“Avoid Dubrovnik” Claim Headlines, But Why?

Lauren Simmonds

avoid dubrovnik

May the 18th, 2024 – “Avoid Dubrovnik” is coming out in big bold letters in foreign media, but why? If you’ve spent any time down in the Pearl of the Adriatic in summer before, you might have guessed it.

Full confession. I lived in Dubrovnik for just over three years before moving to Zagreb. It’s hell in summer. I’m not going to sugar coat it. This gorgeous UNESCO city was simply not built for the sheer amount of people, let alone cars (which weren’t exactly around when the Ottomans were circulating these parts), that it welcomes each summer. The infrastructure cannot withstand the crowds, and for those who live there, simple tasks like going to the shop can become quite an… erm, adventure.

I don’t miss it. Dubrovnik is spectacular, it has a spirit and soul unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s unlike anywhere else in Dalmatia, also. But I don’t miss the traffic jams or the 45 minute journeys from one side of a very small city to the other. Nor do I miss the intense heat bouncing off the walls down onto Stradun like some sort of natural pizza oven as you try to slither through crowds of gelato grasping tourists.

Outside of the season? Dubrovnik is magical. Autumn is fantastic, and 80% of the people are gone. It seems that the mass tourism shackles the city has placed itself in won’t be shed soon, regardless of the Respect the City effort of late.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the British are frequent guests of many Croatian tourist destinations, but now they have started warning each other to avoid the aforementioned southern city this summer. “Avoid Dubrovnik” reads headlines. the warning to avoid Dubrovnik is primarily because of the huge crowds which, as they say, “sucked out all the pleasure of the trip”.

The Mirror notes that some scenes for popular films such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones were filmed in Dubrovnik, but they also state that during the tourist months, the city is very crowded. One user of the poplar platform Reddit warned others about the huge crowds in Dubrovnik and claimed that the city is worth visiting only if you can handle such crowds.

“We visited a lot of locations in Croatia a few summers ago, but they were packed with people! Not only cities, but also places like Plitvice Lakes! But for a reason – if you can stand the crowds, it’s worth going there,” said the user.

The Mirror goes on to write that Croatia, like its coast, is wonderful to visit, but that it has long been known as an overcrowded country. Could “avoid Dubrovnik” end up becoming “avoid Croatia” if we’re not careful?

Experts from Responsible Travel state that “Dubrovnik has become synonymous with overcrowding with tourists”, and this company also stated that “Dubrovnik is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world with incredibly picturesque streets”. However, they still advise travellers not to travel to Dubrovnik in the height of summer, meaning that the “avoid Dubrovnik” rhetoric is sadly spreading.


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