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Dubrovnik, Croatia Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: May-03-2012, Hits: 6,054, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Dubrovnik, Croatia Travel Guide Restaurants (64)
Hotels and Lodging (66)
Bars and Nightlife (21)
Attractions (24)
Services (12)
Maps (1)
Links (4)
Additional Articles (2)
Croatia Travel Forum (1)
 
Location: Europe
Geography: City
Vacation Type: Romantic, Relaxation, Culture and History
Popularity: Moderate Tourism
Costs: Moderate, Expensive
Attractions: Nightlife, Historical Sites, Boating, Festivals, Scuba & Snorkeling, Spa & Wellness

Facts and Stats:
Population: 42,641
Land Area: 8.24 square miles
Elevation: Sea level
Country Dialing Code: 385
Languages: Croatian
Electricity: 230V
Currency: Kuna (HRK)
Time Zone: CET: UTC+1, CEST: UTC+2 (Summer)
Current Time:

Note:
This guide also covers the cities of Mlini (834), Zaton (858), Lozica (136), and Bosanka (139). It also includes the islands of Kolocep (300) and Lokrum.

Introduction:
Dubrovnik is a city in Croatia located on the Dalmatian Coast and is known as "The Pearl of the Adriatic". The original part of the city known as "Old City" is a remarkably well-preserved example of a late-medieval walled city, and people visit from all over to see the impressive forts, walls, and historical buildings that lie within them. Dubrovnik is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Geography:
Dubrovnik is the center of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and is located in southern Croatia on a stretch of coastal land that is not connected to the rest of the country. The city lies directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Off shore are the Elaphiti Islands which consist of 8 islands and 5 islets, only 3 of which are inhabited. The city is built on the side of Srd Hill that rises up to 1,352 feet just northwest of town. There is a cable car that can be taken to the top for stunning views.

The city consists of several districts/neighborhoods as follows:
  • Gruz: Located along Gruz Harbour, this district is the location of the city's main port and bus station. The port services ferries and cruise ships.
  • Babin Kuk: This district is located on the peninsula and is the westernmost part of the city. Several large hotels are located here.
  • Lapad: This district is also home to several large hotels as well as the city's hospital.
  • Pile: This area is located right outside Old Town's western gate and the Old Town can easily be reached on foot from here.
  • Ploce: To the northeast of the Ploce Gate in Old Town, the Ploce district is located along the Adriatic Sea and includes the city's most popular beach (Banje Beach). Keep in mind that the beaches here are covered in pebbles and not like a tropical beach. That doesn't stop the crowds from sunbathing and swimming. There are a couple of waterfront hotels and several bed and breakfasts located in this neighborhood.
  • Stari Grad: This means "Old Town" and is the historic city center within the walls and fortresses. Here you will find the majority of Dubrovnik's attractions including the Franciscan Monestary, Rector's Palace, St. Blaise Church, the Cathedral, and numerous museums. Old Town also offers a large percentage of the dining and lodging options available.
Click here to view our map of Dubrovnik's districts.

The island of Kolocep, part of the Elaphiti Islands, lies only 5 miles offshore. Mlini is a small fishing village a few miles southeast of Dubrovnik. Lozica and Zaton are small villages located just to the northwest of town.

History:
The traditional story of Dubrovnik's roots goes back to the 7th century and the Roman city of Epidaurum located south of Dubrovnik on the land where the city of Cavtat exists today. It is estimated that Epidaurum had a population of 40,000 people. The Roman empire was in its decline and the city of Epidaurum shared the fate of the empire - first damaged by an earthquake and then ransacked by barbarian forces. Numerous refugees fled to a small island nearby called Laus, and formed a new city that would later be named Ragusa. The island of Laus is the current location of Old Town south of Stradun Street. Sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries, the channel that runs through the center of Old Town was filled in and became Stradun Street.

Another theory as to Dubrovnik's beginnings is based on newer archaeological findings that suggest that Dubrovnik may have been founded by Greek sailors who used the area as a stopover during long trips.

Dubrovnik was under the protection of the Byzantine Empire, and up until the early 13th century, the city flourished becoming an important shipbuilding and trading center. In 1205, Ragusa came under the sovereignty of Venice for the next 150 years. The Venetians meddled in political affairs and attempted to take over the rule of the city.

