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9 Best Places to Visit in Croatia, According to Locals

Here's how to see the best of Croatia, from under-the-radar islands to stunning forests and hilltop towns.

croatia tourism reviews

The coast of Croatia gets all the love — and though I was born and raised in the country, even I set my gaze on the Adriatic Sea whenever I visit. You can't deny the beauty of hotspots like Dubrovnik and Split, but busy locales like these can also mean crowds, stressed-out service, and little sense of discovery, especially during the peak summer season.

Thankfully, Croatia has more than 1,200 islands you can escape to, as well as coastal towns that remain off the radar, plus a majestic interior that spans idyllic pastoral landscapes and mighty mountains where wildlife roams in nature. There's a lot to see and do — and love — beyond the go-to tourist destinations as well. Here's my list of some of the best places to visit in Croatia.

Jadranko Markoc / Getty Images

For the longest time, Croatia's capital was mostly skipped in favor of more popular destinations down south. That started changing a few years ago, when visitors got wind of the numerous delights this pocket-size metropolis has to offer, including its buzzing art scene and the colorful Christmas market that helped put this city on the wintertime map. Advent festivities, typically held throughout December and into early January, feature alfresco merriment, live music, and street food all around Zagreb's city center, including its ancient Upper Town.

For the plushest place to stay, pick the grand Esplanade Zagreb Hotel , which blends Art Deco flair with the latest modern-day comforts, and serves iconic and traditional štrukli (cottage cheese dumplings) at its restaurant, Le Bistro .

Gorski Kotar

GoranStimac / Getty Images

While the country's coast may be one of the best places to visit in Croatia for local residents and visitors alike, general interest in the great outdoors has spiked in recent years. Enter Gorski Kotar, Croatia's answer to Switzerland, a forested expanse of mountain wilderness that lies southwest of Zagreb, en route to the coast of Kvarner.

This verdant region has become the "it" destination lately, especially for city dwellers looking for an easy-to-reach pocket of pristine nature. Wolves, bears, and the endangered Eurasian lynx can be spotted roaming through Risnjak National Park . Gorski Kotar also offers a number of chic cabins and lodges to rent, such as the spectacular Casa Nube and the adorable Gorska Bajka . Don't miss the chance to indulge in a meal of wild edibles and game meats at the Vagabundina Koliba (Vagabond's Cabin) mountain hut, where the nettle bread is a real treat.

Wilfried Krecichwost / Getty Images

A string of sweet little seaside towns may line Istria, the heart-shaped peninsula in Croatia's northern Adriatic, but Rovinj steals the show for its storybook beauty. The area is so stunning it tends to get regularly jam-packed with visitors between June and September, so the locals will generally try to avoid it that time of year.

It's best to head to Rovinj outside of that busy season, ideally in October or from April to May. Book a stay at the ultra-sleek Grand Park Hotel Rovinj , one of Croatia's most luxurious properties. An architectural stunner with a cascading structure that slopes down to the sea in a twine of fragrant garden terraces, the hotel showcases impressive views of Rovinj's Old Town , with its cobbled piazzas and steep lanes leading up to St. Euphemia Church , a baroque beauty with a copper statue-topped campanile.

At the hotel's fabulous Albaro Wellness & Spa , try the Batana Bodywork treatment, which involves using a stimulating combination of hemp balm, a traditional Rovinj boat's batana oar, and intense rowing motions to massage your sore spots. A meal at the property's Cap Aureo Signature Restaurant is a sensory adventure, as is a walk around the protected forest park of Punta Corrente (Golden Cape), located nearby. And don't leave without checking out the hotel's secret art room.

Inland Istria

xbrchx / Getty Images

While first-time visitors to Istria , easily one of the best places to visit in Croatia, make a beeline for the coast, those in the know swear by the peninsula's green interior. And as soon as you hit those curvy country roads — winding their way through the woods, vineyards and olive groves — you'll see why. It's easy to swoon over the area's bucolic charm, home to medieval towns strewn across the hilltops, and shady forests where prized truffles hide.

Luxury villa rentals tucked away in the Istria countryside are increasingly becoming popular hideaways. Take Stanzia Vinella , a renovated and formerly abandoned hamlet turned rustic-chic retreat, with Wabi-Sabi–inspired interiors and an infinity pool that overlooks the postcard-perfect town of Motovun on the hill just across the way. For a meal of Istrian mainstays, book ahead at Toklarija , an age-old olive-mill-turned-tavern on the hilltop overlooking the village of Sovinjsko Polje.

ultraforma / Getty Images

Few visitors to Croatia pay heed to the coastal city of Šibenik in central Dalmatia; it usually tends to get overshadowed by Split, located just an hour to the south, and, of course, Dubrovnik. What visitors are missing is a true seaside gem, one of a handful of cities in the world with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: St. James Cathedral , a domed basilica built entirely of stone between 1431 and 1535, and the Venetian-era St. Nicholas Fortress , situated on an islet across from the old town.

Šibenik is also home to a number of charming heritage hotels, including boutique Armerun , which opened in summer 2021 along the seafront just steps from the cathedral, and Pelegrini , a seasonal restaurant graced with a Michelin star, where owner and chef Rudi Štefan conjures up some of Croatia's most innovative cuisine. Don't miss a visit to St. Michael's Fortress and Barone Fortress , each known for their alfresco concerts and dazzling panoramas.

Close to Šibenik, the island of Zlarin is best known for its exquisite handmade red coral jewelry. It was also the first island in Croatia to eliminate single-use plastics back in 2019; in the summer of 2021, it was joined by the nearby island of Krapanj as part of a special "Archipelago Without Plastic" campaign.

Locals head here for its beautiful beaches, which may have pebbles in place of sand but offer clear, warm waters perfect for swimming, floating, and snorkeling. Other popular waterfront activities include sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, while landlubbers can enjoy hiking, biking, and rock climbing. The island is car-free, giving you the perfect excuse to explore it by bike or on foot. Accommodations are few and far between, with just one hotel and a limited amount of apartments available for rent, so during more crowded times of the year (like summer), it might be worth staying nearby in Šibenik and visiting Zlarin as part of a day trip instead.

_jure / Getty Images

Located just off the coast of Zadar, the island of Silba is a car-free, hotel-free paradise that tends to be frequented by those in the know. You'll note a distinct Boho, offbeat vibe, where the creatives of Croatia prefer to hide away in summertime. It’s also a stellar choice for families, as little ones can run around barefoot and carefree.

Be sure to book your accommodations way ahead of time, as rooms can fill up quickly here. And don't miss the chance to enjoy a sunset dinner of freshly caught seafood at Konoba Alavija . Spend your days sunbathing or playing volleyball, basketball, or tennis at the island's busiest beach, Sotorišce, known for its clear, shallow waters. Under the water, the archaeological ruins of an ancient sarcophagus , estimated to be more than 1,500 years old, can be seen just off the shore of Pocukmarak Bay.

Anton Petrus / Getty Images

Hvar island may already be on everyone's list of the best places to visit in Croatia, but that spotlight mostly shines on Hvar town, which is known for its funky beach party scene. More artsy and low-key, Stari Grad, located along the island's northern side, has been coming into its own lately as an alternative Hvar base — and for all the right reasons.

For starters, Stari Grad has two World Heritage sites: The Stari Grad Plain , with its striking farm landscape that has been cultivated since ancient Greek times, and an old town that dates back to 384 B.C.E. On top of that, Maslinica Bay, just steps from the ferry dock, is home to the chic Maslina Resort , featuring Asian-Mediterranean fusion flair and design and a spa with "garden to skin" treatments that showcase herbs from the resort's organic garden.

Westend61 / Getty Images

Taking a trip to Pag is comparable to taking a trip to the moon. The island is well known for its barren, lunar-like landscapes, as well as for the epic parties that take over the beaches of Zrće come summertime. But beyond the raucous revelry, the island is home to one of Croatia's loveliest family-run hotels, Boškinac , which sports an award-winning winery and a Michelin-starred restaurant within a beautifully renovated stone building surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, just inland from the coastal town of Novalja.

