Known for its remarkably varied and expansive territory, Croatia has plenty to offer foodies, history buffs, beach goers, and active travelers. The Croatian coastline sprawls along the Adriatic Sea, with more than a thousand islands sprinkled throughout its deep blue waters. Head towards to the Dinaric Alps for mountainous adventures, where the towering range crawls across the country, or Dubrovnik and Hvar to be transported centuries back.
Whichever activity you're looking for, whether it be sailing the high seas, cycling countryside, or tasting your way around the charming country, you can likely find it here in Croatia. Use this guide to help you decide on what activities to consider, and how to prep for them.
From trekking, motorbiking, and even ziplining, Croatia has plenty of adventure to experience. Visit Krka National Park and swim beneath waterfalls or head to the UNESCO protected National Park Plitvice lakes. Cycle through Croatia on one of the smaller islands or climb the mountains for a challenging route. At the end of your active day, catch a warm sunset on Biokovo mountain.
Croatia's culinary scene is massively underrated. From their fresh seafood to a fusion of Croatian and Italian-influenced flavors, you can eat your way through Croatia and still have more to explore to taste. Head both in and outside of the old city of Dubrovnik, for example, to experience award-winning restaurants like Pantarul and Restoran Dubrovnik.
Right at the heart of Central Europe and the Balklans, Croatia offers an intriguing representation of what it is like to fuse Eastern and Western influences together. With its proximity to the Roman Empire, southern Slavic ethnicity, and rich Mediterranean culture, this destination offers plenty to discover for travelers interested in Croatia's culture and history. Plenty of tours allow you to dive into history head-first.
Explore the crystal clear waters of Croatia by going on a kayaking excursion or sail to some of Croatia's famous sites. There are multiple islands to visit and you’ll be amazed at the natural stone arches and rock formations you encounter. Head to the Blue Cave, for instance, for a glowing discovery or cliff dive off the Dalmatian coast if you’re feeling a bit hot. For a taste of underwater life, snorkel the day away, or simply indulge in a refreshing swim.
Best Time to Visit Croatia
Summers in Croatia (June - August) are hard to beat with the warm sun glistening off the rich blue water every day. The breezy evenings are an ideal counter to the hot days. Despite it being high season, you'll find prices to still be relatively affordable. Plenty of travelers spill over into the shoulder season, September, when the days cool down a bit but the nights stay pleasant.
What to Look For In a Tour to Croatia
Decide what activity is most important to you before choosing which region to go to. If mountain biking and trekking is high on your list, find a tour package that specializes in adventure trips. If you'd rather be by the sea, seek out boating and beach tour providers.
Whatever you choose, be sure to check if the tour operator includes transportation and housing, a guide (many locals in Croatia may not speak English), meals, and equipment. As always, read reviews and understand their cancellation policy before booking.
Average Tour Costs in Croatia
Croatia is a surprisingly affordable destination to explore. You can book a week tour excursion for instance, for around $1,500. Other packages can cost as low as $200-$500 if you want a bit of autonomy and don't need amenities included.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
Pack plenty of lightweight clothing and sun protection when heading to experience a summer in Croatia. Bring a mix of swimsuits or clothes that can dry fast after you come out of the water, as well. Note that even in the summer nights can get a bit chilly, so bring long sleeves.
Most companies will have all the gear you need, but it’s good to check with them beforehand. Once you arrive, they’ll give you a quick safety debriefing over how all the equipment works and what the rules are. Make sure to stick to those, and you’ll be fine.
Other Tips for Travel in Croatia
- Budgeting & currency: Croatia uses the Croatian Krona for currency but some places might take Euros too, depending on how touristic they are. You will find in general, though, most Croatian establishments prefer local currency. Overall, the cost of getting around in Croatia is generally inexpensive, with cheap transport and reasonably priced accommodations.
- Transportation: Getting around Croatia is fairly easy, with the most common ways being buses and ferries. Trains are available for farther distances in the country. Flying through cheap airlines can also be a better deal than the train depending on the time of year. European budget airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair service the region, and provide basic amenities at a low price point. Renting a car can also be a comfortable and convenient way to travel throughout Croatia, though you'll want to make sure you're comfortable driving in a new country.
- Accommodations: There are plenty of hotels to stay in around Croatia -- and unless you stay at fancy resorts, most hotels will be more than affordable. Vacation rentals are also a good option if you want to feel more like you’re at home. Having your own kitchen to make meals in provides a way to eat healthy and save money. Airbnbs, guesthouses, and youth hostels offer more affordable options.
Vaccinations are not needed for this destination, but make sure to bring any medication you regularly take. Up-to-date routine vaccinations are recommended, and real-time updates can be found on the CDC website.
Croatia is generally a safe destination with friendly locals. As with any travel destination, make sure to learn any wilderness regulations if you are participating in outdoor adventures, and remain aware of your physical limitations. Follow your guide's instructions and don't go off on any unmarked trails or into prohibited areas.
Take general precautions when wandering around new areas at night, and avoid walking alone in unlit areas. Avoid taking valuables on your day tours, and always leave a copy of your passport in a separate location than the original.