Planned and booked in advance, flights can be extremely cheap. We booked in November to travel in June with EasyJet, flying from London Luton to Dubrovnik for just £75 return. The flight from Luton took just under 2 1/2 hours.
By law, the relevant regulations of Croatia means that the provider of accommodation services in a hospitality facility is obliged to collect and record the personal data of each person using those accommodation services. Essentially, the place where you stay will take a note of your passport and travel details. You don’t have a choice in this.
When exchanging money, get plenty of Croatian Kuna (kn). While it is possible to use Euros when paying for services like taxis, most places in Dubrovnik (particularly in the Old Town area) only accept Kuna – making this clear in the numerous signs outside stores and stalls. The general exchange rate (at the time of publication) is £1.00 = 8kn. Smaller post offices may not keep kuna in the store, so you may have to order them in advance.
Don’t get caught out at the airport with toiletries. Liquids have to be placed in a sealed clear bag when going through customs, and anything more than 100ml bottles will automatically be thrown away without discussion. Wait until you are in the lounge after your bag has been checked, then purchase travel toiletries from places like Boots. If you’re in a group, save some money by buying toiletries that everyone can use – sunscreen, aftersun, toothpaste, body wash etc.
Save on potential luggage charges by creating a capsule wardrobe, rolling items up into a rucksack and taking it on the plane as hand luggage.
Ensuring that you are hydrated is a must, so take a reusable water bottle. Small bottles of water can cost as much as 35 kuna in Old Town, while a pack of six 5 litre bottles costs the same in a supermarket. Buy a large pack of water and fill your bottle before you go out.
Be prepared for steps. Lots and lots of steps. Old Town is wheelchair accessible for the most part, but there are steps everywhere.
Croatians are incredibly proud of their culture, heritage, architecture and food, and will be more than happy to offer ideas of places to see and things to eat. Take the time to ask a local for advice – they may suggest a hidden gem!
When food shopping, take a tote bag or use the same carrier bag again – supermarkets are mindful of waste and aren’t always happy to repeatedly provide carrier bags.
Old Town is expensive. To get a better deal in a less crowded place, visit Gruz Port instead – it’s just a short bus ride away.
When eating at a restaurant, many places won’t allow individuals to pay for food separately, so make sure you all have enough cash for your meal or have one person cover the entire bill on their card.
Based solely on personal experience, Dubrovnik felt safe to walk around, and everyone was very friendly, expect for perhaps a few pushy and over-excited tourists. Of course, it’s always sensible to be aware of your surroundings and not carry items of sentimental and monetary value – I wore a small bag with a long strap and inside pockets with zips, and I ensured that I didn’t have large amounts of money on my person.
Many Croatians working in the tourist areas speak extremely good English and can spot the tourists immediately, and most restaurants are equipped with English versions of their menus. However, it doesn’t hurt to at least make an effort with basic Croation greetings and phrases.
If you’re on a tight budget, be mindful of the prices that taxis will charge for shorter trips. After an incredibly hot day we couldn’t face the 250+ steps back (it’s far more challenging than it sounds) and so enquired about the cost to go from Old Town to our apartment, which was about a mile away. We were quoted 150 kuna, which is about £18.
Be aware that during tourist season, Old Town is EXTREMELY crowded, particularly when the large cruise ships arrive. If you are visiting in the hottest months of the year, try and go to places early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the masses of people with large cameras.
Old Town is inhabited by locals. While it blew my mind at seeing school children having their daily lessons in such an incredible place, it’s unhelpful (and rude) to gawk and take photos. I saw this happen numerous times.
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