7 Reasons You Should Visit Dubrovnik in Autumn

Lauren Simmonds

Dubrovnik is autumn is one of the better choices one could make when it comes to post-season travel…

This may be a very unpopular opinion, but I’m no fan of summer in Dubrovnik, I live here all year round and I prefer any other time of year to the impossible crowds and heat summer brings, and I hope I’m not alone. Autumn or Fall, it depends where you’re from, but this season is undoubtedly the most underrated time to visit Croatia in general, the temperatures have dropped, the level of traffic (human or otherwise) has dropped and everyone can breathe a bit easier.

Here’s why you should abandon the usual June-August routine and consider taking up a September-November one.

1) The City Walls

The imposing city walls that usually boast a million people being herded along like sheep under the baking sun don’t have that much of an appeal to a lot of people when the air temperature resembles that of a microwave oven. When its already impossibly hot on the ground, why would you want to get even CLOSER to the sun?! Come mid September, that poor red faced, dehydrated crowd of selfie-stick draggers has dramatically thinned out. You can walk the walls at ease, with a gentle breeze and a few clouds keeping any sweat at bay, allowing you to thoroughly enjoy the incredible views and photo opportunities those tremendous walls offer at a comfortable body temperature, without running for shade, dodging too many other people or awkwardly trying to avoid accidentally being in their shots.

2) Stari Grad

Stradun, in Dubrovnik’s beautiful old town is arguably the most picturesque street in the world, it is a photogenic, awe-inspiring architects dream, it’s also much, much hotter in there than anywhere else in the area. The huge stone walls radiate the heat and cause it to become trapped, the huge amount of people creates a lot of extra body heat and before you know it you’re no longer looking at historical monuments or museums, you’re desperately looking for a place to cool down and drink something. Coming in the Autumn, you won’t have to deal with as many crowds or anywhere near as much heat. Autumn weather here is still sunny, still warm, but not hot, not sweaty and definitely not enough to distract you from all the incredible things Dubrovnik’s walled old town has to offer. You can comfortably navigate the tiny alleyways, visit Europes oldest working pharmacy, enjoy a traditional meal, see the Church of St. Blaise and appreciate the beauty of Stradun without overheating.

3) Mount Srdj

The cable car which takes you up Mt. Srdj is a fantastic ”must do” for tourists. The views from up there are second to none and the fact you can see the sea at one angle and see inland Bosnia and Herzegovina at another is quite special, but again, less so when under the unforgiving summer sun. The line for the cable car has no shade, is usually so long you can’t see the end of it, and the awkward positioning of it (next to a bus stop for both city buses and the airport shuttle bus) generates even more long queues of people. In the Autumn months, the queues are much more than 50% less, the restaurant (Panorama) at the top of Srdj is less crowded and under a beautiful breeze (or even wind, in some cases) allows you to walk around, enjoy the fact that you can see directly into BiH, take photographs, and appreciate the Homeland War Museum for all that it is. Srdj and its museum are indeed symbols and memorials for the horrendous attack Dubrovnik suffered during the 1990’s and they should be experienced at a leisurely, comfortable time in order to truly appreciate them.

4) Autumn is the driver friendly season

Dubrovnik is a city that was never designed to accomodate the amount of people that it does during summer, its geographical location causes infrastructure to struggle to cope with the sheer volume of traffic that summer brings. Hire cars with nervous drivers who can’t understand Dubrovnik’s admittedly confusing road system, foreign bus drivers at Pile gate who severely miscalculated the space their vehicles would have and people desperately trying to find anywhere to park are running themes here. Come Autumn, this problem halves almost overnight. Parking will be an eternal problem in Dubrovnik but traffic thins out more and more as each day passes after mid September, making traffic jams and endless lines of the dreaded DA license place (hire cars) become rare.

5) Hills, stairs and narrow streets

Dubrovnik’s streets are charming, the fact the entire city is pretty much on a mountainside is amazing and the stairs are, well, daunting for many. The steep staircases will never go away, but the heat which makes them all the more loathsome does. Providing you are able bodied, in Autumn, you can easily climb the steps without much effort, and you will naturally stumble upon areas and places you hadn’t before. Lovers of nature and hiking will also breathe much easier during this season, as the beautiful Konavle region with all its rolling hills, trails and mountains become bathed in light cloud and cooler air temperatures, allowing you to enjoy it for all it is worth.

6) Banje Beach

The city beach known as Banje (formerly East West) is so crowded during summer that you can barely move. For those of us who live here, it is an absolute no go before October, but for many visitors it is the easiest, most accessible place to jump in the sea for a cool-down session as many of Dubrovnik’s best beaches and swimming areas are either hotel owned or quite far out, the closest being in Lapad and Babin Kuk which are on the other side of the city. Banje boasts parasailing, kayaking, a bar and restaurant and many other activities, but the small area is covers causes it to become incredibly crowded and as I mentioned before, completely unappealing if you have other options. During Autumn this mass of beach goers and cocktail drinkers vanishes quite significantly, and come October, you can enjoy it with only a handful of other people, the ability to talk without shouting, the comfort of a nice air temperature and the fantastic views of island Lokrum and the old town.

7) Public transport

Anyone who knows what Pile Gate is like between June and August knows what I’m talking about here. According to safety guidelines, the capacity of a local city bus is 73 seated, and approximately 21 standing. The bus driver doesn’t care, and he will allow you to stand blocking the exit and shove a few unsuspecting kids onto the dashboard to make as much room as possible, totally ignoring the fact that this is entirely unsafe and actually completely against the law. You’ll notice his stickers of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and a few rosaries hanging from the mirror, and as the handbrake comes off, you’ll soon realise why you may need even more than just divine intervention. It’s hot, sticky, it takes forever to get anywhere and the driver insists on picking up yet more people and somehow fitting them in. In Autumn, you’ll comfortably share a bus with a handful of tourists and a few locals, they’ll arrive roughly on time, you’ll actually be able to feel the air conditioning and you’ll enjoy what is actually a very scenic and pleasant coastal journey, an appreciation you wouldn’t have if you were spending your time trying not to fall over or accidentally step on a kid.

So there you have it, the admittedly rather cynical but completely truthful recommendations of a resident. Summer here is beautiful for very many, but it is not a friend for the city due to the sheer volume of people. Autumn is unforgivably underrated, nicer, even more beautiful, and allows you to experience what Dubrovnik is really about, and not just the mask it wears for three months of the year.

See you in Autumn?


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