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Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the coastal city of Dubrovnik is just that. It is one of the most visited destinations along Croatia’s Adriatic coastline. This probably has something to do with its UNESCO World Heritage site status, but also because of its beaches. Its old walled city is one of its biggest draws and is completely pedestrianised, but a car is a great way to explore other destinations along the coast as well as the neighbouring countries of Bosnia and Montenegro.
Who to Book With
Well-known suppliers Sixt and Argus have branches right in the city alongside local outfitters Milenium and Euro Car Rental. A better selection of dealers can be found at the airport, where Budget, Avis and Alamo have offices. Booking car hire in Dubrovnik online before travel will get you the best rates and will ensure availability in the peak season.
Best Time to Go
Dubrovnik can be enjoyed year round though it is busiest between May and September. Between October and April, it can get rather chilly though some great deals can be had on the city’s luxurious hotels during these months. July and August see the most visitors and are consequently the most expensive months to visit.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents must be shown when collecting your vehicle:
- A valid UK licence or International Driving Permit
- Another form of identification, such as a passport
- The credit card that was used to book the car
- Booking confirmation, preferably printed
Driving in the old town is prohibited, while driving in the rest of Dubrovnik can prove to be difficult for newcomers due to the city’s steep and narrow streets. There are a few public car parks found outside of the old centre that are safe and the best choice for parking your car, while on-street spaces are clearly marked along with maximum length of stay and rates per hour. To pay for parking, drivers must purchase a parking coupon at a newsstand though it is also possible to pay using a mobile phone.
The coastal D8 state road links Dubrovnik to Bosnia before continuing into Croatia’s Dalmatia region. It also connects to the D414 road that travels on the Pelješac peninsula. There are plans to extend the A1 motorway from Vrgorac to Dubrovnik, which will provide a faster route into the city. The D8 and D414 are both toll-free roads, while the A1 motorway is a toll route.
Croatia’s state roads are indicated by blue signs with white numbers, while motorways are indicated by green signs. Driving from Dubrovnik northwest into the Dalmatia region requires passing though Bosnia so it is important to first check that you are able to bring your car there and whether you require a visa to enter.
The local Libertas Public Transport Company provides visitors with the best form of transportation for getting around Dubrovnik. The Cabrio Bus is a fun way to get around the city and is specifically designed for sightseeing, running from one side of the city to the other, but this bus only runs when the weather is nice. Yet having a car is the best way to get out of the city and enjoy stunning drives along the coast, while ferries can take you to Dubrovnik’s outlaying islands.
There are currently no railway lines in or out of Dubrovnik. The closest railway station is in Ploče, which is 62 miles away.
There are a number of taxi ranks in Dubrovnik that can be found in the busy areas of the city. Taxis run on metres, with rates starting at £2.80 and then costing £0.90 for each 0.62 miles driven thereafter. Charges for some destinations are fixed, such as the route from Gruž Harbour to the old city or from the old city to hotels along the coast. Rates for routes within the city cost up to £8.
Buses and Trams
Public buses are convenient and operate between dawn and midnight. Libertas Public Transport Company connects the city to other towns and villages in the area, and buses leave from the new Dubrovnik Bus Terminal. There are also daily buses to cities further away, including Zagreb, Split and Rijeka. Bus tickets can be bought on buses, at ticket kiosks, at the main bus station and at many hotels throughout the city. Tickets bought from bus drivers cost £1.70 or you can make a saving by purchasing one for £1.35 elsewhere. The best deal is a day pass, which is valid for 24 hours and costs £3.40. This pass must be validated on the first bus journey.
There are so many beautiful destinations that can be accessed from Dubrovnik, resulting in an abundance of opportunities for excursions. Coastal drives, national parks, shopping destinations and religious sites all make for fantastic daytrips, or drive to the Pelješac peninsula and go on a wine tasting tour. Visit historical landmarks, beautiful bays and old fortresses - the options for getting out of the city and exploring are endless.
Plitvice National Park - This is one of Europe’s most magnificent natural sites and extends for more than 184 square miles. It is made up of 16 interlinked lakes that are surrounded by forest and is home to picturesque cascading waterfalls and eagles, lynx, brown bears and lizards. This absolutely stunning park is best explored on foot.
Bay of Kotor - Located in neighbouring Montenegro is breathtaking, being home to fortified coastal towns, Baroque villages and beautiful beaches. It is well worth spending a night here. The drive along the coast is spectacular, with the Adriatic Sea on one side and the Konavle Valley on the other.
Peljesac Peninsula - Offers spectacular scenery and has a wealth of landmarks. Visit the fortress in Ston, the historical village of Janjina, Trpanj’s 18th century Church of St. Peter and Paul and the picturesque port town of Orebić or stop to take in the panoramic views along the D414 or to taste the peninsula’s fabulous wines.