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Croatia Travel Guide & Tips
We have compiled some useful 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, learn about Croatian food, as well as receive information on driving and dozens of other useful suggestions.
If you’re just getting started on your travel planning journey, you may want to read the following two posts first:
Top Things To Do In Croatia
We’re often asked what to do in Croatia? 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. Below, we help you decide.
If you need to know where to find the best Croatia travel deals, scroll down to see our recommendations.
Best Croatia Travel Deals
There is no doubt that planning a vacation can be time-consuming. And the best way to avoid that comes with knowing where the best deals are. Here is our guide to what sites we use, know, and trust. Everything from where to stay in Croatia to finding a good Croatia car rental deal.
Croatia Car Rental
For car rentals in Croatia, try Rental Cars. They are the world’s biggest car rental booking service and compare all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.
For another car rental in Croatia option, we recommend Auto Europe. We’ve had all positive experiences with them and so, too, have our readers. If you’re traveling to Croatia and planning on renting a car, check them out.
Booking Accommodation In Croatia
Booking.com is a popular choice for booking accommodation in Croatia. Oh, and they have 700,000+ hotels, apartments and hostels worldwide, all with no booking fee.
Search more than one booking site at the same time with Hotels Combined. A few clicks and you can compare rates and save money in minutes.
Did you know that for every ten nights you book with Hotels.com, they’ll give you a free stay? They also have no booking or cancellation fees.
START EARNING YOUR FREE NIGHT
A super cheap way to save money. This resource collates hostels deals from across the country. Book your hostel online to secure the best rate.
Tours In Croatia
Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding, and booking the best travel experiences worldwide. Most important, their Croatia travel experiences kick-ass.
Tinggly offers experiences worldwide. They have a particularly great Plitvice Lakes National Park tour that you should try!
Need A Book To Carry
We’ve shortlisted the best guide books on Croatia for you.
Best Travel Insurance
I was always taught, if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel. At RoamRight, they know no two travelers or trips are the same. That’s why they offer travel insurance plans for all situations. (USA residents only)
Croatia Travel Guide – Your Questions Answered
Do You Need A Visa To Come To Croatia?
The question “do I need a visa to enter Croatia” is asked 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? If you do need a visa for Croatia, get an application form here.
Where Is Croatia Located?
Croatia lies in the western balkans and borders Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. It’s most interesting border, however, is the Adriatic Sea coast. It’s the Croatia beaches, islands, and historic towns on the Croatia coast, after all, that draw in the vast majority of tourists. Just across the Adriatic Sea lies Italy.
When Is The Best Time To Go To Croatia?
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 rolls around in July and August, when the average temperature jumps up to 26°C and many towns have festivals to keep you busy.
Winters in Croatia can be cold, and the Adriatic Coast almost entirely closes down. In some parts of Croatia, you’ll find snow on the mountains.
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 summers that are hot and dryer, but winters that are much milder and more humid. The average temperature in January can range anywhere from around freezing to about 5°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 all the way up to 26°C in August.
Obviously, 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 make sure that they are not closed during the winter months.
If you are looking for an authentic winter season, the mountainous inland area will be your best bet. No matter where you are or what you are doing, though, between January and February, you must visit the Carnival in Rijeka. It is one of the largest events of the year and is a cultural experience that should not be missed.
- Find what the weather in Croatia is like now
- Seawater temps
- Croatia weather forecast
- Adriatic Sea Forecast
What Is The Currency In Croatia?
The official currency in Croatia is the Kuna. One Kuna is equal to 100 Lipas. You can find foreign currency exchange centers throughout all cities and towns. Currency exchange is also provided in banks, some post offices as well as some tourist agencies.
Denominations of 5,10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 come in paper form. The Lipa comes in coin form in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50. The 1 Kuna and 5 Kuna also come in coins.
Local tip: Wherever prices are listed in Croatia, the word Kuna is abbreviated to kn.
You’ll get the same Croatia exchange rate at any bank or exchange office.
Is Croatia Safe For Solo Travelers?
Let’s just say; it’s very safe. It’s safe as houses, as the saying goes. Don’t take my word for it, ask Mandie, a solo female traveler herself.
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.”
How Long Should Someone Spend In Croatia?
Forever. And, if that is not a possibility, you need at least ten days. Really, there is so much to see. Two nights in each of the 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:
Zadar – Pula – Plitvice Lakes – Zagreb
Zagreb – Plitvice Lakes – Zadar – Split – Dubrovnik
Zagreb – Zadar – Split – An Island – Dubrovnik
Zagreb – Plitvice Lakes – Rovinj – Pula
Dubrovnik – Peljesac Peninsula – Korcula – Split – Zagreb
Is Croatia Wheelchair-Friendly?
