Dubrovnik can be very crowded. In this blog we are sharing some options with you for when you arrive on a busy day without adding on to overtourism. It’s best to plan ahead and check our daily crowd predictor before booking, to see if your stay in Dubrovnik is likely to be busy.
Whether you are arriving on a cruise ship or staying in the area for a longer time, here are some of our tips to make your visit as worthwile and comfortable as possible. It’s our overview of recommended tours and excursions. Please note that this article contains links to our affiliate partner and we might receive commission if you book through our links.
One of the biggest nuisances for people living in tourist areas are big tour groups that are slowly moving throughout the city. Because the tour guide wants to point out certain things that might be of interest to the group, these large groups tend to stop at random and inconvenient places, which makes it difficult for locals and other tourists to manouvre around them. We recommend exploring Dubrovnk in smaller groups.
Touring with a smaller group has several benefits. First of all, a small group is more mobile and can usually cover more sights in the same amount of time. Second, it’s easier to interact with the guide when you have a smaller group. The guides will actually have time to answer a lot of your questions and sometimes they will even adapt their tour to what interests the group. Lastly, the bigger the group, the more (over)touristy the places you visit will be. Most places are not capable of dealing with large groups of people, so you’ll only get to go to the tourist places that are solely there to deal with these kinds of big tourist crowds.
Especially in Dubrovnik, the small streets and alleys are not suitable for big excursion groups. Therefore, if you are arriving on a cruise ship, we advise you not to book shore excursions through your cruise line. We recommend you to book your tours online and actively look for smaller groups. These tours might seem slightly more expensive, but they are they are definately more value for money!
Also, you can contribute to reduce the impact of overtourism when you rate your excursion or tour afterwards. Please take into consideration how the tour affected the surroundings. Did the group block alleys? Did the tour guide take some precautions to ensure liveability in Dubrovnik? Did the tour bring you to tourist traps or to local authentic businesses? Make sure your feedback reflects these aspects, because other tourists will read your review and plan their trip based on yours!
Our recommended tours can be split onto three categories:
This is an example of a small group walking tour through the old town of Dubrovnik. Walking around the old town in smaller groups gives you the opportunity to see a lot of the city and ask your tourguide any questions you might have about this beautiful city. Also, it’s easier to hear what your guide has to say when you’re a smaller audience. There is also a similar walking tour in Spanish.
An interesting tour about Dubrovnik is this one hour ‘a story about the war’ tour. Most of the people coming to Dubrovnik had never heard of this city before Game of Thrones was aired. This tour will help you understand Dubrovnik’s turbulent history better. It aims to address some of the ‘misconceptions people had about the recent war’ while giving you first-hand accounts about what it is like to live in a besieged town.
Another sustainable equivalent of a big group tour is this small group photo tour that will take about three hours and brings you to all the most Instaworthy photo spots. Although it is very much an Instagram tour, it is a small group tour that makes you walk instead of ride though the city.
A blog about tours in Dubrovnik that ignores the importance of King’s Landing would be ridiculous, so here we go. When taking Game of Thrones tours, like with all other tours, we recommend smaller groups. That way you minimize the impact that your group has on the city. If you have deep pockets, you can choose this private Game of Thrones tour with transportation from and to the cruise terminal. If you’d rather spend the money elsewhere, better pick one of the tours displayed below:
Although we always recommend travellers to get skip-the-line tickets, we are not confident that this is needed in Dubrovnik (yet). If you want to make sure you won’t end up standing in any lines, it is possible to buy skip-the-line tickets for the city’s walls here. This ticket is valid for one day. After buying your ticket you will receive instant confirmation. We found that often though, there won’t be a line for this sight and you will easily get in through the regular selling point. Just remember, the earlier you arrive the smaller the chance on crowds.
You can also consider leaving the craziness of Dubrovnik behind for a day. There are plenty of options in Southern Croatia and beyond. For example a daytrip to Mostar in Bosnia or river rafting in Montenegro. Our favourite is this culinary tour in Majkovi, about 30 km away from Dubrovnik.
There are lots of options to escape the crowds in Dubrovnik and to explore the city wisely. You can find even more excursions and options with our affiliate partner. We are all about not contributing to big crowds, but if you can’t seem to escape the crowds, think about the best way to manouvre through them!