Less than 5 miles away from Dubrovnik lies Kupari, an abandoned beachfront resort town on Zupa Bay. When planning our trip to Dubrovnik, my husband, Andrew, somehow stumbled across photos of this site that is little known to tourists. After seeing photos of this war-torn ghost town, I was intrigued, but my mind wavered as to whether or not visiting Kupari was a safe (or smart) idea. I like horror movies, but I really didn’t want to be part of a real life one.
Quick History of Kupari
Decimated by the Croatian War of Independence (also known as the Homeland War) in 1991, Yugoslavia’s elite military and families once visited this popular resort town. The compound consisted of five properties and rose to massive popularity in the 1960s.
If all rooms were occupied, up to 2,000 guests could stay on this property. A nearby campsite could hold 4,000 more people. After the Yugoslav army destroyed the resort in the 1990s, the hotels were looted and have remained vacant to present day.
Our Experience Wandering Around The Ruins
We visited Kupari on the rainiest day of our trip to Dubrovnik. As if planned by the producers of “Ghost Hunters,” we set out to explore decrepit abandoned hotels on the spookiest of days.
When we entered Kupari, the sheer size of this compound overwhelmed us. Depending on your ability (or inability) to remain calm in a haunted house, you could spend 5 minutes or 5 hours exploring these hotels.
When navigating the resort, you’ll notice the abundance of graffiti (English and Croatian obscenities with a few phallic visuals, too), shattered glass, shelled walls and destroyed foundation that leaves you with an awfully eerie feeling. Zero plumbing. Zero electricity. Copper pipes and marble flooring were all looted. All of the hotel’s valuables gone. It’s hard to grasp how such shelled decrepit buildings can sit alongside the beautiful blue Adriatic Sea. A good question is, how is it still sitting there on such prime real estate?
The Future of Kupari
The resort has been in private hands since 2001. There have been a few articles that link the redevelopment of Kupari to Marriott, Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotel chains. There has been talk for years; however, none have publicly claimed to purchase the property. As of now, Kupari appears “open” to anyone who wants to venture around the spooky property.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Kupari?
We left from Dubrovnik’s main bus station in Gruz and traveled to Kupari. With stops, the entire trip was around 30 minutes (15 minutes by car). If you’re attempting to leave from a different bus station, check the map where you’re located. It’s a direct shot via D8 from Dubrovnik to Kupari (or Cavtat to Kupari). There is a little bus stop located directly outside of the entrance of Kupari. If you’ve reached Cavtat from Dubrovnik, you’ve gone too far. It may also help to mention to your bus driver you’re going to Kupari.
Is it safe to visit Kupari?
Definitely wear closed toe shoes when visiting the resort. You’ll be stepping over broken glass, rotted floors and rusty nails– don’t touch anything unless you want a Tetanus shot. On this massive piece of land, we appeared to be the only ones. Even while attempting to find more recent articles on Kupari, there is never any mention of crime. As always when traveling in a foreign country, be smart and use common sense.
Is Kupari blocked off?
As of now, there is no security and no tape to indicate you cannot enter. Enter at your own risk!
Can you swim at Kupari?
Yes, you can swim beyond the hotel. In fact, many locals actually visit Beach Kupari because it’s a little sandier, less rocky and less popular than the other beaches closer to Dubrovnik. If you do choose to swim in Zupa Bay, you’ll notice many lounge a bit further down the beach, closer to Mlini, where there is a beach bar. Just look for the people and beach chairs!
Can you camp at Kupari?
In Croatia, camping outside of designated camping grounds is illegal, and you can be penalized up to 3,000 kuna (~$460 USD). So, unfortunately, no, you cannot camp on the grounds of the abandoned resort. However, there is a nearby campsite in Mlini that is just a 5 minute walk to Kupari and the beaches. Camp Kupari is in an ideal location being so close to the beach and also away from tourists in Dubrovnik. If you’re interested in traveling to Dubrovnik from the campsite, there is regular bus service.
Is Kupari, Croatia haunted?
If you ask my husband, he’d roll his eyes and say no. But if you ask me, it’s a resounding “yes!” If you see a ghost, report back stat.
If you liked this post, check out the rest of our trip: 8 Incredible Things To Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia, One Day in Montenegro: You Can’t Miss These Places! and 1 Day In Bosnia: Mostar, Medjugorje and Počitelj.