Pag is also known for its fragrant, hard, and strong sheep's milk cheeses. Gligora Dairy , which keeps racking up awards internationally, offers tastings of this local delicacy. While on Pag, check out the Pag Triangle — a mysterious land formation near Novalja that's rumored to be the site of a UFO landing — and the walkway through the ancient olive groves of Lun , where most of the trees are as many as 1,500 years old.

Related Articles

18 things you need to know before visiting Croatia

Mary Novakovich

Mar 17, 2024 • 7 min read

croatia tourism reviews

Plan the perfect Croatia trip with these top tips © TerryPrince / Getty Images

With its glittering coastline, 1244 islands, endlessly fascinating cities and extraordinarily dramatic landscapes, Croatia has been steadily making its way up people’s must-go lists. 

Naturally, tourists are drawn to those beautiful Adriatic beaches that easily hold their own against their Mediterranean rivals. But inland Croatia is just as captivating, from the hilltop villages of Istria to the elegantly buzzing capital, Zagreb .

Don't book your flights just yet though – first, make the most of our planning tips covering everything you need to know about health, safety and etiquette before you go.

People swimming in pools fed by waterfalls

1. Don’t overstretch yourself when planning an itinerary

It might be tempting to squeeze in as many destinations as possible into one trip, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors unless you’re staying for at least two weeks. If you’re planning to visit more than one Adriatic island, think realistically about how much time you can spend in each place and how you will be getting around .

Check the schedule of the national ferry operator,  Jadrolinija , if you intend to do some island-hopping. Croatia has an extensive bus network, but factor in some long journey times if you’re traveling along the Adriatic coast.

2.  Croatia's currency is the euro

Although Croatia joined the EU in 2013, the euro was only introduced as the national currency on the January 1, 2023. The Croatian kuna is no longer in use, and if you happen to have any of the old currency, you'll need to go to the Croatian National Bank to exchange them. 

3. Expect to tip at least 10% in restaurants

Croatia’s tipping culture is more laid-back than in other countries. Having said that, it’s customary to leave at least 10% in restaurants and for beauty and spa treatments. In bars and cafes, just round up the bill. Tour guides appreciate a few euros at the end of a tour, and taxi drivers don’t expect a tip, but, again, if you want to round up a fare to the next euro, it’s appreciated. If you’re filling up your car and notice a few students cleaning car windscreens, consider giving them a couple of euros as they’re working for tips only.

A woman cycles along a coastal path

4. Croatia is generally considered a safe place to travel

Croatia is a safe country with low levels of violent crime. The most prevalent issue for tourists is pickpocketing, but even that’s on a much lower scale than in other European countries. Solo women travelers should be safe on their own, although it’s wise to ask your accommodation provider if there are any areas in the vicinity that are best avoided. When using taxis, all travelers should make certain they’re using a licensed car either from an official taxi rank or ordered from your hotel. Uber operates in most major towns and cities, including Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split .

5. Some caution is recommended for LGBTIQ+ travelers 

In this relatively conservative country, homosexuality is tolerated, but LGBTIQ+ travelers should be discreet. Public displays of affection could raise a few eyebrows, and some travelers have experienced hostile reactions. Zagreb’s gay scene is growing, however, and both Zagreb and Split hold Gay Pride festivals every June.

6. Bring some swimming shoes

Most of Croatia’s beaches are pebbly or rocky and can be hard to enjoy in bare feet. Just pick up a pair of those neoprene or plastic swimming shoes you see in all the resorts, and you’ll also be protecting your feet from sea urchins that lurk under rocks and pebbles.

7. Nudity at the beach is pretty standard

Naturist beaches are popular in Croatia, and sometimes you won’t know you’re on one until people start stripping off. Most are marked with FKK – the German phrase “Frei-Körper-Kultur,” meaning free body culture – which isn't surprising as Germans make up some of the biggest numbers of tourists in Croatia. Away from the FKK beaches, topless bathing is quite common.

8. Dodge the crowds in Dubrovnik by timing your visit carefully

There could be times when up to 8000 cruise ship passengers might descend on Dubrovnik in one day. That’s the cue to stay away from the Old Town  within the city walls until they leave in the late afternoon. Keep an eye on the Dubrovnik Port Authority’s website for cruise arrivals and the online crowd monitoring system that predicts the numbers of visitors. 

9. Wi-fi is readily available

Croatia is part of EU roaming, which is handy if you have a contract that allows you to use your data abroad. It’s easy to find wi-fi in cafes and bars – just ask the server for the password ( šifra ).

People in swimsuits sunbathe on the pier in Adriatic coast with sailboats, ship and houses in the distance behind them

10. Swimwear is for the beach, not the town

If you’re visiting churches and other sacred sites, keep your shoulders covered and avoid bare thighs. If you’re wearing a hat, take it off when you’re in a church. Even though dress codes are relaxed on the coast, Split, Dubrovnik and Hvar have passed laws against walking around the city in swimwear or bare-chested. Croatians like to dress smartly and take great pride in their appearance, so do as they do and avoid looking scruffy.

11.  Don’t get drunk in public

Croatia has developed a reputation as a place to party, which has led to some areas being inundated with badly behaved drunken tourists. After years of enduring this, the mayor of Hvar Town had enough. In 2017, the destination started to issue fines of up to €700 for public drunkenness and things like taking a drunken nap in a public place, such as on a park bench. Split introduced fines of up to €300 in 2023, placing signs in the city center reminding people that public drinking is not allowed, and that no one should be urinating on the walls of Diocletian's Palace .

12. Get to know the Croatian character

Croatians can be quite reserved people, sometimes appearing brusque. It’s nothing personal, which you'll realize when you get to know them better, and the initial reserve melts to reveal a warm and friendly side.

13. Be tactful when talking about Croatia’s war of independence

The 1990s war that splintered the former Yugoslavia is a topic that needs careful handling. If people show a willingness to talk about it, then by all means ask sensible questions. But don’t be intrusive, and bear in mind that Croatians won’t take too kindly to being called either Yugoslav or Balkan. Similarly, in this predominantly Catholic country, be mindful of making loud statements against religion.

14. You can drink the tap water

Tap water in Croatia is perfectly safe and very drinkable, and you can refill your reusable water bottles at public drinking fountains.

A red car drive around a bend with Dubrovnik in the background

15. Keep your lights on if driving during winter months

If you’re driving in Croatia from November to April, it’s compulsory to have your lights on during daylight hours as well as at night.

16. Croatia has occasional earthquakes

Croatia has a history of earthquakes going back centuries, but two recent ones in 2020 caused significant damage. The quake that shook Zagreb damaged thousands of buildings, many of which are in the old town, including the cathedral. Soon after, the city of Petrinja, about an hour’s drive south of Zagreb, was severely damaged in a quake, and aftershocks rippled throughout the region. If an earthquake happens while you're there, follow local guidance.

17. There are still some landmines

There are still parts of the country in the hinterlands of Northern Dalmatia and Lika where landmines remain from the war of independence, but these will be signposted with a skull and crossbones symbol. Don’t go anywhere near them.

18. Take out travel insurance

Dial 112 for general emergencies, 192 for police, and 194 for an ambulance. If you fall ill in Croatia and you're an EU citizen with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a UK citizen with a Global Health Insurance Card, you’re entitled to a vastly reduced price for health care . But even with this cover, you should still take out travel insurance.

This article was first published May 17, 2022 and updated Mar 17, 2024.

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Greta's Travels

Croatia Travel Guide – Everything You Need To Know About Traveling To Croatia

Planning a trip to Croatia, but not sure where to start? This Croatia travel guide is perfect for you!

Located on the Adriatic Sea, at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, you will find the beautiful country of Croatia. In recent years Croatia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, and it’s easy to see why.

In Croatia you will find incredibly well preserved medieval towns, pristine beaches and stunning natural landscapes. It’s the perfect destination for anyone looking for a varied and well-rounded holiday.

