How to Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia, in Snow

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.
Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Do you recognize this view? No? It’s Dubrovnik, but in snow, which is a big rarity for this southern city. Usually, Dubrovnik is full of sun and heat. This is perhaps the most beautiful city of Croatia and certainly one of the most handsome in Europe. Below, you will see its photographs with and without snow.

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

After a two-week Christmas holiday and greeting the New Year in Montenegro, we decided to visit Dubrovnik. Why not? It is only 30 km from Herceg Novi. January was chosen not accidentally. While it’s cold, snowing, or raining in most parts of Europe, the sun shines and, what is most important, warms in Croatia and Montenegro, and you can enjoy seclusion that European seaside resorts never have in summer.

In addition, there is the letter R in the name of this month, which means that we could get excellent oysters from the Croatian town of Ston for lunch. We already visited Dubrovnik in summer about eight years ago. Believe me, it was not worth it. Maybe for the sake of Croatian beaches, you will say? What beaches? Like this?

A city beach. Dubrovnik, Croatia.
A city beach of Dubrovnik

Can you imagine the degree of your pleasure, when you sit on this tiny piece of land among thousands of Chinese, Germans, and Russians? Moreover, some of Dubrovnik’s more than forty thousand citizens also go to the beach in July and August. No, it’s better to choose a low season to get acquainted with the pearl of the Adriatic.

A historical note

Dubrovnik started its history on a small island near the shore in the 7th century, but in the 12th century, the island was connected to the land, and Stradun, the famous central street of Dubrovnik, was constructed on the place of the former channel.

Already in the Middle Ages, the city-fortress on the sea flourished, thanks to the sea trade and smart diplomacy, and it was the only city on the Adriatic that could compete with the mighty Venetian Republic. The management system of the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) was very sensible. It prevented the concentration of power in one hand.

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

In 1806, Napoleon occupied Dubrovnik and, in 1808, abolished the republic and annexed it to France. But the Croats did not want to be the French. The ancient motto of the city-republic was “Freedom or death!” Today, this land doesn’t belong to France. It is the most southern part of Croatia.

The typical tourist goals, or what to see in Dubrovnik:

  • the historic center of Dubrovnik and a walk along its walls;
  • the island of Lokrum (in front of the old town) with its peacocks, ruins, and cactus garden;
  • Mljet—island-reserve with a unique inner lake;
  • the town of Ston with fortress wall, ancient salt pans (the oldest active salt pans in the world), and fish restaurants (with oysters).

If time and money allow, you can go to the island of Korcula, the Boka Kotorska fjord (the Bay of Kotor), and the city of Kotor (Montenegro) protected by UNESCO, or Bosnian Mostar.

But we had different plans

Our plans during that visit to Dubrovnik were much more modest—we just wanted to walk, explore the city, sit in its cafés, enter temples and churches, and take some pictures. We decided to stay not in the historical center, but a half-hour walk from it, among the Croats. Firstly, it is useful for improving the language, and secondly, long walks, especially in mountainous terrain, are good for health and overall fitness.

After covering the distance between Herceg Novi, Montenegro, and Dubrovnik (taxi—40 Euro), we found ourselves in Kate’s Place. We were lucky with this apartment. It was a wonderful place with a completely amazing hostess. Mrs. Kate is an embodiment of Irina’s dream. She speaks fluent English, travels a lot, and keeps a mini-hotel with three rooms. I am sure that most of you never had such a view from a balcony. This is not just the first line of the sea. A real precipice starts right below you. Standing on the balcony, you feel as if you are on the bow of a cruise liner. Remember the famous scene from the Titanic with Kate Winslet? The same picture: only the sea, you, and very well-fed gulls.

A seaview from the Kate Place, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
A seaview from the Kate’s Place, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Leaving our suitcases, we went to greet Dubrovnik and its main street, Stradun and its white stones polished with the passage of millions of soles. We entered the city through the Pile Gate (vrata od Pile). The Large Onofrio’s fountain (Velika Onofrijeva fontana) built in 1438 is still in its place. Local residents take water from it to this day. The entrance to the city walls and St. Saviour Church (crkva sv. Spasa) are on the left, the Sponza Palace is at the end of the street. It is one of few buildings that survived the earthquake of 1667.

By the way, Dubrovnik got its modern look after the quake. The end of the 20th century and separation of Croatia from Yugoslavia brought some destruction to the city, albeit small. Now, everything is in order, but in my opinion, Dubrovnik lost something authentically medieval.

The Large Onofrio Fountain, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The Large Onofrio’s Fountain
Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Sponza Palace
Crkva sv. Vlaha (Church of Saint Blaise), Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Crkva sv. Vlaha (Church of Saint Blaise), Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The street of Stradun, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The street of Stradun
The street of Stradun, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Stradun at night

The next day, we climbed the hill to visit Fort Lovrijenac (or St. Lawrence Fortress) and to take photos of Dubrovnik and its magnificent walls from above. Neither earthquake, nor the sieges could destroy these walls. On the side by the Adriatic Sea, their thickness is three meters, and on the landward side—4-6 meters. The city walls are fortified with 15 towers, 5 bastions, St. John’s Fortress, and two forts built outside the old city: Lovrijenac and Revelin.

I don’t know why, but an usher in the Fort Lovrijenac asked if we planned to visit the walls of Dubrovnik today. We responded in Croatian, and he sold us tickets for the fort+city walls for 50 HRK, although only to visit the walls is three times more expensive in the cash boxes of the city. Then he phoned somewhere and advised someone that we would come today. The ability to speak the local language is not only convenient, but also profitable.

