Are you planning to discover the wonders of Croatia next summer? Find out about the best places to stay in Dubrovnik!
In the words of acclaimed playwright Bernard Shaw, “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik”. This age-old city is an absolute must-see destination in Europe. This touristic magnet in Croatia has 43,770 inhabitants, but welcomes tens of thousands of visitors during the summer season, many coming on cruise ships for which Dubrovnik is a very popular destination. And of course, as a result, accommodation in Dubrovnik can be expensive. One of the most popular destinations in Europe, this wonder of the Adriatic Sea – once named Ragusa – has much to reveal about its own history. Governed by Vienna, caught into the Balkan wars, absorbed into former Yugoslavia to the cultural disparities that have torn the Balkans apart, Dubrovnik carries a fascinating historical and cultural heritage, all infused in a dream Mediterranean climate.
This gem of the Dalmatian coast comprises several neighborhoods, each with its own distinct atmosphere and feel. We’ve prepared this mini-guide for you to find out where to stay in Dubrovnik.
Also read : The best things to do in Dubrovnik
The old town of Ragusa
Photo credit: Flickr – Michael Caven
A former rival of Venice, Dubrovnik is a major touristic destination and recently has also become known as a shooting location for the Game of Thrones series. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient Ragusa is an open-air museum: the city’s stones are over a thousand years old. A major commercial port and an independent republic, Ragusa was one the main thalassocracies in the Mediterranean and was part of a European trade route that went North through Florence and Milan and South to Valencia and Barcelona
Stroll along its narrow streets and marvel at the magnificent surroundings, camera in hand. However, be aware that staying in this area of Dubrovnik will be difficult. The accommodation on offer is easily sold out, and renting an apartment or a hotel room can therefore be expensive. Besides, the streets of the old town are busy and can be noisy, even at night.
That being said, if you want to stay in the center, you will get an eyeful of the historical monuments, including the Pile Gate, the famous Stradum, the Rectors’ Palace, the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries, the Romanesque and Gothic architecture, the city’s medieval ramparts, or Miličević square. Wander along a maze of tangled cobbled streets before treating your taste buds to fish and seafood in one of the area’s many terraces. Rent an apartment in this neighborhood if you are not afraid of the endless excitement of tourist areas and if you want easy access to everything.
Lapad, the festive quarter
Photo credit: Flickr – Jenni Douglas
Located to the west of the city, looking out over the Adriatic Sea and the many Croatian islands, Lapad inherited the maritime spirit that originally permeated Dubrovnik. It is also festive by nature: it concentrates countless bars, pubs, terraces, and restaurants. This is the heart of the modern city, with a profusion of hotels and music playing late into the night. Lapad is a great place to stay in Dubrovnik, offering a good compromise between tourism and partying.
A more modern part of the city, it will not have as many beautiful historical buildings as the city center but its beaches are popular spots, particularly so Bellevue beach, and once you reach them you will understand why, the waters are warm and the surroundings stunning.
Babin Kuk is an ideal area to stay in Dubrovnik if you want to be close to the city center while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the Stradum. Located 1.5 km from the old town, this area is a popular haunt for young Croats. The neighborhood is also home to Copacabana Beach – named after the famous beach of Rio de Janeiro, the perfect place to bathe and cool off during hot summer days and with less activity than Lapad.
Babin Kuk also house an array of bars and restaurants. In other words, if you’re keen to have a drink in an authentic ambiance and to mingle with the locals, this is a good neighborhood to stay in Dubrovnik and prices tend to be a bit lower than in more central locations.
On the other side of the cove from Babin Kuk lies the port of Gruž . Out of the hustle and bustle and downtown, Gruž is both a residential area, with many available apartments for rent in the Summer and a commercial port. It has a great farmer’s market with fresh fish and local fruits and vegetables. This is where most of the local come, including restaurant professionals. If you want to get your hands on the finest products the market has to offer though we recommend you get up early as the most in-demand products can be gone by 7 am.
While at the market, grab what you need for picnic and then board a ferry from the port for a dream trip to one of the heavenly islands off the coast of Croatia. You’ll have a large selection of destinations available at the Ferry terminal. The port also offers longer trips, notably to Italy and you can chose to travel to and from Dubrovnik via ferry instead of flying. You can book your ferry to Dubrovnik online on the DirectFerries website.
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