A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Dubrovnik, Croatia
If you’ve watched Game of Thrones, or seen any pictures of Dubrovnik, you’ve likely seen stairs. Lots of them. Although it’s true that Dubrovnik is chock-full of staircases and steep inclines, don’t let this deter you if you’re needing accessible facilities. We’re here to show you the many accessible things that you can do in Dubrovnik.
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1. Tour the Old Town
Can doing something be cliché if it’s truly a must-see thing? Visiting the old town should be the first item on your list of accessible things to do in Dubrovnik.
There are two accessible entrance gates to the old town, one on either side of the city; Pile and Ploče.
Pile Gate is the main entrance to the old town. It has a ramp to take you from the upper, accessible viewing area over Fort Lovrijenac, located outside of the gate, to the lower, flat portion of the old town. The ramp is wide and for anyone, so expect it to be packed if you’re traveling during the high season.
On the opposite end, Ploče Gate is located near the port, which is also fully accessible, and offers a flatter entrance for exiting and entering (along with slightly fewer crowds, relatively speaking).
Once inside the Old Town, the main street, Placa Stradun, has a wide, flat surface and will take you through the entire length of the old town. From Placa Stradun, endless side streets will lead you in beautiful directions.
Other accessible streets in Dubrovnik
When entering from Pile Gate, and looking at the side streets to your left, you’ll be able to explore about a block down those streets, until you hit some spectacularly steep stair cases. Make sure to visit this area, since the stairs are a sight to see.
Travel Tip: The side streets from Placa Stradun are particularly narrow, especially when the restaurants open and set up shop for outdoor seating. Therefore, aim to visit the side streets before 9:00am for easier mobility.
When on Placa Stradun Street, and heading down the side streets to the right (towards the sea), you’ll have more options for roaming among the streets before hitting staircases.
There’s also a secondary main street, Od Puča, which runs parallel to Placa Stradun. Keep in mind that Placa Stradun has a perfectly smooth surface, but all side streets are uneven stone.
You may notice an occasional ramp in the old town leading up sets of stairs. The ramps are rather scary looking and seem to be intended for construction workers rather than for people, so proceed with caution.
Accessible old town tours
Many tours of Dubrovnik’s old town are 100% accessible, regardless of whether or not anyone in the group needs accessibility. I took a “Discover the Old Town” tour with Dubrovnik Walks. The 1.5 hour walk with our guide, who was born, raised, and still lives in the old town was engaging and insightful.
When I asked Dubrovnik Walks about accessible tours, they said if they know in advance that someone will be touring with a wheelchair, they’ll try to arrange a smaller group tour. Private tours are, of course, an option, too.
Note: I paid in full for my tour with Dubrovnik Walks. They had no idea that I have a travel blog or would be mentioning them here.
Unfortunately, touring the city wall isn’t an accessible activity, nor are the many Game of Thrones tours you’ll see advertised around.
However, if you’re interested in a Game of Thrones tour, you can hire a private guide to give you a modified version of it. All Game of Thrones tour guides were on set in the HBO series in some form, so you’ll get to enjoy plenty of stories about filming!
Accessible buildings in the old town
Most churches and museums in the old town aren’t accessible. The exception are the Cultural History Museum and Aquarium. Both are located near Ploče Gate.
Many shops in the old town are also inaccessible, due to a single, rather large step, that is required to enter most of them. The main tourist office outside of the old town by Pile Gate has a ramp leading to the front door.
Accessible market in the old town
When entering the old town from Ploče Gate, and heading behind the Church of St. Blaise, you’ll come across the Gundulićeva Poljana Market in Gundulić Square.
At first glance, the market will seem inaccessible since there’s a step surrounding the plaza. However, follow the market around to the back near the restaurant area, and you’ll find the accessible entrance. From there, you’ll be able to explore the entire market. Make sure to buy a package of traditional candied fig and orange sweets.
Accessible restaurants in the old town
You’ll have your pick of accessible restaurants in the old town, as side streets leading from Stradun Street are packed full of them. However, given that they are packed full, it can make navigating the side streets at peak hours tricky.
Therefore, you may find yourself inclined to eat at the variety of restaurants that are around Gundulić Square. There are also some restaurants along Stradun and Od Puča Streets, which are wider.
There’s an accessible public restroom located outside Pile Gate, directly across the street from the tourist office. You’ll also find three accessible parking spaces in front of the restroom.
2. Panoramic Walk
There’s plenty to see inside Dubrovnik’s old city, but you can’t truly say that you’ve seen Dubrovnik without exploring outside the city walls. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a walk to the south. Not only will you get to enjoy panoramic views of the old town and beaches, but since most tourists only flock to Mount Srd, you’ll also get to leave the crowds behind.
