Croatia Travel Guide with all the information for touring the country, tips and what to visit.
Croatia surprises with its crystal-clear beaches – among the cleanest in the Mediterranean – its medieval walled cities and its historical heritage.
Its gastronomy is beginning to be recognized due to the quality of its products and the concept of slow food. It is a relatively inexpensive destination compared to the rest of Western Europe, where people mainly go to “summer”, although our opinion is that any time is a good time to visit.
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Croatia Travel Guide
Suggested itinerary for travel to Croatia
This suggested itinerary is based on our experience on two trips to Croatia:
Our total stay in the country, adding the two trips together, was of Approximately15 days, including the 4 days we were in Zagreb, which in a normal visit is not to dedicate so much time (in fact those days could be dedicated to other places that we were not or to do a little more beach if you travel in summer).
For each of the points of our tour we will suggest you a minimum amount of days to dedicate to travel through each destination in Croatia, depending on our tastes and experience, but then it will be up to each one to choose how much to dedicate.
Itinerary for travel to Croatia and suggested days to spend in each place:
- Dubrovnik  – 2 days
- Korčula  – 2 days
- Split  – 3 days
- Trogir  – 1 day, go in the day from Split
- Zadar  – 1 or 2 days
- Lagos de Plitvice  – 1 day, from Zadar or Zagreb
- Zagreb  – 1 or 2 days
- Rijeka and Opatija  – 2 days or more
- Istria Peninsula itinerary: 2 days, but if you have time: Pazin  and Pula  1 day, Rovinj  1 day, Porec  and Motovun  1 day.
🔝 Looking for an itinerary to travel around the country? Check out this article on things to do in Croatia in 7 or 10 days.
Requirements to travel to Croatia as a tourist
Do I need a visa to travel to Croatia? Croatia belongs to the European Union but not to the Schengen Area, which means that there will be migration border control, either when entering or leaving Croatia. Then:
- If you have a passport from a member country of the European Union, you can present your ID card or passport at the time of entry to Croatia, no visa is required and there is no minimum stay. They do not stamp the passport.
- Citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, among others, do not need a tourist visa and the maximum stay is 90 days within a period of 180 days. It is a country that is outside the Schengen area, so it does NOT count within the stay within the countries that make up the Schengen area. Your passport will be stamped as proof of exit from the Schengen Area.
We always had border control, except at the entrance to Dubrovnik with the ferry, where they did not control the entrance to Croatia. If you don’t get a stamp, don’t worry, the departure stamp for a port in Italy will do.
Covid requirements for travel to Croatia
If you are a citizen of the European Union, you enter Croatia with the European Union COVID digital certificate.
If you do not have a digital EU vaccination certificate, you may enter Croatia by fulfilling one of the following requirements:
- Certificate of vaccination with two doses of vaccines recognized by the European Union (Pfizer, Moderna, AstaZeneca, Gamaleya, Sinopharm, Novavax) or by the WHO (Serum Institute of India – Covishield, Bharat Biotech – Covaxin, Sinovac – CoronaVac), which cannot be older than 270 days and that at least 14 days have passed since the last dose was administered. A certificate with a dose of vaccine when applicable (Janssen/Johnson&Johnson) with the same requirements in days as the previous one, or a certificate that a booster dose of the vaccine was received, is also allowed.
- PCR test performed 72 hours prior to entry into Croatia or antigen test performed 24 hours prior to entry into the country.
- Certificate showing that they have recovered from COVID-19 and have received a dose of the vaccine recognized by the European Union or WHO with the same deadlines as stated in the first paragraph.
- Payment PCR or antigen test immediately upon arrival in Croatia, performing self-isolation until a negative result is verified or 7 days have passed since entering the country, whichever comes first.
In addition to complying with any of these requirements, it will also be required to fill in the online form the declaration form.
Best time to visit Croatia
The climate in Croatia is very similar to that of the European Mediterranean countries. From July to August is summer, it is very hot and it is the high season especially on the Mediterranean coast.
