This could be the best year to visit Dubrovnik, now on the green list
Ah, Dubrovnik. Pearl of the Adriatic and latest addition to the Green List, both a paradise for wide-eyed travelers seeking the romance of winding cobblestone lanes and young hedonists looking for cheap drinks and soft sand. Many have fallen under its spell, its enduring appeal attracting just under 1.5 million tourists in 2019 – around 60,000 of them on cinematic pilgrimages to places made doubly famous by Game of Thrones and its ilk.
But unlike many European city-break favorites, Dubrovnik hasn’t spent the past 15 months in a forced sleep, empty squares, closed shops and dark restaurants. Oh no. When the pandemic struck and the number of tourists started to decline, Croatia jumped into action, launching a series of alternative incentives designed to keep the tourism industry afloat, including the Digital Nomad Visa – that Croatia was among the first to adopt. in January 2021. Dubrovnik has since become a favorite winter retreat for remote workers, with several of its luxury hotels even offering packages specifically aimed at digital nomads, like the 21-day “Feel at Home” offer at Hotel Excelsior , which includes a suite with a workspace, breakfast, laundry and parking.
The summer season is now on and, thanks to this wise response, the city is the best of all worlds: wide awake, operational, but still perfectly overcrowded. You’ll see couples and families in the Old Town, but not large tour groups yet. The new Covid-19 EU passports mean that EU citizens who are fully vaccinated can travel freely again, so you’ll hear Spanish, French and Polish, as well as Russian – and, with United Airlines starting direct flights from New York to Dubrovnik this month, a growing number of American accents too – but very few Britons.
“It really is a special time to visit Dubrovnik. It reminds me of how travel used to be, ”says Jon Kawaguchi of the KAWA concept store (kawa.life), whose contingent of unusual food items caters to many of the city’s foreign digital nomads. “There is a sense of adventure and thoughtfulness in customers who discover places and support local small businesses. And since business has been very difficult, the owners and staff are grateful and sincere in their welcome.
Avoid love at first sight
It is a pleasure to walk a circuit of the 13th century city walls, the main attraction of Dubrovnik, but often overcrowded. Tickets aren’t cheap (200 kn (£ 23) per person), but you’re unlikely to find the ramparts that peaceful, so it’s worth it.