I visited Croatia three times, and always find myself going back. Whether you’re looking for your next party holiday, for a relaxing beach vacation or an adventurous escape, Croatia won’t disappoint you.

In this Croatia travel guide I have put together all the resources you need to plan the perfect Croatia trip. Here you will find all my blog posts about traveling to Croatia, as well as some additional useful information.

Including sample itineraries, detailed guides about every city, reviews on the best tours and hotels, packing suggestions and much more! I hope all this information will help you travel to Croatia and have the best time there.

So without further ado, let’s dive into my Croatia travel guide, and start planning your dream Croatia trip!

  • 1 Croatia at a glance
  • 2 My Croatia 10-day itinerary
  • 3.1 Dubrovnik
  • 4 Travel insurance for your Croatia trip
  • 5 Where to stay in Croatia
  • 6 Best time to travel to Croatia
  • 7 How to travel around Croatia
  • 8 Estimated cost of traveling to Croatia
  • 9 What to pack for a Croatia trip
  • 10 Where to book your Croatia trip
  • 11 Croatia guides, books & resources to check out before you travel

The Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia at a glance

Where is Croatia?  Croatia is in Europe on the Adriatic Sea.

Currency:  Croatian Kuna (HRK) – see the latest exchange rate  here .

Capital City:  Zagreb.

Electrical plugs in Croatia: Types C&F (the ones you find throughout most of Europe) – I recommend an  international adapter  so you can use it on multiple trips.

Visa requirements:  Croatia is in the EU but is not part of Schengen. Most passport holders won’t need to apply for visas before travelling to Croatia. Check the visa requirements for your nationality  here .

Enjoying Diocletian's Palace at 6am without the crowds

Enjoying Diocletian’s Palace at 6am without the crowds

Exploring the side streets of the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik

Exploring the side streets of the medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik

My Croatia 10-day itinerary

If you’re looking for suggestions for how to spend 10 days in Croatia, check out my ultimate Croatia itinerary here !

Best places to visit in Croatia

Let’s start with the basics, and discover the must-see places in Croatia that you absolutely cannot miss!

Blonde girl overlooking the red rooftops of Dubrovnik with Lokrum Island in the distance


Plitvice waterfalls in Croatia


Blonde girl in a blue jumpsuit overlooking the roofs and harbour of Hvar town


The turquoise sea and green cliffs of the Elaphiti Islands


View over Omis

Dubrovnik is one of my favourite places in Croatia. The Old Town of Dubrovnik is simply stunning, with its white brick walls, red rooftops and towering walls that surround it.

Walking through the streets of Dubrovnik feels like stepping back in time. There are a huge variety of Dubrovnik tours that you can do to make the most of your time in this beautiful city.

From Old Town walking tours to island hopping tours, here are some of the highlights you shouldn’t miss.

Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik


Kayak sunset tour in Dubrovnik


Discover the Old Town of Dubrovnik



After Dubrovnik, Split is without a doubt the next most popular Croatian destination. Split is home to Diocletian’s Palace, beautiful beaches and an old town with timeless streets at every corner.

Split is also a popular destination thanks to its proximity to other must-see Croatian sights. From Split you can go on epic day trips to the famous waterfalls of Krka or Plitvice National Parks, as well as the iconic beaches of Hvar Island.

Simply join one of the tours below to make the most of your time in Split and surroundings!

The waterfalls of Krka National Park, Croatia


The turquoise sea of Hvar Island, Croatia


Diocletian's Palace in Split



If you want to discover Croatia off-the-beaten track, then you have to add Omis to your bucket list. This small town is a short drive away from Split, and yet it doesn’t receive anywhere near the attention of its popular neighbour.

Omis has a gorgeous old town centre, a pristine turquoise beach on its doorstep, and a spectacular canyon right next to it. Omis sits on the mouth of the Cetina River, and is surrounded by the scenic mountains of the Cetina canyon.

If you love adventurous activities, you will love visiting Omis. From here you can go hiking, zip-lining, rafting and even canyoning! Simply check out one of the tours below to live these thrilling experiences!

Blonde girl zip-lining over the Cetina Canyon in Omis, Croatia


Rafting in the Cetina Canyon, Croatia


Views of the Cetina Canyon and Omis from the rooftop of the fortress


Canyoning in the Cetina River in Croatia


Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and a must-see for many travellers. I’ll admit I haven’t been to Zagreb, as I visited Croatia in summer and wanted to discover the Croatian coast.

In Zagreb you will have the opportunity to discover its unique 18 th and 19 th -century Austro-Hungarian architecture, as well as the famous twin spires of the Gothic cathedral.

There are also lots of cute pedestrian streets, lined with cafes, shops and museums. Joining one of these popular tours will give you the opportunity to fully experience this gorgeous city.

The twin spires of the Zagreb Cathedral and Zagreb skyline at sunset - Photo by Nina Varga on Scopio

The twin spires of the Zagreb Cathedral and Zagreb skyline at sunset – Photo by Nina Varga on Scopio

Travel insurance for your Croatia trip

After ending up hospitalised in a private clinic in Tenerife for two nights and having to pay for it out of pocket (spoiler alert; it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trips.

Since then I always get travel insurance with HeyMondo , and can highly recommend them. HeyMondo has a very comprehensive Covid-19 policy, on top of the usual trip cancellation and medical assistance.

You might not end up using it, but at least you will visit Croatia with a carefree mind, without worrying of having to pay out of pocket for any complications that might arise.

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you also get 5% off your HeyMondo insurance if you purchase it through this link !

Click here to purchase your travel insurance for your trip to Croatia!

Zip-lining in the cetina canyon close to Split, Croatia

Zip-lining in the Cetina Canyon

Where to stay in Croatia

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in each city of your Croatia trip, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Discover my top accommodation suggestions for every budget in the detailed guides below!

View over Split town and harbour from Marjana Hill


View over the rooftops of Dubrovnik Old Town from the Old Town Walls


View over the town and harbour of Hvar Island from the Spanish Fortress



Best time to travel to Croatia

The best time to visit Croatia ultimately depends on the experience you’re looking for. Summer is high season in Croatia. From June to September you can find warm and sunny weather, but also quite large crowds and high prices.

In spring (March to May) and autumn (September and October) you will still find fairly nice weather, with considerably less tourists. It won’t quite be beach weather, but you can explore the epic waterfalls and national parks of Croatia without the crowds.

Winter is low season in Croatia. Some travellers prefer it as the prices drop considerably and you might often be the only tourist in a location. However that also means many attractions might be closed.

Personally, I like travelling in shoulder season (late spring and early autumn). That means the crowds won’t be as huge as peak summer, so that you can enjoy the gorgeous sights with fairly good weather and a cheaper price.

Exploring the Old Town walls in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Exploring the Old Town walls in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Admiring Skradinski Buk falls in Krka National Park

Admiring Skradinski Buk falls in Krka National Park

How to travel around Croatia

There isn’t one single best way to travel around Croatia. It ultimately depends on your itinerary and how long you plan to spend on the road.

For example, if you’re planning to base yourself in Split and just go on day trips from there, you won’t need to rent a car. You’ll easily be able to get everywhere with public transport or organised tours.

If you want to road trip across the whole country then renting a car will give you the most flexibility, both over your itinerary and timings.

Personally we only rented a car once we reached Hvar, so that we could freely drive around the island and explore all the hidden beaches. To travel from Dubrovnik to Split we took a FlixBus, which is a very fast and cheap bus service.

The car we rented in the brief afternoon we had it, with the beautiful coastline of Hvar behind

The car we rented in the brief afternoon we had it, with the beautiful coastline of Hvar behind

Estimated cost of traveling to Croatia

I have to admit that on my last trip to Croatia I was surprised at how much more expensive it had become compared to my first visit. The first time I visited I found it fairly cheap, whilst on my last trip it was much more expensive.

