Because I don’t want to travel to beautiful Dubrovnik


Everyone tells me that Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It almost seems a must to visit the medieval port city. But even though friends and colleagues regularly rave about it, I’ve lost much of my wanderlust over the years. In fact, it’s gotten so far that I don’t understand how you can currently guide us – and I have reasons for this opinion.

A charming medieval village surrounded by high walls but right on the sea. Centuries of history to explore in the Mediterranean climate and numerous film locations to discover. Yes, I admit it: I too would actually like to explore the famous “Pearl of the Adriatic”, i.e. go to Dubrovnik. Not just because I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan. But also because they have been telling me for years how fascinating this city is. But the problem is also that everyone agrees on how big the city is. This is exactly why it is no longer and due to overtourism I am currently not interested in traveling to Dubrovnik anymore.

A completely overcrowded city? I don’t want to do it on vacation

On average, more holidaymakers than residents come to Dubrovnik in a normal travel year – and much more. The number of cruise passengers alone exceeds that of the almost 43,000 inhabitants. When disembarking from the giant ships and exploring the city on land leave, I was told that sometimes you can hardly walk the alleys as they are so congested. Incidentally, the fact that so many holidaymakers come is also reflected in the prices. As vacationers told me, they are significantly higher than in many other places. Of course, you want to benefit from the holiday crowd. For me it’s just a reason to avoid the city, although to be fair the thousands of other holiday makers make up most of the decision.

Although there is the possibility to avoid all attractions during peak hours. However, you must be up early before the cruise ships dock, or late when they leave. But do I really want to subject myself to this stress during my holidays? The answer for me is: no. A colleague, herself a big fan of Dubrovnik, recommends simply coming as a day tourist. But even that doesn’t solve the real problem. That’s because they don’t even want me in town as a vacationer!

There is also a lot to do in Dubrovnik in the evening, as shown by numerous photos of the city
There is also a lot to do in Dubrovnik in the evening, as shown by numerous photos of the cityPhoto: Getty Images

I don’t feel wanted in Dubrovnik, so I don’t go there

Although Dubrovnik thrives on tourism, it has simply gotten out of hand in recent years. For example, the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site was already at stake. There are now a series of measures to counter overtourism: cruise ships have been regulated for some time and recently there has been a lot of discussion about trolleys in the historic centre. The background is that the population no longer wants to put up with the constant noise on the cobblestones. I understand! And I even go so far: I would feel the same way!

I am already annoyed in Berlin when holidaymakers block my way to the subway because they want to take a good picture or I can hardly get into the city center due to the crowds in front of the Cologne Cathedral. How are the people in Dubrovnik then? Of course, people are much more dependent on tourism here than in the major German cities I mentioned. In this regard, controlled tourism rather than a general ban is called for. But do I want to travel somewhere where I’m actually not wanted? Where am I one among thousands? Where local residents would probably be happier if I saved myself this trip? The answer for me is: no. That’s why I don’t want to travel to Dubrovnik at the moment. And I think if more people see it that way, it would help the beautiful city more in the long run.

The old town of Dubrovnik looks charming, but currently excessive tourism makes a visit unattractive for our editor
The old town of Dubrovnik looks charming, but currently excessive tourism makes a visit unattractive for our editorPhoto: Getty Images

Maybe one day I’ll make it to the beautiful seaside city

Incidentally, I haven’t given up on my dream of one day having a nice vacation in Dubrovnik. On the contrary: I have great hope that, as with almost everything, the hype will subside sooner or later. And when the time comes, I’ll be happy to visit all the Game of Thrones locations, walk around the city without the crowds even at lunchtime, and chat with the relaxed locals, who are really happy that I’m there.

By the way: by the way, Dubrovnik is not the only beautiful place in Croatia and there are various places where, in my opinion, German holidaymakers are currently better off. Colleagues tell me we recommend the city of Split on the Dalmatian coast or the coastal city of Pula at the tip of the Istrian peninsula, which also has a long history and a wonderful old town.

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