In 1358, the city received autonomy with the signing of the Zadar peace treaty. The treaty made Ragusa a state in the Kingdom of Hungary which only required that they pay an annual tribute to the sultan, but were otherwise independent. During this time, the state was called Respublica Ragusina.

The republic peaked during the 15th and 16th centuries when it rivalled its neighbors including the Republic of Venice. Their neutral stance, focus on freedom, and extensive trade relationships contributed to their success.

The slave trade was abolished in 1418.

The republic began to decline during the 17th century, and the 1667 earthquake nearly destroyed the city and killed 5,000.

In 1699, the republic was forced to sell 2 pieces of land to the Ottomans to protect itself from advancing Venetian forces. That strip of land belongs to Bosnia-Herzegovina and separates Dubrovnik from the rest of Croatia.

In 1806, Napoleon asked the republic for free passage for his troops, but later they blockaded the harbors and forced the government to surrender and allow French troops to enter the city. In 1808, Marshal Marmont abolished the republic and integrated it into Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy. In 1814, the city surrendered to British and Austrian troops. Dubrovnik was then annexed into the Austrian Empire.

In 1848, the Croatian Assembly (Sabor) published the People's Requests in which they requested the unification of Dalmatia and Croatia. The Dubrovnik Municipality was the most outspoken of all the Dalmatian communes in its support for unification with Croatia, however, this would not occur for another 70 years.

In 1918 at the end of WWI, Austria-Hungary fell and Dubrovnik was included in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which was later renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Although the city was referred to as Dubrovnik locally, the name was officially changed from Ragusa at this time.

During WWII, Dubrovnik was first occupied by the Italian army and later by Nazi Germany. In 1944, Dubrovnik was liberated by The Partisans. The Partisans (National Liberation Army) was a Communist-led revolutionary and resistance movement in Yugoslavia. After liberation, Croatia was under the rule of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In 1970, Dubrovnik became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1991, the republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This began the Croatian War of Independence. In October 1991, the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) invaded the Dubrovnik area from Montenegro, Bosnia and parts of Croatia and surrounded the city. A counterattack by the Croatian army ended the 7 month siege. During this time, the city was shelled by JNA forces that damaged 68.3% of the buildings in Old Town. Repairs followed UNESCO guidelines and were mostly completed by 2005.

People & Culture:
Dubrovnik is an interesting mix of old and new. On the one hand, you have all of the history within the walls, seafaring traditions, and 90% of the population is still Roman Catholic. On the other hand, the city is interspersed with modern hotels, facilities, and services.

Although the city receives a good number of tourists, it is a small city and moves with a fairly quiet, relaxed pace. Having said that, they are not relaxed about their dress, and tend to dress up anytime they are in public. Not surprising for the country that invented the necktie.

Although Croatian is the official language, English is taught as a second language in school, and many Croatians are fluent in other European languages.

Dubrovnik offers several annual festivals, the largest of which is the Summer Festival. This festival has been running since the 1949, lasts 45 days between July 10 and August 25, and features classical music, theatre, opera, ballet and dance performances.

Food & Nightlife:
Although Dubrovnik has a lot of restaurants, there isn't a lot of variety. Most restaurants are some combination of Italian, Mediterranean, and Croatian cuisines with seafood being very prominent. Common seafood dishes include squid, cuttlefish, octopus, anchovies, scorpion fish, sea bass, grouper, shrimp, lobster, mussels, and oysters. As for meat, steak, lamb, chicken, and smoked ham are common menu items. Because of centuries of Italian influence, a large number of places serve Italian favorites such as pizza, gnocchi, ravioli, lasagna, and other pasta dishes. Old Town has the largest concentration of restaurants, but keep in mind that many of them are touristy. Many of the restaurants are "konobas" (translates as "Tavern", but is more like a pub) and are places for eating/drinking and typically serve food and drink until 12am.

Dubrovnik has a healthy nightlife. In addition to the many konobas, the city also has several Irish Pubs and cosmopolitan dance clubs. Wines produced in the Dalmatian region including Dingac, Postup, Babic, Vugava, Plancic, and others are receiving increased notoriety and recognition.

The drinking age in Croatia is 18 years old.