While it’s definitely not as expensive as some luxury destinations around the world, it still sits on the average price range for a European holiday.

On a trip to Croatia you can expect to spend anywhere between 30 to 150 EUR a day, depending on your travel style and interests.

Last time I was there (September 2017) we spent on average anywhere between 100 to 250 HRK for a nice sit down meal with alcohol, and between 20 and 50 HRK for a more on-the-go sandwich, wrap or pizza.

Accommodation ranges from 20 – 30 EUR per night for a bed in a hostel dorm, or between 50 and 100 EUR for an apartment, and can go over 100 EUR for a nice hotel.

When it comes to activities it will vary massively depending on what you choose to do. Some activities (eg. a city walking tour) you can do alone and save a bit of money, whilst others (eg. zipline or island hopping) are worth paying for to ensure you have a relaxing time.

Kayak sunset tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Kayak sunset tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia

We went on a sunset stand up paddling tour while in Split

We went on a sunset stand up paddling tour while in Split

What to pack for a Croatia trip

Besides your usual clothes and travel essentials , here are some items you don’t want to forget for your trip to Croatia, regardless of the season!

Swimsuit & sun block – I’m putting these two together as you would only need them if you’re visiting Croatia in summer. The sun can be pretty strong in the summer months, so make sure you’re prepared.

Water bottle – I love steel water bottles because they keep your water cold, reduce plastic consumption and save you money in the long run, it’s a win-win all round!

Money belt   – I always travel with a money belt, and while I never personally felt unsafe in Croatia, petty theft is common in tourist areas all over the world. Better to be safe than sorry!

Comfortable walking shoes – Regardless of the season, make sure to pack comfortable shoes so you can walk all around the beautiful old towns of Croatia without hurting your feet!

Packing cubes – You’ll need these especially if you’re planning an on the road Croatia trip. That way you can easily pack all your things and keep them tidy every time you change destination.

View over Hear from the top of the fort

View over Hear from the top of the fort

Where to book your Croatia trip

If you’re not sure what websites are best to book your Croatia trip, here are my top suggestions. These are the online platforms and travel resources I personally use for every trip I plan.  

Skyscanner   is my favourite flight search engine. They collate lots of different airlines and will show you the cheapest flight combinations. You then have the option to buy on different platforms or from the airline’s own website.

Booking.com   is the first place I check when searching for accommodation. They have a wide selection of accommodation types, so whether you’re looking for a fancy resort, a bed & breakfast, or an apartment, they have the functionality of filtering by all these choices and many more (eg. price, star rating etc) so that you can find exactly the type of property you want.

If I want to stay in a hostel, I head straight for Hostelworld . I prefer it for hostel bookings as their reviews tend to be more detailed and it has more of a community feel.

GetYourGuide is the first tour booking platform I check. They sell a huge variety of tours everywhere in the world and have a very flexible cancellation policy (up to 24 hours before the tour). You can compare prices between similar tours and see the reviews left by previous tour participants.

Viator   is another great place to book your tours. Similarly to GYG you can filter by ratings, prices and types of tours.

HeyMondo sell tailor made travel insurance, and they are committed to offering the best value for money and support for your specific trip.  Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services,  Heymondo  also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.

Amazon   sell pretty much everything. They also offer very competitive delivery prices and windows. If you realise the day before a flight that you’re missing something, Amazon  can probably get it delivered to you on time.

Wandering the streets of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Wandering the streets of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Exploring the Old Town of Split, Croatia

Exploring the Old Town of Split, Croatia

Croatia guides, books & resources to check out before you travel

Last thing before you go! Before heading off to Croatia, you might want to grab one of these interesting reads. Some are to help you learn more about the country’s history, others to help with your travel planning!

Lonely Planet Croatia (Travel Guide) – A classic guidebook for anyone who wants lots of information and details about Croatia.

A Traveller’s History of Croatia –  If you want a guide that goes beyond the classic restaurants, hotels and tourist highlights, this is a great option.

“Running Away To Home: Our Family’s Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters” by Jennifer Wilson – If you’re like me and prefer reading stories to guidebooks, you will enjoy this book. This award winning book is a great read for anyone who is searching for a more personal and engaging story about Croatia

View over the rooftops of Dubrovnik from the Old Town walls

View over the rooftops of Dubrovnik from the Old Town walls

Final thoughts on traveling to Croatia

There you have it, the ultimate Croatia travel guide! Have you been to Croatia before? How did you find it? I hope you find my detailed travel guide to Croatia useful in planning your trip!

I tried to include answers to every possible question that you might have when planning your Croatia trip. I know these are some of the questions I had myself before first travelling there.

If you want more information on a specific city or tour, simply click through to my detailed Croatia guides! If you have any questions about traveling to Croatia just let me know in the comments below, I’m always happy to help!

Enjoyed reading my Croatia travel guide? Pin it!

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croatia tourism reviews

Welcome to Croatia Traveller! I'm Jeanne Oliver and my online travel guide to Croatia is here to make planning a trip to Croatia easy and fun. I've been travelling to and writing about Croatia since 1996, first as a guidebook writer and now as the force behind Croatia Traveller.

I'm obsessive about updating this site with all the latest information too. From ferries and flights to the latest hotels and hottest destinations, I've got you covered. So plunge in and get everything you need to have the holiday of your dreams.

You could start with whatever pops into your head and type it into this searchbox...:

. . .or get started with this overview:

Maksimir Park, Zagreb in spring

When to go?

Late spring and early fall are the best times to avoid the crowds and take advantage of fine weather on the coast. While Zagreb empties out in the summer, the coast and islands are jam-packed. Winters are too cold for swimming but great for Christmas festivals. More .

Hvar town

And the climate?

Croatia has a continental climate inland and a Mediterranean climate on the coast. Summers are hot throughout Croatia. Winters are cold inland and chilly on the coast. Rain and storms are common late fall through early spring. More .

Croatian money

What about money?

The unit of currency is the euro. Costs are somewhat lower than in Western Europe especially for accommodation. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. More .

Croatia Airlines plane

How to Get There?

Low-cost flights link Croatia internationally spring through fall. Ferries link Croatia to Italy throughout the year with more routes during the summer. International trains run mainly to Zagreb but international buses connect coastal cities as well. More .

Jadrolinija boat in Sobra

How to Get Around?

Trains are limited but frequent buses connect major destinations. Car ferries to the islands run all year but many passenger services stop off-season. A car is handy to visit small villages and hidden beaches. More .

Plitvice Lakes

Top Places to See?

Major destinations are Dubrovnik , Plitvice Lakes National Park , Hvar , Korcula and Mljet islands, Rovinj and Split . Dare to be different and take a look at Zadar , Zagreb , Brac and Vis islands, Krka Waterfalls National Park, Sibenik and Istria . More .

Dubrovnik old port

How to Plan a Trip?

I offer a customised trip-planning service to sort you out in a hurry. Or, follow one of my detailed itineraries . From the Best of Croatia in 2 weeks to 7 days in Dalmatia , get the itinerary that's right for you. More .

Esplanade hotel, Zagreb

Where to Stay?

The comfort level of accommodation in Croatia is high while costs are within bounds. Hotels typically include breakfast and free WiFi is standard everywhere. There are ample apartments to rent on the coast (perfect for families) and a bevy of new hostels offer design on a budget. More .

Rock climbing in Paklenica

Best Experiences?

Sample Croatia's delightful food and wine . Active travellers can kayak, bike, hike or climb. Soak up the sun on a beach or charter a gulet. Delve into Croatian history at a world heritage site or commune with nature in one of Croatia's national parks .

Border entrance

How about visas?

Croatia is part of the EU and part of Schengen. Visa-free travel up to 90 days is available for EU citizens, the USA, Canada, Australia and several dozen other countries. EU citizens can enter with a national ID card. Otherwise, present a passport. More .

Croatian flag

I don't speak Croatian!

No matter. English is spoken widely and well. It helps to learn a few words of Croatian of course if only for haggling in the markets. Movies and TV shows are always presented in the original version with subtitles. More .

