What to know before you go to Croatia
Looking for tips for traveling to Croatia? Here you will find the ultimate Croatia travel guide. What is the best time to visit Croatia? Is Croatia expensive? What is a must-visit? Keep reading and find these and many other answers. We will also cover you up when it comes to the best places to stay in Croatia, weather in Croatia, Croatian currency, and any other important Croatia travel tips.
Welcome to the pearl of the Adriatic Sea!
What is the best time to go to Croatia?
The best time to visit Croatia depends on many factors such as weather, activities, events, etc. To get a perfect answer, we should consider one by one, starting with the most important – weather.
What is the weather in Croatia?
Three different climates have an impact on the weather in Croatia. Mediterranean climate rules the coast, the continental climate is all over the continent, and the mountain climate can be found in places above 4000ft. In other words, sensations of cold and heat, as well as temperatures, vary from one area to another.
The interior of the continent has cold winters with an average temperature around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are hot and dry, with an average temperatures in the high 70’s low 80’s Fahrenheit. On the other hand, areas along the coast with Mediterranean climate can boast with extremely sunny and hot summers (daily temperatures exceed 90 degrees) and somewhat mild, wet winters. Even though winters are not as hard as in Croatia’s interior, there is a heavy, cold north wind along the coast named ‘Bura’. This turbulent wind blows from the mainland and brings extremely cold air. In the same way, the temperature of the sea also varies. It is also cold in the mountainous areas of Croatia where winters are heavy and cold with lots of snow. In contrast, the summers are warm and sunny but with fresh and crisp mornings and evenings.
The coldest month in the year is January and the warmest are July and August. However, due to climate change, the weather in Croatia is not always as it should be. That’s why it can happen to be snowy in March or too warm in December.
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What is the best time to visit Croatia?
An important tip for traveling to Croatia is what is the best time to visit Croatia? In previous years, the majority of tourists were heading to Croatia during the summer months of July and August. Today, those months are still popular among sun chasers and summer fans. However, keep in mind that traveling in a high season always results in crowds, higher prices, and humid Croatian weather.
On the other hand, June and September have pleasant weather, sunny days and fewer crowds, which probably makes them the best time to visit Croatia. Furthermore, if you are visiting the continental part of the country, you shouldn’t miss rich amenities and activities during the holidays. December is pretty popular when it comes to Christmas markets, concerts, events, etc. If you are looking for a fun time and real Christmas vibe, head to the city capital, Zagreb.
Croatian money: All about Croatian currency
Another tip for traveling to Croatia is that even though Croatia is a part of the European Union, it still doesn’t use the euro as their currency. Croatian currency is Kuna (short: kn), and it is definitely the best currency to use while visiting the country. However, euros are widely used when paying for accommodation, pay-tolls on Croatian roads, and even some meals in restaurants. In this case, you will get your change in Kuna. Keep in mind that the change you’ll get will be by the less favorable exchange rate than at the exchange office.
The current exchange rate is at about 7,45 kn per 1€, 6,77 kn per 1$, and 8,68 kn per 1£. You will find numerous exchange offices across the country. The majority of them advertise ‘no commission’ policy, so head for those. While exchanging the money in Croatia, pay attention to exchange rates. Some offices can have just a bit lower rate than the official rate set by a Croatian National Bank but there are also those that offer extremely low rates such as 6 kn per 1€. Beware of potential fraud and always go for the best rate.
Credit cards in Croatia
Credit cards are widely accepted in Croatia. There are numerous ATMs all over the country, so head for those with a sign of Croatian banks such as Zagrebacka, PBZ, Erste, OTP, etc. Usually, they are very close to the bank’s offices. However, in some accommodation options you will not find an official bank’s machines but blue and yellow Euronet or black and yellow Auro Domus. These kinds of ATM machines are situated in noticeable spots in towns, hotels, and resorts, but they are more expensive to use.
If you ask yourself why there are so many ATM’s if credit cards are accepted, here it is. Small businesses, private accommodation options, and even some restaurants and bars prefer cash. If there is no sticker talking about credit card payments, you can always ask to be sure.
Croatia Travel Tip: when paying with a credit card, the staff will ask you if you prefer the charge in your own currency or local currency. Always choose the local currency! This is important because otherwise, you would end up paying more than you should.
Where to go in Croatia?
Croatia has so many beautiful places worth visiting. It all depends on your preferences. Among those who are visiting Croatia for the first time, main tourist towns and attractions are the first options. Therefore, if you haven’t been to Croatia before, cities like Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Plitvice, and Split are some of the best places in Croatia to start your journey. These are also popular Croatia holidays destinations, regardless of weather and time of year.
On the other hand, if you have already visited Croatia and you crave for some hidden gems, this Croatia travel guide has you covered. Various amazing beaches, charming coastal towns, beautiful natural sites, and interesting activities will be at your disposal.
Finally, where to go in Croatia depends on your budget, things you want to do in Croatia, the places you want to visit and the time you plan to spend there.
How to get around Croatia?
The best way to wander around Croatia is by car. Roads are very good and sometimes the best option to reach secluded, charming little towns.
Another great option to consider is exploring Croatia by bus. A company named Croatia Bus has modern, affordable, and fast buses. Find more info on the schedule and prices on their website.
When traveling to the Croatian islands, using a ferry is the only way. The main ferry ports are in Split, Zadar, and Rijeka. However, they also depart from smaller cities such as Makarska, Ploce, Orebic, and Prapratno.
When it comes to getting around the city, public transportation is well organized in bigger cities. Some of the cities like Pula, Split, Zadar, and Rijeka use public buses. On the other hand, Zagreb has a wide network of public trams, trains, and buses.
