Please sign in to post.

Old Town Dubrovnik

I am debating between staying in Old Town vs. a 5 minute bus ride away on a side street off of l UI Frana Suplila - which seems to be a fairly large street along the water.

I am one of those people who love to stroll around during the day and night. But I also am one of those people who would NOT have liked to stay in the heart of San Marco Plaza in Venice or Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco - way too many people for me. I know the cruise ships are an issue. Is the Old Town a much wider area to be able to handle all of the people? Is staying in Old Town worth the tons of people? Is Old Town 90% tourists? It seems very charming to me. Thanks!

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2090 posts

The old town isn't very big at all - it gets very crowded during the day. But by NOT staying there or within walking distance a gate, you lose the easy benefit of enjoying it at night, when it's so much more quiet (and beautiful when all lit up!). There is late bus service in my experience (check the schedules for individual buses, obviously), but I'd still rather not worry about how late the buses run, etc. I've walked around Dubrovnik quite late at night and it always felt safe to me.

I've stayed in Dubrovnik twice - once I stayed right outside the Pile gate (great location I thought - no steps, easy walk into town) and once where I had a car and stayed in Lapad and took the bus in. I stayed in Lapad (a pleasant but dull area with some decent beaches) only because I had the car and parking it in/at the old town can be expensive and inconvenient. But, I had already been to Dubrovnik once by then, so I didn't need to spend as much time in the evening. Without a car, I'd have stayed in or right outside the old town again.

Be sure to visit the Buza Bar in the old town - best time is at sunset! You don't even need to buy anything - you can just hang out, they don't seem to care.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

Thank you, Andrew. Your help on this site and the Slovenia site (which we sadly have to now miss because of time constraints) is very much appreciated. Because there are 5 of us - a taxi is often not available.

Posted by hank
Novato, CA, United States
112 posts

We finished RS tour in Dubrovnik last September and added two days in an apartment over looking the main pedestrian street. The walled city is small, yet enchanting. It is lively morning, noon, and night. The wall walk is least crowded first thing in the morning. Score one for staying in the city. From 11:00 AM until well into the evening the city is crowded but, still worth strolling. The city has two populations, those in the service industry and tourists. I would say your 90% is pretty accurate. On the tour we stayed a 10-15 minute bus ride from the walled city, and got the lay of the land with the tour. It was exciting to stay in the city but ear plugs and eye mask are a must. We were within a hundred feet of three Irish pubs, if you can believe that. They did not ever seem to close. At five in the morning, all the vendors and suppliers truck in all the food, wine, and souvenirs for the shops so that they can be ready to meet another hectic day. They say New York is a city that never sleeps. Well, Dubrovnik is right up there. All that being said, we still had a fantastic time staying in the city, even if we were a little sleep deprived. If you could find a place just outside the walls, that would be perfect. Enjoy! Hank, Novato,CA

Posted by Valerie
Tacoma
1466 posts

Another vote for staying inside the town proper. We had an apartment right off the main walk. It was indeed pretty crowded during the day but nothing unlike what we've encountered in Venice, Barcelona etc. At night it all emptied out and we strolled and strolled to our heart's content without having to worry about transiting to somewhere else at the end of the evening. And, away from the main walk, it was never that crowded. One other thing - it's very quiet in the morning and we enjoyed wandering then as well - there was a really nice outdoor market we used for shopping.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

Thank you, Hank and Valerie. We do have a place now in the Old Town. I will be scared to see how close we are to the pubs! I will have my three "kids" with me - late teenage and just graduating college - so maybe they might enjoy going down without mom and dad!

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
847 posts

I would certainly let the kids go without mom and dad, for a bit. They can probably get a drink. As a mom, you might consider allowing them. Or buying. We took our kids at 21, 21, 24 to Europe. We enjoyed having a glass of wine or beer with them. In Europe, in most places, teens can drink wine/beer. That is European culture. I remember (dimly) being on trips with my mom and dad at that age. The most desperate need I had was to get away and be "cool" without them. That might be a big part of the trip. And getting along in Europe might be a growing experience. Of course, not for a week, but for an hour or two, which you and your partner might enjoy also alone.

