What You Need To Know About Planning A Trip To Croatia

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

What You Need To Know About Planning A Trip To Croatia
We have compiled some helpful travel information about Croatia for you. This includes information about the weather, exchange rates, and links to find accommodation deals and transportation within our incredible country.

In this Croatia travel guide, you will also find travel tips about getting to and from Croatia, learning about Croatian food, receiving information on driving and dozens of other valuable suggestions, and answering the question lots of people wonder, “why to travel to Croatia?”


Croatia Travel Blog_Planning A Trip To Croatia


First things first:

Where Is Croatia

Balkans Map Of The Balkans_Purple Light

Europe. Southern Europe, to be exact. 

If you’re looking at a map, Croatia is directly across from the “boot of Italy,” and Croatia shares land borders with five countries. Hungary to the northeast and four other Balkans countries, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Croatia’s most interesting border, however, is the Adriatic Sea coast. After all, the Croatian beaches, islands, and historic towns on the Croatia coast, that draw in the vast majority of tourists.

Things To Do In Croatia

The Rogoznica village - Planning a trip to Croatia

If you just want the biggest hits to help you with your Croatia travel planning journey, you may want to read these few posts first:


Of course, after almost a decade of living in Croatia, it is no surprise that we’re often asked what to do in Croatia. But, because there are so many ways to experience the magic of Croatia, it’s tough to choose between all available options and places to see in Croatia. Here are some main city guides to kick you off:

When Is The Best Time To Go To Croatia

How To Get From Dubrovnik To Korčula - Main Korcula town entrance

Well, what weather do you like and what events interest you? In my opinion, that is May, June, and September. That’s when the average temperature is 20°C, and the country is far less crowded.

Of course, peak season kicks off in July and goes through to August, when the average temperature jumps to 26°C, and many towns have festivals to keep you busy.

Winters in Croatia can be cold, and parts of the Adriatic Coast almost entirely close down. In some parts of Croatia, you’ll find snow.

Croatia has become a tourist destination due to its history, culture, and warm temperature. There are two climate zones. Inland, there is a temperate climate that spans the continental mountainous areas. The south along the coast enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. This area has hot summers and dryer, but winters that are much milder and more humid.

The average temperature in January ranges from around freezing to about five °C, and in August, the average temperature is about 21°C. This is for the inland area. The coastal zone temperatures are much warmer, ranging from 4° to 10°C in January up to 26°C in August.

The summer season is a busier time as the warmer temperatures attract more tourists to the area. If crowds are not your idea of a good time, you might consider booking your stay during the off-peak season.

Winter is traditionally the cheapest season for traveling around Croatia. However, you might want to check some of the attractions you plan on visiting to ensure they are not closed during the winter months.

What To Pack For Croatia

Balkan Flags_Croatia 1

If you want to fit in with the local women, think seaside glamor and effortless chic when deciding on your packing list for Croatia. You’ll notice while on vacation in Croatia that, unlike some other European cities where stylish local women rarely stray from a subdued navy/gray/black/white palate, Croatian women are not afraid to wear brighter colors, which look fabulous against a Mediterranean tan.

Considering your summer vacation may take you from a lazy day on the beach to a night out in the city to a mountain hike, it can be tricky to know what to wear in Croatia. Try to find outfits that can work for multiple occasions. The key is picking simple pieces that allow you to dress down for the day and dress up for the evening. 

How Much Money Do You Need In Croatia

This is one question that we can not answer. We tend to travel in a mix between budgets and do not keep track of costs. But, like any place, Croatia can be done on a budget if you travel out of season or stay out of the more popular areas. 

Equally, you can spend hundreds of euro a day on a villa, and much the same on good food and booze. 

If you’re wondering, “is Croatia a cheap place to travel” I am sorry to say that you have missed that boat; it is no longer cheap unless you compare it to Paris or New York. 

Is Croatia affordable to travel to? Yes, totally; you can do a lot with your vacation dollars; you just need to be smart.

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How Many Days To Spend In Croatia

Punta Rata Beach - Makarska Riviera Croatia

Come, and don’t leave. That is what we did.

Jokes aside, because Croatia is so diverse, I recommend spending at least a week, though ten days is ideal. If you have two or three weeks, you won’t regret spending your entire vacation here.

Two nights in key places like Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, and Plitvice Lakes will just get you by. Here are a number of our itinerary suggestions for a ten-day Croatia vacation.


