Croatia is a small country in central Europe bordered by the Adriatic Sea. Croatia has become a very popular tourist destination in recent years due to it’s beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, hot summers, deep-rooted culture and delicious seafood cuisine.
Paradise for all the outdoorsy, nature lovers with a wide array of waterfalls, beaches, mountains, caves and lakes. The unspoiled countryside contrasts with the vibrant capital city Zagreb which is home to some of the best museums, art galleries, restaurants and shopping in the country.
Croatia Travel Info
Language: Croatian is the official Language of Croatia. Although about 80% Croatians are multilingual. English is a commonly spoken language with about 85% of the population fluent in spoken English.
Currency: Croatian kuna.
Visa: Most nationalities do not require a visa for a stay of upto 90 days. Some nationalities like Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Russian and South African do need a Visa to enter Croatia.
Electricity: Croatia operates on 230 V electricity supply with a frequency of 50 Hz. Power sockets are two-pronged and round. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Croatia Festivals & Celebrations
INMusic Festival: This festival takes place in the month of June in the Croatian coast in the city of Zagreb. It is among the largest open-air festivals in Croatia and takes place at a beautiful lakeside location. It is the most loved music festival because many prominent artists make appearance and entertain the revellers.
Hideout Festival: Hideout made its debut in the year 2011, and since then it takes place every year on the party Island of Pag. The festival witnesses some of the best performances from renowned names like Diplo, Stormy, Pendulum, Chase and Status, Erol Alkan, DJ Hype, Annie Mac, Andy C, Sigma and many more.
Fresh Island Festival: This festival also takes place on the island of Pag and is billed as the Number 1 hip Hop beach festival of Europe. The venues of the festival are the Zrce Beach Clubs, the Aquarius and Papaya and it provides a phenomenal experience to the visitors. The initial years of the festival witnessed some big names who imparted a sense of fun to the party.
Safety In Croatia
Safety is not really a concern for people traveling to Croatia. Apart from the occasional few minor bag snatching and pickpocketing incidents, Croatia is in general a very safe country to visit. Based on my own travel experiences around Europe I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination I’m visiting is. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks or months before you plan to visit Croatia.
Top Things To Do In Croatia
Explore the Plitvice Lakes National Park
This national park is spread in an area of 295 sq kilometer and is famous for the 16 lakes that appear to be mound on terraces and which are joined by waterfalls. The lakes are further tucked into a canyon made of limestone, and several hiking trails and walkways provide spectacular views. An electric boat connects the twelve upper and four lower lakes. The park has several caves, waterfronts and various fantastic sites to cover. It also has cafes, restaurants and shops to make your trip more memorable.
Visit the Dubrovnik Old Town Walls
In the Old town lies one of the most glamorous tourist spots of Croatia, Dubrovnik. This is contained within strong medieval walls which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Any sightseeing tour will start with a walk around the walls and then cover all the towers, fortresses and cannons on the way. Once you reach up the wall, you can witness the beauty of the old town and the radiant Adriatic Sea.
Explore Pula Arena
In the town of Pula is a Roman Amphitheater called the Pula Arena. The amphitheatre is famous for its extreme preservation and is the only Roman amphitheatre that still has all the walls and towers intact. In the ancient period, the Arena was venue for hunting spectacles, gladiator fights, and various other events of the like. The Arena has also appeared in a few films recently, has acted as a concert venue and has even hosted an ice hockey game.
In the Adriatic Sea, just off the coast of Dubrovnik is an Island called Lokrum. A ferry service takes visitors to the island several times a day. The highlights of the island are a salt water lake, a Benedictine monastery, as well as a nudist beach in Croatia. The unique thing about the island is that only peacocks are its permanent residents. The island has many species of birds roaming freely, and they might also accompany you while you are relaxing in one of its beaches.
Visit the Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Split is the second biggest city after Zagreb, and it evolved within the walls of Diocletian’s Palace. The city overlooks the Adriatic Sea and was constructed by Diocletian, a Roman Emperor who retired and settled here in 305 AD. The palace is built in a square shape with four monumental gates on all four corners. The major highlights of the city are a magnificent Peristyle and the Cathedral of St Dominus with a graceful bell tower. The Old Town is declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
Visit the Kornati National Park
The Kornati National Park is built over the sea and includes about 80 scattered islets. The park is rocky and dry with not much fertile soil, and the islets are also uninhabited. There are a few basic cottages made of stone which are now used as holiday homes or seafood restaurants. You can explore the islets best on a private boat available in Biograd-na-Moru.
Ride the Dubrovnik Cable Car
Dubrovnik is truly beautiful, and the best way to enjoy its beauty is to see it from above from the summit of Srd Hill. A cable car was built in 1969 with the aim to provide tourists with a bird’s eye view of the place. The cable car covers 778 meters up a plateau and overlooks the Adriatic Sea. When the weather is clear, you can see up to 37 miles. Here you can enjoy at a café, take a buggy safari tour, and shop for souvenirs.