Detail from Sibenik cathedral

Is it Safe?

Croatia is a safe country for travellers. Violent crime is extremely rare. Exercise the usual precautions against street crime particularly in large cities. Mishaps happen which is why a good travel insurance policy is indispensable. More .

Recommended Tours

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Croatia Tour Reviews

Amazing trip, tour guide Dom was sensational, did a very good job at showing us all the landmarks and being an all round good host.
Traveling through Croatia with Koda was the best decision I could have made! The entire experience was top-notch, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The itinerary was fantastic, offering a perfect blend of dancing the nights away and exploring the rich culture, history, and stunning nature of Dalmatia. The group was full of amazing, like-minded, and wholesome individuals, making it easy to connect and maintain great vibes throughout the trip. Our tour guide, Lucas, was incredible. He provided us with all the right information, taught us about each place, and was open and helpful at every moment. His presence greatly contributed to the positive atmosphere, creating a seamless trip experience. As someone with IBS, I usually struggle with food outside my own kitchen, but this week with Koda was a game-changer. I provided them with a list of foods I can't eat, and they ensured I always had suitable meals. Even off the boat, Lucas was attentive to my dietary needs, making sure I had options to eat. This level of care lifted a huge burden off my shoulders, allowing me to fully enjoy the trip without worrying about food. The boat was excellent—clean, with nice air-conditioned rooms, great showers, and a friendly crew. All of the crew members were friendly and great at their jobs. Special shoutout to Luka and Ivo for always having smiles on their faces, serving us all the meals, making sure happy hour cocktails were just right, and generally matching our energy perfectly. There wasn't a single moment on that boat when I didn't feel at home or experience anything other than good vibes. Every detail was perfect, adding to the beautiful experience of the trip.
Captain was amazing. Great food and great company Lots of sailing when weather permitted Very well organized

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Koda Sail

"I had a fantastic time traveling through Croatia! As a solo traveler, this trip was a perfect way to meet new people and also explore a new country. The boat facilities were great, as well as the crew on board. Lucas did a fantastic job throughout the trip, making sure everyone felt “at home”, and also going the extra mile, a highlight was a morning yoga session on the top deck! I met at lot of awesome people and would not hesitate to book with Koda again. If you are a young professional who wants a good balance of some party but also adventure / down time this tour is for you!

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"The itinerary, boat, and skipper (Ivan) all exceeded my expectations. Croatia is incredible and Ivan made it interesting and relaxing. Seeing it by boat was incredible. Everyone on board had a good attitude, which helped a lot. I highly recommend this route.

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Dramatic sunset, with purple and orange clouds, over boats in the harbour, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Be it on land or sea, walking or adventure cruising – Croatia will have you in the palm of its hand.

Croatia's glittering Adriatic coast, charming cobblestone towns and thriving food and wine scene are certain to reward curiosities. Join one of our small group tours and wander through the ancient streets of Split to find the perfect gelato, dance up a storm in Dubrovnik’s castle nightclubs, and shout a hearty ‘zivjeli!’ while sipping sundowners on Hvar’s mountaintop fortress. You might even island hop in the Adriatic Sea , bathe in the turquoise waters of Zlatni Rat, or take a dip in the emerald-green lakes of Mljet. Trust us when we say uncovering the treasures of this Balkan beauty will be the adventure of a lifetime. 

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Croatia departures by month

We also travel to, croatia at a glance, capital city.

Zagreb (population 930,000)

4.4 million

(GMT+01:00) Sarajevo, Skopje, Warsaw, Zagreb



Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)

Learn more about Croatia

Best time to visit croatia.

Croatia's peak season runs between July and August, with temperatures in the high 60s or mid 80s on the coast. But in this region, you can expect plenty of sunshine from May to October, which are the best times to visit if you want to take advantage of Croatia's beautiful beaches and islands. The inland areas are also hot in the summer but can get cold in the winter with low temperatures and snowfall. Winter on the coast is milder and frequent rain can be expected.

Read more about the best time to visit Croatia

Culture and customs

Generally, Croatians are very proud of their country and cultural heritage. While this may not be obvious in everyday life, the Slavic heritage of Croatian people becomes more evident during festivals and national holidays, where cities and villages come to life with traditional costume, folk music and feasts. While most of Croatia's population are Roman Catholic, there are also groups of people who identify as Serbian Orthodox, Muslim, Protestant and Jewish. Having endured war, hardship and frequent earthquakes, the people of Croatia have a great amount of national pride and connection to their country and family. It's quite common for extended families to live together and children to remain close to their parents well into adulthood. Time for leisure and family is highly valued, particularly along the coast, where many offices end their day at 3pm.

Eating and drinking

Croatian cuisine   is heavily influenced by its surrounding countries. Separated from Italy by the Adriatic Sea, cuisine along the coast tends to have more of a Mediterranean flair. Fish and seafood are integral to many coastal dishes, such as brodet (fish stew) and crni rizot (black risotto made with squid). Homemade pasta and olive oil are also dietary staples. Further inland, you’ll find heartier dishes with Austrian, Hungarian, and Turkish influences such as cobanac (a goulash-like stew) and kulen (paprika-seasoned sausage).

Foodies will definitely want to visit Istria – home to award-winning olive oil, wild asparagus, rare white truffles and excellent wines – which has gained an international reputation as a foodie destination.

Croatians enjoy their beer (Karlovacko and Ozujsko are two of the most popular local brews), but they love their kava (coffee). Take a cue from the locals and spend a morning people-watching at a cafe over a kava – it’s a Saturday morning tradition in Zagreb. Rakija (brandy) is the spirit of choice, with many restaurants offering a small glass before a meal. Another favorite is Pelinkovac, a must-try bitter liqueur.

Things to try in Croatia

1. Pasticada

A slow-cooked beef dish usually served with gnocchi. This Dalmatian staple can be found in many restaurants in this region.

2. Manestra

There are many variations to Istria’s hearty take on minestrone soup, but it usually includes beans, corn and meat.

3. Paski sir

This popular hard cheese is produced exclusively from the milk of sheep on the Island of Pag. It gets its unique pungent taste from the sheep’s aromatic herb diet.

These grilled skinless sausages are common throughout Croatia and are usually served with onions and ajvar (a red bell pepper relish) on a flatbread

Geography and environment

Sharing borders with  Bosnia and Herzegovina ,  Slovenia ,  Hungary ,  Serbia  and  Montenegro , Croatia benefits from more than 5,000 km of coastline that spans along the Adriatic Sea. In addition to the mainland, Croatia also has many islands, some inhabited, some not. Croatia's terrain is very diverse and varies from flat plains to low mountains and highlands, limestone karst cliffs, wetlands, lakes and forests of cypress. Nature reserves and wetland areas are home to large populations of migratory birds, deer, bats and bears. Visitors will also see much of the land is used for agriculture with vineyards, lavender fields, olive groves and orchards being prevalent in rural areas. Croatia's cities, while developed, have managed to maintain a high level of charm with cobblestone streets, ancient housing, historic squares and heritage buildings being preserved and still used by the current population.

History and government

Early history.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the land now known as Croatia has been occupied by humans since the Stone Age. Croatia's geographical position in  Europe  allowed a great amount of influence from neighboring regions, with tribes and people from different cultures and groups making their mark. The first Kingdom of Croatia was formed in 925 but by the 12th century Croatia had formed a union with Hungary, with a Hungarian King instated as leader of both territories. During the 15th century, Croatia lost territory to the Ottoman Empire and, in later centuries, once again came under Hungarian rule. Evidence of these many cultural influences can be seen in the architecture, cuisine and archaeological ruins of contemporary Croatia.

