The medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik, not an easy place to visit on a budget.

Dubrovnik On A Budget: Cheap Things To Do In A Tourist Hotspot

In need of cheap alternatives in Dubrovnik? Then read on!

Dubrovnik is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Europe, so it’s really no surprise that it’s an expensive place to visit – but is it possible to enjoy this majestic, beautiful city on a budget?

I was surprised at just how costly Dubrovnik is when I was there not so long ago, but I was determined to enjoy the city without it affecting my bank balance too much!

From beautiful scenic hikes with stunning views of the Dalmatian coast, to sunbathing on some of Dubrovnik’s gorgeously pristine beaches, I discovered that a trip here doesn’t have to cost the Earth.

In this blog post I’ll share with you some top tips on cheap things to do, proving that you can enjoy one of Europe’s most visited tourist destinations without spending a fortune.

Dubrovnik On A Budget

When visiting Dubrovnik you’ll soon discover that the cost of the main attractions in the Old Town especially are far from cheap.

Here’s an example of what you can expect to pay for some of the most popular tourist destinations in Dubrovnik:

  • Walking the city walls – 35 Euros
  • Tvrđava Minčeta Fortress – 35 Euros
  • Dubrovnik cable car ride – 27 Euros
  • Fort Lovrijenac – 15 Euros
  • Rector’s Palace – 12.70 Euros
  • Ferry to Lokrum Island – 7 Euros

Although I definitely recommend these top destinations, there are plenty of cheap alternatives if you don’t want to spend too much money.

The gorgeous historical streets in the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
The gorgeous historical streets in the Old Town of Dubrovnik.

Cheap Things To Do In Dubrovnik

Let’s take a look at what some of the cheapest things to do are in the tourist capital of Croatia:

1. Relax on a beach 🏖️

Dubrovnik is full of lovely beaches and you can easily spend a day or more relaxing and sunbathing which is obviously a free activity to do, unless you decide to hire a sunbed.

There are numerous beaches close by and further afield from the Old Town, and they all vary in terms of size and type; most beaches are pebbly but there are a few that have golden sands and clear blue waters.

Here are 3 beaches I visited during my stay in Dubrovnik that I personally recommend:

📍 Banje Beach: This is arguably the most popular beach in the whole city as it’s located very close to the centre. It’s just a short 5 minute walk from the Ploče Gate exit of the Old Town and ideal if you don’t want to travel too far.

Banje Beach, very close to the Old Town in Dubrovnik.
Banje Beach, very close to the Old Town in Dubrovnik.

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to spend some time at Banje Beach then I recommend getting there early, ideally in the morning.

This pebbly beach can get overcrowded at times, especially in the afternoon. It’s only 100 metres in length, so you don’t want to arrive here only to find the best sunbathing spots have already been secured.

There are bars and restaurants close by and the area turns into a party vibe as the sun sets and night time arrives, which is why it’s such a popular place with tourists and locals alike.

📍 Bellevue Beach: This beach is about a 20-25 minute walk away from the Old Town but is definitely worth it! I visited this beach and loved how peaceful and serene the area is.

There are some steep steps you have to descend to reach the beach area, which is quite small and pebbly, but the sea views are lovely and it’s a perfect place to relax and sunbathe for a couple of hours or longer.

Beautiful views from Bellevue Beach.
Beautiful views from Bellevue Beach.

📍 Danče Beach – This is one of the most hidden, secluded beaches in the city and only a short 5 minute walk from the centre as well, located just below Gradac Park.

When I visited it was very quiet with just a few tourists, and the rocky shoreline provides a very dramatic scenery with waves crashing in.

The only negative in my opinion is that it’s not really a beach and more of a rocky area – too rocky to really sit and sunbathe, but it is still a nice place to visit and very secluded.

The secluded but rocky Danče Beach.
The secluded but rocky Danče Beach.

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    2. Go hiking up Mount Srd ⛰️

    If you love hiking then I definitely recommend hiking up Mount Srd when in Dubrovnik. It’s free to do of course and the views of the Old Town and the Dalmatian coast from the top are awe-inspiring and totally worth the hike.

    The hike will take you around 45 minutes to 1 hour or slightly longer, depending on how fit you are and how fast or leisurely you decide to climb the hill.

    The hiking trail is quite gravelly and rocky in parts but is considered moderately easy to complete and is definitely worth it.

    If you don’t fancy the hike then you can take the Dubrovnik cable car to the top instead (which only takes 3 minutes!). This a fun ride that I enjoyed but is quite costly.

    Incredible views from the top of Mount Srd.
    Incredible views from the top of Mount Srd.

    At the top of Mount Srd there is a restaurant with some dramatically breath-taking views, based right next to the cable car station.

    I found this restaurant to be quite overly priced and very busy, so I would recommend booking a table in advance if you want to to sit, relax and soak up the amazing views here.

    Other scenic hiking trails

    Although Mount Srd is the most popular and well known hiking trail in Dubrovnik, there are several other trails which you may want to explore, including these 3 options:

    📍 Setnicia Walking Trail: Not too far away from the Old Town is a coastal path known as the Setnicia walking trail. This is a short but idyllic route with stunning views of the coast.

    📍 Velika and Mala Petka Forest Park: This nature park is right next to the coastline and features some steep paths in the Lapad neighbourhood of the city and is 2.3km in length.

    📍 Walking Trails Cavtat: The nearby town of Cavtat features several walking trails that have amazing views of the coast as well.

    3. Visit villages outside of the city

    Don’t just stay in the Old Town when in Dubrovnik! There are several fascinatingly quaint hidden gem villages and towns nearby that are cheap to visit and make for a refreshing change from the overcrowded scenes of the centre of the city.

