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How Early to Arrive at Dubrovnik Airport

Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) known officially as Zračna luka Dubrovnik (Čilipi Airport), is one of the busiest airports in Croatia and primarily serves the popular Dubrovnik region and its islands. This airport, a gateway for several millions of tourists per year seeking the historic sites, and rich culture of Croatia’s coast, consists of just one passenger terminal.

check in - boarding @ Dubrovnik airport

Given this, we recommend arriving at Dubrovnik Airport at least 2 hours before a flight within the EU (elsewhere in Croatia, Scandinavia, Italy, etc.) and a minimum of 3 hours before a flight outside of the EU (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, etc.). However, specific circumstances might necessitate an even earlier arrival. Considerations include means of transportation to the airport, traveling with young children or elderly, and the time of your flight.

Which Dubrovnik Airport Terminal Do You Need?

There is currently just one terminal at Dubrovnik Airport that serves passengers.

What Time Should You Arrive at Dubrovnik Airport?

We usually recommend arriving at Dubrovnik Airport at least two hours before departure for flights within the EU and at least three hours before departure for flights outside of the EU which should provide you with enough time to:

  • Check-in for your flight (tickets & boarding pass)
  • Drop your luggage (if applicable)
  • Navigate through customs & security
  • Reach your gate well in time for boarding

In our opinion, it’s always better to arrive at the airport a little early and have some extra time browsing the stores or having a refreshment rather than arriving late, feeling rushed, and running the risk of denied boarding or missing your flight.

arrival in rainy day

Why Do You Need to Arrive Earlier For Flights Outside The EU?

We recommend arriving at Dubrovnik Airport one hour earlier if you’re traveling outside of the EU as additional visa, entry requirements, immigration control, and customs may be required.

If you’re traveling long-haul (USA, Canada) then the possible larger aircraft with more passengers have a longer boarding period which starts earlier to allow for all passengers to board the aircraft with enough time prior to the scheduled departure time.

How Are You Travelling to Dubrovnik Airport?

One of the first things to consider when deciding how early to arrive at Dubrovnik Airport is how you are getting to the airport. The traffic conditions can be bad when it can easily take in excess of one hour to travel from Dubrovnik town center to the airport by car or even longer if you’re coming by public transport (bus). Keep in mind that on a Saturday or Sunday at 12 noon, the travel time may be very different from 7 o’clock on a Tuesday morning.

If you’re returning a rental car at the airport then we recommend arriving at the airport at least 1 hour earlier as you may be required to wait in line and complete some paperwork before returning your vehicle. In addition to this you’ll also then need to walk from the rental car drop-off location over to the terminal – all of which increases the amount of time you’ll need to get to the airport’s check-in desks.

The Time of Year

The time of year in which you’re traveling can have a significant impact on how busy Dubrovnik Airport is and therefore how long you may have to wait to park your car, check in, drop your bag/s, and get through customs and security.

The summer season (July & August) can lead to some of the busiest travel days of the year, especially on weekends. As such if you’re traveling during one of these peak times, then you may want to look at arriving at the airport at least one hour earlier. For off-season flights, the boarding procedure is much faster. (check how busy it is at the moment)

Departure @ Dubrovnik airport - boarding the plane

Checking in For Your Flight & Dropping Checked Bags

The majority of airlines offer to check in for your flight using either the mobile application or web application up to 24 hours before departure. Checking in using this service should provide you with a digital boarding pass and therefore only require you to use the bag drop service.

If you’re unable to check in for your flight before arriving at the airport then you’ll need to arrive at the airport with enough time to do so. Keep in mind that airlines will close the check-in gates before the flight departs, usually around 45 minutes and the bag drop will close roughly one hour prior to the flight’s departure.

If you have only cabin bag/s, then once you have your boarding pass (digital or physical) you’ll be able to head straight through to security.