It’s just the nature of travel today that many of the drop-dead beautiful sights in the world, accessible by water, are inundated by cruise ship crowds. Dubrovnik is one of them. It’s certainly a far cry from the last time Tanya and Jay last visited, in 1997, when there was virtually no one here. Mortar shell pock marks were everywhere and you could get a room in the best hotel in town for $25 a night. No more. Up to 30,000 cruisers a day can descend on the old city at the height of the season, making it an almost ridiculous quest to enjoy this amazing town. But for the independent traveler, there’s an easy solution.
First, check the cruise ship schedule for the day. The port of Dubrovnik has a website listing which ships are coming in on which days, their arrival and departure times and the number of passengers on each. Some days there may be only one small cruise ship in town with about 400 passengers. The other solution is to go early in the morning before the cruise crowds arrive. If you are there before 8am you virtually have the town to yourself. The walkway along the top of the old city wall opens at 8am and by the time you finish at 9am you will have encountered no more than a handful of other smart travelers like yourself.