    Here are 3 nearby towns that I recommend visiting:

    • Cavtat – this is a beautifully small village based just 20 kilometres south of Dubrovnik. It’s a nice change of pace from that city, much quieter and peaceful – full of forests and stunning coastal views.
    • Mlini – a perfect place if you’re looking for quiet beaches, this fishing village is located in between Dubrovnik and Cavtat and is renowned for it’s top quality restaurants.
    • Plat – and between both Cavtat and Mlini is the sleepy village of Plat, famous for it’s secluded pebble cove beach. This is the ideal place to escape the crowds of tourists from Dubrovnik.

    4. Don’t stay in the Old Town!

    Yes, the Old Town of Dubrovnik is definitely the main tourist destination in this city, and you’ll likely spend at least one full day wandering around the beautiful historical streets.

    However, if you want to save some money then I recommend finding accommodation that isn’t located in or around the Old Town. Obviously the closer you stay to the centre, the more costly it’s going to be.

    My accommodation was located several miles outside of the centre and the price of my stay was significantly cheaper. I actually stayed in the hillside area overlooking the Old Town which was a lot quieter and featured stunning views.

    5. Use public transport 🚌

    Dubrovnik has a really efficient bus service that runs throughout the city and this is the best option to save cash and getting around when visiting. I caught the buses during my visit and didn’t have any problems.

    There are 13 bus lines in total which are numbered and colour coordinated which can get a little confusing at times, but it’s definitely the cheapest choice for travelling outside of the city centre.

    Buses are the only option when it comes to public transportation in Dubrovnik. You can of course choose to hire a car or book taxis, but expect to pay a lot.

    6. Hire a bike 🚲

    Another cheap alternative and a great way to travel around the outskirts of the city is to hire a bike, with plenty of cycling routes along the coastline.

    There are several bike rental shops in and around the centre that have everything from mountain bikes to e-bikes, child bikes, tandems and more.

    7. Visit during the off peak season

    Of course, if you visit Dubrovnik during the peak season of the summer months, then your flight and accommodation is going to be a lot more expensive and the place will be absolutely heaving with tourists.

    I suggest visiting either during the spring or autumn months. I stayed in Dubrovnik at the end of April and experienced lovely sunny weather with good temperatures.

    Although the Old Town was still relatively crowded with tourists during my stay, my overall cost when it came to flights and accommodation were fairly cheap.

    👉Pro Tip: if you want to visit Dubrovnik at it’s quietest and cheapest, then your best bet is to go anytime between December to February. You’ll miss out on the summer sun but will benefit in terms of cost and less tourists.


    Dubrovnik FAQs

    Still not sure about visiting Dubrovnik because it’s so expensive? Allow me to answer some typical questions about Croatia’s tourist capital:

    How can you eat cheaply in Dubrovnik?

    My advice when it comes to buying food and drink in Dubrovnik is once again to avoid the Old Town. Of course, the odd meal and drink is fine, but expect to pay high prices for what should be cheap food or drink items.

    I had a couple of meals here and was quite shocked to discover the prices – not exaggerated prices but everything is generally overpriced and you certainly notice that you’re paying more for what you usually would.

    If you venture out of the centre then you’ll find plenty of good quality restaurants that are quieter and considerably cheaper.

    How many days should you visit Dubrovnik for?

    I recommend a stay in Dubrovnik for around 3-4 days, or at the very minimum 2 days.

    You really need a couple of days to explore just the medieval centre alone and make the most of all the interesting places and sights that it has to offer.

    After enjoying the centre, there are also a lot of day trips to stunningly gorgeous islands that you can take, not to mention nearby beaches to relax on and more.

    How much money do you need per day in Dubrovnik?

    This really depends on how many of the main tourist sites you want to see and experience during your visit. As mentioned, the most popular tourist attractions in the Old Town are quite costly, but admittedly worth seeing.

    When you add food and drink expenses on top of the ticket fees for these tourist hotspots, then you’re looking at spending at least 50 Euros a day, if not more.

    But, if you take my advice and try some of the alternative cheap things to do that I’ve listed in this blog post, then it is possible that you can still have a great time spending around 30 Euros – if you’re careful with your spending!

    Is Dubrovnik safe?

    Yes, in my personal experience I found Dubrovnik to be a very safe city and I had no issues whatsoever.

    Of course, petty crime does happen here as it is such a popular tourist destination with so many people visiting, so always be careful when it comes to your possessions and not carrying too much money on you.


    Conclusion: Dubrovnik On A Budget

    So that concludes everything you need to know when it comes to surviving Dubrovnik without much money.

    It is such a beautiful place but there is no getting away from the fact that it is overly priced when it comes to tourist attractions, accommodation and food and drink.

    However, whether you spend a day relaxing on a beautiful beach, going on a scenic hike or visiting a hidden gem coastal town close by, there are plenty of cheap alternatives as discussed in this post.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed reading though all the possible fun activities and things to do when visiting Dubrovnik on a budget, and feel inspired to see this unmissable city without the need to spend a fortune.

    Check out these other blog posts about Croatia:

    ➡️ 1 Day In Zadar: The Perfect Itinerary For Croatia’s Hidden Gem
    ➡️ Is Croatia Worth Visiting? 13 Awesome Reasons To Visit In 2024

    ➡️ Planning your trip? Here are my favourite resources:

    🏨 Accommodation: I recommend using Booking.com
    🚙 Rental Car: Use Discover Cars for the best car rental prices
    ❤️ Travel Insurance: I recommend using Visitors Coverage
    ✈️ Flights: Use Kiwi.com for the best prices on flights

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