Option 1: Zadar – Pula – Plitvice Lakes – Zagreb

Option 2: Zagreb – Plitvice Lakes – Zadar – Split – Dubrovnik

Option 3:  Zagreb – Zadar – Split – Hvar – Dubrovnik

Option 4: Zagreb – Plitvice Lakes – Rovinj – Pula

Option 5: Dubrovnik – Peljesac Peninsula –Korcula – Split – Zagreb

What To Drink & Eat In Croatia

Zadar Food and Wine Tour - Chasing the Donkey
Peka Cooking Class

Croatia and food, they’re a match made in heaven. This is one of the many things in abundance, so bring stretchy pants for your flight home. We often get asked what typical Croatian food is? The answer to this question depends on what Croatian region you are from or which one you’re visiting.

Dalmatians may respond to the question with Crni Rizot, while someone from Slavonia would explain fiš paprikaš. Each region has its own traditional Croatian food and claims it’s the best.

Mr. Chasing the Donkey says that the best Croatian food is all the Croatian food his mum makes!

Many of our blog readers ask us about learning Croatian recipes, so we have those here if you’re keen to start cooking authentic Croatian food.

Food from Croatia has many influences. Mainly from the Italians, Turkish, Hungarians, plus a few others, this influence on food over the generations has shaped the types of Croatian food you’ll see and taste today.

Well-known local Croatian traditional foods you should try on your adventures include Mljet lobster, Ston oysters, Kvarner scampi, Istrian truffles, veal and pork from Slavonia, turkey from Zagorje and Istria, Pag cheese, and the Lika cheese škripavac, delicious Palacinke pancakes, extra virgin olive oil, and pumpkin seed oil, and of course the wines.

How To Choose Which Beach To Visit in Croatia

Best Beaches In Croatia: Zlatni Rat - Travel Reviews - Croatia Travel Blog
Zlatni Rat Beach, Brač

There is no denying the beauty you’ll see when traveling around Croatia. We’re always bragging about the natural wonders and rich cultural diversity, and you can’t blame us. But how do you pick the best beaches in Croatia?

How do you choose where to swim in the sparkling azure Adriatic? Over 1,000 islands, inlets, and isles stretch across 6,000 kilometers of coastline in Croatia.

You will not be disappointed if you plan to travel to Croatia to enjoy the beaches.

How To Tip In Croatia

Balkan Flags_Croatia 2

The good news is that Croatia does not have a big tipping etiquette. Generally, gratuities are not widely expected, but that doesn’t mean they’re not appreciated!

The best rule of thumb to use here is that if you feel you experienced outstanding service and staff who were friendly and attentive, then, by all means, go ahead and leave a few extra euro

What Is The Currency In Croatia


The official currency in Croatia is the euro, which started on Jan 1, 2023, when it switched from the Croatian Kuna.

One euro is equal to 100 euro cents. You can find foreign currency exchange centers throughout all cities and towns. Currency exchange is also provided in banks, some post offices, and some tourist agencies.

Do You Need A Visa To Travel To Croatia

Croatian visa stamp

The question “do I need a visa to enter Croatia” is asked of me often. Answering this for each individual is tricky as the circumstances, and your reasons for entering Croatia will determine if you need a visa to travel to Croatia. Plus, there are other questions to answer, such as: do you have a Croatian family? Or do you plan to work in Croatia?

Do US citizens need a visa to travel to Croatia? In short, no. If you need a visa for Croatia, get an application form here.

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How To Travel Through Croatia

Makarska Riviera Croatia - Baska Voda beach and waterfront aerial view, Makarska riviera

Driving In Croatia & Croatia Car Rental

Croatia is situated in southeastern Europe, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Being one of the most picturesque European countries, driving in Croatia is highly recommended. Especially the roads hugging the dramatic Adriatic coast are breathtaking.

Conclusion: there are numerous cheap car rental companies and several luxury car rental options for you to choose from. Although renting a car in Croatia is easy, it is essential to note that the traffic laws in Croatia may slightly differ from those of your home country.

We created a complete guide about which car rental companies operate in Croatia, which lane is used when driving, the cost of using toll roads, what motorway signs to look out for, and the ever problematic question regarding the border crossing card to enter Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as other informative tips.

Here is the guide for things you should know when renting a car and driving in Croatia. If you don’t want to look at it, I’d highly recommend downloading the free app “HAK” from the Croatian Auto Club. It provides traffic and travel information and roadside assistance services and is available in English, German, Italian, and of course, Croatian.

Buses In Croatia

Croatia has a genuinely excellent bus system. Unlike most bus systems you are accustomed to, the Croatian bus system is intercity. This means that they will take you from city to city depending on the type of pass that you have purchased.

There are many options to choose from, and it is well worth taking some time to plan out your transportation before you arrive. There are several local bus lines once you get to your chosen destination.

