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is it possible to avoid cruise ship crowds in Dubrovnik?

We will be in Dubrovnik Saturday thru Tuesday (or perhaps Wed) in September. A friend has told us that the cruise ships fill the old town with tourist hordes. Does anyone know if they arrive every day or if they leave by certain time or anything that might help us avoid these crowds?
thanks in advance

Posted by
31303 posts

I don't think there's any way to avoid the swarms of tourists disgorged by the cruise ships, along with their umbrella-toting guides. The crowds are worse during the day, but thin out a bit in the evenings. I haven't been there for an extended period of time, but suspect that most days in tourist season will have at least one ship in port.

Posted by
86 posts

Well, they are everywhere during the day. Because the old town is so concentrated, they are hard to avoid. It is actually here that I developed my hatred for cruise tours. This was mostly due to people not watching where they are going and running into me. If you go to sites like War Photo Ltd. that are a little more off the path, they don't go there. I would walk the walls early or late and that avoids them too. Mostly when I got tired of them I went to the Buza Bar or to the 'beach' that clings to the walls near the Buza Bar. In the evenings the boats leave and the city is quite lovely (before 10 and after 6 the flags, umbrellas and blind hordes disappear).

Posted by
552 posts

Splurge on a room with a great view and trusty A/C. September is grape and fig season at its best! Gather some provisions, some nice light wine, and be prepared to hunker down every day from noon to 4.

Day-drinking and nearly a dozen varieties of grapes is my idea of a great vacation, so we had a wonderful time in Dubrovnik!

Posted by
83 posts

Some days are worse than others, and even in July and August there will be the odd day when things are quiet. The Dubrovnik Port Authority web site has details of which ships, and the number of passengers they are carrying, are in port for each day of the year.

Posted by
1425 posts

Walk the walls first thing in the morning. You'll avoid the heat of the day and the tourists. I started the wall walk right when it opened, and I started at the entrance close to the maritime museum, and I walked half the walk without seeing another soul. I got past Ploce gate just before the first throngs of tourists started entering the city, so I avoided the crowds completely and had a wonderful experience.

Evenings are definitely lovely in Dubrovnik after the day-trippers go away. Enjoy!

Posted by
25 posts

thanks much everyone
we will use the cruise ship schedule to avoid the busiest days and do our walking around town in the early morning and evening on the other days

Posted by
1694 posts

I would also suggest staying in the Lapad area. We stayed at the Hotel Neptun wich was at the end of the # 6 bus line, only about 15 minutes from the old town. The other end of the bus line is the Pile Gate. We loved staying away from the crowds, right in the water in a very quiet, beautiful area. Plus the hotel was very well run with a breakfast buffet included.

Posted by
6758 posts

Ditto the other comments about being there early in the morning and late in the day. I stayed in an apartment inside the fortified city walls, and the place was really empty in the early morning before all the shops opened. It was literally just people cleaning the streets at 8 or 9am - very few pedestrians at all because everything was still closed. Late at night was also a wonderful time to stroll and see everything in the evening glow.

Posted by
8293 posts

How wonderful to not be on a cruise ship and so be able to feel superior to those nasty "hordes" of cruise ship people who insist on being in Dubrovnik/Santorini/Malta just when you want it to yourselves. Do they not understand you have precedence? It's a rotten world , no doubt about it.

Posted by
42 posts

Check for cruise ship schedule. We just returned from there. On one day, there were 3 ships in port, the next none. Truthfully, we could not see much difference in crowds. Used a couple of the days for side trips - one to Montenegro, and another to Lokrum, "the garden island" just off the coast - a 10 min. ferry ride.

Posted by
1814 posts

Consider staying in Cavtat instead of Dubrovnik. It's a pretty little fishing village maybe 15 minutes south of Dubrovnik, near the Dubrovnik airport. It has a lovely harbor, lots of restaurants. You can easily visit Dubrovnik by boat or by bus on a day when there are few or no cruise ships in port, and then come back to lovely Cavtat and enjoy a glass of wine on the harbor front while you watch the yachts docks. You can take all the normal excursions from Cavtat or just enjoy relaxing with no crowds. Google Cavtat or look it up on Trip Advisor.