Money & Costs:
Croatia's currency is the Kuna, although that may change if the country is accepted into the European Union in 2013. Some establishments already accept Euros. Currency can be changed at banks and post offices and there are plenty of ATMs in the city. Most establishments accept credit cards, although some do not and you should check beforehand if it is a concern.

Whether it be accomodations or dining, there is a pretty wide range of price levels to choose from. Outside of the walls, there are a number of very expensive, full-service hotels that offer luxurious amenities. Durbovnik also offers plenty of more moderate accomodations that are mostly of the bed and breakfast or apartment variety, many of which, are located inside the city walls and typically offer fewer services and amenities.

For budget travelers, there are hostel-type accomodations available that cost less than $100 US per night, although they aren't as cheap as the ones you will find throughout the rest of Europe. When dining, it may be a good idea to be vigilant about what you are being charged for. It is often mentioned that some places will offer "free" bread before the meal and then charge for it among other deceptive practices.

When it comes to tipping, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. To be on the safe side, a 10% tip is adequate in most restaurants, but bump it up to 15% for fine dining.

Entry Requirements:
For information on entry requirements and visas, click here.

Getting There & Around:
The easiest way to get to Dubrovnik is to fly into the Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) located just south of the city in Cilipi. The airport is serviced by a number of large airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa, easyJet, Croatia Airlines, and others that provide flights from many European cities. Once you have landed, you can take the public bus to the main bus station in Gruz or take a taxi.

Bus service is available from the major cities in Croatia as well as service from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Keep some change handy as you will need to give the bus driver 10kn for luggage.

There is ferry service operated by Jadroinija from Rijeka, Croatia. The trip takes about 17 hours with stops in Zadar, Split, Sobra and Korcula. They also provide ferry service from Bari, Italy. Dubrovnik is also visited by many cruise ships.

There is regular ferry service to the island of Kolocep. Water taxis can also be hired for the 15 minute trip. There are no cars on the island, but there are plenty of walking paths to explore.

Dubrovnik does not have a train station. See the services section of this guide for more information about the airport and bus station.

Dubrovnik isn't very big. Depending on where you are staying, you may be able to easily walk to Old Town which is very walkable once you are there. If you are further away, you can always take the city bus. Most of the busses make a stop near Old Town. There are a number of kiosks around town where you can buy a 24 hour bus pass.

If you are looking for a little more freedom to explore, rental cars are available. Just keep in mind that parking is limited.

Weather:
The climate in Dubrovnik is Mediterranean featuring mild, but rainy and windy winters and hot, dry summers. High season in Dubrovnik is from June through September. This is the best time to go not only for the warmer weather, but also because many accomodations and restaurants are closed during the winter months.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Dubrovnik.


The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 56 56 58 62 70 77 84 84 78 71 62 56
Avg Low 45 45 47 52 60 66 73 73 66 59 51 46
Water Temp 57 57 57 59 64 72 75 77 73 70 64 59
Precipitation 3.75" 3.51" 3.85" 3.58" 3.00" 1.91" 0.95" 2.32" 3.10" 4.33" 5.55" 4.93"
Days of Rainfall 11.2 10.9 11.6 11.2 9.5 6.7 4.4 4.5 6.4 10.3 11.3 12.5

Holidays:
1/1/2012 - New Year
1/6/2012 - Epiphany
4/8/2012 - Easter
4/9/2012 - Easter Monday
5/1/2012 - Labour Day
6/22/2012 - Anti-Fascist Struggle Day
6/23/2012 - Corpus Christi
6/25/2012 - Croatian Statehood Day
8/5/2012 - Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day
8/15/2012 - Assumption of Mary
10/8/2012 - Croatia Independence Day
11/1/2012 - All Saints Day
12/25/2012 - Christmas
12/26/2012 - St. Stephen's Day

Important Phone Numbers:
  • Operator: 981
  • Local Directory Assistance: 988
  • International Directory Assistance: 902
  • Police: 92
  • Ambulance: 94
  • Fire: 93
  • Coast Guard: 9155
  • Croatian Angels Tourist Information: 062 999 999
Travel Tips & Additional Information:
  • Although all tourists (and our guide) refer to the section of the city within the walls as "Old Town" or "Old City", the locals prefer to call it "The City", and find the previous insulting as it implies the city lacks life.
  • Old Town has a lot of steep streets and loads of steps. It is a good idea to wear practical walking shoes.





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