Dubrovnik on a budget

Discover affordable ways to explore the city of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, and stunning architecture. However, planning in advance is advisable for budget-conscious travellers! In this article, we will show you 23 ways to explore Dubrovnik without breaking the bank.

Dubrovnik has a rich history that dates to the 7th century. It was an important trade centre during the Middle Ages and a major maritime power during the Republic of Ragusa. The city is surrounded by walls that were built in the 13th century to protect it from invaders. Today, Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination.

While we agree travelling can be expensive, it is easy to enjoy Dubrovnik and all that the city has to offer without spending a fortune. Many attractions are budget-friendly or even free, so prepare yourself to have a great time exploring our beautiful city with the help of this quick guide.

Old Town & Old Port

Dubrovnik has many free activities and attractions that are perfect for budget-conscious travellers. One of the most popular is walking around the Old Town and Old Port. Town is full of beautiful streets, palaces and buildings that are real treats for the eyes, especially if you’re a history lover. Old Port feels like someone transported you into the movie scene, it is spectacular. Sitting on a wooden bench and enjoying a gelato while admiring the view is probably the most popular way of experiencing it. For a great gelato visit Pepino’s or Gianni’s, both are amazing and have gluten free and vegan options.

Dubrovnik churches

Another free activity that is a truly remarkable experience is church hopping. Dubrovnik is a home to numerous magnificent church budlings such as the Jesuit Church, Church of St. Blaise or the Cathedral, all beautiful examples of Baroque architecture, the Church of St. Dominic a part of the Dominican Monastery that is an amazing work of gothic architecture, or the Church of St. Francis, that is a part of Franciscan monastery.

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Photo credit: Home Box Office

Game of Thrones filming sites

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, visiting filming locations and taking photos is a fun thing to do. Be sure to research in advance where the locations are exactly, or better yet, get lost searching for them, it’s free and fun! If you feel like you’re into more in-depth tour of the GOT sites, you can opt for many of the Game of Thrones walking tours offered by various tourist agencies.

Dubrovnik museums             

The Rector’s Palace is an affordable attraction that is very much worth visiting. Entrance fee is 15€. It was the seat of power during the Republic of Ragusa and now houses a Cultural History Museum. It is a magnificent building with a beautiful atrium that hosts classical music concerts almost every night during the summer season.

If you would love to visit more than one Dubrovnik Museum, it is a good idea to purchase a joint ticket that costs 20€ and includes passes to Cultural History Museum, Maritime Museum in Fort St John, Ethnographic Museum in the Rupe/Holes granary, Archaeological exhibitions in Revelin Fort, House of Marin Držić, Dubrovnik Natural History Museum, The Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, Gallery Dulčić Masle Pulitika and Studio Pulitika.

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Dubrovnik pass           

If you plan on visiting many of Dubrovnik’s attractions, consider purchasing a city pass or discount card. The Dubrovnik Card offers free admission to most of the city’s museums and attractions, the City Walls, as well as discounts on transportation and certain restaurants.

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Cablecar ride to Srđ               

A cable car ride to the top of Mount Srđ for breath-taking views of the city and surrounding area is something worth experiencing. The cost of the cable car is 27€ for a round trip, but the views are priceless. Once you are on Srđ you can hike around and admire true Dalmatian wild scenery with sage, rosemary and other fragrant herbs growing everywhere around. For a more affordable option you can opt to buy one way ticket up at a price of 15€, and hike down the well-marked hiking trail back to the city. If this is more your cup of tea be sure to bring good hiking shoes because the trail down is slightly challenging.

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Homeland War Museum      

The Dubrovnik Homeland War Museum on the Srđ Hill is an absolute must-visit for anyone interested in the history of the Dubrovnik in 1991 war. The museum is a fascinating insight into the events that took place during the war and the bravery of those who fought for their homeland. The exhibits are incredibly moving, thought-provoking and provide a real understanding of the impact that the war had on the people of Dubrovnik. It’s a testament to the bravery of those who fought for their country, and it’s a reminder of the importance of remembering the history.

The entrance fee is 4€, and it can be reached either with the cable car, with a cab/car, with the bus no. 17 to Bosanka which requires a 20-minute walk up the hill to reach the museum, or you can opt to hike all the way up the hill from the city which is the cheapest but also physically most demanding way. The hike up is beautiful so it’s worth the effort, however, do try to hike up as early as possible since it gets very hot very early in the day during the summer season.

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War Photo Limited     

Dubrovnik is home to one of the most captivating war photo galleries in the world, War Photo Limited Dubrovnik. This gallery is a must-visit for photography enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The collection of photographs on display are a stark reminder of the horrors of war and the human cost of conflict. The gallery features a range of exhibits that showcase the works of some of the most renowned war photographers from around the world. The images on display capture the raw emotions and struggles faced by soldiers and civilians caught in the crossfire. The War Photo Limited Dubrovnik is a powerful tribute to the courage, resilience, and sacrifice of people affected by war.

There is a few options for entrance fees, a single ticket is 10€, student ticket is 6€ and for groups of 10 or more it’s 7€ per person.

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Sponza Palace

 The Sponza Palace, an iconic Gothic-Renaissance structure in Dubrovnik, was built by Paskoje Miličević in the 16th century and served as an arsenal and mint. The central wall bears the inscription “We are forbidden to cheat or falsify measures, and when I weigh goods, God himself is weighing them with me.” The Palace was the City’s most vital commercial hub and later became a meeting place for members of the Academy of the Learned. Today, it houses the Dubrovnik Archives, one of Europe’s richest. Sponza is an amazingly beautiful work of architecture, with a breath-taking atrium that is ideal for taking vacation photos. In addition, Sponza hosts the Memorial Room with portraits of brave young soldiers who lost their lives defending the city during the Homeland War in 1991. Admission is free.

Big Onofrio Fountain

Dubrovnik’s stunning Onofrio fountain is a must-see tourist attraction. Built by an Italian architect in the 15th century, the fountain boasts 16 water taps around its circumference and channels water from an aqueduct 12km away. But it’s not just a pretty sight – the fountain serves as a refreshing oasis for travellers. Located right inside the main gate, visitors can fill up their bottles with fresh drinkable water or simply cool off from the hot Dubrovnik summers, making it one of the city’s coolest spots to quench your thirst and take a break from summer heat.

Dubrovnik Public transportation system      

Dubrovnik public transportation system is a great choice for travellers who want to explore the city like a local. The Libertas busses make it easy for everyone to move around and enjoy the beautiful sights of Dubrovnik without much hassle. With frequent services running throughout the day, you can plan your itinerary without worrying about transportation or your wallet since the tickets are quite affordable. You have a few options, either getting a one ride ticket in the bus for 2€ or buying a whole day ticket at a price of 5.5€, or 3 day ticket at a price of 12€, either on one of the Libertas stands around the city or online. If you’re more of a sporty type you can also walk around, it takes you less then an hour to get from one end of the city to another.

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Green Market

Dubrovnik green market is another must-visit place, that is completely free to wonder around. Together with being an amazing Dalmatian lifestyle experience, this market is a paradise for people who love fresh fruits and vegetables. It is filled with local farmers selling locally grown fresh produce that you won’t find anywhere else. At affordable prices you can purchase smaller amounts of fruits and veggies and experience the amazing taste of real homegrown foods that are nothing like the produce you buy at the supermarkets.

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Kayaking around Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik kayaking is a great and affordable way to experience the stunning beauty of the city’s coastline in a different way than simply walking around. You can rent a kayak from the Banje Beach Watersports located on the Banje Beach and simply wonder around and enjoy amazing scenery and coastline.

Visit to the Island of Lokrum           

A visit to the island of Lokrum, city’s most popular nature reserve, is an amazing day trip just a short ferry ride away from the crowds of Dubrovnik. If you pack your picnic bag and bring your own drinks, this trip becomes quite affordable full day adventure.

Lokrum is surrounded by crystal clear waters and there’s pine trees forest covering the entire island. You can spend the day lounging in the olive grove, snorkelling and checking out historic ruins and a Benedictine Monastery. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, visit to the Iron Throne in the monastery will definitely be a fun thing to do. You can even have your picture taken in the throne.

There are plenty of short and easy hiking trails to follow, offering breath-taking views of the Adriatic Sea and the nearby Dubrovnik’s Old Town. What sets Lokrum apart from other crowded beach destinations is the sense of peace and tranquillity that permeates the island. The only sounds you’ll hear are the gentle waves lapping against the shore and the crickets in the trees.

Boats leaves every half an hour from the Old Port, and the price for a round trip that includes the entrance fee to the reserve is around 30€.

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Cheap eats in Dubrovnik

Eating out in Dubrovnik doesn’t have to be expensive, there are plenty affordable options available. A very popular spot to eat fried fish and simple seafood dishes is restaurant Kamenice located on the Gundulić Square, just near the Green Market. At the restaurant Taj Mahal you can get certain traditional Bosnian delicacies such burek, at affordable prices. Close to Taj Mahal you have Mirakul pizzeria serving traditional Napolitano pizza, and Spaghetteria Toni offering typical Italian pasta dishes, all at reasonable prices. Vegedub will have you covered if you are looking for more healthier options such as delicious salads and smoothies, while Guloso food bar serves typical street food with an emphasize on burgers. For a heartier meal, you can opt for Cantina Mexicana located at the Uvala Bay Promenade, serving Mexican cuisine and drinks.

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The most affordable is going local style, simply go to the supermarket, buy some smoked pancetta, 1 or 2 Gavrilović pates, and some bread, a few fresh home-grown tomatoes from the Green Market, and a bottle of a nice local red. Enjoy this simple but delicious meal at the beach and just chill.

Shopping for souvenirs in Dubrovnik on a budget

Suppose you need to buy 10-20 authentic gifts for friends and family to bring back from your amazing Dubrovnik holiday, you certainly want to bring them something great and authentic without spending a fortune. Even with souvenir shopping there are ways to save money. Here are a few recommendations that we think you will like.

Gundulić Square Market is great for affordable hand-made souvenirs and delicacies.

Dubrovačka Kuća is one of the most famous souvenir shops, it has a huge variety of authentic hand-made-in-Dubrovnik products at low prices.

House of Nature sells hand-made organic cosmetics, with a great choice of affordable but still high-quality products.

KAWA is a lifestyle shop with a huge choice of hand-made Croatian products, with prices ranging from quite affordable to quite expensive, but in the mishmash of things they offer you are sure to find many cheap and affordable products.

Clara Stones is a high-end coral jewellery shop. But don’t let it scare you because they have numerous beautiful items at affordable prices that make ideal gifts, such as Adriatic coral bracelets, earrings, rings and pins.

Game of Thrones memorabilia shops are an excellent choice for all the Game of Thrones fans. They have a big choice of affordable GOT souvenirs that will for sure make a great addition to anybody’s Game of Thrones collection.

Watch a movie at the Kino Jadran

Kino Jadran, Dubrovnik’s oldest open cinema provides a beautiful backdrop for movie watching and an unforgettable night of entertainment. The Jadran cinema has been a beloved spot for locals and tourists for decades. Not only do you get to enjoy the latest movies, but you also get to do so under the stars surrounded by palaces and centuries old buildings. And the best part? It’s affordable!

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Day Trips from Dubrovnik

There are many affordable day trips from Dubrovnik that are worth taking.

Town of Cavtat

Most popular option is a trip to the nearby Town of Cavtat, which is a beautiful small Dalmatian town full of beautiful beaches, caffes and restaurants. It has a rich history and beautiful architecture. You can take a boat ride from the Dubrovnik Old Port with one of the regular boat lines, and simply have an ice-cream while enjoying stunning sunset from the Cavtat promenade.

Trsteno Arboretum

Another great trip to take from Dubrovnik is trip to Trsteno Arboretum. Besides being an amazing botanical garden and a tranquil nature escape, Trsteno is also one of the Game of Thrones filming sites, so fans can appreciate this aspect of Trsteno as well. Entrance fees are around 10€ and easiest way to getting there is either driving if you’re with a car or taking one of the regular bus lines from the main bust station at Kantafig (Autobusni Kolodvor). Bus tickets are around 5€.

Trsteno is also a very charming village with a beautiful rocky beach and plenty of places for a picnic, so it’s ideal for a whole-day tour.

Elaphiti Islands

A very popular day-tour is also a visit to the Elaphiti Islands that will give you the opportunity to explore the stunning beauty of a typical Dalmatian landscape and a great insight into our lifestyle. The Elaphiti islands boast crystal-clear waters, picture-perfect beaches, and rich cultural heritage. Embarking is at  Jadrolinija boat in the Gruž Port. It takes a little over an hour to reach the furthest island. Ticket price is around 3€ one way. There are three islands, Koločep, Lopud and Šipan so you need to decide which one to visit since you do not have enough time to see them all in one day. Each has its charms, Koločep is small, intimate and peaceful with nice beaches and beautiful hiking trails. Lopud is lively, with lots of caffes and restaurants, and a popular Šunj beach ideal for kiddos. Šipan is the furthest one hence least touristy. It’s an absolute tranquil gem with several great restaurants serving amazing dalmatian food. Beaches are very intimate, and you can almost always find a spot for just you.

Your Black Horizon Art Pavillion on Island of Lopud  

The Art Pavilion by Olafur Eliasson and David Adjaye is a stunning blend of contemporary art and architecture nestled in an orchard of cypress, carob, and olive trees on the outskirts of Lopud village. As you step inside the pavilion, you’re greeted with a mesmerizing light installation that captures the ever-changing colours of Lopud’s horizon over 24 hours, condensed into a breath-taking 15-minute LED display played in complete darkness. Originally showcased at the Venice Biennale in 2005, the installation found its permanent home here, and it’s a must-visit for art and architecture enthusiasts. Take a stroll through the orchard and soak in the magical experience of art and nature intertwined in perfect harmony. The admission is free so be sure not to miss this unique experience.

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Linđo Folklore Dance

Another affordable and unique cultural experience in Dubrovnik is the Linđo folklore dance! This traditional dance has been passed down for generations to generations and is a must-see when visiting the city. Linđo folklore dances are performed at the historic Lazareti venue, which adds to the authenticity and charm. The dancers are incredibly talented and passionate about their craft, wearing hand-made folklore costumed that are breath-taking. This is truly one-of-a-kind experience you shouldn’t miss. Entrance fee is 30€ and the performances are scheduled most days of the week during the summer season.

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Feed the pigeons on the Old City’s Green Market

Pigeon-feeding in Dubrovnik is an absolute must! The city has a tradition of feeding the birds at noon sharp at the Green Market. It’s a sight to behold as they flutter around, waiting to be fed. This is a great photo opportunity so get your camera ready and grab some delicious bread or seeds, and feed-away! Pigeon-feeding in Dubrovnik is an experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Go swimming at any beach you want!

Dubrovnik is the ultimate beach lover’s paradise! With unrestricted access to the city’s beaches, you can take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea without spending a dime. While some hotels and restaurants may lease a portion of the beach for their sun loungers and refreshment stands, you can still lay your beach towel out and enjoy the sand and sun at no cost. Dubrovnik boasts stunning beaches, including Banje Beach for those who enjoy water sports, Sveti Jakov Beach for a more secluded experience, and Copacabana Beach for a lively atmosphere. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your towel and head out to explore the beautiful beaches of Dubrovnik without breaking the bank!

Snorkelling in the Adriatic

If you are into adventures, then snorkelling in Dubrovnik is a must-try experience. The crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea offer a perfect location for snorkelling. Dubrovnik snorkelling is a great way to explore the underwater world and it’s absolutely free! You can grab your snorkel gear and dive into the serene waters of the Adriatic Sea and witness the exciting and friendly marine life that is hidden beneath.