11 Travel Tips for Croatia
With more than 1000 islands scattering along its Adriatic coast and ancient cities draped in charm, Croatia is the rising star of European tourism. Its allure sees visitors flocking here in the summer months to soak up the sun, seafood and sublime ambiance, coupled with Medieval, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. If you’re planning a visit to this idyllic stretch of Eastern Europe, here are 11 travel tips to help you plan an unforgettable vacation.
1. Experience More Than Just Dubrovnik
While Dubrovnik is the jewel in Croatia’s crown, the country has so much more to offer that this historic walled city. Experience the pulsing energy of the capital, Zagreb and the medieval fortress of Zadar, then wander the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Diocletian’s Palace in Split. Be sure to visit the evocative Roman amphitheater of Pula and the Venetian-inspired streets of Rovinj, together with admiring the Byzantine mosaics of Poreč’s Euphrasian Basilica.
2. Feast on Istrian Seafood
Jutting into the Adriatic Sea, the Istrian Peninsula is renowned for its gastronomy, drawing on premium olive oils, fine wine and locally-sourced seafood. Select from upmarket restaurants or local tavernas where you can grab an alfresco seat and watch the world go by as you feast on some of Croatia’s most loved dishes. Look for scampi alla buzara and sole fish, dished up with decadent white truffles. The fresh oysters from Lim Fjord are particular delicacies, while salted cod known as bacalar, crab claws and Istrian octopus should also not be missed. Better yet, enjoy an epicurean voyage on yacht and foot on our Taste of Croatia Tour.
3. Go Island Hopping
Croatia’s Adriatic coastline is dotted with captivating islands that are ringed by idyllic beaches and home to historic old towns brimming with charm. Explore the atmospheric streets of Korcula, lined with Renaissance and Gothic architecture, or ride the ferry to upmarket Hvar to admire the luxury yachts. Venture a little further to the authentic island of Vis, which is responsible for making some of Croatia’s best wines, and relax on the pebbly beach of Zlatni Rat that has become the poster child of Brač Island. Join us on our Croatia Island Explorer Tour for a unique adventure based on the incredible dalmatia coastline!
Islands Dotting the Dalmatian Coastline
4. Try Pag Cheese
Salty and sharp in flavor, the cheese created on Pag Island is famed throughout Croatia. Sea winds deposit salt on the grazing ground of the island’s sheep, who transmit the flavor to their milk. It’s left unpasteurized for a strong flavor to develop during the fermentation process, then rubbed with sea salt, coated in olive oil and left to mature for up to a year. The result is an aromatic, crumbly cheese known locally as paški sir. It can be found throughout Croatia but for the best quality (and to experience a tour and tasting of one of the dairies), head to the island itself.
World Famous Croatian Pag Cheese
5. Protect Yourself Against Mosquitoes
While Croatia is blessed with invitingly warm weather over the summer months, this also brings mosquitoes to much of the country during the evenings. If you’re visiting between late spring and early autumn, be sure to pack a good insect repellant and apply it before heading out at night. Long sleeves and ankle coverings will make dining alfresco more pleasant and ensure you don’t spend your entire vacation itching mosquito bites.
Komiza Village on the Island of Vis, Croatia
6. Discover Croatia’s Wild Corners
Croatia’s ancient cities and idyllic islands tend to take center stage on most itineraries but don’t miss the opportunity to explore the country’s spectacular natural attractions. The turquoise blue lakes and gushing waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park are a highlight, while the karst river canyon of Paklenica National Park in northern Dalmatia offers superb hiking. Follow the walking trails through Krka National Park to discover its seven waterfalls and ancient Roman catacombs or tackle the climbing routes on the picturesque Makarska Riviera.
Waterfall in Krka National Park
7. Travel in the Shoulder Season
Unfortunately, the allure of Croatia is no longer a secret. During the peak months of July and August, crowds of both tourists and locals flock to the most popular destinations in Croatia. This is coupled with often soaring daytime temperatures that can make sightseeing less than pleasant. If possible, opt to travel during the quieter shoulder months of June or September when the temperatures are still warm enough for swimming but the majority of other tourists have headed home.
Lavender Field in the Croatia Countryside
8. Day Trip to Mostar
If time allows, plan a day trip from either Split or Dubrovnik to explore the beautiful city of Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s renowned for its Stari Most (Old Bridge) that spans the Neretva River and for being one of the most heavily bombed cities during the country’s war. Today its winding alleyways are packed with handicraft shops and local restaurants that inhabit the centuries-old Ottoman buildings. After photographing its charming bridge (and adrenalin-seeking bridge divers), don’t miss the opportunity to soak up the magnificent views of Mostar from the minaret of Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque.
Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar
9. Keep Your Money Exchange Receipts
Most major currencies can be exchanged in Croatia at banks, Post offices and exchange houses. But keep in mind that Croatian kuna is not exchangeable outside of Croatia, so you’ll either need to do some last-minute shopping before you leave or plan to exchange it back into hard currency. This can only be done at banks and if you have a receipt from a previous transaction. So always hold onto your exchange receipts, just in case.
10. Sample Sladoled (Croatian Ice Cream)
Winning awards on the European stage, Croatian ice cream gives Italian gelato a run for its money! Sladoled (as it’s known locally) makes for a delicious accompaniment while wandering the sun-drenched streets of Croatia’s historic towns. Home-made ice cream is sold in pastry and sweet shops everywhere, with a diverse range of flavors to select from.
Gossip Ice Cream Shop in Dubrovnik, Croatia
11. Invest in Travel Insurance
Croatia is a very safe country and crime rates involving tourists are very low. But you should still take out comprehensive travel insurance, just in case something goes wrong. EU residents will be covered by a basic level of state health care in Croatia when presenting their European Health Insurance Card, but this won’t cover you for repatriation or non-urgent medical treatments. Comprehensive travel insurance will cover you for all range of emergency medical expenses, as well as costs associated with disruptions to your travel plans and any loss of personal belongings.
Remote Beach Along Croatia Coastline
Looking for the perfect Coratia adventure? Check out a full list of Croatia Unbound tours here!