Taxis & Uber In Croatia

Taxis are the most expensive means of transportation. You would probably fare better by taking an Uber or a bus if you are budget conscious.

Traveling Around Croatia By Train

The Croatian rail system is part public and part privately owned, yet both are garbage, avoid the trains at all costs.

Ferries In Croatia

A network of ferries crisscrosses the Adriatic Sea, making island hopping like this in Croatia super easy. Plan ahead in summer, when ferries can fill up very quickly, and be sure to look for the off-peak season timetable to be sure you can get back to your starting point.


Booking Accommodation In Croatia & Where To Stay In Croatia

Solta Island Croatia

Lodging accommodations in the area are plentiful. You can choose from any of the numerous quality luxury hotels, hostels, apartments, or rental properties throughout the region.

The price is relatively the same, considering what you would pay in other resort locations in Greece. For about a third of what you would pay at a luxury travel resort, you can stay at one of Croatia’s rental apartments.

With a bit of planning and creativity, you can ensure that your Croatian vacation will be one to remember. 

Croatia With Kids In Tow

Olive Garden - Chasing the Donkey

Croatia is redoubtable a family-friendly destination. Really! It is! As a mom of two boys, I have to take my kids with me everywhere I travel, and Croatia with kids is easy.

As a matter of fact, few countries are as perfect for a family holiday as Croatia. Other favorites of ours are Greece and Slovenia). The country manages to combine many key features that attract families from all over the world year after year, coming to Croatia to enjoy a relaxing and pleasant family vacation in Croatia that’s also fun and entertaining for every family member. A trip in which both kids and parents can enjoy something especially for each one of them.

Best things to do with kids in Croatia.

Is Croatia Wheelchair-Friendly

To be honest, Croatia has a long way to go to be more wheelchair-friendly. However, here is some information by wheelchair traveler Cory, which will help with your travel planning.

Is Dubrovnik Really That Busy

Yes, really, it is. If you are planning a trip to Dubrovnik, you will want to look ahead and try to avoid the peak days when the cruise ships come in. That’s about the best I can suggest. Well, that and coming out of peak season.

How Is The Internet In Croatia

You might get lucky with your hotel or apartment having Wi-Fi, but the signal is not great if it is anything like my experience. Moreover, you may also have to pay for it. You can pick up prepaid SIM cards from Hrvatski Telekomat kiosks all over the country. Or, you could get your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot in Croatia like this.

Language In Croatia

The language in Croatia is... Croatian. And, boy, is this language hard to learn. I have been trying for more than two years now. Some Croatian letters are slightly different from those in the English alphabet; many are the same, and several are entirely different, like č,ž, and Lj, and they do not have X, Y, and Q.

The spelling of Croatian words is (mostly) phonetic. Therefore, words are written as they are pronounced, making things a little easier. Yay. Give this a whirl:


Bok (bohk)

How are you?

Kako ste? (kah-koh steh?)

I’m fine, thank you

Ja sam dobro, hvala (sahm doh-broh, hva-lah)

Nice to meet you

Drago mi je (dra-goh mee yeh)

See, it’s not so bad, is it? We have created a few handy guides to get you on your way to sounding like a local as you travel Croatia.

Avoid These Mistakes In Croatia

  • Blindly traveling during the peak season (June to August)
  • Staying in a popular old town area if you’re driving
  • Eating and drinking in the center if you’re on a budget
  • Booking a tour operator without checking reviews & asking questions
  • Assuming all of Croatia’s beaches are sandy
  • Expecting that customer service will be the same as in your home country

Is It Safe To Travel To Croatia

Let’s just say; it’s very safe. It’s safe as houses, as the saying goes. Please don’t take my word for it; ask Mandie, a solo female traveler herself. I asked her, “Is it safe to travel to Croatia alone?” She says:

“There’s a reason Croatia has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. In my opinion, as a solo female traveler, Croatia might be the safest and arguably most picturesque of the Balkan countries to travel through.”

She wrote five solo travel tips for Croatia. After reading it, I am sure you’ll see what she means. Big words to stand by, huh?

Can You Travel From Croatia To Italy

VENICE - How to get from Zagreb to Venice

Yes, yes, you can! And it’s is very easy,  take a look at this guide on how to travel from Venice to Croatia.

How To Travel From Slovenia To Croatia

Fast Facts About Croatia

In getting ready for your epic trip to Croatia, you might be curious to learn interesting, fun, and fascinating facts about the country? Or maybe you simply want to surprise your friends after a holiday? No matter what your case, we’ve got you covered. 

This little guide on planning a trip to Croatia is just a taste of what we can tell you about Croatia. Be sure to hit the Croatian flag in the menu above to find even more hints and tips.

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