Why We Adore Croatia
Are you planning a budget-friendly trip to Croatia? Look no further, as this guide covers the best times and places to visit, as well as practical travel tips for a memorable trip.
Croatia has gained a lot of popularity as a vacation destination in Europe in recent years due to its beautiful Mediterranean coastline, and charming seaside villages. Many of these villages are so picturesque that they have even been used as filming locations for the popular TV show Game of Thrones.
While some of the more well-known locations in Croatia, such as Dubrovnik, can get crowded with tourists, there are still many hidden gems, and off-the-beaten-path experiences to be found in the country. We are here to help you explore the lesser-known and emerging side of Croatia.
Best of Croatia 🏙️ Destinations
Croatia is known for its historic capitals, breathtaking natural landscapes, and charming villages. Some of the top places to visit include:
Dubrovik – A charming city known for its walled Old Town.
Dubrovik is a fan favorite and the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” known for its Old City Walls, tiny pedestrian lanes, and breathtaking vistas.
Dubrovnik is a historic city on the Dalmatian coast, and one of the greatest destinations to visit in Croatia, with a history dating back to the 7th century.
I recommend wandering around the ancient city walls (which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Doing a Lokrum Island day cruise, riding the cable car up Mount Srd, trying out a few eateries, talking a walking tour, or hitting up Uvala Lapad Beach are the best acitivity you could do.
Hvar Island – A vibrant island known for its nightlife.
Hvar is a Croatian island famous for its ancient towns, nightlife, and sunny days.
This Island, a Croatian island famed for parties, lavender fields, architecture (the Spanjola Fortress is spectacular), and beaches, is only a short boat ride away from Mljet.
A great destination with something for everyone. I recommend doing a lavender fields tour on Hvar Island, hitting up some beach clubs (during Croatia’s summer tourism season, there’s always a party going on). And spending your days in the ocean, and meandering through the cities.
While Hvar is known for the Spanjola Fortress and its festivities. I highly recommend visiting the villages of Stari Grad and Vrboska. Whereas Hvar Town is more lively, the smaller settlements on the islands are much more relaxed. During my time on the island, I stayed in Stari Grad and fell in love with how adorable it was.
Zadar – A seaside city noted for its Roman remains
One of the greatest spots in Croatia to observe the sunset, Zadar is home to both old and modern wonders.
Zadar, a 2-hour drive from Split, is a bit less touristy than the other big Croatian cities and is a terrific spot to come if you want to experience Croatian culture at its best. Noted that Zadar is a city loaded with Roman ruins, a picturesque old town, museums, beaches, mountains (it is located at the base of the Velebit mountain range), hiking routes, and some of the world’s greatest sunsets.
Most notably, Zadar is home to the world-renowned Sea Organ and Sun Salutation – sound and light shows that are really one-of-a-kind.
Mljet Island – A tranquil island ideal for getting back to nature.
An“off the grid” getaway, Mljet Island is home to a gorgeous National Park, explorable nooks and crannies, and some of the country’s nicest residents.
If you’re seeking for a laid-back nature vacation in Europe, Mljet Island is one of the greatest spots to visit in Croatia. Mljet is a tiny island accessible by ferry from Dubrovnik. It is home to picturesque settlements, Mljet Island National Park, magnificent saltwater lakes, and a mountainous shoreline.
I recommend climbing (and swimming) the Odysseus Cave trek on Mljet Island. And taking a road trip from Pomena to Limoni Beach, seeing St. Mary’s Island in Mljet National Park, and eating all the seafood.
Split – The second-largest city in Croatia
Split has one of the nicest old towns in the country and is near to both the sea and the mountains.
Croatia’s second-largest city, and a mainland center along the coast, is a half-hour drive from Omis. Split is less expensive than Dubrovnik, yet it boasts a plethora of tourist attractions to suit every type of traveler.
I really recommend trekking around Parka Suma Marjan, taking a Diocletian’s Palace tour (the history lesson is 100% worth it – Diocletian’s Palace is beautiful! ). Climbing Split’s bell tower, dining at one of the numerous top-tier restaurants, and drinking along the seafront.
✨ Things you should Do
There are some fantastic things to do in Croatia, whether you’re interested in history, gastronomy, adventure, landscape, or nightlife. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Pula’s Roman Ruins – The city of Pula is home to some of Europe’s oldest and most complete Roman Ruins.
- The Blue Cave on Bisevo Island lives up to its name, flashing a vivid blue thanks to sunlight beaming through the aperture and reflecting off the bottom.
- Museum of Broken Relationships – A museum that tells the story of failed relationships via relics and exhibitions.
- Plitvice Lakes National Park is known for its towering waterfalls, long boardwalks, turquoise lakes, and excellent hiking trails.
- Krka National Park is ideal for swimming under waterfalls, climbing through caverns, and taking postcard-worthy photos.
⚠️ Croatia Travel Advice
When is the best time to visit Croatia (and when should you avoid going!)
While there is no one optimum time to visit Croatia, there are several periods when you should go. It all depends on your trip objectives.
Croatia’s summer months are filled with sun and festivities, whilst the shoulder seasons are less expensive and provide a wider range of lodging and activities. Meanwhile, while Croatian winters are noticeably quieter, colder, and wetter, they may bring their own distinct beauty to the table.
I spent the full month of June in Croatia and felt it to be the ideal time to visit. The weather was beautiful, the tourist season had not yet begun, most of Croatia’s attractions were open, and it was inexpensive. However, what was ideal for me may not be the best option for you.
👉 Tips & Things to Know
- 🚢 – Be Wary of Cruise Schedules – Passengers disembarking from cruise ships can significantly overcrowd a place. Try to remember these routes, so you can view the best sights without having to fight the crowds.
- 📅 – Plan Your Trip Wisely – Most attractive places are only open during the summer. Costs rise in July and August. Croatia is best visited in June or September.
- 💵 – Carry Cash – While many restaurants take credit cards, always keep the local currency, Kuna, on hand.
- 🚗 – Take a Road Trip – Although it has an extensive public transportation system. The Croatian road trip allows you to view the greatest locations.
- 💰 – Tipping is not standard in Croatia, Though 10-15% tips are popular. If you had exceptional service, feel free to tip or leave change on the table.
🧳 What to Pack
- 👞- Water Shoes – Because rocky beaches are more widespread in Croatia than sandy beaches, carry some water shoes.
- 🔌 – Universal Power Adaptor – If you are going from outside of Europe, you will need a power adaptor to plug in your appliances.
- 🌞 – Sunscreen – Traveling to Croatia in the summer means a lot of sun exposure; protect your skin by bringing sunscreen.
- ❤️ – Croatia Travel Insurance – Even though Croatia is a fairly secure nation, purchasing Croatia Travel Insurance for your vacation is a good idea.
- 📚 – Croatian Phrasebook – While practically all people working in tourism understand English, learning a few basic phrases will show respect.
💵 Budgeting & Money
Major establishments in major cities accept debit/credit cards. However, if you plan on visiting Croatia’s rural areas, make sure to have sufficient cash 💵.
📈 Info & Stats
- Population – 4.1 million
- Capital – Zagreb
- Currency – Kuna ($1 = ~7.10 kunas)
- Language – Croatian (Speaks & Understands English)