In order to start this walk, which we’ve dubbed the “Panoramic Walk,” head out of Ploče Gate. From there, follow Frana Supila Street, with the coast to your right. Then, enjoy!
A sidewalk follows the road for a good portion of the way. After about 20 minutes or so, the accessible sidewalk ends and you’ll need to continue along the road. However, the road doesn’t have much traffic since it’s in a residential area.
Another item to note is that the walk starts off with a solid stone wall about three feet high. Eventually, the stone wall slopes down much lower. Wall or no wall, turn around at any point and you’ll get to enjoy some downright stunning views of Dubrovnik.
Don’t believe us? Take a look:
Terrain on the panoramic walk
The panoramic walk involves a gentle, but steady, incline. Surfaces on both the sidewalks and pavement are mostly smooth. Be prepared with water and sunscreen, since you’ll be without access to stores and absolutely no shade for most of the walk.
You’re probably wondering how far you can go on this walk. You can go really far. The road wraps around a cliff along the coast, so you’ll encounter one stunning viewpoint after the next the farther you go.
Eventually, Frana Supila Street becomes Vlaha Bukovca Street, but you likely won’t notice the transition between the two.
3. Mount Srđ
It’s impossible to talk about viewpoints and accessible things to do in Dubrovnik without mentioning Mount Srđ. In fact, according to Trip Advisor, visiting Mount Srđ is the third most popular thing to do in Dubrovnik, after visiting the wall and old town.
There are two accessible ways to reach Mount Srđ. The first and most popular is by cable car. Unfortunately, when I visited, the cable car was undergoing some…shall we say, silly?…legal issues.
However, when the cable car is running, it’s fully accessible. The cable car entrance is located on the road above the outside of the old town. Accessible restrooms are located inside, around to the right.
Be prepared to wait in some beastly long lines without any shade from the sun/rain/whatever the weather may be. There are only two cable cars, and each one can only accommodate 30 passengers at a time.
If the cable car doesn’t strike your fancy, or if it can’t because it’s closed when you travel, your other option is to go to the top by vehicle. You can do so by driving, hiring a taxi, or joining a tour group.
When the cable car running, you’ll know because you can view timetables and pricing on the Dubrovnik Cable Car website. Otherwise, a message will pop up letting you know the service has been suspended.
Accessible facilities at Mount Srđ
In the most basic sense, Mount Srđ is accessible. However, I found the parking lot and outdoor areas to be barely passable as accessible.
For starters, the driveway is gravel and there aren’t handicap parking spaces. To be fair, there aren’t designated parking spaces at all, so you can park how, and where, you please. I visited just days before high season started, and even with the cable car not running, there were plenty of parking spaces midday.
The outdoor viewing area by the cross was underwhelming and also not overly accessible. You can enter on the side closest to the outdoor restaurant, but again, it’s a gravel path. For whatever reason, they also built a single step halfway around the cross.
The fortress beside the cable car building was turned into a Homeland War Museum. However, given the fortress’ antiquity, it isn’t accessible.
Now that we’ve gotten through the gloom of less-than-ideal accessibility, let’s talk about where there’s good accessibility.
Best accessible places at Mount Srđ
The multistory indoor area of the cable car viewing center is where things are wonderfully accessible. It’s also where everyone gets to enjoy the best views of Dubrovnik. If coming by cable car, you’ll be greeted by an elevator when you get off.
After enjoying the views from the top story, you can head to the first floor for accessible restrooms and the beautiful Panorama Restaurant. If you’re in the mood for spending some Kuna, this restaurant offers fantastic views over Dubrovnik.
The amount of time you spend at the top of Mount Srđ will depend greatly on whether or not you decide to eat at the Panorama Restaurant. Keep in mind that they sell coffee and dessert, so there’s no need to order a full meal.
If you don’t eat at Panorama, you’ll likely be ready to head back to town after 20 – 30 minutes.
4. Hike to Bosanka
This activity is for the adventurous soul, and oh how rewarded you’ll be!
If meandering down a single-lane countryside road that’s used as a two-lane road doesn’t sound like an accessible thing to do in Dubrovnik, we get it. In that case, feel free to skip this section.
If you’re still with us, get ready for some ultra unique Dubrovnik views!
Bosanka is best reached when you’re already at Mount Srđ. From there, it’s an entirely downhill hike that will give you some great views, particularly of the coastal area south of Dubrovnik.
