Daily Life of Old Town residents

Practicalities of life in Dubrovnik or how do the locals live

6/13/20232 min read

For visitors who come to Dubrovnik on holiday, this town an amazing and beautiful place, as if created in a fairy tale or designed as a movie set. Tourists stroll through the main street, Stradun, and gradually discover small side streets filled with charming stores, historical buildings, and monuments.

Every once in a while, you may catch sight of a local, and if you know what to look for, they stand out from all the tourists. They move with purpose, heading somewhere rather than sightseeing, and they are not amazed or fazed by the beauty and majesty of the location. And why would they be? This is their daily life, and they have chores to do.

Life in the Old Town is impractical, to put it mildly. On most days, tourists will be strolling through the streets, and in the morning hours, it is difficult to move if you have errands to run. There are only three small grocery shops within the ancient walls, and prices are inflated due to tourism. Therefore, for day-to-day shopping, one must go to the other side of town where larger shopping centers are located. To get there, one needs a car, which is not allowed in the Old Town, and parking around it is sometimes abysmal.

And yet, there are around 700 people living permanently inside the Walls - Grad, as the locals call it. The word simply means "town" but is spoken with a different accent than the regular word "town" and it becomes something else entirely when spoken in their special way. Most of them own a house inside the Walled City, but they feel more like caretakers than owners, keeping it in the family and eventually passing it on to the next generation.

The next generation can be seen playing in the streets every evening, often with footballs being kicked in the main square of the Old Town as if there were no tourists around, or you will see them climbing ancient monuments, lost in their imagination. For a visitor, this may look strange since, in most cases, there seems to be little to no parental control over the kids, and I have seen scornful and unhappy looks some visitors give them.

Dear visitors, you do not have to be tolerant of these kids; you should be grateful that they are tolerant of all of us walking around the town in which they are growing up, and crossing the only playground they have. And as far as parental control is concerned, be happy for them - they do it this way because they can. Croatia is the safest country in Europe, and Dubrovnik is the safest town in Croatia.