From December to March is winter and low season, it usually snows in some areas of northern Croatia, near Zagreb, or even in Plitvice National Park. Many hotels remain closed in the winter.
In the intermediate seasons, prices are lower, the weather is more pleasant, there are fewer people and it is more enjoyable. For this reason, April to June and September to October is the best time to travel to Croatia.
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Language spoken in Croatia
The official language is Croatian, but many know English, especially if you go to the tourist areas. Italian is also spoken on the Istrian peninsula and in some places there, it is a co-official language.
Currency of Croatia
What currency does Croatia have? The currency is the kuna. For reference in this article, the exchange rate is: 1 euro ≅ 7.5 kuna, 1 dollar ≅ 6.88 kuna.
Average price in the country ≅ €45 per day per person if you have an average budget and about €70 per day person if you have a high travel budget.
Of course, there are many price differences depending on the time of year you travel to Croatia. In summer, prices are usually twice as high as in the rest of the year.
Transportation for travel in Croatia
To move between cities, there are:
- Airplanes: very useful to communicate between the north and the south in a short time. For example, if your flight is to Zagreb, but you want to visit Dubrovnik, perhaps this is the means of transport you could use to get there.
- Buses: there are many companies and they are relatively cheap and comfortable. Recommended. The bus stations of the cities we visited are conveniently located with respect to the city center, where those who have private accommodation in their homes will be waiting for you. A not minor fact is that many times you are charged about 10 kunas for carrying luggage in the hold of the bus. On our long trip we did not pay more than that, but from Zagreb to Rijeka we paid 15 kuna. They give you a voucher, it is not a tip. Roads are in good condition and there are many highways.
- Train: we used it to go from Zagreb to Ljubljana. The trains were comfortable, it was still no more than a 3 hour trip. In any case, trains to travel within Croatia are very limited.
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- Ferries: As Croatia has mainly islands, it is normal to travel by ferries that take you anywhere. Jadrolinija is the best known company and is the one we crossed from Bari in Italy to Dubrovnik in Croatia. During the summer months, there are more frequent and more people traveling, so it would be good to book in advance. In winter, not only is there less frequency, but some routes may be removed.
- Car rental: it is great for touring some areas, such as the Istria Peninsula. Read the conditions carefully if you are also going to visit any of the following neighboring country or cross the Croatian border to re-enter, as is the case if you are going by continent to Dubrovnik since you have to pass through Bosnia, even if you do not intend to visit that country. So be aware that the rental conditions allow for visits to neighboring countries. Click on the following link if you want to read more tips about renting a car in Europe.
🚗 Search here for the best car rental prices; and travel at your own pace!
🔝 Check out this article to make a driving route through Croatia in 10 days.
Lodging in Croatia, where to stay
Prices in Croatia depend very much on the season in which you travel. It also depends on one’s travel style. We use various forms of accommodation in Croatia:
- Hotels and hostels: we have stayed in double rooms, with private or shared bathrooms, with or without breakfast, modest, clean places, where location is a priority and usually have a good score in Booking.
Average price hostel/hotel per night in double room: summer 40-70 € / winter 25-40 €.
🏨 Find here the best hotels in Croatia.
- Sobes and apartments: a very common accommodation option in Croatia. It is a room in the house of a private person, in which in some cases you live with the family or you get a room with a private bathroom. We have not booked for these sites because it is not possible. What we have done is to arrive at the port or bus station and there were the owners of these places looking for their chance to attract some tourists.
Average price per room/apartment – summer 35 € / winter 20 €.
Eating in Croatia
What do you eat in Croatia? Croatia has a mixture of Mediterranean, Italian (it was under the rule of Venice) and Austro-Hungarian gastronomy (because it was also under their influence).
This is how we can go from fish, succulent dishes of meat stews, to pasta with truffles of the highest quality, all using a good olive oil and accompanied by a good wine. Of course, whatever you choose, Croatian gastronomy stands out because its seasonal productsare fresh and will not disappoint you. They have also embraced the slow food concept and many chefs are becoming celebrities.