Besides Dubrovnik, we wanted to visit a small nearby town, Ston. There are famous oyster plantations in the bay near Mali Ston (which means Little Ston), where one of the highest-quality oysters in the world is grown. While for my wife the main attraction of Ston is oyster plantations, for most tourists it is a fortress wall. This is the longest defensive complex in Europe and the second longest in the world after the Great Wall of China, although, Ston’s walls are only partially preserved. In the evening, we found a bus station, checked the timetable, and decided to go in the morning.

But that January prepared a great surprise for the inhabitants of Dubrovnik and its few tourists. In the evening, a strong wind brought snow, and a real snowstorm began. For the first time in nine years, as Kate told us, the snow did not melt immediately. Next morning, the snow was 15-20 cm deep. It was dangerous to drive by a mountain road to Ston in such weather, so we were destined not to taste Croatian oysters this time.

It was chaos on the city streets. Buses attached chains on the tires, but drivers with summer tires on their “iron horses” collided with walls, trees, and pillars. Local people are not used to the snowdrifts and ice, and few know how to drive in such conditions, but what an interesting topic for discussion in bars and cafes. Nevertheless, the snow caused general enthusiasm. Lessons in schools were canceled. Many children saw snow for the first time in their life, and together with their parents, they made snowmen between palm and mandarin trees. But we hurried up to the old city to take photographs of Dubrovnik again, this time in snow.

The Fort Lovrijenac in snow, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The Fort Lovrijenac in snow, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Dubrovnik in snow, Croatia.

Due to icing, the fortress walls of Dubrovnik were closed for visitors, and we were able to climb only to the St. Lawrence Fortress that also met us with closed doors. In the morning, we returned to Montenegro.

That is how we visited snowy Dubrovnik. If you also want to experience Dubrovnik in snow, wait for 9 or 10 years.

More about Croatia:

Plitvice Lakes. Obstacle Course on the Way to Water Paradise
Our Sailing in Croatia
Recipe for Trogir, Croatia

80 thoughts on “How to Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia, in Snow

  1. Wow It looks even more beautiful with a bit of snow and stormy clouds. 2 years ago, I was on a solo trip in Vis got a bit of snow. I had the whole town to myself! You are so right that the beaches are better enjoyed during low season. If my first visit to Croatia had been during high season, I think I would not have had the chance to fall in love with it and maybe even hated it. We hope to make it to Dubrovnik this winter. We visited a few summers ago and I loved visiting the fortress but hated everything else. You give 2 excellent pieces of advice, visit during low season and try to find a place where locals live. I’ve been surprised how my Spanish (not English) has helped me communicate with locals who tend to know a bit of Italian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least, Dubrovnik was quite unusual during this snowfall.
      I think you will feel you much more comfortable when you (or Frank) started to speak and understand Croatian. I remember one waitress in a cafe in Dubrovnik said us, “Thank God, at last, it is someone speaking Croatian.”
      Thank you, Lissette.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How lucky you were to see this beautiful sight, Victor — and how beautifully you’ve captured it! I have fallen once again under the spell of your beautiful photography …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely, and I think it’s better to visit Dubrovnik in colder months, when it’s not so crowded. We visited in September last year, and it was still incredibly crowded .. and expensive:)
    It’s a beautiful town, the pearl of the Adriatic:)

    Would love to have your support and follow back as you have mine.
    Here is my travel blog:



  4. Wow, Dubrovnik looks even more amazing covered in snow! I’ve just started my own blog that looks at how we can learn to be better tourists, and visiting places during the off-season is definitely one way of doing so.
    The Plitvice Lakes are also amazing during winter, whole different vibe than in summer and so beautiful!


  5. Very nice post!!! I couldn’t have imagined the city during winter!:))) It looks so much less crowded! We just came back from Dubrovnik, and despite the bunch of tourists, it was the best medieval city i have ever seen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing story. How privileged you must feel. I visited Croatia for the first time last year, visiting both Rijeka and Split. Rijeka, I found, was particularly stunning. Maybe I’ll be off to Dubrovnik in January next year then (with maybe a trip to Mostar on the side). Thanks for your informative post.

    I’ve given you a follow as I also write a travel blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! I love your story.
    We were just in Dubrovnik in April, and what a beautiful city. I can’t imagine it in the snow. It looks so funny, as if it were painted on! I had a wonderful time in Croatia, and I agree with you, staying a little outside the Old Town is quite nice. We were staying with a young man who had built a couple of apartments, and even had a young vineyard in the garden! It was just a 20-minute walk down, but he was lovely. As was everyone we met.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a rare event you captured Victor – we were a little higher up in Split at the same time and saw the snow falling in the mountains behind the city. But it never actually snowed in the city which was a bit of a shame and it would have been special.
    How the locals complained about the cold “the coldest winter in 50 years” they would say. Imagine if they have to cope just one day in Canada during January…

    Frank (bbqboy)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha. Or in Russia.
      They don’t understand they live in the paradise.
      However, everyone excluding drivers were happy with this exotic. Next day after the storm, streets were full of people, especially children.


  9. Beautiful photos, but I still prefer the warm kind of sunny days. It’s something new though, to see these photos side by side in different seasons. Very impressive. I see what you mean about the beaches. Rough and rugged and scenic but they’re not the Maldives beaches. So you go to Dubrovnik for other things instead.

    Liked by 2 people

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