Dubrovnik – Is It Worth The Hype?

Dubrovnik – Is It Worth The Hype?

The Pearl of the Adriatic is facing a huge wave of tourism, but if you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, read this first.

Settled along the shimmering Adriatic coastline, with magnificent medieval walls, rich history and a Game of Thrones claim-to-fame, Dubrovnik is now drawing more visitors than ever. In fact, if you were planning a holiday to Europe, this tiny town would probably have, at some point, popped up as an eager suggestion.

But is Dubrovnik truly the worth the hype? Let me share with you my thoughts, based on my experiences in Dubrovnik.

In terms of… attractions and things to do

things to do in dubrovnik

The Old City of Dubrovnik

things to do in dubrovnik

Old City Harbour

The state of Dubrovnik can be segmented into two areas, the Old City and the modern suburbs. The Old City is Dubrovnik’s biggest draw and undeniably the most beautiful part of town  yes, the pictures you’ve seen online were probably captured here!

Once you’ve crossed the 16th-century drawbridge, the Old City will make you feel as if you’ve entered medieval times. It’s encapsulated by towering walls and segmented by limestone alleyways and a maze of terracotta roofs. Albeit small, here reside many of Dubrovnik’s famous sights including Rector’s Palace, the Franciscan Monastery and of course, the City Walls. You can also meander through local bazaars, retrace Cersei’s walk of shame up Jesuit Stairs or people-watch by the harbour.

Indeed, the Old City is so stunning and unique, it captivates your soul. But there’s just one little thing to note: it is almost always jam-packed with excited tourists, so be prepared to jostle!

things to do in dubrovnik

Gorgeous natural landscapes

If historical grandeur wasn’t the Dubrovnik you were seeking, rest assured because there remains plenty to see and do beyond the Old City. Views of dramatic rocky contours against the translucent topaz Adriatic waters alone will be enough to keep you engrossed for at least an hour, snapping away for that picture-perfect Instagram shot. The sunny Mediterranean climate also concocts the perfect conditions for a lazy beach day and water adventures such as jet-skiing, diving and kayaking (unless you were caught in a storm domino, like I was).

A brewing storm

What’s more, you can easily explore surrounding islands – such as the Elaphite Islands and Lokrum – via the Old City Harbour.

In terms of… food and drinks

Croatians love their seafood and every meal is always loaded with fish and shellfish of every kind. However, despite the city’s location by the sea, seafood in Dubrovnik is surprisingly usually not oozing with the freshness you’d expect. On top of that, seafood meals are priced ridiculously high. For €20, you could easily indulge in a meat or seafood pasta elsewhere in the world, yet in a Dubrovnik restaurant, it would buy you nothing more than a mushroom risotto. Oh, and bottled water costs a whopping €68 at most eateries (yes, I am serious).

The dinner table at Portun

Nonetheless, there are places that dish out decent meals which won’t burn a hole in your pocket. A place I recommend is Portun, a cosy family restaurant serving excellent local fare. Be sure to try their grilled sea bass which is drizzled with olive oil and served alongside buttered Dalmatian chard and potatoes – absolutely delicious!

And while the prices of water hit the roof, that of alcohol take a plunge! Wine lovers, you are especially in for a treat because although Croatia is not known for its wine production, it secretly houses some fantastic, deliciously smooth wines like Dingač, the king of all Croatian wines.

In terms of… things to buy

This may sound harsh but really, there is nothing much to buy in Dubrovnik other than keepsake souvenirs. The shops in the tourist areas, including the Old Town, are so geared towards tourism that if you’re not looking to make a souvenir haul, you might get bored shopping. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because you can save the luggage space for more Dingač and the dollars for more food and sightseeing.

In terms of… its people and service

Dubrovnik was my first ever destination within Eastern Europe and I was beyond thrilled, partly because I am a Game of Thrones fan. However, my excitement was quickly stubbed following numerous unpleasant encounters with Dubrovnik’s service staff and unfriendly locals. More disappointingly, some were notably directed toward tourists of certain ethnicities; it was certainly not the Dubrovnik I was looking forward to.

Of course, there were people I met who were lovely  like the family running Portun! Perhaps the tourism boom in Dubrovnik has a played a part in causing irk within the majority of the local community, particularly those who interact with tourists on a daily basis. I sure hope that tourism can be managed and maybe even reduced to a sustainable level such that the quality of life for residents would not be negatively impacted because of overtourism. Perhaps the situation would improve then.

Ultimately, was Dubrovnik worth it?

There are so many ways that a destination’s worth can be assessed and it’s no surprise if other travellers have their own thoughts on this matter.

But for me, to put it plainly, the answer is a big YES – Dubrovnik was definitely worth a visit! Though not free from its downsides, Dubrovnik was one of the most mesmerising places I have ever been to. Its sheer natural beauty, combined with the splash of architectural brilliance, was a sight to behold – you would need to walk the grounds yourself to relish the masterpiece.

About Author


Beatrice is a zealous foodie always down for all-things-salmon and that perfect bowl of yoghurt granola. When she’s not writing and eating, she’s probably singing to alternative music, running a netflix marathon or dreaming of her next return to London.


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