Saturday, January 31, 2009

Real Estate Prices in Dubrovnik

Real Estate prices in Dubrovnik have grown substantially over the last several years fueled by foreign investors and tourists buying vacation and retirement homes. Prices are generally thought to have peaked in 2007 - 2008. At this peak, properties inside the Old Town sold for as much as 7.000 EUR per square meter whereas properties in outer-lying areas such as Cavtat went for 2.500 - 3.500 EUR per square meter. Since the start of the global economic crisis property sales have cooled off considerably and it is expected that prices will retreat; how much is unknown. A recent article in the Croatia Times claims that price cuts will not be dramatic (Experts announce real-estates price correction but not price cutting in 2009), but then again the Croatian government also does not think the tourism industry will be substantially affected by the global recession (Tourism boss sees no slump for '09). A more realistic scenario would see at least a 20 - 30% price drop during the next couple of years followed by another period of growth once the economy recovers. Should Croatia succeed in its candidacy for E.U. membership we should see another considerable increase in values. However the real estate market plays out in the near-term, Dubrovnik will continue to be a major tourist destination in the future and foreigners will no doubt continue to snatch up seaside property at relatively discounted prices.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Accommodation in Dubrovnik

Visitors to Dubrovnik have many options when choosing their accommodation. There are a few beautiful 4 & 5-star hotels in town and several average 3-star hotels. In addition, there is a large selection of private accommodations, which vary greatly in quality and price.

The selection of hotels in Dubrovnik is somewhat limited but is improving every year. For those with a large budget, I recommend any of the following:

- The Pucic Palace (http://www.thepucicpalace.com) - This 5-star boutique hotel is centrally located on Gunduliceva Square in the center of Old Town. It is housed in an old stone building and offers a selection of upscale restaurants and bars.

- Hilton Imperial (http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/DBVHIHI-Hilton-Imperial-Dubrovnik/index.do) - Situated in a beautiful historic building, this 5-star hotel sits on a hill just outside of the Old Town. The sea-facing rooms offer great views and the hotel provides guests with many amenities including an excellent restaurant and bar.

- Hotel Excelsior (http://www.hotel-excelsior.hr) - This popular fixture in Dubrovnik history has been recently updated and still offers the best views of the Old Town from its newly renovated bar. One of this 5-star hotel's best features is its concrete "beach" which allows guests to swim in the Adriatic directly from hotel property.

- Dubrovnik Palace (http://www.dubrovnikpalace.hr) - Lapad's finest 5-star hotel and the most-beautifully positioned hotel in Dubrovnik. The views from the restaurant, pool area, and lobby bar are spectacular as is the direct access to the Adriatic sea for swimming.

- Hotel Bellevue (http://www.hotel-bellevue.hr) - This sleek, stylish 4-star hotel is perfectly located on a beautiful beach just 800 meters from the Old Town. The hotel's restaurant (Vapor) is one of Dubrovnik's most creative and offers stunning views of the sea.

For those with a more limited budget, I recommend private accommodation over a 3-star hotel. Private apartments and villas are often more comfortable and better appointed than a 3-star hotel and are generally priced lower. They also offer a unique "local" experience and extras such as a kitchen or private terrace. Our website, www.DubrovnikApartmentSource.com offers a wide range of high-quality, upscale apartments and villas in many locations including Old Town, walking distance to Old Town, Lapad, Cavtat, and other areas on the Dubrovnik Riveria.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How long should I stay in Dubrovnik?

One of the most common questions we hear from travelers to Dubrovnik is "how long should I stay?" The answer to this question depends on how much you want to see. All of the major historical sites of Dubrovnik can be seen in one or two days if you like to keep busy and do not want to visit any of the local area beaches or take day-trips. However, if you use Dubrovnik as a base to explore Southern Dalmatia and the surrounding areas then you could easily keep busy for a week or more.

If you only have a day or two in Dubrovnik we recommend staying in or close to the Old Town so as to minimize travel time and maximize your exposure to the historic aspects of the city. You will likely have to stay in a hotel as most private apartment and villa owners require a 3-night minimum stay, especially during the busy summer season. If your schedule allows a longer stay in Dubrovnik you will have more options. In this case, we recommend staying within walking distance of the Old Town in the neighborhoods of Ploce or Pile. Since you will have no problem meeting the 3-night minimum requirement, we recommend private apartments or villas as they offer a unique, "local" experience and much better rates than comparable hotels. Apartments in the Ploce and Pile neighborhoods often offer more space than those in the Old Town and generally have a balcony or terrace with views of the beautiful Adriatic Sea.

If you have decided to make Dubrovnik your base for exploring Southern Dalmatia you will need to stay for a minimum of 4 – 7 days. Popular full-day trips from Dubrovnik include Montenegro, Mostar (Bosnia), the Island of Korcula, the wine region of the Peljesac Peninsula, and a boat trip to the 3 Elaphite Islands. Of course, you will want to leave a couple of days to explore Dubrovnik's Old Town, local beaches, the village of Cavtat, the Konavle region, and perhaps some of the other surrounding villages such as Zaton & Mlini.

Dubrovnik is a small city and can physically be covered in a short time if necessary. However, travelers who choose to spend a bit more time and look beneath the surface will be richly rewarded with cultural experiences and unique, natural beauty.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hello from Sunny Dubrovnik!

I decided to create this blog as a resource for travelers to Dubrovnik and other areas of Croatia. Though Croatia is becoming a popular destination for travelers there are not many good, comprehensive web sources of accurate travel information. I plan to regularly post useful travel details such as bus and ferry routes/schedules, recommendations of restaurants and local area businesses, and local cultural events and happenings.

My wife and I are Americans who have been living in Dubrovnik for 2 years. We own and operate a business named Dubrovnik Apartment Source (www.DubrovnikApartmentSource.com). Our website is an easy-to-use source for booking high-quality private apartments and villas in and around Dubrovnik. We visit each property personally before listing them on our website and we offer honest, personalized reviews.

Please enjoy my postings and feel free to ask any questions about traveling or living in Dubrovnik! I will do my best to answer them quickly.