Stop at the City Tower
The City Tower of Rijeka is the only building that was not destroyed by the earthquake in 1750. This iconic tower was initially the gate that safeguarded the old town from the center to the Waterfront. Post Earthquake, a baroque style decoration was added by the Royal Hapsburg. This yellow tower is also known as the City Clock tower as it has a well known clock on it that was installed in 1873 and is still operating.
Visit the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery
This art museum is dedicated to the work of renowned Croatian sculptor and artist Ivan Mestrovic. The collection includes several significant sculptures, furniture, drawings, design and architecture. The artist himself drew the plans of the gallery and the grounds surrounding it. The permanent exhibits are spread across two floors, and subject matter experts manage the artwork. The museum has an outdoor park that displays a large number of sculptures.
Croatian National Theatre
Croatian National Theatre is an opera house, theatre and a ballet in the capital city. The first theatre was constructed in 1836 which later gained fame and was named the Croatian National Theatre in 1860. The current building was occupied by the theatre in 1895. The entrance is adorned by a beautiful wall fountain, and the building acts as a venue for several theatre performances and operas ranging from modern works to historical classics to some international shows as well.
Other than these top things to do in Croatia, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Be prepared to be flexible because sometimes other travelers that you meet on your travels will have the best suggestions for things to do in Croatia that are off the beaten path.
What To Eat In Croatia
The food in Croatia is just awesome. The cuisine is varied and vast, and it becomes tough to distinguish food that is exclusively Croatian. The food is influenced by taste and cuisines of the neighboring countries and the countries who have at some point of time ruled Croatia. Some dishes that are a must try while you are in Croatia are listed below.
Crni Rizot: You will find this dish served in every restaurant in Croatia. This is a squid risotto which is black in color, as the ink of the squid imparts a black color to the rice. The risotto contains a variety of seafood like clams, mussels and shellfish. You must definitely try this dish during your visit to the country.
Strukli: A delectable pastry that is filled with sour cream and cottage cheese. The origin of this dessert is in Slovenia, but today it is a very popular food of the Zagreb region. Strukli can either be baked in an oven or boiled in water.
Pasticada n njokima: This dish is referred to as the ‘queen of Dalmatian cuisine’ and is the most popular food there. Fake fillets made of baby beef are marinated in wine vinegar for several days, and then they are braised for a few hours in red wine. The preparation is served with homemade gnocchi.
Hobotnica ispod pake: In Croatia, there is a unique method of cooking, in which meat, veggies and seafood are baked on embers under a bell-shaped lid. Meat and veggies are put in a tray, seasoned with salt and spices, oil is added to it, and then the tray is covered with a bell-shaped lid. The lid is covered with embers, and the meat is cooked in this manner for two hours.
Skampi na buzaru: In coastal Croatia, there is a special way of cooking seafood which is known as buzara. Shrimps, scampi, clams or mussels are cooked in white wine, parsley, garlic and breadcrumbs for a short while. To give it color, some tomato paste is added. This simple yet delicious dish is a must try when you are in any coastal town of Croatia.
Where To Stay In Croatia
Croatia can be quite an expensive place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Croatia is easy but finding affordable accommodation, if you’re on a tight budget, is the hard part. Luckily Croatia hostels and dormitories make travel here more affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best accommodation options have already been snapped up. Croatia is a very popular year-round destination with business travelers and sight-seeing tourists alike.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Croatia.
If you’re backpacking in Croatia or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Europe much more affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Croatia Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Croatia
The best time to visit Croatia is between April and October, this is if you want mild, reasonably warm or if you’re lucky hot weather. If you want to see Croatia with hot weather and blue skies then aim to visit between June and September.
Croatia Travel Budget
Croatia can be an expensive city but it’s still generally an affordable destination for travelers on a tight budget. The cost of your trip to Croatia really depends on the level of comfort you will want while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between 35 to 50 euros a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 50 to 100 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants in places like Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik then budget about 250 euros plus a day.
- Budget: €35 – €50
- Mid-range: €50 – €100
- Splurge: €150 +
Meal For One
- Budget: €8 – €25
- Mid-range: €25 – €60
- Splurge: €60 +
Croatia Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Croatia, like most other places in Europe is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for Summer trips and warm, waterproof clothing for trips in Autumn and Winter (and Spring too).
Be prepared for the weather to get quite cold during the winter. You will need high quality thermal wear and scarves, woolly hats, gloves and a thick winter coat won’t go a miss either. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need while you’re in Croatia. Prices are generally higher in smaller boutiques than they would be online so expect to pay a premium if you don’t have the option of ‘shopping around’ due to time restraints on your trip.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Croatia include a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Croatia check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Europe Packing List For Female Travelers.