Public transport in Dubrovnik is an excellent way to get around the environs of the city. With only two hotels actually inside the city walls, and a limited amount of private accommodation as well, most visitors will find themselves staying at varying distances from both the city and the beaches. No cars are permitted wirhin the city walls - and parking's very limited, so the bus is definitely the way to go.
Bus fares are 12 kuna if you buy your ticket on the bus, or 10 kuna if you buy it from a kiosk or newsstand. There's a main bus stop just outside the Pile Gate, tickets are available from the kiosk there.
The main bus station is in the port area of Gruz.
If you are coming from the airport, the airport bus will stop at the Pile Gate before going on to Gruz. Buses are scheduled to link up with flights arriving and leaving the airport and are much the best option. The fare is 35 kuna (about 5 euro) as opposed to 250 kuna for a taxi, though not all flight arrivals coincide with the bus timetable. For the return trip to the airport, you can catch the bus either at the Pile Gate or the Gruz bus station - allow yourself 2 hours.
Getting to Kotor
The stunningly beautiful Bay of Kotor, across the border in Montenegro and just 80km south of Dubrovnik is, justifiably, a popular day trip from the city. Don't think you can do it by public transport though. There's only one bus a day in each direction. The bus from Dubrovnik leaves at 11am, the one from Kotor to Dubrovnik leaves at 1.15pm - so unless you're planning to stay the night, you simply cannot do it this way.
Yopur options are to either drive yourself, as we did, or take a tour. Atlas Tours in Dubrovnik offer a day trip for about US$60.
You can take a hire car into Montenegro without any extra formalities and this summer (2006) we found the border procedures very straightforward, simply showing our passports and hire car documents for a quick stamp and a wave through. No doubt the break with Serbia has had something to do with that! We took the narrow, twisting road all the way around the Bay to Kotor through Perast; the scenery is magnificent and on a Sunday in June, the road was all but deserted. Leaving the walls of Kotor behind us after our visit, we then continued on around the bay to Leperane where a car ferry operates around the clock to take you back to the northern side of the bay, which reduces the travelling time considerably and lets you see more of the bay at the same time rather than simply retracing your steps.
We were staying in Herceg-Novi, Montenegro, so to get to Dubrovnik, we drove up the coast and into Croatia. The border crossing is not a big deal, although going into Croatia is much quicker than coming back into Montenegro. There was no wait at all going north into Croatia. Croatian customs merely looked at our passports, stamped them and told us to have a pleasant stay.
Entering Montenegro (and this happened to us twice) is a bit more time consuming. At both the Bar and Croatia-Montenegro border frontiers, there was a wait – 3 hours in Bar at the ferry terminal, and about 20 minutes between Croatia and Montenegro.
Montenegro Customs will examine all the documentation you have for your car as well as your “Proof of Insurance”. No, your wallet sized Allstate card will not suffice. Before we got here, I had heard mixed things about whether you needed this so-called insurance or whether you didn’t. Trust me, you do, although I suspect it would not have done me a damn bit of good if our car had gotten smashed up in Montenegro.
In Bar, we couldn’t get out of customs without purchasing it on the spot, and at the Croatian-Montenegrin border, they asked for the proof again. The price for this piece of paper that has nothing to do with insurance, but everything to do with an entry fee to Montenegro, was $15 Eurodollars.
On the bright side, some things in life are free. While we were waiting at the Montenegrin border, some young girls were passing out tourist guidebooks for Montenegro, which were about 75 pages in length and quite helpful with nice maps.
Boats and ferries
- Tickets available in tourist information office Gruz from 9-10am, and from 10am to 16pm in Atlantagent agency.
- The Lokrum boat service 00385(0)20/427242, departure from Old Harbour every hour starting from 9am till 5pm. Return from Lokrum every hour starting from 9.15am till 17.15pm. Last return from Lokrum at 6pm. In case of bad weather condition, the boat does not operate.
On the road towards Dubrovnik
The landscape is dry and the mountain plunges steeply into the sea. Abandoned terraces show that the land was once cultivated and groomed. The work was hard, the crop scarce. The cultivators have now either left the country or are working in the tourists industry.
Dubrovnik area has no trams or train service but does have an efficient local bus service - for example number 6 bus runs every 10-15 mins from early morning to midnight connecting the Lapad hotel region - also known as Babin Kuk - with the old city. Other routes are shown on the map found at the bus stops. Fares on the bus are 10 kunar but if you buy in advance form kisoks - most hotels will have them too then price is 8 kunars. (prices Oct 2005) Remember to validate your ticket in the machine as you get on the bus.
