food poisoning!

  18. Brittney says:

    Oh no! So sorry to hear about your experience! I’ve personally heard wonderful things about Croatia-GOT tour, scenic and cheap. Heard it’s a bit touristy-it sounds like you just had some bad luck.

  19. Renata - www.byemyself.com says:

    If I go to Croatia, I will definitely visit Dubrovnik for the culture and the history, but I totally can imagine that the touristy side is a bummer – like everywhere else in the world. I always find that people are less friendly in the capitals – actually I think in every country I’ve been to so far.
    Sorry to hear that you got sick. Although I’m a big solo-traveller, getting sick by yourself in a foreign country is hell. It happened to me in Africa and I thought that I would die on the spot (although I was pretty far from that, but…grief!).

  20. Rosie says:

    Dubrovnik was a strange place. It is difficult to see how anyone actually lives there (well, in the old town). We also found it beautiful but a bit much. I am glad we saw it, but probably won’t return.

  21. Damien McGuigan says:

    I have been tempted by Croatia and Dubrovnik a couple of times but the mass tourism that it is getting now does worry me. It has, in my opinion, killed Prague for example and I hope it doesn’t do the same here.

  22. Helena says:

    I have heard very mixed reviews about Dubrovnik. I would like to check out the Game of Thrones tours (I am sorry to hear about your experience!) but it is disappointing to hear about the street artists!

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