If you like exploring abandoned places you will surely love the bay of abandoned hotels in Kupari, Croatia. Located only some 10 km away from Dubrovnik, this is a must-visit place for all fans of urban exploration and one of the easiest day trips from Dubrovnik.
Even if you are not much into abandoned places you should still consider visiting Kupari as it’s such a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of busy Dubrovnik Old Town.
What is the bay of abandoned hotels?
The so-called “bay of abandoned hotels” is the complex of former hotels in Kupari, Croatia that has been neglected for some twenty years now. There are seven hotels in the complex (Grand, Goričina I, Goričina II, Kupari, Pelegrin, Mladost and Galeb) and all of them are in disrepair.
Today you can explore the area freely and see the remnants of the former glory located in the beautiful bay near Dubrovnik. This is one of the coolest alternative places to visit in Croatia.
The history of the bay of abandoned hotels in Kupari
The first hotel – Grand – was built here already in 1920, by the entrepreneurs from Czechoslovakia who has the tiling factory nearby. They’ve realized how big touristic potential this area has and therefore decided to build the hotel here.
Next hotels in the luxury complex appeared in the Kupari Bay in the 1960s, dedicated to the officers of the Yugoslav People’s Army and their families as well as the national officials of Yugoslavia. Even the country’s leader, Josip Broz Tito, had his private villa here.
During the Balkan War in the 1990s, the complex of Kupari hotels was badly destroyed – first, it was attacked from the sea and afterward taken over by the Serbian Army. Even if the hotels were already in the poor state after the war, the Croatian army still used it.
Eventually, at the beginning of the 2000s, the complex was abandoned for good, plundered and numerous items such as furniture were stolen.
If you would like to see how Kupari used to look like watch this video.
How to get to Kupari, Croatia
Getting to Kupari hotels is actually very easy, whether you arrive by car or use public transport. I used both ways and had no problems.
If you arrive by car, the hotel complex is located just off the main road from Dubrovnik to the airport and Montenegro. There are no signs pointing to the direction of the hotels so you will need to use the map to show you the exact turn. It is on the right arriving from Dubrovnik, a bit before Sub City shopping center.
You can easily get by car to the hotels and park right in front of them.
If you need to use public transport take the bus no 10 from Dubrovnik in the direction of Cavtat (another town near Dubrovnik that is worth visiting). It departs frequently (at least every hour) from the bus station and stops also near Dubrovnik Old Town, at the cable car lower station. You can get the ticket from the driver.
Again, follow the map to see where you need to leave the bus – I use maps.me app that works offline perfectly fine. The bus stop is next to the turn from the main road towards the Kupari hotels, it’s a short walk from there to reach the complex.
Be sure to check the buses back before so you won’t need to wait too long to get back to Dubrovnik. You can also stop in the shopping mall nearby to do some shopping or use the toilet, the next bus stop is near it.
Visiting Kupari has been very high on my bucket list since the moment I found out about the place. Now, I’ve been there twice and it definitely lived up to my expectations (but I’m a big fan of exploring abandoned places so maybe that’s why). Both of my trips to Kupari were in March, which was a coincidence really.
I visited Kupari for the first time with a friend. We stayed in Kotor and came by car for a day trip to Kupari (we didn’t go to Dubrovnik then, on purpose) and from there we continued to Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina (only 30 km away). We visited three main hotels, managed to randomly find a way to the rooftop and saw no other people around.
The second trip was unplanned really. I went from Dubrovnik to Cavtat and as I passed Kupari I felt the strong urge to visit the place again, especially that the weather was so much better than during my first trip there. Until the very last moment, I was debating in my head if I should go there or not (after all I was traveling alone) but when I boarded the bus I asked for a ticket to Kupari only, not Dubrovnik.
Before arriving I told my good friend what I was about to do so he would know something is wrong if I don’t message him in a few hours – that’s the joy of exploring abandoned places alone.
This time the hotel complex was busier but with local people who went for a walk on the beach in this beautiful afternoon. I saw no other tourists and inside the hotels I was on my own. I already knew the way to the rooftop and I just couldn’t miss the stunning view from there.
When visiting Kupari you can explore all the abandoned hotels with their (obviously abandoned) facilities, such as the swimming pool or the restaurant. The most interesting ones are Hotel Pelegrin (from the upper parts you get the best view of the bay and the complex), Hotel Grand (you can still see its beautiful architecture from the 1920s) and Hotel Goričina II (that’s where you can get to the rooftop).
But each building and corner is interesting in a way and you never know what you might find there (for example I discovered the swimming pool in Kupari Hotel and the restaurant in Hotel Goričina II only during my second visit).
There is also plenty of street art around, some works are better than others but overall you might find some good pieces there.
If you want to get to the rooftop in Hotel Goričina II you need to find the staircase on the right side of the hotel (from the side of the sea) and go to the highest floor. It might be a bit scary, especially that parts of the way are in complete darkness (I used the flashlight from my phone) and in other parts, you can see the bullet holes from the war.
On the last floor, there is a room where you can find the hole leading to the rooftop – if I managed to get through it you can do it as well. And once there you can see the amazing view of the Bay of the Abandoned Hotels and beyond.
I can understand that not everyone is confident enough in entering abandoned buildings, especially if you travel on your own. And that’s totally fine. If you are interested in the place but don’t really want to go deep inside you can just visit parts of the Hotel Grand and you should be satisfied too. The whole bay is a fascinating place to visit, even from the outside only.
Just like Tskaltubo, Georgia (my other favorite abandoned place to explore) Kupari is also getting more and more popular among tourists and you might see more people around when you visit the place. I think the fact that I was there in March was the reason why there were no other tourists around.
The future of Kupari hotels
For a few years now there’s been a discussion on what to do with the abandoned hotels in Kupari. There were (and I believe still are) investors who are interested in restoring the area but they change plans so often and do nothing with the hotels really.
One of the plans was the renovate Hotel Grand and demolish the rest of the buildings to get the land for new, fancy hotels. But so far nothing seems to be done and you still can visit the abandoned hotels in Kupari.
Final thoughts on visiting Kupari
Kupari is one of the easiest and most unique day trips from Dubrovnik and I think that after visiting Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) or Kotor (Montenegro) this should be your next quick getaway from the famous Croatian town.
It is different than all the other places along the Adriatic Sea and helps you realize the big tragedy of the war that went through the region in the 1990s. And if you like abandoned places, as I do, you will enjoy visiting Kupari for sure!
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