List of Cities to ''Avoid'' Contains Dubrovnik

By 10 September 2018

Dubrovnik is becoming a victim of its own success, and its placing on a less than desirable list of ''places to avoid'' does it no particular favours.

A lot is said and even more is written about the Pearl of the Adriatic and the intense crowding which is slowly drowning not only the tiny city's unprepared infrastructure, but its increasingly irritated local population. 

Standing unarguably as Croatia's most popular tourist destination, the country's southernmost city is a gem. Boasting the oldest example of still-standing medieval walls today in Europe, the sparkling Adriatic sea, beaches, nightlife, and an abundance of amenities, not to mention its close proximity to both neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, Dubrovnik is a ''must see destination'' as much as it is an entirely unique one.

There's a catch. Well, several of them.

Dubrovnik's wild popularity, which only increased tenfold after it took on the role of King's Landing in the hit series Game of Thrones (GoT), has seen things take a rather unpleasant turn. Every medal has two sides and the path from fame and fortune to the complete opposite is a slippery slope indeed. One problem among many is similar to that faced by Venice - the huge amounts of gigantic cruise ships bringing thousands upon thousands of tourists on day trips into Croatia's southernmost gem, causing nothing less than sheer havoc with the city's old infrastructure and indeed its shops, neither of which were ever built or designed to sustain and attempt to properly cater such overcrowding. 

Mass tourism is, without a shred of a doubt, slowly killing this stunning little city, and while it would be too far for us at TCN to refer to it as a ''must avoid destination'', having lived there for years before moving to Zagreb, I can say with some authority that I can see where the author of the original text is coming from. You shouldn't really need to sit and think about whether you really need to go and get that milk from the shop, only to spend 45 minutes in traffic and arrive to find empty shelves. First world problems? Maybe. But still problems you shoudn't really have.

Julia Hammond, the author of the original text, writes that owing to the crowds in the very centre of the city, tourists are left unable to truly enjoy Dubrovnik.

The Discoverer has provided its readers with a list of five tourist destinations to avoid, and poor Dubrovnik has found itself on another such list. Falling victim to several others before it, it seems things are slipping out of the control of the hands of Croatia's top destination at a very alarming rate. Hammond writes:

''A visit to Dubrovnik's historic old town is a highlight of any Croatian vacation, but the crowds that pack its narrow streets and passageways don't make for a quality visitor experience. This overcrowding is exacerbated by cruise ships, which disgorge their passengers in great numbers, swelling the population for a few hours before boarding again. Add to that the increased awareness of the city from its starring role in the ridiculously popular Game of Thrones and you've got yourself a problem of epic proportions. The authorities have been forced to act, capping the number of people who can walk the crumbling ramparts to a safe 4000 a day quota.''

As an alternative, Hammond suggests visiting Macedonia's stunning Lake Ohrid, claiming that this location, while full of history and old monasteries and churches, can be enjoyed without ''jostling'' crowds. Referring to Lake Ohrid as ''delightful'', Hammond recommends avoiding trying to be ''one of the lucky ones'' to get a ticket to one of Dubrovnik's sites.

Taking fifth place, Dubrovnik finds itself among the likes of Peru's Machu Picchu, Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, Thailand's Maya Bay, and Spain's Barcelona, which holds first place on the list.

Would you agree that historical Dubrovnik is placing too much emphasis on attracting higher and higher numbers of visitors as opposed to taking care of its true charm and allowing for those who do visit to properly experience it? If Dubrovnik truly is to be avoided during the summer months, as has been written by various portals over more recent years, then its take on 365 tourism needs to be studied far more carefully and updated rapidly before things go from bad to even worse for the former autonomous republic.