Dubrovnik is the summer months is a well known holiday destination. Tourists come from all over the world to marvel at the magnificent UNESCO Old City, swim in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea or just relax on the beaches. But what about Dubrovnik through the winter months? It seems that the city is still off the radar of people looking to have a weekend away, however Dubrovnik has a unique winter face.
Granted the city can be rather chilly through the winter months, especially when the cold north wind blows down over the mountains, but you aren’t expecting to get a tan in January, are you? The cobbled streets of the historic Old City lay silent through winter, none of those cruise ships passengers to spoil the views, and you can quite easily find yourself alone with your thoughts to keep you company.
So here are our top five reasons to visit Dubrovnik through the winter
1 – Crowds, just to be precise – lack of crowds. During the warmer months it is quite normal to see five or more cruise ships unload their countless passengers in the city. You simply can’t get to see the ancient facades and museums without bumping into Mr. And Mrs. Jones from Florida who “are just here for the day.” The winter is a different story. And as soon as you enter through the gates into the walled city you will see why. The Stradun, the main street that runs as straight as an arrow through the heart of the city, is almost deserted, apart from the occasional cat. If you want time for yourself, time to reflect and “my time” then Dubrovnik in the winter has is by the bucket load. Many of the museums are open so you can browse to your heart’s content.
2 – Get the local experience. By chance, or maybe by design, many of Dubrovnik’s main festivals are outside of the summer season. By far the biggest day in Dubrovnik’s calendar is the Day of St. Blaise – the patron saint of Dubrovnik – on the 3rd of February. This is a special time to see Dubrovnik, as the city is filled with colours and sounds, the festivities go on for almost a week, but the 3rd is a magnificent explosion of joy. The Dubrovnik Winter Festival, although only a new kid on the block, has rapidly stamped its mark on the city. From the middle of November till early January the festival brings a real Christmas feel to the city. New Year is also a party filler, although the music needs a little more of an international feel, and goes on well into the early hours of the 1st of January. The fireworks display is also a thing of beauty, bring in the New Year with a bang – literally. For lovers of seafood the Oyster Festival at the beginning of March is a must see, or rather a must taste! The bay of Ston is well-known throughout Europe as producing some of the yummiest oysters, natures aphrodisiac!
3 – The price is right, well it is cheaper. There is no doubt that Dubrovnik is a cheaper destination in the colder months. From the parking, which drops by half, to accommodation and even restaurant menus – forget the “summer surcharge” and enjoy a value for money break in the winter. And whilst you will pay a guide to show you the sights in the summer, in the winter the Dubrovnik Tourist Board offers this service for free, now that is a nice bonus. Our tip is to get a Dubrovnik City Card, this card allows you to travel on buses, visit museums and the iconic city walls, and is available at a discount to purchase online – click here
4 – Ride the cable car alone. Ok, you might not be alone but you at least you won’t be crowded into a stuffy car like sardines. Weather permitting, and it normally permits, the Dubrovnik Cable Car is open all year round. And having more room to yourself means that you will be able to get some fantastic panoramic views on the way up and down. At the top the Panorama Restaurant, yes not a very creative name, is open all year round and as the name suggest has great views. Drink a coffee and have the view for free!
5 – It isn’t all about the beaches. Dubrovnik is much more than a sun, sand and sea destination, it always has been. If you are after cheap beer, all-night parties and a full English breakfast hen you have come to the wrong place. This is a gem for culture vultures. And although you might need a warm jacket the culture doesn’t end when the last cruise ship sails over the horizon. Check out a concert from the excellent Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, marvel at one of the many museums, walk the city walls, watch ballet, the list goes on. And in the winter you won’t have much of a problem finding a spare seat, in fact you will probably be welcomed with open arms.
Dubrovnik is a city for all seasons, and each season offers its own magic, even winter!