Dubrovnik on a Budget – Tips, Costs & Ways to Save

How to visit Dubrovnik on a budget, what to see and do, what are the costs and ways to save money? Here are my recommendation and some hard facts about the cost of travel to this amazing city:

  • I recommend budgeting €45 to €60 per day per person for travellers on a budget. You can easily spend less if you find cheaper accommodation or if you are visiting out of season. But if you are here in the high of season July & August, 60 Euro per person per day is the most appropriate lower end of cost expectations for your day/24 hrs in Dubrovnik. The cost includes cheap accommodation out of the Old Town, preferably in Gruz, Gornji Kono or Kantafig.

You can find out more in-depth details, info and tips below, keep reading

Transportation Costs:

Commuting on the local bus  - get yourself a day pass to save a money

Commuting on the local bus  – get yourself a day pass to save a money

Public Transport Prices

Public transport in Dubrovnik is good and cheap. It is run by Libertas bus company that has cute orange-white buses. The buses are very frequent and serve the whole city as well as suburban areas, outside the city like Konavle, Slano, Primorje, Zaton, Cavtat, Mokosica, Orasac and other nearby places.

Although the bus fares are not expensive, if you are travelling on a budget, you may consider walking instead as Dubrovnik is fairly small and you can walk across the whole city, from one end to another in about 1 and 1/2 hour.

Bus Single Ticket:

  • 15 HRK for a single journey if you buy your ticket on the bus

  • 12 HRK if you buy it on the kiosk, in advance. This is so-called “S” ticket with which you can travel for 1 hour on any bus within the city for a flat rate of 12 HRK. This ticket is a good choice if you are just for a half-day or several hours in Dubrovnik and would like to just visit Old town and get back (to the cruise port, intercity bus terminal or airport).

24-hour Bus Pass:

  • 30 HRK – for 30 Kunas with this one-day bus pass allows you unlimited bus rides within 24 hours. Good choice if you are staying more than a few hours in the town.

Dubrovnik Airport bus shuttle:

  • 40 HRK one way to and from the airport

  • The cheapest way to get to Dubrovnik from the airport is by bus no 11 to Molunat, 27 to Vitaljina and 38 to Gruda. However these buses are running just once or twice a day and not on weekends, so you are better off just paying 40 HRK for an airport shuttle. Waiting at the airport for a few hours for a  cheap(er) bus is time waste and a false economy.

Cost of visiting (suburban) towns nearby:

Bus ticket prices:

  • Zupa villages – 18 HRK
  • Cavtat – 25 HRK
  • Slano – 23 HRK
  • Ston – 40 HRK

For transportation within the town, you can also consider taxis and Uber. They are more expensive, but if you intend to save some time on travelling, it is a good and not terribly expensive option and sometimes can be a better choice than bus particularly if you are in the town for just a few hours.

Costs of Eating:

If you are wondering are restaurants expensive in Dubrovnik then the answer is yes, eating out in the town is often expensive and if you are budget traveller, eating out should be avoided. Instead, buying your own food and cooking for yourself is a viable budget option as anywhere else in the world. If you choose the accommodation that also offers some self-catering facilities (studios, apartments, hostels with communal kitchens) you can save a good bit of money.

Supermarket Konzum in Dubrovnik – you can get your food much cheaper here in this large grocery shop situated in Gruz bay (just 15 minutes bus ride from the Old Town)

The cheapest supermarket is LIDL, a large chain food shop located in Čibača, outside the town, about 15 minutes bus ride from Gruz. If you are travelling by car, camper/motorhome/RV or motorcycle this is a good place to stock on your food and drinks. Otherwise, it is not viable to get a bus from the town just to go shopping there. You will be better off to use the town’s supermarkets and fresh fruit, vegetable and food markets in Gruz and Lapad. An open market in the Old Town is much more expensive so stay away from there.

Pro-tip: If you would like to buy fresh and cheap fish in the local fish market in Gruz, get familiar with the moon phases and lunar calendar. If you are lucky to stay in the town when the moon is not visible (new moon) and the weather is fine (no strong wind on the previous night) then you may get cheap and very fresh sardines offered in the local ribarnica/peskarija (fresh fish market). This is the cheapest fresh fish you can buy. The price depends on supply/demand i.e on the size of that night’s catch. When in Dubrovnik, I always check what is going on in the fish market. Sometimes you can buy a kilo of sardines for as little as 2 Euro!

Eating out Prices – Restaurants and Food Cost:

Above photo: small restaurant in Gundulic Square with outside seatings

Takeaway Prices

In the town centre, meals on the go (takeaway) prices range in anything between 25 HRK for sandwiches and 85 HRK for burgers per person. Here is an example of prices for a takeaway menu in a central restaurant near Stradun. In similar takeaway restaurants out of the centre be prepared to pay about 10 % less.  In Gruz,  you will find the cheapest takeaways.

Meals on the go, takeaway: tortillas, burgers, sandwiches, kebabs, salads, french fries and cold drinks ranging from 25 to 85 HRK

Set Meal Prices

In the town centre, the set meal prices range in anything between 85 HRK and 150 HRK per person. Here is an example of prices for a set meal accompanied by a small glass of red, house wine in a central restaurant just off the Stradun (the main square). In similar restaurants out of the centre be prepared to pay about 10 % less, depending on the location, Gruz area being the cheapest among them all.

Meat and fish dishes, side dishes, soups and salads prices

In the town centre, the prices for fish and meat dishes in an average restaurant range between 120 HRK and 200 HRK per person. Here is an example of prices for fish, meat, soups and salads in a central town’s restaurant. In similar restaurants out of the centre, you will pay about 15 % less, depending on the location (sea views or garden views, fancy seatings or not, type of service and similar).

See more photos of local menus.

Dubrovnik’s Top 12 Free Sights

Dining out in fancy top class restaurants in Dubrovnik has a reputation for being expensive, but don’t be discouraged.  The fact is that many of the city’s most beautiful and interesting sights are actually free. By spending most of your time on the places and experiences that are listed below you’ll have money left over for the things that really matter to you – whether you want to see in deep city’s cultural attractions like the Rector’s Palace, walk the Walls of Dubrovnik, or spend your time in restaurants, bars or shopping.

Most of the sights listed below won’t cost you a single euro! All you have to pay is for a bus ticket to get to and back from the Old Town unless you choose to walk.

Here is a list of my favourite free sights:

  1. Stradun – the towns main square, stroll along and watch people passing by

  2. Old Port and Porporela pier – great for a nice, relaxing stroll

  3. Buza and Karmen – explore the side streets of the town and watch the sunset from the seashores around Buza swimming spot.

  4. Ploce Gate – walk to this town gate to see a panorama of the Old Port, Revelin and Sveti Ivan towers and a large part of towns walls.
  5. Churches (St Blaise’s, Cathedral and other churches as this one, that doesn’t charge admission)

  6. Gundulicev Square, the market and back streets

  7. Jesuits Steps – walk up and down popular stairs

  8. Orlando’s Column

  9. Onofrio’s Fountains

  10. Siroka Ulica – Shopping street

  11. Sulic/Kolorina bay – one of the most authentic spots in the town

  12. Gradac park – lovely park on few minutes walk from the Old town.

To conclude:

So, this is it for time being for budget-conscious travellers to Dubrovnik. Stay tuned for my ‘where to stay in Dubrovnik on the budget‘ article. In the meantime, let me know if you have some other tips for people who would like to save some money while travelling to this lovely city.