Last Updated on July 2, 2023 by Ellen
Update July 2023: Now that tourism is surging past pre-pandemic levels, places like Dubrovnik, Croatia are dealing with mega-tourist crowds. As a result, there are new limits on baggage tourists can bring into the old walled city. Unbelievable – but true!
First, new regulations ban the use of wheeled luggage — because the wheels on so many bags make too much noise! If you’ve got a wheelie bag and staying in the old city, you’re gonna have to carry it.
But that’s just the beginning!
Later in 2023, all baggage will be banned! Wait – what?!
Tourists will have to leave their luggage outside the walled city and have it delivered to their hotel rooms. We say: ridiculous! Over-tourism is the antithesis to sustainable slow travel.
There are other rules, too. Dubrovnik produced a cartoon to lay out all rules to tourists. The banned wheeled luggage part plays at 1:29 in the video.
Before the pandemic, we stayed in nearby Kotor Bay in Montenegro — which still has a lot of tourists but not nearly as many as Dubrovnik.
Instead, we took a day trip from Kotor to Dubrovnik — no need for any luggage. It was just enough time to walk around the old walls, take selfies, have dinner, and watch the sunset. Then we got outta there!
Our original post on how to do that follows.
Quick day-trip to Dubrovnik
Most people go from Croatia to Montenegro for a day trip, but we did the opposite. We were staying in Kotor and wanted a quick trip to Dubrovnik. It was a fun day-long excursion to see the historic fortification around the old city — without having to stay in the massive tourist crowds.
The bus from Kotor to Dubrovnik cost $40 for two people, one way.
The ride from Kotor to Dubrovnik took just under three hours, and about 2.5 hours on the way back into Montenegro that night. En route to Dubrovnik, the bus went by the airport in Tivat, and then on the car ferry across the bay, and then north to the Croatian border.
Once in Dubrovnik, we immediately bought our return tickets (another $40). Then it cost the equivalent of $5 for the two of us to grab a city bus from the station to the old town.
We only had about 4.5 hours to play tourist. The main thing to do in Dubrovnik is to walk the walls around the old city – and so that’s what we did. And that cost $48 for two people.
Why we wanted a quick trip to Dubrovnik
The Walls of Dubrovnik are considered to be among the greatest fortifications in the Middle Ages. We wanted to see them. The walls were changed and updated many times throughout history. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia shelled Croatia from the sea and damaged some of the walls.
We met a former Croatian soldier on our travels who was stationed in Dubrovnik during the war. He recounted moving through the old town while under fire. That’s pretty wild stuff — and it’s happened again and again throughout Balkan history.
The walls you see today are a darn good representation of what this fortification looked like ages ago. Forts, gates, towers, moats – this system was incredibly complex. Today, tourists “walk the walls.”
Our original plan was to stay in Dubrovnik — outside the walled city. But my breast cancer surgery forced us to cancel those plans. We decided NOT to reschedule the month-long stay, and instead moved on to Montenegro from Zagreb.
Tips for a quick trip to Dubrovnik
We were on the walls in the late afternoon in early September, so the sunlight was just right.
Tip: go when there is no cruise ship at port. We passed thousands of tourists, but there would have been thousands more if boats had been docked.
Tip: bring water if you go this time of year – it’s hot.
Tip: resign yourself to accept things cost more in this tourist town. Tedly bought a beer on the walls, for a hefty $7. A soda off the walls, down in old town, cost me $2.
After sunset, we had a snack with an amazing view. A cheese plate for two with a beer for Tedly cost about $28, including the tip.
And then we blew another $10 for a taxi ride back to the bus station across town.
Expensive day trip, but…
Even though $182 was a steep tab for us retired budget travelers, at least we got to experience walking the Walls of Dubrovnik. Despite my breast cancer setback.
This is why we travel: to experience the world. Can you really put a price on that?
- Living in a Soviet-era apartment building away from tourists in Split, Croatia
- Why I love Omis Croatia
- Gorgeous, amazing views from Kotor castle ruins