Breathtaking sight !
In this landscape, there is nothing but the sea and the mountain. A kind of desert, without any mankind ! It is really a breathtaking sight ! When I gaze at such a landscape, I want to jump and dive into the sea ! Or better, to sail !
On top of the mountain, the border
Top of the mountain is the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. That means that those who can reach the edge …
This is Europe on both sides of the mountain. That will be soon European Union. Then, that will not matter anymore who is on top of the mountain and who is underneath.
- Road Trip
In some places, everything is stone and sun burnt vegetation. In other places, a wonderful and refreshing landscape of cypress is growing ! Why ? The soil may be different, but moreover, there must be some moisture in the soil that allows such an amazing vegetation.
- Road Trip
Arrivals into Dubrovnik will normally be at the Dunbrovnik Airport a kew kilometres away from the resort of Cavtat. Its presently small and efficiently run. Our transfer time from getting off the plane to collecting our luggage and setting off on our coach transfer was only about 30 minutes - pretty good I thought! The airport is currently expanding its terminal (Oct 2005) to cope with the expected increase in tourism. We enjoyed a lovlely flight following the croatian coastline down all the way from Istrian region.
Tip: the cafes in the arrivals lounge and shops are slightly cheaper than the ones once you have passed passport control.
The ferry to Lokrum Island leaves from Dubrovnik’s Old Port, to the east of the Old Town. The ferry leaves regularly throughout the day and tickets can be bought from the pier. As far as I can recall a return ticket cost 35kuna and the enjoyable, scenic trip takes about 15 minutes each way.
Visitors are not permitted to stay on the island overnight, so it is important that you catch the last boat back (in April 17.00 but late in the summer) or you will find yourself in trouble with the island warden!
Getting Around Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has an efficient local bus service covering the entire city and its outskirts. If staying away from the Old Town, you could find yourself needing to use public transport a lot and be aware it is not as cheap as elsewhere in the Balkans. The tickets cost 10 kuna if bought from the driver and 8 kuna if bought from a kiosk. Tickets must be validated in a machine on the bus or you are liable for a fine. Tickets last half an hour once validated so you can use a connecting bus on a single ticket.
From the bus station you can take buses
1a,3, 6 or 9 to Pile Gate – Old Town
1a, 3 or 7b to Gruz
5, 6 or 7b to Lapad and Babin Kuk
More info on timetables and routes is available by clicking on the link below
Cilipi Airport is located 22 kilometers outside of Dubrovnik in the village of Cilipi. The airport is small and very easy to navigate with a coffee shop, a small shop in the domestic departure area and a duty free shop in the international departure area. There is also a post office, bank, currency exchange and the Atlas tourist agency as well as a general airport information booth.
Flights within Croatia are fairly cheap especially if purchased from within the country. If you purchase ahead online, you'll pay MUCH more. Also, the earliest flights are often significantly cheaper than the later flights.
To get into town, just jump on the Croatia Airlines bus that leaves every 30 minutes and will be waiting out front. The bus takes around 25 minutes to get to the main bus station in town. As of February of 2004, the cost was 30 kunas each way. A taxi will probably cost more than most flights (around 250kn)!!
The main bus station is located about 3 km outside of the Old Town next to the port in the suburb called Gruz. I stayed in a private home in Gruz my first night in Dubrovnik, but I'd recommend spending a little more and staying in or closer to the Old Town if at all possible. Dubrovnik is well serviced by bus from all over the country and there is a local bus station right across the street from the station. It costs 8kn to buy a one way bus ticket for most locations within the city (10kn if you buy the ticket on board from the driver).
To give you an idea of some of the long routes, I took the bus between Split and Dubrovnik (89kn, 5 hours) and between Dubrovnik and Mostar, Bosnia Hercegovina (70kn, 3 hours). Zagreb will take you about 11 hours. There are also routes to Sarajevo, Frankfurt and Trieste.
Get out on the water . . .
You can catch a ferry to one of the many islands along the Southern Dalmatian coast at the main port in Gruz or right in front of the Old Town. Check with the tourist agencies in the Old Town for information and schedules, but keep in mind that they are very limited in the non peak tourist seasons.
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