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Did Dubrovnik really ban roller bags?

The Dubrovnik roller bag ban joins a long history of travel rumors that turned out to not be true, dating at least as far back as the naming of Greenland. Although just as Greenland has ended up green, what was the kernel of truth that spun out this rumor?

Cluster of news headlines reporting on the supposed wheelie bag ban in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is a popular destination for tourists and digital nomads year-round, but especially in the summer. With a walled old town on the turquoise waters of Adriatic Sea, it’s a beautiful city. Several locations around the area were used for filming the Game of Thrones television series.

And that all means a lot of narrow cobblestone streets with inns and hotels and vacation rentals. Which means hordes of tourists getting dropped off in central locations and dragging their bags across the cobbles. So maybe it’s not surprising that this story sounded true. There was even supposed to be a fine of a very specific €265.

It’s not clear where the fine came from, but the ban seems to have been a misunderstanding. There was an educational video on etiquette that portrayed roller bags unfavorably. They are loud on old streets. And there was a proposal to put in place a luggage transfer system (probably similar to what’s very popular in Japan for sending luggage between locations). 

And then once one news outlet ran with the story, the others just copied it. Travel gets clicks. 

Compassion to anybody that frantically repacked for their summer excursion.

The mayor of Dubrovnik shared this statement with Frommer’s

We would like to emphasise that this claim is completely untrue,” the statement says. “In fact, the city administration of Dubrovnik has not implemented, nor does it have any intention to introduce any penalties regarding the use of suitcases in the historic centre.”

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