I longed to cross Dubrovnik off my bucket list, and I finally did so early this year. However, the best area to stay in Dubrovnik when you are on a budget is NOT Old Town. Here are my Dubrovnik Old Town Hotels and Cheap Alternatives.
My stress and anxiety levels were at an all-time high. Trying to plan an international trip and trying to put work in order as well. Not having time to research rooms I soon found I should have done more work.
I arrived in Dubrovnik and found there were better options than my original choice. I had chosen a budget-friendly deal in the Old Town Area. That proved to be a mistake I want you to avoid.
After a general search for the cheapest hotels in the Old Town area of the city. I did not look outside of the Old City and that was a big mistake. There are much better options both for comfort and cost outside of Old Town.
Staying in the Old Town area is convenient but not comfortable. The area is hard to walk in and the area you stay in is not the area you want to visit. The city is like a large bowl. Everything you want to do is at the bottom and the rooms are all at the top of endless steps.
Being in Old Town puts you in the mix of things but this is not a city full of nightlife. The rooms are high and the dining alternatives are higher than the rooms. Nothing in Dubrovnik is cheap but Old Town is double the costs of the rest of the city.
Based on my research this will give you a look at the options of each of the areas of the city. You can choose an option based on cost, distance from old town and amenities.
My number one alternative is the Gruz area. Gruz is the hub of all travel and tourism activity in Dubrovnik. The bus, ship, and ferry terminals are all located in Gruz. Gruz is the main harbor of Dubrovnik. You can charter boats to visit nearby islands such as Mljet.
For budget travelers, this is the best option in the city. It is close to Old Town and lets you explore the other choice options as well.
The bus takes you to Old Town in 10 to 15 minutes and 4 different bus routes service this area.
Apart from exploring the walls and buildings of Old Town, you will likely want to spend more time on the beach. Staying in Gruz is a great way to cut down on transportation costs in the city. Taxi service in Dubrovnik is very expensive and you will want to avoid them anytime you can. Food is cheaper and there are many neighborhood fresh seafood and vegetable markets.
I found this neighborhood while taking a boat trip to Elaphiti. This at one time was the affluent section of the city. There are lavish vacation mansions from a time gone by. Gruz began as the industrial section the became a high-end residential area.
Budget travelers can choose from B & B Villas, apartments or guesthouses. Shopping in the markets and cooking your own foods is always a great way to save money for other pastimes. The average cost of a three-star hotel in Gruz is $20 to $60. You will not find a single room in Old Town for $60.
Some of the accommodations are close to Old Town, others further away on the way to Franjo Tudjman Bridge. You can find rooms close to the Obala Stjepana Radica Highway or Jadranska Cesta. Both offer a wide range of budget hotels.
It takes about 10 minutes from Old Town to Milni by bus. The buses serving this area are Bus 2 and Bus 4. Milni is the best area to stay in Dubrovnik if you want to cut down on transport costs while exploring Old Town.
Book a hotel in the Milni area and walk to Old Town in 10 to 15 minutes. The best beaches in Dubrovnik are in the Milni area. Croatia is known for its beaches and Gorica offers some of the best.
You can have a great beach view and walk to Beach Bellevue for fun at the seashore. This is a great alternative to Dubrovnik Old Town Hotels.
Budget apartments and guesthouse are well distributed in Gorica. There are good choices along Iva Vojnovica Street or along Leichetensteinov Put.
This is also a residential neighborhood like Gruz. It takes about 15 minutes from Lapad to Old Town by bus. It wasn’t difficult for me to get back to Old Town after a day exploring Lapad Bay.
Some streets in Lapad are for pedestrian use only. This makes it easy to bar/restaurant hop along the road. The beach is miles long in both directions from Dubrovnik. No matter where you sleep, you can always find yourself on the gravel and sand coastline in a few minutes.
The city of Lapad is even more interest due to its budget hotels options. You will find close to any location you will want to visit. For example, you can get a budget hotel near the bus terminal to Old Town, or close to the beach.
For the cheapest accommodations in the entire city, The best choice is Lapad They two-stars to four-star options for a budget price. This gives you the option on price. While a two-star accommodation may be my choice you may only want to opt for four-star hotels.
A good three-star hotel in Lapad can be as cheap as $30 a night. There are many along the Kralja Tomislava Highway. This road connects Lapad to both Babin Kuk and Gorica. The one setback is the cheaper options are not near the beach. You may want to check along Masarykov Put Street overlooking the beach.
This is a lush neighborhood with expansive greenery. Families should consider it as the best area to stay in Dubrovnik because of its variety of family-friendly hotels. It also boasts of having the largest beach in the city. This is what drew me to the neighborhood.
Around evening, I had a walk along the edge of the peninsula and got back to Old Town by bus. I didn’t find much to do beyond the beach though. It is not exclusive to budget travelers because accommodation is available at different rates. Nevertheless, there are three-star hotels and a variety of guesthouses for budget seekers, and access to the beach.
Most of the cheap hotels in this neighborhood are on the border with Lapad. You can pay between $40 and $90 per night for a two or three-star hotel. You can spot such apartments and guesthouses along Primorska, Klisevska and Kardinala Stepinca streets. Not the cheapest Dubrovnik Old Town Hotels alternatives but a great quiet area.
My Final Choice
The historic Old Town entices many travelers. They forget to compare rates and transportation costs from other areas. I had prebooked a hotel in Old Town for three nights. This turned out to be a very bad choice.
I was exploring the beach near Lapad during those three days. I found and booked a three-star hotel for the rest of my two-week stay. The cost for the 11 nights was not much more than the cost of my first three nights. I checked in and enjoyed the sea views the rest of my vacation. I only found one occasion to return to Old Town during those 11 days.
That’s how I found the best area to stay in Dubrovnik.
There are many options for you outside of the Old Town Walls. There are great hotels and very reasonable AirBNB apartments.
Be aware of the terrain in the old city. The town is more or less a large bowl with steep sides to climb up to get to the top. There are two ways into the bowl without going down the steep stairs.
Should you decide to stay in Old Town this is something to consider. I would not recommend staying in Old Town proper because of the hundreds of uneven steps. Choose your Dubrovnik Old Town Hotels with care should you stay in this area.
Good luck and enjoy the city of Dubrovnik. Begin searching for the perfect spot early. Dubrovnik is a popular spot and furthermore, places can be hard to find during high season.
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