Public buses in Dubrovnik: Handy way to get around

I have a lot of guests comment at how good the public bus transport is in Dubrovnik and I have to agree. The local buses are new, roomy and run on time (all you could ask for). The buses operate through all the main areas of Dubrovnik and once you get the hang of it, they are quite easy to use to get everywhere. Certain bus lines run more frequently than others and the bus line through Gruz (where we are) operates until 2am during summer. The only thing I have found is that it can be confusing for first time visitors to Dubrovnik to understand which bus line to take, so if this is you, don’t be shy just ask at reception for advice on the best bus to catch.

Tickets can be purchased on all kiosks for 12kn (valid for 1 hour) or on the bus for 15kn (valid for 1 hour). If you’re thinking of hopping around from place to place during the day, it might be better value to purchase a 24 hour ticket (time starts from the first time you validate the ticket) or a Dubrovnik city card which includes bus rides as well as entrance to museums and City Walls.

The standard (12/15kn) tickets can be used for all suburbs within Dubrovnik, however for areas outside of Dubrovnik such as Cavtat, Trsteno and Zaton you will need to purchase other tickets. They are not much more expensive and can be bought on the bus directly.

Tips on eating out in Dubrovnik

I grew up in the restaurant business in Australia given my family owned and operated restaurants in Sydney for many years and my mum being a fabulous professional chef, so not only do I have higher expectations but I expect good value for money.

It is important to mention the eating out scene in Sydney is very very different to Dubrovnik partly because locals do not have a habit of eating out as much as in Sydney, but mainly because Dubrovnik has a small population which dramatically increases with the arrival of tourists from April to October. As a result many restaurants only open from March/April to the end of October. As a result unfortunately some restaurants cater only to passing trade of tourists and their quality and value become in my view questionable.

With the rising popularity of review sites such as TripAdvisor you can see dining experiences of others before you choose on a restaurant. However everyone’s expectations are different, something that someone may describe as a ‘great value for money fresh fish in Old Town’ someone else may realise is ‘average quality frozen fish fillets’.

Based on discussions with guests and my own experiences on dining out in Dubrovnik, here is a list of tips on eating out in Dubrovnik.

  1. Never leave the wine choice to the waiter unless you have seen the wine list

As a first time visitor to Croatia, you may want to try our local wines and welcome the enthusiasm of the waiter to suggest a superb bottle of wine. Just make sure that you have seen the wine list and know how much that bottle of wine costs before ordering as the price of wine in some restaurants is astounding.

Wine in restaurants in Dubrovnik is generally expensive (I have never understood this and am appalled when I see some of the prices they charge), and remember that expensive does not necessarily always mean higher quality.

  1. If you want to pay by credit card be sure to ask before you sit down

Most restaurants accept credit cards; however there are some that only accept cash so always be sure to ask.

  1. Ordering fish

When looking at menu prices for whole fish, keep in mind that many restaurants charge by the kilo (kg) rather than by the piece. When I’m dining out I always ask to see the fish before they prepare it and ask how many grams it has in order to avoid any surprises on my bill.

  1. Tipping

Many times I am asked by guests whether it is customary to tip and/or if there is an expected % that should be left as a tip. There is no general rule on tipping and this very much depends on you (the guest).

Personally when dining out, if I feel that I have received great and attentive service, then I definitely leave a tip so that waiters realise good customer service is recognised and appreciated.

Hope the above tips come in handy for you. I’ll be adding more as they come to mind.

Currency issues: What to bring, what to use, how to exchange

‘Should I bring euro or kuna?’, ‘ Does everywhere accept euro?’ are amongst the most common questions travellers ask before they arrive. To put simply, this issue can be slightly confusing for international travellers so we have decided to shed some light and provide tips.

The official Croatian currency is Croatian Kuna (HRK). This is the currency that everyone everywhere in Croatia should be using. Although Croatia became a member of the European Union in July 2013, Croatia has not joined the eurozone which means the Croatian Kuna is still the common currency.

What appears to confuse many travellers is that everything seems to be quoted in euro yet we don’t accept euro. One of the reasons for this is that as many agencies or travel operaters we work with only allow for agreements to be entered into euro (not kuna) but Croatian Law requires us to show all invoices in Kuna. For this reason at the Berkeley,  all amounts we quote in euro are converted into kuna based on the current exchange rate issued by the Central bank of Croatia on the date of payment.

So what currency should you bring?

If you are travelling from a country whose currency is not euro (e.g. UK, US, Australia) you may find it better to change your currency into kuna here in Croatia. Many international exchange offices in UK or US do not readily have kuna available so they have to order it in especially for you which many times effects the exchange rate you are given.

If you are visiting other parts of Europe where they use euro then yes it may be handy to change your money into euro, but if you are only visiting Croatia changing your currency into euro only to have to change it again to kuna could see you loosing money on exchange rates.

If you are looking to get the best deal, then take a moment to look at what exchange rates our local banks are offering and you may get more by exchanging in Croatia.

Local banks generally operate everyday from 08-20:00. Saturdays they work until 13:00 and are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

An important note, if you are thinking of going on day trip or longer to Montenegro, then you will need euro as this is their local currency.

You will notice during your visit that some restaurants, taxis and other places will accept euro or other currency. It is your personal choice whether you decide to pay in euro, just make sure you are not shortchanged.

Some local bank websites (english version)

https://www.rba.hr/en/aktualna-tecajna-lista

https://www.otpbanka.hr/en/exchange-rates

 

2017: The start of something new…

A lot of the time we at the Berkeley (or I personally) are contacted or approached by guests with questions on what things we personally would recommend they do or see while in Dubrovnik, honest advice on places to eat and various other questions that arise when planning a visit to Dubrovnik.

Sure, there are lots of other sites, forums, blogs and tourists books that offer information on Dubrovnik, but in 2017 we have (finally!) decided to create our own blog to provide our view of things in Dubrovnik and possibly beyond. Having grown up in Sydney and moving to Dubrovnik in 2006 my view of things may be slightly different to local guide books but hope you find them interesting. Other members of the Berkeley team will also be contributing some of their favourite places to see and things to do so we hope to have a good mix of contributions and information.

Some of the topics and advice may be more relevant for guests staying with us at the Berkeley Hotel than in other areas of Dubrovnik.

I welcome all emails with questions or ideas for topics you would like to see on our blog.

Hope to see you in Dubrovnik!

Cheers

Katarina

Hotel Manager