Croatia has a long way to go to be more wheelchair-friendly, to be honest. 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 if it is anything like my experience, the signal is not great. 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 with TEP.
Cultural Events And Notable Festivals
Different regions host various events such as the Summer Festival, Varazdin Baroque Evenings, and the World Theatre Festival. These are cultural experiences that immerse you in the rich history and heritage of Croatia. They are must-visit events if you happen to be traveling in the region during your stay. If you want to visit Croatia during the cheapest time of the year, you will not be able to hit some of these festivals that happen in the summer.
Where To Stay In Croatia
Lodging accommodations in the area are plentiful. You can choose from any of the numerous quality luxury hotels, hostels, apartments, or rental properties that exist throughout the region. The price is relatively low, considering what you would pay in other resort locations. For about a third of what you would pay at a luxury travel resort, you can stay at one of Croatia’s hostels or rental apartments.
With a little planning and creativity, you can make sure that your Croatian vacation will be one to remember. You may even discover places that might require that you visit Croatia a second time. You will meet people who love life and are intriguing and friendly. The food is absolutely incredible and will leave your taste buds enticed and satisfied.
The locals are helpful when it comes to answering questions about unique locations or landmarks. The Croatian nights are enchanting and a great way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. Once you visit during one part of the year, make sure you return to visit during another season. Each season in Croatia lends itself to an entirely different travel experience. Its rich history and cultural diversity will keep you coming back year after year.
Here are some useful links to get your search started.
Things To See And Do In Croatia
THERE. ARE. JUST. SO. MANY! We created this whole travel blog of ideas to get your creative juices flowing. We can also say that if you are coming to Croatia, you may want to look at our ideas on:
Our Personal Favorite Things To Do In Croatia
Explore The Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites
For a small country of just over 56,000 square kilometers, you may be surprised to know that there are seven – yes, that’s right seven – Croatian UNESCO World Heritage sites you can explore. When planning a trip to Croatia, absolutely make sure to include some of the following in your itinerary.
You could also visit some of the lesser-known Croatian sites that are on the tentative UNESCO list such as:
- TheEpiscopal complexinZadar, which is just a two-hour bus ride north of Split
- The fortified walls and salt pans in the towns of Ston and Mali Ston, which are less than an hour from Dubrovnik by car
- The Istrian hilltop town of Motovun
- The historical nucleus ofVarazdin, north of Zagreb, which the New York Times named as one of the top places to visit in Croatia
Want even more UNESCO goodness? Okay, try the UNESCO Intangible Heritage list. There is just so much Croatian culture for your upcoming vacation.
Take A Trip To Croatia’s Best Beach
In case you did not know which one, that is, it’s Zlatni Rat Beach, an iconic beach with a long golden pebble tip that stretches out to the Adriatic Sea. Head to Brač Island, one of those gorgeous Croatian islands, and make a beeline for the port town of Bol.
Ditch The Beach And Get Outdoors
Skip the beach and mix in some outdoor fun. As you breathe in, you’ll draw in an abundance of fresh, crisp mountain air. You’ll hear the crunching of leaves underfoot, coupled with the sound of waterfalls in the distance. Birds will be chirping, and you’ll be relaxed and without a care in the world. Where are you? You are in one of these eight national parks, the absolute best places in Croatia for outdoor adventures.
Best Croatia Travel Guide Books
Our goal is to be an excellent Croatia travel guide and blog, but we still haven’t been to every place in Croatia (well, at least not yet). We always suggest getting a travel book to read before your vacation to Croatia, to help you decide which places to go toin Croatia. Plus, planning is half the fun of a holiday, in my opinion. So, which Croatia travel guide book is guaranteed to help you find the best places to visit in Croatia? Here, let us help you choose the best guide book.
Our top book suggestion, if you are a first-time traveler to Croatia, and you are looking for a comprehensive guide book, is this lonely Planet Croatia book. It’s the newest edition, released just this year, and packed with Croatia information. I love the colored maps, which really help to plan the perfect holiday.
Chasing The Donkey Guides
We’re slowly updating the old guides on our Croatia travel blog, so check back often:
- Dubrovnik Travel Guide. Everything you need to know about Dubrovnik
- Split TravelGuide: Everything you need to know about split
- Korcula Island Travel Guide. Everything you need to know about Korcula
- Hvar Island Travel Guide. Everything you need to know about Hvar
- Zadar Travel Guide. Everything you need to know about Zadar
- Rovinj Travel Guide. Everything you need to know about Rovinj
- Međimurje County TravelGuide: Everything you need to know about Međimurje
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 a little different from those in the English alphabet; there are many that are the same, and several that are completely different, like č,ž, and Lj, and they do not have X and Q.