In theory, the journey from Mount Srđ to the town of Bosanka takes about 15 minutes. However, you’ll likely find that it takes you longer, as you stop and admire the scenery.
Terrain on the hike
Notably, this hike is entirely paved and downhill. However, for most of the hike, there’s an inch or more ledge between the paved road and the gravel shoulder.
Car traffic is light, as it’s a road mostly used by a few tour agencies. Nonetheless, the car will be responsible for getting off the shoulder to drive around you.
Travel Tip: It’s a good idea to have a bright colored cloth, or flag, behind your chair to make you easily visible to vehicles.
Since there are lots of rock formations along the side of the road, you won’t be able to get too close to the edge. However, you’ll get to enjoy plenty of panoramic views from the road.
Things to do in Bosanka
Bosanka is a small town and isn’t an overly exciting place to see. Therefore, from Bosanka, you’ll either need to take a bus (more on bus accessibility below) or call a taxi.
You could also dine at Konoba Dubrava, which is a restaurant in town known for its three hour “under the bell” meals. They advertise accessibility on their website, but there’s a downhill gravel driveway you’ll need to use to get there, if you’ll be coming in by hiking.
If this hike sounds a bit too adventurous for your liking, you’re still in luck, since you can tour the same road by vehicle.
Plenty of tour agencies operate van rides up to Mount Srđ. Traveling along the road to Bosanka can be arranged as part of the standard Mount Srđ tour.
Accessibility on Public Buss
Since so many accessible things to do in Dubrovnik are in the old town, you likely won’t find yourself needing to use the bus much. However, for those times when you do, such as when coming from Bosanka or visiting Cavtat, public buses are accessible.
The ramp is located at the middle door of the bus (not the door by the driver). There’s a button on the outside of the bus to activate the ramp.
Once on the bus, and depending on the design, you’ll either be able to stay directly where you enter, or head over to a larger, designated accessible area.
Wheelchair Accessible Transportation in Dubrovnik
Disabled Accessible Travel is a company that offers accessible vehicles in Dubrovnik. Even though they typically have their highest concentration of accessible vehicles is in Dubrovnik compared to other parts of Croatia, it’s still important for you to plan your transfers with them as far in advance as possible.
They’ll need to check availability and send you a customized quote for your trip. In order for them to do so, you’ll need to email them with the following information:
- Number of travelers and how many of them use a wheelchair
- Size of the wheelchair(s)
- Specific travel dates, times, and pick up/drop off locations
- Amount of luggage you’ll be bringing, if the transfer requires bringing your luggage with you
Do you want to take public transportation to other destinations in Croatia? If so, head over to Bookaway, a website designed for booking public transportation. Bookaway is in the process of setting up wheelchair accessible ticket bookings directly on their website, but for now, you can contact them directly and they’ll support you with accessible information.
A Note on Money
Make sure you have plenty of Kuna on you during your time in Dubrovnik. You’ll find lots of ATMs on the streets outside of the old town, along with some on Placa Stradun Street.
Credit cards are accepted at some restaurants and shops. However, even Dubrovnik’s main Tourist Information Office doesn’t accept credit cards.
Travel Tip: From my experience traveling around Croatia, paying in Euro is a huge no-no.
Accessible Resources for Dubrovnik
We know that the best knowledge lies in research from multiple sources. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of other websites to help you in your search of accessible things to do in Dubrovnik:
Absolute Croatia’s Guests with Disabilities post is the most detailed we’ve found on accessibility in Dubrovnik. Here, you’ll have access to contact information for accessible vehicles and the most up-to-date information about accessible activities, hotels, and public transportation in Dubrovnik.
Handiscover offers an Accessible Guide to Dubrovnik, where they highlight five key accessible things to do in Dubrovnik. They also talk about public transportation and offer resources for other accessible areas in Croatia.
Curb Free with Cory Lee
Cory has put together a list of accessible places to see and eat at in Dubrovnik. You can also find great resources about accessibility in other parts of Croatia, and the world, on his website.
We hope that this guide helped to give you a feel for the many accessible things to do in Dubrovnik. Have you traveled to Dubrovnik? Share your experience, tips and advice in the comments section!
P.S.- Are you planning a day trip to Cavtat from Dubrovnik? If so, check out our Day trip to Cavtat: Everything You Need to Know post, which includes a section on wheelchair accessibility in Cavtat. Also, if you’ll be traveling to Split, don’t miss our Wheelchair Accessible Guide to Split, Croatia.
Laura’s love for traveling started with a trip to Jamaica. Since then, she’s spent over five years living in Latin America and four years wandering the globe. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.