Crowds in Dubrovnik

This is a PSA. I was recently in Dubrovnik for a week. Before, during, and after the trip I was constantly fielding questions about whether the city was too crowded to enjoy.

My answer: not at all!

That said. these questions don’t come from nowhere. I could tell from the emptiness of restaurants in the nearby suburb of Lapad, where we stayed, that we were there at a time when the city was well under its peak tourist population.

Luckily, we also had weather in the high 70s, F, and sunny days everyday for a week. The Adriatic is a warm body of water, so swimming for hours at a time at midday was fantastic.

I was there from October 14th to October 22nd. I would fully endorse a similar game plan for anyone who is considering a trip to the Dalmatian Coast. You lose very little in terms of the beautiful weather, and avoid crowds that, from most accounts, can become stifling at peak season.

Also: yes, the area is THAT strikingly beautiful.

PS: My wife and I spent plenty of time in the old city, and we did notice that from Monday-Wednesday tends to be when the cruise ships send their populations in to tour. So a smart itinerary will save the city walls and churches for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

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I found it helpful when I went to Dubrovnik to look up in advance the schedules for when cruise ships were in town, in order to plan my itinerary to avoid the worst crowds. Several google-able sites post how many ships will be docked on a given day, their arrival/departure times, and how many people are on the ships–so you know which days to really avoid the popular sights. I also went in October, and I agree that early Fall is the perfect time to be there: few crowds, beautiful weather!

https://www.croatiatraveller.com/southern_dalmatia/Dubrovnik/cruise-schedule.html

Tip for days a cruise ship is coming in: Take the ferry over to Lokrum. It’s an island about 15 minutes away but less busy. It has an old monastery and military look out to see, and has ‘wild’ peacocks and rabbits which are so well fed by tourists they’re practically tame.

Oh, and Game of Thrones fans can visit the Lokrum museum for free which has a list of all the nearby filming locations and an Iron Throne to take pictures on.

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I agree with the previous commentator that knowing when the cruise ships arrive is very helpful. That said, it’s better if you rent a boat yourself, Croatia kinda lends itself to that sort of trip. I visited Dubrovnik this June, we rent a boat from a local through a platform called Click&Boat and visited the nearby islands of Kolocep (hope I am spelling it right) and Lopud the days crowds of tourists were expected. Didn’t make it to Split though, which is a pity. Our skipper also told us that next time we should visit Istria, defo on my bucket list.