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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!

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!

The twin spires of Zagreb's Cathedral and skyline of Zagreb at sunset

ZAGREB

Plitvice waterfalls in Croatia

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK

The turquoise sea and green cliffs of the Elaphiti Islands

ELAPHITI ISLANDS

View over Omis

OMIS

Dubrovnik

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.

Split

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!

Omis

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!

Zagreb

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 18th and 19th-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!

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 my top suggestions. These are the online platforms 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!

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Photo of two blonde girls sat next to the tall columns of Diocletian's Palace with text overlay saying "Everything you need to know about visiting Croatia"

Photo collage of Diocletian's Palace in Split and the view over the rooftops of Omis with text overlay saying "The ultimate Croatia travel guide"