The spelling of Croatian words is (mostly) phonetic. Therefore, words are written as they are pronounced, which makes things a little easier. Yay. Give this a whirl:
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’snot 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.
Food In Croatia
This is one of the many things in abundance, so bring stretchy pants for your flight home. Croatia and food, they’re a match made in heaven. 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 fish paprikash. Each region has its own traditional Croatian food and claims that it’s the best. Mr. Chasing the Donkey says that the best Croatian food is all the Croatian food his mum makes! As a sampler, here is just some of the food we eat in Croatia. Are you hungry yet?
If you want to start making Croatian food before you come, take a peek at our Croatian recipes in English.
Getting Around Croatia
Croatia Car Rental & Driving In Croatia Tips
Croatia is a country situated in southeastern Europe, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Being one of the most picturesque countries in Europe, driving in Croatia is highly recommended. Especially the roads hugging the dramatic Adriatic coast are breathtaking.
There are numerous cheap car rental companies as well as several luxury car rental options for you to choose from. Although renting a car in Croatia is easy, it is important 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 in order 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 look at it, I’d highly recommend downloading the free app from iTunes from the Croatian Auto Club. It provides traffic and travel information, as well as roadside assistance services, and is available in English, German, Italian, and of course, Croatian.
If you plan to drive, please check out these Croatian traffic information sites
- Traffic Conditions
- Croatian Motorways map
- Croatian Auto Club – Road Report
- Croatian Railway Timetable
Croatia has a bus system that is truly extraordinary. Unlike most bus systems that 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 as well, once you get to your chosen destination.
Other sites that help are:
Dubrovnik Main Bus Stop|Split Main Bus Stop|Varazdin Main Bus Stop|Zadar Mian Bus Stop|Zagreb Main Bus Stop|Autobusni Kolodvor is also a useful website where you can look up bus timetables for the whole of Croatia.
Taxis are the most expensive means of transportation. You would probably fare better by taking one of the buses or trains upon your arrival if you are budget conscious.
The Croatian rail system is part public and part privately owned, yet both are easy to use and similar in nature. They are a handy and convenient means of navigation throughout each city. Also, the main rail line runs through the heart of the region so you can use this for traveling if you are not keen on making a three- or four-hour bus ride again.
As with anything, make sure you plan this part of your trip before you get there. This is one of those travel instances where an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.
A network of ferries crisscrosses the Adriatic. 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.
Getting To Croatia
What’s the best way to get here?
Flights To Croatia
Many airlines offer cheap flights to Croatia and back, from all over Europe.
Iberia Regional Air Nostrum
Fast Facts About Croatia
- Croatia became an independent country on June 25th, 1991
- The population is 4.4 million (plus myself and a few other expats)
- Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union on July 1st, 2013
- The official language is Croatian
- If you are coming to Croatia, you’ll need Kuna’s, which is our currency. Not Euros as many people assume
- The average temperature between May and September is 23-28 degrees Celsius
- In 2011, more than 11.2 million people visited Croatia
- Most tourists are from Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic
- Loads more facts here
- Parachute. In 1619, a Croatian Bishop, Faust Vrancic, adapted plans for a similarly designed device by Leonardo da Vinci, which went on to become the parachute.
- Fountain Pen. Born to Dutch and Polish parents, Eduard Penkalamoved to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, in 1900, and fell in love with Croatia. Who could blame the guy? He then took on the Croatian name Slavoljub and became a citizen. In 1906, Slavoljub invented the mechanical pencil and the solid-ink fountain pen a year later. He founded a pen and pencil factory calledPenkala-Moster Company, which became one of the largest in the world. The company is known today as TOZ Penkala.
- Alternating Current / Electricity. Do you know that little thing that that powers our homes and businesses? Well, that is a Croatian invention… kind of. Most people will say that the genius Nikola Tesla who thought up the idea was Croatian. He was born to Serbian parents but was a citizen of Austria, which then became Austria-Hungary. Tesla was educated in Graz, worked in Budapest, Paris, and Prague before moving to America and becoming a US citizen. The place of his birth is now within Croatian borders, so you decide. He is the same guy who also invented X-rays, fluorescent bulbs, lasers, the radio, and the electric motor. Either way, he was a smart cookie!
- The necktie. The most famous Croatian invention, if you can really call it that, is the cravat. Also known as a necktie. Worn by soldiers in the 17th century, and made popular by the Parisians, the cravat even had an entire day dedicated to it. Pay your respects on October 18th.