Dubrovnik is one of the most popular tourist meccas in Europe. Maybe you wonder: “Do you have to pay to enter Dubrovnik Old Town?
- NO. You DO NOT HAVE TO PAY TO GET INTO DUBROVNIK OLD TOWN. Dubrovnik is more than a castle or a museum. Dubrovnik Old Town is a LIVING CITY. With real people living there.
- However, Dubrovnik City authorities and others will certainly find a way to deprive you of some money. In fact, you can count on it.
- If you’re travelling on a budget, there are ways to minimise the cost, though.
Actually, in the pre-COVID-19-years, Dubrovnik was so “popular” that the number of visitors became overwhelming and off-putting. So suggestions were given to actually charge the entrance tickets. Nevertheless…
You Don’t Have To Pay To Get Into Dubrovnik Old Town
One of the most important reason why there are no entrance tickets to Dubrovnik Old Town is that people (still) live there.
According to the last reliable census (2017), there are 1557 permanent inhabitants in the old town (my aunt is one of them). Even if that number has dropped in the meantime (and it probably has), it’s still a considerable number of people.
In order to charge the entrance tickets, you would actually turn the Old City into a ghetto.
I’m sure that living in the Old City has it’s charms. Just being able to take a walk down its main street, Stradun, almost every day, may well be worth the effort. Effort?
Life in Dubrovnik Old City can sometimes be challenging. Let’s say you live in one of these houses shown on this picture. You have just bought a new fridge. Or, heaven forbid, a washing machine!
Also, where do you park your car? What if it’s raining? What about if you’re 75 or 80? And what about those hordes constantly roaming about? Thousands upon thousands of tourists to compete with! Introducing some sort of resident cards would be a final nail in the coffin.
But probably the most important factor to consider when thinking about charging entrance fees to the Old Town Dubrovnik is the sheer number of “invaders”. How long would a line be if 16.000 passengers from a cruise ship stood in it? NO WAY!
So the City found other ways to “deal with the issue”.
You Will Be Charged In Other Ways
- Most visitors of Dubrovnik visit the City Walls. The price of the entrance ticket in 2020 and 2021 is 200 kunas (around 30 euros). That’s a lot! Of course, it’s worth it. But, by paying to get up on the Wall, you can be sure that you’ve paid for the “entrance tickets to Dubrovnik Old Town”, too.
- Parking in Dubrovnik is probably the most expensive in the entire country. The closest place to the Old Town to park a car is the public garage. It charges 40 kunas (5.5 euros) per hour. That’s a lot!
- If you arrive by a tourist coach (bus), the agency that organised the trip will have to pay a minimum of 800 kunas ( more than 100 euros) to drop you off at the Pile Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town. However, you realise that it is YOU who will eventually pay for this, right?
- In grocery stores within the City Walls, you will pay MORE for the same product sold outside of the Old Town. The same goes for restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops.
- The prices of accommodation in the Old City are higher than in the suburbs. Because taxes are higher. You will eventually pay for the difference.
- The City authorities decided to charge extra fees to each cruise ship passenger. Even though you may think that you’ve paid nothing, it would probably be calculated in the price of the whole trip. So you’re paying to get in, really.
How To Minimise The Cost
- Walk AROUND (not ON) the City Walls
Let me be clear about it. Nothing can replace an actual tour of the City Walls. And paying for it. It’s certainly worth it.
However, some views of the Dubrovnik City walls can only be enjoyed AWAY from the Walls. And this is well worth the effort, too.
You can use your intuition. But let me help you organise your spontaneity!
Start at the eastern gate, the Ploče gate. Squat (no, I don’t mean like that! Shame on you!) at the bridge and take this picture:
Next, turn left and continue walking along the Walls. When you reach the northern gate (It says “1908”above the gate), get into a pedestrian passage opposite of it that will safely take you under the road. Take the winding stairs up. Continue walking up the hill until you reach the highest point, the chess-figure-like tower, Minčeta. Then walk down the stairs and reach a beautiful view point.
This is where you can make some (narcissistic) photos with a spectacular backdrop. And this will probably be the highlight of your free tour.
- Use public transportation
Dubrovnik city buses are cheap and reliable. So if you use rent-a-car, leave your vehicle somewhere in Dubrovnik western outskirts, like Lapad or in the Gruž harbour.
A good choice might be the parking spaces or large shopping centres. Usually, if you buy something in their shop, you get an hour or two or FREE PARKING.And this is just what you need, because you want to…
- Buy food outside of the Old City
Of course, eating out in Dubrovnik Old City is a true delight. There are so many fine restaurants and you may not want to miss this experience.
However, if you want to maximise the quality time spent in the Dubrovnik, you may want to get a packed lunch, a sandwich or some snack with you.
In the Old City harbour, there are many benches with a spectacular view. And they’re usually in shade.
So, there you have it! You save money, and you don’t waste your time.
In this article I wrote, you can find more ideas on what to do in Dubrovnik for free.
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