✎ If you are interested, don’t miss our article on how to eat cheaply in Europe.
Some meals that we have tried on our trip in Croatia and recommend are:
- Ćevapi: skinless sausages, although to me they tasted more like a petit chorizo-shaped hamburger, which could be served on a plate or inside a pita bread. It is usually served with raw onion, tomato slices and some sauce.
- Burek: a classic of all the Balkans, it is like a pie filled with meat or vegetables or ricotta. It is purchased in bakeries.
- Štrukli: like a cheese lasagna, very good, it seems to be common in the Zagreb area.
- Truffles: in central and mountainous Istria there is a whole culture of truffles. They explained to us how the dogs are trained to help in the collection because they grow under the ground and are not in sight, but by smell, the dogs find them. Normally you will be served a pasta dish with a white or black truffle sauce.
- Pizza: ok, ok, this is an Italian heritage, but they also make great ones.
- Fritule: these are small round fritters that are accompanied by a sauce such as caramel, chocolate or fruit. We have found them in small stalls on the coast of Split.
- Cherry Strudel: a cherry jam tart. We have also tried them stuffed with apple.
- Krafna: These are round doughnuts filled with chocolate, custard or jam. They are very tasty for breakfast. In the photo, the krafna is the one on the right.
- Palačinke: they are like stuffed pancakes or crepes. Not to be missed.
Curiosities of Croatia
- In their language, Croatia is called“Republika Hrvatska” which is a word derived from Persian, that’s why the license plates of cars say HR, for example.
- In recent centuries, Croatia has belonged to Venice, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Yugoslavia. You can see the influence of these governments in their buildings, food and language.
- If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, there are five locations in Croatia: Lovrinejac Fortress, Lokrum, Minceta Tower, Bokar Fortress and the streets of Dubrovnik.
- Speaking of Dubrovnik, this city and its region are geographically separated from Croatia by a small area of land belonging to Bosnia Herzegovina. So if you go overland from Split, for example, to Dubrovnik, you will inevitably have to pass through this other country.
- There are more than 1000 islands, of which almost 50 are permanently inhabited. It also has a heart-shaped island, the island of Galešnjak, and another, the car-free island of Silba in the Zadar region.
- The Danube also passes through Croatia on its journey from Germany to its mouth at the Black Sea in Romania, making it the second longest river in Europe after the Volga.
- The tie originated in the Thirty Years’ War, when Croatian soldiers who participated wore a red scarf around their necks as part of their uniform. They have seen this at the French court and loved it, so they have adopted it and it is still maintained to this day. There is a tie day in Croatia: October 18.
- Marco Polo is Croatian and his name could be Marc Pol! The truth is that when we were in Korčula there were several references to this great Silk Road traveler, since they say he was born there (there is even his house!).
- Nikola Tesla, the scientist who created the alternating current system, was born in Croatia (although he is of Serbian origin). Today it is on everyone’s lips thanks to the advance of electric vehicles. In Croatia he has a small monument and a street in the center in his honor.
- In Pazin, the Jules Verne Day is celebrated in June because there is an abyss with a subway river that inspired the author to write the novel Mathias Sandorf.
- In Zadar they have a sea organ that when the waves hit it emits a musical sound.
- Also in Istria is Hum, the smallest village in the world with 20 inhabitants according to the Guinness Book of Records (you should take a trip to Galicia as well).
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
Activities and Tours
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For your travel blog
More articles on Croatia
- 7 Days in Croatia Itinerary, a Memorable Trip!
- Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik in 1 Day
- Best Things to Do in Split in 2 Days
- Best Things to Do in Zagreb in 2 Days
- Croatia Road Trip 10 Days Itinerary
- Things to Do in Istria, the Best Road Trip
- Things to Do in Zadar in One Day, All Info
- Visiting Plitvice Lakes, a Complete Guide
- Where to Stay In Dubrovnik, Best Hotels and Areas
- Where to Stay In Split, the Best Areas