Posted by Unclegus
Edinburgh
1765 posts

I was in Dubrovnik late October last year, lovely city but during the day it can get real busy with the Cruise ships it is probably nearer 95% tourist than 90%.If you want to go up the mountain get to the cable car early as the queues can be very long,I gave up one morning when I arrived at 9am and there were at least 3 bus loads of Japanese tourists waiting to go up.
at night it should be a great deal quieter and loads of cafes bars and restaurants to enjoy.There are no flat bits in Dubrovnik everything is either up or down so be prepared for lots of steps.

Posted by Edin
Portland, OR
8 posts

Marie,
Unfortunately, as people here have already said, most of the old town Dubrovnik during the summer are tourists, and even those who work in restaurants and bars are not locals, but seasonal workers from other parts of Croatia (and Bosnia). If you want to interact with the locals, you have to go to "new town".

That said, during the night only part of the city that is crowded is the "L" shaped corner near Orlando's column. If you go to narrow streets in the either side of Stradun, it gets lonely.

I think it does worth staying in the Old town. And when you are there, you don't want to have a car because most of the old town lodgings do not provide parking, so you need to figure it out yourself, which is a nightmare.

Edin

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
90 posts

Thanks everyone. We will be staying in Dubrovnik from July 1 - 4 (leaving in the AM on the 4th). I just booked a full day speed boat from a recommendation on this board to boat around the Elaphiti Islands and swim in caves, etc. I was getting nervous about all the tourists (knowing full well I am one of them). I want to see the city, but this will be the end of the trip, I knew I would get cranky with so many cruise ship tourists. I loved Venice, but it was crazy with too may people, so trying to learn for the next trip.

And for those who suggest that I let the girls go and get a drink - I totally agree. It's not cool to hang out with your parents too much - so off they go!

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
847 posts

When we are in Dubrovnik, we like to go to Buzz Bar, which is off the main street up the next little street. It has nice coffee for 12 Kuna, and in the afternoon, wine is cheap there - not good wine, but don't tell them I said that. It's just a hole in the wall bar.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g295371-d4187499-Reviews-Buzz_Bar-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html

https://www.timeout.com/croatia/bars-and-pubs/buzz-bar

It also has a couple cats that hang out there.

Posted by sd0453
12 posts

Sounds like you are already booked so enjoy! Thought I'd share a few thoughts too. We stayed in Old Town for 3 days and it was well worth it. A few pieces of advice -- there are lots of stairs, so be prepared for a lot of walking. There are cats all over the place! Indeed the crowds were very hectic during the day, especially near the pile gate. We went over to Lokrum during one of the days, which was a nice escape from the crowds (very easy ferry ride over there), another day we walked up to Sveti Jakov beach, which was much less packed than the other beach. The last day we waited until about 4pm to do the walk on the walls. The massive crowds seemed to clear out of town around 4 or 5pm each day, so it is very peaceful around there in the evenings. As the last person said, Buza bar is a must. Bon Voyage!

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
847 posts

The Buzz bar that I referred to is not the Buza bar. They are 2 different bars. In addition, there is a Buzz bar in Zagreb. This name "buzz" seems to be popular in Croatia.

Posted by cjlcarmody
7 posts

Hi
One thing to consider staying out of old Dubrovnik is that you may be adding a lot of extra stairs and up hill walking when you visit the city, before you even get there. Probably just ensure you are next to bus route that drops you outside the gate into the city. We stayed in the old city and my wife at less than 5ft tall noted the 56 steps upto our accommodation! I was also informed that there are over 1600 stairs around the old wall, but that would have to be if you accessed every stairway upto the wall.

Posted by Paul
Sioux Falls, SD, USA
847 posts

Yes, the steps are a problem. We stayed in a sobe up at the top of the town above the walls. There were more than 300 steps to the Stradun from our rooms - perhaps as many as 450. Luckily we are still capable of such steps at 65 and 69.