George Bernard Shaw once described Dubrovnik as “paradise on Earth,” and it’s easy to see why. Tucked between the Dinaric Alps and the Adriatic, Dubrovnik has historically been home to scholars, painters, scientists, poets, and writers. Dubrovnik is considered to be a crucial factor in the development of Croatia’s language and literature and is nowadays an enchanting destination, attracting tourists and artists alike.
Damaged by an earthquake in 1667, fought over throughout centuries, and suffering horrific armed conflict and shelling in the 1990s, the city has bounced back with a depth and beauty that draws the crowds in.
Dubrovnik has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The walled city in the middle of the Dalmatian coast offers historical sites and beaches, and a charm that’s hard to resist.
Dubrovnik is drenched in history, which can be felt as you admire the striking architecture of its monasteries, churches, and museums.
Surrounded by ancient city walls, the Old City certainly lives up to the hype. To get a more local feel, instead of turning right off the Stradun take a left – you’ll find yourself amongst family homes, small grocers and butchers, and people who know each other. Be sure to bring an empty container: go to a grocer who has a vat of wine, and you can fill from the tap.
Mount Srđ looms over the Old Town and is accessible by the Dubrovnik Cable Car. It’s worth the trip up for spectacular views, and for the winding walk down.
Back when Dubrovnik was an independent republic, the government ruled from The Rector’s Palace. Still majestic, it’s a link to the past through antique furniture, old prison cells, and temporary exhibitions. And if you like grand old buildings, then seek out Dubrovnik Cathedral, Sponza Palace, and the Dominican and Franciscan monasteries.
Take a cruise to the Elafiti Islands; Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan offer swimming caves, walking trails, fortress ruins, and beach clubs.
To really understand Dubrovnik, visit War Photo Limited – a museum with the stated aim to expose “the myth of war”. Alongside temporary exhibitions designed to facilitate this aim, the gallery houses a permanent exhibition depicting the Balkan Wars in the 1990s, revealing the resulting human distress.
You can’t rent a car in Croatia without a credit card and be prepared for rental companies to pre-authorize your card for a deposit. Your home country driver’s license should suffice, but it’s worth getting an international driver’s license, just in case.
The law in Croatia says to hire a vehicle you need to be 18 or over and have had your driving license for at least a year. It’s common for rental companies to impose a surcharge on under-25s.
Drivers must carry their full and valid driving license, ID (passport), proof of insurance, and the car’s registration papers. You are legally required to have in your car: headlamp beam detectors, a first aid kit, reflective jackets, and a warning triangle. Take this seriously – you could be subject to an on-the-spot fine if you don’t.
A little foresight goes a long way; there’s no need to be caught out if you plan ahead. The cost of car hire in Dubrovnik depends on the season, with rentals starting from as little as $5 per day for a small car. If you’re visiting Dubrovnik during peak season (July and August), be prepared for hefty price increases; around $60 per day for a small car. To minimize damage to your wallet, plan in advance and make sure you ask upfront about hidden extras, such as baby seats and GPS. Check the rates for one-way rental fees and out-of-hours collection and return. To be extra careful, find out if there are any last-minute cancellation fees.
Examples of car rental prices in Dubrovnik: