By Karlie Marrazzo
There comes a point in every trip where you have a moment of regret, whether it’s about your accommodations, the restaurant you went to for dinner, or, unfortunately, the entire town you chose to stay in. I had that moment for three days in Dubrovnik.
On the day we drove to Dubrovnik, my husband and I woke up in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovia. We ate our DIY breakfast of yogurt, fruit and pastries on the bank of the Neretva River, gazing up at Stari Most one more time. The most common route from Mostar to Dubrovnik is the highway that runs along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. We decided to take the road less traveled and try the highway that runs mostly through the interior of Bosnia, taking us through the Serb territory of the Republic of Srpska.
Our first interesting stop was at the Radimlja necropolis outside the town of Stolac. The necropolis isn’t very big, with 63 tombstones scattered about with the highway cutting right through. There was no entrance fee, no workers at a gate, and only a faded sign giving a few paragraphs of information. The tombstones are striking, bright white, some of them coming up to my waist and others standing six feet tall, all with intricate designs carved into them. Unfortunately the necropolis is an endangered site due to nearby construction. Soon after we officially entered the Republic of Srpska. The land was sparse and dry, reminding me of the American Southwest. The road was well maintained and we rarely passed another car. There wasn’t much along the highway aside from unfortunate amounts of garbage and a few skinny cows grazing along the side of the road. I kept my eyes peeled for the small Orthodox chapels tucked along the roadside and did spot one. There were a few gravestones set around it, and a small alter for prayer inside. We passed through the town of Trebinje but sadly didn’t give ourselves time to stop and have a look around.
Crossing the border back into Croatia was much the same as when we entered Bosnia. As soon as we crossed that imaginary line, the scenery seemed to shift. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter and the view before us immediately opened up on the old town of Dubrovnik perched on the sparkling Adriatic Sea.
Lets just say that I didn’t fall in love with Dubrovnik. It is an absolutely beautiful city and nobody can dispute that. It is almost too beautiful, perfectly restored and maintained, without so much as a cigarette butt on the ground. There are no signs that there was a war here as recent as the early 90s. And there are So. Many. Tourists. I know what you’re thinking – “But you’re a tourist!” Yes, that is true. But I am not one of the thousands of cruise ship day-trippers that infiltrate the tiny Old Town each and every day. It seems like the only Croatians who are in the Old Town are the ones who are renting out their apartments to overnighters, and the ones serving your meals and selling tacky souvenirs. We spent all of our time in the Old Town and probably should have ventured out for a change of scenery.
I had read many praises for Croatia’s beaches, so I was excited to finally get some R&R time and soak up some rays. Dave and I went to Banje Beach, just outside of the city walls. The beach club was charging an arm and a leg for a chair and umbrella, so we laid out our borrowed towels on the rocky beach. It was pretty crowded and the midday sun was scorching, so we only spent an hour there.
One of the very best things we did in Dubrovnik was see a photo exhibit called War Photo Limited. Their aim is to “educate the public in the field of war photography, to expose the myth of war and the intoxication of war, to let people see war as it is, raw, venal, frightening, by focusing on how war inflicts injustices on innocents and combatants alike.” There was a great set on the Bosnian War in Mostar. It’s hard to describe how I felt looking at photos of a city I was in that very morning, that I fell in love with, in ruins, while standing in another city not too far away that doesn’t show any battle scars and is flourishing. Seeing that sharp contrast visually while being there physically was very jarring and unsettling.
We also spent quite a few hours at a rocky pseudo-beach bar, hanging on the side of a cliff on the other side of the city walls. To get there we walked down a small pathway along the inside of the wall, eventually coming to a tiny doorway. You wouldn’t know what it was for or go through it if you weren’t looking for it, unless you were intrigued by the faint beats coming from the other side. There are a few tables perched along the rocks, and lots of people had towels spread out directly on the rocks, bringing drinks down from the bar and diving into the deep Adriatic Sea to cool off. It also seemed to be a hangout for a few of the city’s stray cats, who would stretch out luxuriously absorbing the heat from the rocks. It was quite idyllic, gazing into the deep blue waters of the sea, sipping on radler, chatting and soaking up the heat.
That evening we ended up in an Irish pub to watch Croatia play in a World Cup qualifier against Serbia. We’ve watched many national games abroad when the home country is playing and it’s usually a fun, exciting atmosphere. We also thought it might make for an interesting game based on the two teams involved. The pub was showing four different matches on six TVs, so different groups of people were cheering and reacting at different times, which was odd. The game wasn’t very exciting so we ditched out at half time. This probably had something to do with the fact that there was only one Croatian guy in the entire bar.
The next day we paid 90 kuna each ($16 CAD) to walk along the top of the city walls. Talk about a tourist trap! The views over the bright orange rooftops and the sparkling diamond sea were pretty, and the exercise was nice, but the price was way too high. I’m not saying $16 isn’t a lot of money, but I felt that the price was too high for the experience that I had. For comparison, I hiked for three and a half hours on the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China in 2012 and only paid 50RMB = $8.50 CAD.
I’m not knocking Dubrovnik as a city. It is historic and gorgeous and it deserves to prosper. It would be a fantastic place to have a perfect Adriatic vacation – sun, beaches, drinks, and dancing – if the streets weren’t choked with people every single day. I think this is exactly what Dubrovnik was like 10 or so years ago, but it got “discovered” and has now fallen prey to mass tourism.
55 thoughts on “Goodbye undiscovered Bosnia. Hello overhyped Dubrovnik.”
It is a shame what has happened. I first went to Dubrovnik in 1995. The war was still on and it was definitely not crowded. the serbs had shelled the city from the tops of the surrounding hills, taking a toll on the red-roofed homes. I think they were under seige for something like 16 months…smuggling in food by boat from Italy and elsewhere. So I guess they deserve some prosperity but when the cruise ships land it definitely takes away the charm.
Dubrovnik is on of the rare cities in the country that actually boosts Croatia’s economy, and cruise ships are a big contribution. I would gladly sacrifice charm if it helps people make a decent living. I understand from a tourist’s point of view, but i am no tourist in Dubrovnik and i think it’s all good.
I lucked out when I saw the city 11 years ago as there were few tourist s.
Another piece of excellent writing.
I live in the vicinity of Dubrovnik, in Dubrovnik-Neretva County…and I feel very bad since you have not experienced the real Dubrovnik, its history, museums, churches; since you have not visited the charming Island of Lokrum,it takes only 20 minutes by boat..with beautiful cave, botanical garden and hundreds of peacocs wandering all around the island. I am really sorry for every tourist being dissapointed by Dubrovnik and prices, and that is really true, I often say that if one wants to have a cup of coffe at Stradun, should take a loan:). But everything else you sais is really-not so true.When you come to such city and not feeling as ‘typical tourist’ you should explore more than ‘ordinary tourist’. You have internet pages about exploring the different Dubrovnik, its rich history, palaces, golden art work….beaches are wanderful but you have to take a boat trip or car, just 15 minutes away of Dbk and so on…on..A lot of Croatian people, and many of us who lived and went do Dubrovnik University feel really bad reading such blog because arguments are not sufficient. And superficial.
Thank you for your comment Laura. I agree that I did not see everything Dubrovnik has to offer as I only had three days to spend there. Like I said in my post, Dubrovnik is a very beautiful city with a rich history, and everyone I met who lived there was very friendly and helpful. I think it comes down to the cruise ship passengers flooding the city and making it very crowded. If I ever get a chance to visit Dubrovnik again, I will certainly explore off the beaten track some more.
It’s a shame you did not stop in Trebinje, as you said. It is actually another historical, yet “undiscovered” town, where the hostirocial crossroad position is refelcted on its archiecture – Byzantium, Mediterranean, Austrian, Ottoman influence, a small but well-maintained old town, a gorgeous natural garden-cafe, surrounded by 16 tall platani (maple?) trees…It is not as spectacular and gorgeous as Dubrovnik, but is a pearl in its own and certainly not overcrowded with tourists…And, as a person who is from Trebinje and born in Dubrovnik, I’ll tell you…you should have asked someone from the region about WHEN to visit this place. July and August are the WORST months to come to see Dubrovnik, because it is the peak of the season and the City, as you said, is too much overcrowded (as it was in the past, before the war). But nobody told you that you come in September or October…or even later. It is a compeltely different story and one can see those who really live in the old town. Same with Trebinje – tourists from cruisers and Montenegro have begun inviding it in the summer months, but for the rest of the rest of the season – it is beautiful. Also, you should have visited some of the islands, like Mljet…a paradise. And barely anybody there, even in the summer season. I personally avoid Dubrovnik in July and August, but for the remaining pf the year – it is still the paradise 🙂 Cheers from Trebinje.
Thanks for the tips Dragan! I really liked Montenegro so I’m hoping to return sooner than later, and when I do I will definitely stay in Trebinje and some more of the places I did not visit last time.
Regarding Dubrovnik, I was actually there in mid-September! My husband and I were in Europe for a month total, also visiting Italy and some other places, and September is a very good time of year to visit Italy. So unfortunately it was the only time of year we were able to visit Dubrovnik and it was still quite busy. If we ever return we’ll try to go in the off season!
I was there in the end of September, 2014 and the town was packed like sardines.
That are the reasons I’m not offering Dubrovnik in my itineraries.My groups are staying in the Sibenik/Trogir region and have 1 day on theit own and can visit Dubrovnik.
My croatian heart is bleeding watching what is happening with his town and the Dalmatian coastal region.
I live for and of the tourists, I love to show and share as much of my home country but I never will go to tourist traps or sell my country out.
So start chargeig the cruise passengers entry fees, min 40US$, they are destroying the town, the society and people who wants to travel these places, not just take a pic for instagram.
This is a bit twisted side of the story, as Dubrovnik is not always crowded. If you really want to see it and enjoy it without hords of tourists, you can come Oct – May, it is a lot less crowded. But then, if you want to be there in the peak season, you can’t really blame Dubrovnik for being crowded because – it is the peak season!
Hi Mara – I was actually in Dubrovnik in mid-September. My husband and I were in Europe for a month total and this was the only time we were able to visit Dubrovnik.
Hello there. I live in Croatia and I must say I totally agree with you about Dubrovnik. And, most of the Croatians think the same – the cruise ships ruined this town. The local government sees the problem the same way and thinks about limiting the number of cruisers to accept. Economically, the profit of these ‘one day tourists’ is not as big as one might expect and it seems that we have to worry about sea pollution and overcrowded streets more than about anything else.
I never been to Dubrovnik; it was always expensive, I can only imagine how expensive it is now. I also agree that charging 90 kunas for the old town tour is really too much.
Only one thing is important to know about Dubrovnik – this city is really, really stunning and unique- you payed only 16 CAD for world famous Unesco protected monument from 7th century . Dubrovnik is full of tourists because is starting to be famous around the world, so if you are looking town off the beaten path this is not that place.
My advice don’t go there if you are traveling on low and tight budget.
Hi Wanda. I knew that Dubrovnik was a popular tourist destination so I thought I was pretty prepared for it. After all, I have been to many other world famous cities as well. I think it’s because the old town is very small and there are so many cruise ship passengers, so it seems even more crowded. I travel on an average budget, so it’s not that I can’t afford things. I just found things to be overpriced as they are in many other tourist destinations. Dubrovnik is very gorgeous and the people I met were friendly and helpful.
As someone said, wrong timing. I am a native and I avoid the Old city for the entire period of those two months. And so do most of the natives.
Hi Karlie, I’m really sorry you didn’t get to experience Dubrovnik with a little less tourists. I’ve been there several times and it was always mid spring when its not so crowded and the weather is just perfect. Not too cold not too hot. Of course, I loved it. What caught my attention was not your disappointment with Dubrovnik being overcrowded (for which I couldn’t agree more with you) but the statement that 90 kn is too much for a walk on the city walls. I am a Croat and, trust me, our salaries are way lower than European or Canadian. However I couldn’t disagree more with you regarding the price for a walk. The wall is very old and needs to be maintained all the time. This is partly financed through the tickets. I don’t think that this is such a high price when you consider how much it needs to be invested into constant restoration. I really hope that this not-such-a-thrilling experience will not stop you from visiting Croatia again because there are still a lot of spots that are left unspoiled by mass tourism.
Nicely said 🙂
Thanks for your well-written comment Matea. I appreciate your input.
I think the whole thing with the cost for the city walls is a vicious circle – there are so many tourists that the cost to maintain the walls and other tourist attractions is probably quite high. However, due to the fact that there is such a sheer volume of tourists, the people who run the businesses and tourist attractions know they can get away with charging more for said attractions because there are just so many people coming. You can’t blame people for trying to earn a living, absolutely. However, I didn’t feel that the price charged for the walls was fair for the experience that I had walking the walls, partly because it was very crowded, even early in the morning. I can certainly afford $16 CAN and traveling in Europe is more expensive than other parts of the world. I love Europe and I have no problem paying money to visit there, but the experience of walking the city walls did not reflect the price I paid. Add to that the fact that you could buy your ticket at 8 o’clock in the morning, but if you leave the walls, you cannot re-enter. Why not? The ticket should be good for the whole day in my opinion.
As my husband and I drove through Croatia, we did see how stunningly beautiful the countryside and the coast are. I would truly love to visit some of the more untouched parts of Croatia one day.
Dubrovnik is really one of the European historic cities. It was not only a city in its past but a state with surrounding areas included. It was a free Republic and it boasted its freedom. Those were times when Canada wasn’t still discovered and inhabited. So in times when Venetian Republic ruled the Mediterranean and the Ottoman Empire (Turks) ruled the Eastern Europe, the Republic of Dubrovnik was a state of freedom and independence. It has produced many scientists and novelists who contributed to the European culture. The Republic of Dubrovnik had an important role in trade with Asia and Europe, and at one point in time it had more ships than Veneitan Republic. So it developed the mastery in architecture, arts, that is it contributed to the European civilization in producing knowledge and culture. Knowledge and culture that spread across Europe which all contributed to the first European settlements in North America. Also, the Republic of Dubrovnik had established diplomatic relations with the USA as soon as US got its independence in 1776. So, from that historical perspective 16 CAD $ is not a fortune wasted to have a walk on the historic walls of Dubrovnik. That is the price that some museums in Canada charge just to see an exhibtion.
Hi Karlie, I totally agree with your comments with regard to Dubrovnik. We were there in October 2013 staying in an apartment in the old town. Dubrovnik is absolutely beautiful, but way to many cruise ship day trippers. Everyday our goal was to get up early, see what we could before the hoards of people arrived from these cruise ships. As the day progressed we tried to find quiet places to hide from the maddening crowds. The shops no longer sell local fare, the local market almost non existant, the old town caters to the wants of the cruise ship passengers which to me is destroying the local culture. A lot of similarities to what is happening in Venice all due to the influx of cruise ships.
Dear miss Wanderlust,
Some time visit to roots of civilization is costly. Try to visit Venice or Rome and you will feel same. If you need something cheap, europe is not definitely place to go.
Hi Pero. As I said to Matea, I love Europe and I know that it is more expensive to travel there than to other destinations in the world, and I don’t have a problem for that. I just felt that the charge to walk to city walls was overpriced based on the experience that I had.
I thought the price as too high before I visited Florenze, which is absolutely beautiful but where you have to basically cough up 10€ each time you want to take a breath.
So no, now I don’t think the prices are that high. Everyone else is charging big money for visiting popular historical monuments, so I think Dubrovnik should be allowed to do that to.
That does not excuse overpriced cofee and beach amenities, though, but those can freely be skipped.. 🙂
Karlie, I’m a Canadian Croatian and do understand a little of what you mean but I have to say this. When I have out of town guests visit me here in Vancouver it can cost me anywhere from $6 to $20 just to park my car. If I take them to Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, Whistler…or just a beach it will easily cost me at least $20.
I think you had a poor experience because you didn’t have the time to absorb enough, relax and take in the scenery…1 hour at a beach is just a hassel.
I definitely agree with you, Dado! The cost of living, food, transportation and tourist attractions in Canada are also very high compared to other places in the world. Oftentimes when I visit a city or country that people have said is expensive, I don’t find the price of a meal to be that different from right here at home.
I also agree that I did not spend a lot of time there so I didn’t have as much of a relaxing time as I could have.
Thanks for your comment.
I’ve read a few more of your blogs, you and Dave are adventurous…I think what you are doing is fantastic. My wife and I have always enjoyed travelling but nowadays its a little more challenging, we have 5 kids so its a tad more expensive…and we aren’t rich!
One of the things my wife and I have agreed with when we travel is to shorten itinerary. Do we want to see as much as possible in the time we have or do we want to soak it all in, try top mingle with the locals and experience the environment as best we can? We’ve also travelled Europe, South America, Australia…and made a few mistakes, one of them being we would have to hurry to our next destination or we’ll miss out, we had to get that photo so we could show our family and friends! We found that we have some incredible photos but not many memories of people we had met and we didn’t learn much from the people that lived in the places we visited…we were too concerned with the “I was here” thing!
I found that experience a little tiring and then once we came home we realized that we didn’t really get the feel for most places because all we did was hurry to the next place. With that said, we’ve seen tons of cities and towns, have photos from some extremely beautiful places BUT our best memories are from some of the people we had the pleasure of meeting and the extra time we took to really know our surroundings.
I hope you understand my point?! Dubrovnik could have easily been a far better experience had you ask a few locals to help you out with a few details…ie…where to eat, best way to avoid traps but still enjoy the city. I think we can get thrown off our game if we continuously hop on a train, bus, boat, rental car…lack of good sleep and we won’t have a good experience if we are constantly going. Being tired or thinking about what’s next can really alter our moods and then the smallest thing might turn us off!
I lived in Mostar for 1.5 years several years ago and also visited Dubrovnik many times. I can assure you there most likely isn’t a person on this earth that would favor Mostar over Dubrovnik and yet you enjoyed the Mostar experience more (according to your blog)! This is surprising, its like comparing Rome to a small town in Calabria. If you don’t have the time and you are trying to take in as much as you can in that little period, you are guaranteed to have disappointments…and the little things will affect you more than they should! I know this because it happened to us on several occasions. Who doesn’t like Paris? I had a terrible experience there…until I realized I was trying to get as much of Paris in my 4 days, eating and drinking everything as French as possible, going from place to place, waiting in lineups, dealing with heat and humidity and basically getting pee’d off because I had to spend $6 for a coffee and some of the meals were far below my expectations. If I had slowed down and seen less but enjoyed my surrounding, took the time to ask advice I think I would have had a better experience.
Happy Trails to you and Dave…Good Luck in the Future!
You are complaining about the prices in Dubrovnik? When in Canada for any sporting event, or a concert the beers cost 15$ and water is over 6 dollars. You get what you pay for in Dubrovnik.
Trust me, I don’t like those prices either! 🙂
our Croatia is a beautiful country and you should visit our other cities (Vukovar, Zadar, Zagreb (capital), Krapina, Varaždin…) and areas/counties (Slavonija, Zagorje, Lika…). You will enjoy it and see many historical attractions and beautiful nature landscapes 🙂
Greetings from Zagreb, Croatia!
You’re very popular in Croatia 🙂
You are absolutely correct about the maddening crowds and even more maddening prices.
While Dubrovnik is a pretty town, so are most others along the Dalmatian coast, so it would not be a sin if you simply parked the car on the side of the mountain to look at it, then kept driving.
In my opinion, the bigger issue, and this unfortunately applies for much of Dalmatia, is that the local folks want to earn a year of wages in a period of 2-3 months. Super high prices do not help anyone, however, the locals who own the business or the rooms that they let out do not seem to want to listen when people complain.
To-each-his-own I suppose. Instead, I prefer other Mediterranean countries or the interior of Croatia which is pretty indeed. They’re certainly less expensive and less hurried.
Croatian, living in Toronto for the last 44 years.
It’s a shame you saw the city that way, and never mentioned the cusine, the day trips to the islands or how the price of that ticket to walk the walls compares with other tourist attractions so well preserved in other parts of those 23 countires you’ve vsited. I’d dare say the price is fair given the cost for maintenace to preserve those walls. I do hear you on the cruise ships changing the touist landscape, and would love to know how an experinces travleler such as yourself might suggest it work for the better. Any ideas?
Thank you for your comment.
The reason I didn’t mention the cuisine was because, other than one meal I had at a Bosnian restaurant, I didn’t have any meals that were worth mentioning. I tried to keep my article balanced so there was no need to comment on the mediocre food I had. I did mention the excellent War Photo exhibition I visited and the cool beach bar hanging on the cliff, so there certainly were things I liked in Dubrovnik. I’m not sure why people are focusing so much on one small line out of the entire story.
As for the price to walk to the city walls compared with attractions in other cities, I suppose it depends on what city and what attraction we’re talking about. We all know that attractions in London, for example, are incredibly expensive. When I visit there on a layover in February, I don’t plan on paying for any of those attractions and I will still enjoy the fabulous sites and city. I hiked the city walls in Kotor, Montenegro just a few days after I was in Dubrovnik and it only cost me about $3 CAN. Keep in mind that this wall is very UNrestored and they could use the tourist money to help with restorations. I was actually shocked at how low the cost was.
Dubrovnik could take a page out of Venice’s book, another city that has been plagued with too many cruise ships, and simply start restricting the number of ships that are allowed to dock each day/week. I just looked on cruisetimetables.com and chose a day in August. On that day there are five cruise ships stopping in Dubrovnik. Let’s say that averages out to 1500 passengers per ship, or 7500 passengers total. If half of those visitors chose to visit the city walls and paid $16 CAN for the privilege to do so, that would be $60,000 CAN. If even half of those people were to visit, that would be $30,000 per day. I very seriously doubt it costs $30k PER DAY to maintain those walls and pay the staff who work there. As I mentioned in my article, the buildings in Dubrovnik have been incredibly restored and seem to be very well taken care of. I highly doubt it costs $10-21 million Canadian dollars per year to maintain the walls.
I don’t know if people are realizing my point here. Dubrovnik is gorgeous and the views from the city walls are beautiful, but I didn’t feel the price I paid reflected the experience I had. $16 is not a lot of money to me, but it is too high of a price for that experience.
Hy,I must agree with you that prices i my country are too high,especialy in the summer.Next time,try to visit Split,also beautiful town,there is not so many tourist,like in Dubrovnik.I`m hoping that you will come again in Croatia,and have better opinion about this small but beautiful country.Or come in November or March,when is still nice weather but not tourist season. :)Regards from Croatia!
Thanks for your comment Little One. I actually did visit Split before I went to Dubrovnik and it was a pretty charming little place. One day I would like to see some other parts of Croatia, maybe some smaller places along the coast, and the capital.
You are fully right, and yo do not know Croats. I was many time there and each year they are worst and worst in tourism sector, police and all other sectors. They want to be Italy and have nothing as much to offer. They are rude to tourist in ground. Do not take care about ground issues.
The walking on walls in bought city from rich Croats , where almost no people from Dubrovnik living there anymore, is simple not worth.
I love Bosnia, they have much more to offer and all is in ground free.
Take for example Old Pocitelj, It’s free . Even cost of staying there is so cheap, people are so friendly and the most people comming to Dubrovnik just passing to Bosnia.. to Medjugorje, Mostar, Sarajevo, Kravice, Pocitelj etc.
In Croatian with some 1000 km of sea costs , you eat in restaurants frozen fish and pay as in Positano, Italy , for fresh fish.
I was in Neum also and there were all fresh, not frozen and cost me 6 euro what in Croatia cost me double more and was frozen fish. I have ask the guy : do you have fresh, he answered me maybe but the cost will be for Portion some 200 kuna’s 26 euros. > For the same in Nice, France I have paid 13 euro, fresh.
It’s interesting to read about one’s own country through the eyes of people from abroad. You’re not wrong, whatever other offended Croats tell you Dubrovnik, like most of Istria, is not very short of a highway robbery; specially for what they offer in return. People expect to earn a year-round income from several months of tourism and that’s that; and yes, Dubrovnik did fall prey to mass tourism as you correctly concluded. Hopefully this will be recognized in time to salvage other spots – the “relaxing, slow-paced holliday by the sea” Croatia seems to advertise can still be achieved only if you have a boat and are willing to sleep under open sky, on undiscovered or long forgotten beaches. Or maybe try vacationing in rural areas of Istria or small island towns on Cres, Rab, etc. or Gorski Kotar and Lika. From that perspective, Croatia can be one of the most beautiful, relaxing experiences one can possibly have. But tourist-ridden, noisy, over-priced destinations you can read about in the brochures – forget it.
Wall visit prices should change depending on time of the year. In the peak of the season, and for Dubrovnik it’s between July and mid September, I would charge for the wall even more. It would stop overcrowding. I’m from Croatia, tour guide in Split area, and whenever I go to Dubrovnik and it’s Wall, I’m more than glad to pay just 90 kuna to visit.
This article has been linked to on a leading Croatian portal and is now somewhat controversial. As someone who has been visiting Croatia for 25 odd years now I can definitely see where Misswanderlust is coming from. Nobody expects a free lunch, nor minds people trying to make a living from tourists, but Croatians are increasingly seeing visitors as nothing but two-legged ATMs, charging exorbitant amounts for what is rarely above mediocre quality and displaying all the warmth and hospitality of street vendors in Istanbul or beach hustlers in Tunisia. It’s nice, Croatia, no one disputes that, (though at times one may find this cement-o-mania hard to understand), but it’s not Bora Bora and it takes more than just the sun and the sea for people to feel welcome and have fun.
Very well said!
It’s been very popular and trendy to say I’ve been in Dubrovnik and that’s why everybody is going there when around. But you are right, it is overhyped and overpriced. Next time in Dubrovnik take a walk through Stradun at 6am when nobody is around. And next time in Croatia check this wall in Mali Ston http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walls_of_Ston . For me as a Croatian born passionate traveller currently living in Edmonton there are so many better places to go in Croatia rather than Dubrovnik. I think you missed the best sites by going just to Split and Dubrovnik and you definitely should go there again once in your life.
Hi Lily. Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to hear from a fellow Edmontonian!
I think you’re exactly right. Croatia is experiencing a huge tourist boom right now and people are just flocking there. Thanks for the great tip on the Walls of Ston! Croatia has a lot to offer and I would like to return one day and go to some of the less visited places.
When we were on our way to the bus station we walked down the Stradun around 7am and it was like a completely different place. It was so nice to enjoy the beauty and really be able to admire it.
Is $16 a fair price or value for money (which has nothing to do with one’s financial situation) to see the great wall of Dubrovnik? Perhaps a comparison with a similar structure in China can help; costs $5-$10 (CAN), depending on which part of the wall one visits.
And as Karlie has pointed out, 20 million $ a year buys an even bigger and older wall,
Pyramids in Cairo, granted, a very ordinary experience compared to The Great Wall of Dubrovnik, a measly fiver, Canadian. Taj Mahal is no match for The Wall, either, being sold short for just $12.
Problem with Croatia, not Dubrovnik, but Istria, is that they want to sell mass-touristy stuff to German plumbers and Czech lower middle class for French Riviera prices. And they throw in the Riviera attitude for free.
Exactly. You can’t blame people for earning a living, but there comes a point where a line is crossed.
Small church, that you mentioning, along the road Ljubinje – Trebinje is memorial church next to “Jame Ržani do” (“jama” in Serbian means a carst shaft, “Ržani do” is location), which is the one of the first mentioned as a mass grave in this area in WWII. Ustashas, military forces of the fascist-oriented “Independent State of Croatia”, in 1941, threw Serbs from Herzegovina into this shaft. According to the official Yugoslav sources, there were allegations that more than 1000 people were thrown into this shaft, which is also mentioned on the memorial located next to this shaft (sadly only in Serbian).
You may wonder why I am writing this.
Along the roads in Herzegovina there are more chapels like this one, and as a rule they are unmarked, especially not in English. You can only imagine how the other sights worth of visit are marked, when you see how we marked places of our sufferings.
There are so many places in Herzegovina, which are worth to visit, but unmarked and unknown to an average informed foreign tourist. Definitly you should visit Trebinje, and some medieval orthodox monasteries and wineries in Popovo Polje area
Regards from Herzegovina
According to official sources there were allegations? This still makes them only allegations but even were they not, there’s so much more to former Yugoslavia then shafts with dead people (allegedly) inside. With all due respect to the dead, it’s time to put the past behind, nobody can agree on it anyway, otherwise this tribal nationalistic virus will never be cured, there will always be wrongs to right and scores to settle.
first of all, you are completely missing my point. I think that in Herzegovina, there are many beautiful places to visit, but there are no notices, tourist signs, almost no tourism infrastructure, especially in foreign languages (note the term “undiscovered” in the title of the travelogue).
For example, a few kilometers from this place is magnificent cave “Vjetrenica” and medieval Orthodox monastery “Zavala”. I’d bet that the author of the travelogue was not aware that passes next to them.
I really do not understand why you reacted that way. Travelogue mentions this place (photos and text) I am writing about (Jama Ržani Do), but the author obviously knows nothing about the place and its history. I briefly tried to explain what happened there, and why this chapel was built here. I understand that this is not and should not be a tourist attraction, but I can not understand why we should “put the past behind”, as you suggested?
Since the word “allegations”, raises suspicion, I must tell you that this term is used because nobody is able to determine the exact number of innocent victims. Anyhow, if you still doubt my words, you can easily check my claims. For some 10 km away from this place towards Trebinje is the village Veličani where there is a memorial charnel with the the mortal remains and a list of identified victims.
I’m sorry that the comments went in this direction, it was not my intention.
I’m sorry, but i don’t now your private mail. Did you visit Montenegro, with special intention of north of Montenegro. If you did not visit this region, i hope you will do that. When you came in Montenegro i hope you vil call me to show you a best of Balkan. 😉
You will be my guest.
Hopefully you will have a chance to give more time to Sarajevo next time – that’s the real diamond of Europe!
Greetings and enjoy your adventures around the Globe!
What a pity! It must have changed a lot. When we were there in 2003 it was so lovely and yes, there were tourists, but not an annoying amount of them. Even then the city walls felt like a tourist trap btw, a bottle of water up there in the hot summer sunshine cost us more than an entire lunch a few days earlier.
I’m late to the game, I know.
But Karlie, I just have to tell you, if I had a travel blog and was a good writer like you, I would have written word for word what you wrote there.
I visited there in late September and it was so ridiculously crowded. I don’t mind the crowds and prices in places like Venice, but in Dubrovnik I felt completely ripped off!
They are clearly taking advantage of the fame that Game of Thrones has given them. (And good for them, they’d be fools not to!) But, for me….I don’t need to go back there.
I LOVED every other place in Croatia that we went to. Rovinj is amazing, It is touristy, but not too much. It is a cross between Dubrovnik and Venice. Food wasn’t a “deal” but I felt like I was getting great quality per dollar. I really liked Zagreb as well, it is young and fun. Very reasonable prices. I would also go back to any of the islands there. We stayed at Brac for 4 days, rented a moped and had a grand old time tooling around the island.
Thanks for your comment Katie. I would definitely love to go back to Croatia, I know it has so much more to offer!