Recent history

Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia formed a union in 1918 to create the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but the occupation of Axis forces during World War II lead to the creation of the Independent State of Croatia, which only lasted a couple of years during the war. By the end of the war in 1945, Croatia had become a Socialist Republic (within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, together with Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro), with the constitution of 1963 attempting to alleviate tensions surrounding the balance of power between Serbians and Croats. By 1980, after the death of President Tito (founder of modern Yugoslavia), economic and political difficulties resulted in a near collapse of government. What followed was years of conflict, polarity and political turmoil. The referendum of 1991 resulted in an overwhelming vote for independence, with Croatia and Slovenia declaring independence from Yugoslavia in June of the same year. Much armed conflict followed and lasted until 1995, leading to great loss of civilian life and displacement, creating large populations of refugees. However, the last two decades have been a time of peace and reconciliation for the people of Croatia and the country even joined the European Union in 2013.

Top 10 historic buildings of Croatia

1. cathedral of the assumption of the virgin mary.

One of Zagreb’s most visited historic sites, this grand neo-Gothic cathedral has been renovated and reconstructed many times since it was originally built in the 13th century. With massive twin spires, a marble interior and 800-year-old treasury, this is a monumental masterpiece.

2. Church of St Donatus

Considered one of the most impressive examples of early Byzantine architecture, this church in Zadar was built way back in the 9th century. With much historical value, its simplistic, circular design is quite unlike other buildings in Croatia, making it a standout, must-see church in a country with so many churches and cathedrals to see.

3. Croatian National Theatre

Built in 1895, this national treasure located in Zagreb is an elegant example of neo-Baroque style architecture. Visitors lucky enough to catch an opera, ballet or classical music concert here will be able to revel in all the fine details, from the luxe furnishings to the excellent acoustics.

4. Diocletian’s Palace

One of Split’s main attractions, this UNESCO World Heritage monument is considered one of the best-preserved Roman palaces in the world. The sprawling complex is home to many fine examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, so visitors will be able to admire open-air courtyards, marble arches, columns, gates and walls from a variety of different periods.

5. Cathedral of St Lovro

This cathedral located 30 minutes from Split is well known for its distinct Romanesque portal crafted by one of Croatia's most celebrated sculptors, Radovan. Mythological creatures and biblical figures all feature heavily, with saints, lions, sirens and centaurs all gracing the spectacular doorways.

6. Rector’s Palace

Also known as Dubrovnik Museum, Rector’s Palace is an impressive building in itself. With soaring arches, period furniture and a dramatic staircase, this structure steals the show from the museum exhibits it holds within.

7. Dubrovnik Synagogue

Reported to be the second oldest synagogue in Europe and the world’s oldest Sefardic synagogue still in use, Dubrovnik’s synagogue is still a place for the local Jewish community to worship on holy days. Sustaining damage from earthquakes and wars, this small but well-cared-for structure stills stands today due to its historical value and unique design.

8. Marco Polo Tower

While not the most elaborate or opulent building in Croatia, the Marco Polo Tower of Korcula has much historical significance. It is believed that Marco Polo was born in this medieval, walled city and this tower named in his honor rises above the town as a reminder of his legacy. Climb to the top for phenomenal views and panoramic photo opportunities.

9. Franciscan Monastery

Featuring 14th-century cloisters, intricately carved columns and a striking, sculptured facade this Dubrovnik wonder is also home to the third oldest pharmacy in Europe, so you can get a prescription filled while seeing the sights.

10. Trakoscan Castle

This lovely castle located in northern Croatia was inhabited from the 13th century right up until the 1940s. Featuring all good things a castle should have - including a dungeon, hunting room and tower - visiting here is like stepping back to a time when castles weren’t just historical monuments, but actual places to live.

Top places to visit in Croatia

1. islands of kornati.

There are plenty of enchanting islands along the coast of Croatia but perhaps none more so than the secluded Kornati, a collection of 89 spectacular islands full of islets and reef systems just waiting to be explored. Known as the largest and densest archipelago in the Adriatic region, the Kornatis present the perfect way to spend a couple of days with beautiful bays to swim in and fascinating nature parks to adventure through.

2. Dubrovnik

Steeped in both beauty and history, Dubrovnik’s UNESCO-listed Old Town is, quite simply, the undisputed jewel of the Dalmatian Coast. With its beautiful white stone-covered buildings, tiled-roof houses, and limestone streets all encompassed within sea-facing city walls, this city is full of charm and splendour. Whether you want to wander the bustling streets on foot or view the town from the sparkling water of the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is one character-filled city you can’t miss. Wander the cobblestoned streets of Dubrovnik on our 15 day Dubrovnik to Athens tour or on our 15 day Dubrovnik to Bled tour.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik then setting sail for the small island of Lokrum is the best way to achieve it. Covered in lush vegetation and surrounded by sparkling blue waters you’re never going to want to leave, this sleepy island presents the perfect opportunity to relax under the warm Croatian sun. Whether you want to soak up the rays on rocks by the sea or wander through the Botanical Garden, you’re guaranteed to find peace within Lokrum’s stunning surroundings. Sail to the small island of Lokrum on our 10 day Dubrovnik to Venice tour or on our 8 day Explore Croatia adventure.

Another day, another magnificent city in Croatia to adventure through; this time, it’s Zadar. Once the capital city of Dalmatia, Zadar boasts a rich heritage that’s easily visible when you start wandering its ancient buildings such as the Roman Forum and St Donatus’ Church. From walking through cultural exhibitions at the Museum of Church Art and exploring the spirited fish markets at the port to admiring the ‘Greeting to the Sun’, a modern monument dedicated to the sun, this energetic destination will surely capture your heart (and your camera’s remaining storage). Explore historic Zadar on our 8 day Croatia & Slovenia tour.

Packed with a rich history you’re going to want to explore, Korcula Island is a hidden gem with as many beautiful sights and ancient buildings as some of the bigger islands, such as Hvar, but without the crowds. Offering a lot of sun to soak up, plenty of golden sandy beaches to lie on, and an abundance of sparkling blue waters to swim in, this seaside destination is truly one-of-a-kind. And you can't forget about the food. From traditional beef stews to the sweet delicacy of travarica, you'll never go hungry in Korcula. Marvel at the sights of Korcula on our 8 day Croatian Coastal Cruising or on our 7 day Cycle Croatia tour.

Split may be Croatia’s second largest city (after Zagreb) but it’s first when it comes to personality and soul with historic streets, a World-Heritage listed palace, and a vibrant mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants scattered throughout its picturesque Old Town. From sipping on frothy kava at a table on the Riva waterfront promenade to listening to street musicians filling ancient courtyards with their sweet sounds, Split promises to take your Croatian tour to another level. Eat your way through Split on our 11 day Slovenia & Croatia Real Food Adventure.

7. Plitvice Lakes National Park

If you thought Croatia couldn’t get any more beautiful, only one visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park is enough to make you change your mind. Gaining World Heritage listed status 20 years ago, this spectacular park covers 19 hectares of wooded hills and 16 turquoise-covered lakes all connected by a series of waterfalls that won’t hesitate to take your breath away. Whether you want to spot some wild animals (think wolves, deer, and birds), wander through the park’s forest vegetation, or simply marvel at the captivating landscape that surrounds you, this dazzling park will be etched in your mind forever. Walk through Plitvice Lakes National Park on our 26 day Budapest to Rome adventure or on our 17 day Dubrovnik to Rome tour.

If culture’s what you’re after, then visiting the spirited city of Zagreb should be high on your Croatia bucket list. Bursting with museums such as the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships or the more traditional Croatian Museum of Naïve Art, and historic locations such as the Mirogoj Cemetery and Lotrščak Tower, you’ll never run out of things to do in Zagreb. Perfect for exploring on foot, this lively destination blends the best of crafts, cuisine, and culture for an adventure you’ll want to relive over and over again. Absorb the Croatian culture on our 19 day Budapest to Venice tour or on our 10 day Dubrovnik to Venice tour.

On the surface, Osijek may seem like just another breathtaking Croatian town but as soon as you start wandering its streets full of grand buildings and popular landmarks, you’ll see why it deserves to be explored. With a laidback atmosphere and bubbling personality, this town will easily have you entranced from its many cafes and restaurants lining the Drava River to its captivating medieval structures. Spend your time walking through the Museum of Slavonia or strolling down the European Avenue for an in-depth look at this remarkable region. Stroll the streets of Osijek on our 29 day Vienna to Dubrovnik tour or on our 15 day Balkan Adventure.

If Dubrovnik is known as the ‘Jewel of the Dalmatian Coast’ then Hvar is the ‘Queen of the Dalmatian Islands’ thanks to its picture-perfect town full of wonderfully preserved Renaissance facades. Boasting plenty to do including admiring the views of the town and the Adriatic Sea from the Spanjola Fortress, wandering the streets full of unusual boutiques and interesting galleries, and sipping on cocktails at a bar by the water, this spectacular island town is like something straight out of a fairytale. 

Croatia has an interesting mix of quaint outdoor markets, modern malls and hip clothing boutiques. There's plenty of options that make better souvenirs than the usual lurid magnets or tourist t-shirts.

It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. The   United States   and   Canada  generally have strict customs laws.

Things to buy in Croatia

1. Local produce

If you're able to take food products back to your home country, then Croatia's markets are filled with delicious gourmet produce. Honey, olives, cheese, wine and lavender products are good choices that help to support local farmers and the rural economy.

2. Traditional handicrafts

Embroidered tablecloths, handmade dolls and lace from the island of Pag make authentic gifts for friends back home.

3. Natural cosmetics

Croatia has many brands of natural soap, body butter and shower gel derived from ingredients like olive oil, goat's milk, lavender, almond oil and seaweed.

Festivals and events

Dance week festival.

This celebration of dance and movement hits Zagreb each year. Featuring a diverse range of contemporary and traditional dance from local and international dancers and choreographers, the eclectic program highlights the artistic vision of many coming together to celebrate their love of dance.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Classical music, theatre, dance and opera combine to create an enriching program of events performed in open air venues around Dubrovnik. Held every year since 1949, Croatia's temperate summer climate ensures the perfect conditions for outdoor performances.

International Folklore Festival

This important festival held in Zagreb each year helps to preserve cultural diversity by promoting traditional dance, costume, music and handicrafts from all over the world. Visitors can see everything from African drumming performances to traditional Croatian dancing and Bulgarian bands.

Read more about festivals in Croatia

Public holidays that may impact travel include:

Anti-Fascist Resistance Day

Statehood Day

Homeland Thanksgiving Day

Independence Day

Please note that the dates of  Croatia's public holidays  may vary.

Further reading

Croatia travel faqs, do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Do you need a visa to visit Croatia?

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.

Is tipping customary in Croatia?

Tipping isn't mandatory in Croatia, although feel free to round up the bill or leave spare change for wait staff. Tip more if the service has been particularly good. Some restaurants and cafes will already include a 10-15% margin in the bill, to account for taxes and tips. In this case, generally no further tip is required.

What is the internet access like in Croatia?

Travelers will be able to access the internet at internet cafes and hotels in Croatia's large cities and tourist-orientated towns. Expect less internet accessibility in rural areas.

Will my cell phone work in Croatia?

Cell phone coverage is generally very good in Croatia's large cities and urban areas. Islands and remote areas may have less reliable service.

Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before arrival.

What are the toilets like in Croatia?

Western-style, flushable toilets are the norm in Croatia's cities and urban centres.

Can I drink the water in Croatia?

Tap water is considered safe to drink in Croatia; however, due to the different mineral content, some people may get stomach upsets from the drinking water if they aren't used to it. A better option is finding filtered water rather than relying on bottled water.

Are credit cards accepted widely in Croatia?

Large hotels, restaurants and tourist sites will most likely accept credit cards. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases and when shopping at vendors like market stalls and smaller cafes and hotels, which may not have credit card facilities.

What is ATM access like in Croatia?

ATMs are readily available throughout Croatia. Cities and large towns will have more ATM access than small villages or rural areas, so prepare accordingly if traveling out of urban areas.

What is the weather like in Croatia?

Croatia's climate is split into two different regions - along the coast and in the mainland.

Depending on which region you're travelling to, the weather may vary slightly with temperatures higher in the mainland area due to a lack of sea breeze.

Winter temperatures are also lower in the mainland with snowfall expected and enjoyed, whereas on the coast, snowfall is quite uncommon.

Is Croatia a safe destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers?

Discretion is advised for LGBTQIA+ travelers in Croatia. Homosexuality has been legal in Croatia since 1977 and is tolerated but not widely accepted. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples may be met with hostility in lesser populated cities. Gay venues are virtually non-existent outside Zagreb but this is improving every year. 

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting   Equaldex   or   ILGA   before you travel.

What's the transport like in Croatia?

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Croatia, you may find yourself traveling by:

No tourist coaches here! Travel through Croatia the way the locals do, aboard a local bus. It's a cheap, reliable and authentic way to get around.

Trip: Explore Croatia

Amazing views and quick access to the islands - what better way to see Croatia's splendid coast than aboard a ferry?

Trip: Cycle Croatia

Trip: Dubrovnik to Bled

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before traveling?

Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

How do I stay safe and healthy while traveling?

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

What is it like traveling on a small group tour?

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or you’re about to embark on your first trip, traveling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organizing amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), traveling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.

Does my trip to Croatia support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveler. Trips to Croatia directly support our foundation partner, Humana Zagreb.

Humana Zagreb

Humana Zagreb provides job opportunities and education programs in sustainable fashion and textile industries for people with disabilities. Donations fund educational programs run by Humana employees with disabilities. These programs teach school children about the issues of fast fashion, the importance of reusing and recycling clothes, and the barriers that people with disabilities face when searching for employment.

Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Does my Intrepid trip include airfare?

While our Intrepid trips include many modes of transport, from tuk-tuks to overland vehicles, bullet trains and feluccas, airfare to and from your home country is not included in your tour package.

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Frugal Traveler

Affordable Island-Hopping in Croatia? What Could Go Wrong?

A 30-percent-off Black Friday sale on a cruise aboard a yacht meant off-season sailing and being prepared for the unexpected.

A view from a hill of a red-roofed town surrounding a harbor. In the foreground, the ruins of an ancient fortification wall follow the downward slope of a steep hill. And in the distance, beyond the harbor with its numerous small boats, is a string of small green islands.

By Elaine Glusac

Elaine Glusac is the Frugal Traveler columnist, focusing on budget-friendly tips and journeys.

As Croatians tell the story , the Greek hero Odysseus was shipwrecked and held captive on the Croatian island of Mljet. Visiting in May, I and six other sailors embraced the myth when the motor on our 54-foot yacht failed.

“Remember, Odysseus spent seven years on Mljet,” said Ivan Ljubovic, our captain. “We can do two nights.”

In the scheme of things, the clogged fuel filter that impeded our progress on a seven-night, island-hopping cruise from Split to Dubrovnik on a yacht — which the passengers helped sail — was minor. Though an engine, even on a sailboat, is vital for docking and sticking to schedules on becalmed days, most of my shipmates agreed that getting waylaid in a village with Roman ruins on a turquoise bay was an acceptable fate.

I had been resigned to what were, in my mind, worse inconveniences when I had signed up for the trip last November. Then, the tour operator G Adventures had put several trips on sale over the Black Friday weekend. Its best deals were in the off-season, which meant potentially chilly weather and closed restaurants and attractions. But leaving in late April for seven nights of island hopping at roughly $1,300 — after a 30 percent discount — was too tempting to pass up.

My cousin Kim agreed and we made plans to pack rain gear and meet in Split to test the budget waters.

‘Everything between is an adventure’

Little about the itinerary was published pre-departure and none of it was firm.

“Split and Dubrovnik are fixed,” said the captain, who would pilot the ship solo and double as our guide, on our first day. “Everything between is an adventure.”

It started with the Sauturnes, a handsome Kufner yacht with four snug guest cabins, four economical bathrooms where the retractable faucet doubled as a shower spigot, and a spacious galley. Our “crew,” a mix of Australians and Americans ranging from 18 to 75 — all of whom had also jumped on the promotional pricing — spent most of the time atop the boat, where foam mattresses invited sunbathing and a cockpit awning provided shade.

The weather, which turned out to be sunny and comfortably cool, was not our greatest concern. The G Adventures website had mentioned well-known islands, including beachy Brac and Vis , which played a convincing Greek idyll in the movie “Mamma Mia 2.” But since many places would be closed in the shoulder season, we would proceed, according to the captain, based on the dictates of the weather and conditions on shore.

Meals were not included, which meant finding open restaurants was critical. For shipboard breakfasts and lunches, we each chipped in 50 euros (about $54) for communal groceries, which we shopped for at local markets. At night, we would dine at restaurants; G Adventures advised budgeting $250 to $325 for the week, which was accurate, though we often splurged on Croatian wine (a carafe of house red averaged $15).

Small ports

After the frenzy of grocery shopping and moving into the bunk-bedded cabin Kim and I shared, we experienced the Zen of sailing as the ship set off on a sunny morning for 43-mile-long Hvar , the longest and purportedly sunniest island in Croatia.

Neighboring islands drifted past as the wind patterned the sea in shifting ripples and ruffles. A flock of shearwaters soared by at eye level.

Within a few hours, the ridgelines of steep Hvar appeared, revealing terraced lavender fields and olive orchards. Motoring down a long, narrow inlet, we arrived in Stari Grad , a village of stone homes with terra cotta roof tiles, as travelers had since 384 B.C., when Greek sailors from the island of Paros settled here.

Our mooring provided a front-row view of fishing boats and cafes animating the waterfront. Stari Grad’s attractions, including the Greek ruins of Faros and a 17th-century Venetian cathedral, had yet to open for the season, but we relished exploring the old quarter’s narrow lanes and deserted plazas.

From the waterfront, an aerobic 20-minute hike up a steep hill crowned by a giant white cross offered views over Stari Grad and the plains beyond, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of fourth-century agricultural fields, with stone walls circumscribing grapevines and olive orchards.

That evening, we visited them to reach Konoba Kokot , a farm restaurant that specializes in “peka,” a kind of barbecue in which meat cooks under an iron lid piled with hot coals. The family that runs it opened in the preseason, welcoming us with bracing shots of rakija, a local herbal liquor. At a long table under an arbor, we gorged on homemade goat cheese, wild boar pate and, from the hearth, roast lamb, veal and octopus with limitless jugs of red and white wine for 35 euros a person.

Starry nights

Small ships are unmatched at getting into small ports, but a yacht trip is also a little like camping, starting most mornings with D.I.Y. instant coffee. Marinas offered free bathhouses with showers.

Cool temperatures apparently deterred the celebrity-filled mega yachts, which are known to anchor in the town of Hvar on the south shore of Hvar island. Our captain declared it the “Mykonos of Croatia” as we motored by the port bustling with visitors carrying shopping bags and cones of gelato.

With clear weather in the forecast, we moored in an undeveloped cove east of town. The mooring belonged to the owners of Moli Onte restaurant, who ferried us to land on a motorized dingy, allowing us enough time before dinner to visit the fortress above Hvar and have an Ozujsko beer on St. Stephens Square, the largest in the region of Dalmatia.

Back on board, with no artificial light to wash out the night sky, we hit the upper deck for stargazing. As my shipmates peeled off to bed, I grabbed a blanket and beanie and bedded down under the stars for the evolving show, periodically waking to catch the drama of the moon rising, reflected in the still water.

Little Dubrovnik

Fingers of gray rock reached down to meet sloping vineyards along Hvar’s south coast as we departed for its neighbor, Korcula. On our longest day of sailing, five hours, I welcomed the chance to play first mate, manning the lines on the jib sail.

To break up the trip, Captain Ljubovic navigated to a quiet cove off the Peljesac Peninsula where the Caribbean-blue waters, cloudless sky and sandy bottom convinced us to jump in despite numbing sea temperatures.

Fifteenth-century walls ring the historic center of Korcula, earning it the nickname “Little Dubrovnik.” Past the stone gates carved with a winged lion representing the empire of Venice, which controlled much of the Adriatic after the 13th century, narrow alleys led to ornate churches and mansions. There was no better history trip than getting lost in the web of pedestrian lanes. Or so we told ourselves as we passed the purported home of Marco Polo, still closed preseason.

Along the seafront walls, restaurants served pizza and seafood under lights strung in the pines and we caught sunset from a former turret, now converted into Massimo Cocktail Bar , which requires patrons to climb a ladder to the rooftop, a caution against second rounds.

The most romantic port of the trip was also the rowdiest, at least in the marina, which was hosting a Polish sailing regatta. When I headed for the showers at 6 a.m. the next morning, I found a group still cheerfully dancing atop a yacht littered in empty booze bottles and crushed potato chips.

Marooned on Mljet

We left Korcula on strong 20-knot “jugo” or south winds and Captain Ljubovic unleashed the sails, saying “You paid for a sailing vacation, not a motorboat.”

As we tacked back and forth toward Mljet , the boat heeled at a queasy angle and we took face shots of ocean spray.

On Mljet, where the western end of the island is home to Mljet National Park , we rented bikes (10 euros) to ride a lung-busting route over the park’s mountain spine. On the other side, we cycled around a pair of inland lakes and took a boat trip to a 12th-century monastery built on an island in one of them (park admission, 15 euros).

Docked in the still sleepy town of Polace, we heard tales of high season, when up to 100 yachts anchor in the bay and members of the band U2 were once seen biking in the park. After a brief shower, the town glimmered at sunset and the restaurant Stella Maris welcomed us with grilled sea bass (25 euros) and prawns (20 euros).

“I’m so glad I chose this time, because I don’t do crowds,” said my shipmate Nova Hey, 46, of Sydney, who was traveling with her 18-year-old daughter.

In the morning, I had the trail to the peak of Montokuc to myself. The roughly three-mile round-trip hike reached one of the highest points on the island, a rocky knob with stunning panoramas shared by a family of feral goats.

Not long thereafter, the Sauternes’ engine refused to turn over, stranding us in a national park on a remote island with no mechanics.

Teeming Dubrovnik

The next morning, Captain Ljubovic jimmied a fix but it didn’t last long and the engine died again, this time just opposite a cave on Mljet that we joked had to be the refuge of Odysseus.

After a morning of light sailing, a mechanic from the mainland arrived by speedboat and within an hour we were motoring toward the Franjo Tudman Bridge that spans the inlet to the Dubrovnik marina where hot showers awaited.

“Dubrovnik is the most expensive city in Croatia,” said Captain Ljubovic as we spent the last of our pooled money, 70 euros, hiring a taxi van to get us to and from the walled heart of the ancient city about 15 minutes away.

With two large cruise ships in port, Dubrovnik was teeming with visitors and the price to climb the stone walls that encircle the city was a sticker-shocking 35 euros. (In the ensuing two days Kim and I would spend post-cruise in the city, we bought the more comprehensive Dubrovnik Pass for 35 euros that included admission to the walls as well as several museums and public bus transportation.)

On our final evening, we measured the lack of crowds versus closed museums; perfect hiking weather versus swim-inviting water; ample dock space versus more restaurant choices — and felt we’d come out ahead sailing in the bargain season.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

London:  A writer used Camille Pissarro’s paintings of suburban London and a “lost” railway as a lens for exploring the city’s history  — and settling an arcane mystery.

Dublin,:  While the Irish capital has become a more international hub, locals have made efforts to ensure what makes the city unique — its spirited personality and famed hospitality  — doesn’t get entirely swallowed up.

Norway:  Can A.I. devise a bucket-list vacation to the Scandinavian nation that checks all the boxes: culture, nature, hotels and transportation? We put three virtual assistants to the test .

The Berkshires:  A writer shares his favorite ways to experience the often-overlooked  Housatonic River in western Massachusetts.


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