Croatia Travel Tip: Taxis are generally more expensive, but if you don’t have another option, go for Uber or Bolt. Car rental Croatia is also available, but check out your options before renting one.
What to pack for Croatia?
It’s always important to know what to pack when traveling somewhere. When visiting Croatia in the summer months, bring light and breathable clothing, as temperatures are high. Weather in Croatia is unpredictable during spring and autumn, so don’t forget to take your waterproof shoes, raincoat, long sleeves, and a light jacket. Finally, winters can be really cold so pack your winter jackets, warm sweaters, boots, hat, and gloves.
Extra tip: the mountainous part of Croatia is always a little bit chilly, even during summer months. That’s why packing a light jacket, warm socks and sweaters is not a bad idea.
Is Croatia safe?
When it comes to safety in Croatia, there is one answer. Yes, Croatia is safe. There is no violence and very little street crime.
However, just like in any country, take care of your belongings.
Do you need a visa for Croatia?
The majority of tourists don’t need a visa when traveling to Croatia. This refers to citizens of EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, and the UK. Citizens of those countries can stay in Croatia for 90 days within 180 days period.
Citizens from countries of the European Union can enter Croatia only with their ID cards, while the others need to show their valid passport.
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Best places to visit in Croatia
As mentioned above, there are numerous Croatia places to visit. Let’s briefly introduce the 6 best Croatia holidays destinations.
Croatia’s capital is an all-year-round destination. During summer months, you will find various open cinemas, concerts under the starry sky, garden parties, and much more. On the other hand, when the winter comes, the city becomes a huge Christmas market wrapped in holiday vibes. BOOK NOW: ZAGREB HOTELS
Croatia’s second-largest city is a mix of modern and ancient. It has magnificent ancient monuments, luxurious palaces, city museums, great nightlife, and trendy restaurants. It is known for its lively waterfront promenade called Riva and sandy beaches. BOOK NOW: SPLIT HOTELS
Istria is a northern Croatian region known for superb wines, delicious truffles, homemade olive oil, and fresh seafood. There are plenty of historical and cultural monuments, cathedrals, cultural events, beautiful beaches, and local shops. Istria consists of many charming little towns such as Groznjan, Rovinj, Motovun, Hum (the smallest town in the world!). In the same way, the bigger cities such as Pula, Porec, Rijeka, Opatija, are also worth the visit. BOOK NOW: ISTRIA HOTELS
The city, known for filming sets for the popular series Game of Thrones, is much more than that. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik attracts thousands of tourists each year. City walls surround its pedestrian-only old town. Here you can find luxurious café bars and fancy restaurants. Moreover, Dubrovnik offers magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, interesting Lovrijenac Fortress, amazing beaches, lively nightlife… However, this city is always crowded and much more expensive than the other ones. BOOK NOW: DUBROVNIK HOTELS
If you are looking for a perfect city as a base to start exploring Croatian national parks, Zadar is the place to be. This coastal town not only has beautiful architecture and monuments but also vibrant café bars and excellent fine dining restaurants. BOOK NOW: ZADAR HOTELS
A mountainous region of Croatia is ideal for relaxation and introspection. When in Lika, eating traditional food is a must-do! This part of the country is best known for its gorgeous natural attractions, including world-known Plitvice Lakes. A place that looks like a fairytale is one of the most popular Croatian national parks. BOOK NOW: LIKA HOTELS
Best Croatian Islands
Whether you are following Croatian yachting or just want to relax on spectacular beaches, Croatian islands are unavoidable when it comes to Croatia holidays.
Here are some of the must-visit Croatian islands.
One of Croatia’s largest islands, Hvar, is known for its spectacular beaches, hilltop fortress, vibrant lifestyle, Renaissance monuments and lively streets full of café bars and restaurants. It has 2724 hours of sun per year, making it an ideal place for sun-seekers. It is also one of the favorite holiday spots among yacht-owners, celebrities, and luxury-loving holiday-makers. In fact, here you will find some of the most luxurious yachts in Croatia.
If you are more of a fan of culture, heritage, and history, go to the coastal towns of Jelsa and Stari Grad. BOOK NOW: HVAR HOTELS
Korcula is a Croatian island with a laid-back vibe, a peaceful atmosphere, charming shops, and café bars. It has various great local wineries (don’t forget to try their local white wine!) as well as pristine beaches. It is also known for its medieval walls, galleries, museums, and other cultural monuments.
If you want fully to explore the city, rent a bike and go for a tour! BOOK NOW: KORCULA HOTELS
When it comes to the best Croatian islands, another must-visit spot is Vis. This island is full of sandy beaches and unspoiled natural attractions. One of the most famous attractions is the blue cave of Bisevo that looks like it came from an Aladdin movie. Welcome to the fairytale! BOOK NOW: VIS HOTELS
Best things to do in Croatia
To make the most of your stay, here are the top 5 ‘things to do’ tips for traveling to Croatia.
Attend Yacht Week
Yacht Week Croatia is a fun thing to do, whether you’re passionate about it or not. It’s a party week on yachts for 7 days. You will sail across the country and see some of the best places in Croatia including Split, Hvar, Krka National Park, and many others!
Discover Croatia's best beaches
Croatia is famous for it’s beaches! One of the most famous beaches in Croatia is a golden sand beach Zlatni rat on the island of Brac. However, it’s not the only beach worth the visit. Best sandy beaches can also be found in Dubrovnik, Hvar, Korcula, Sibenik, Makarska, etc. On the other hand, the beaches in Istria are rockier.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes is the biggest and the oldest national park in Croatia, under UNESCO protection. Each year, more than 1 million tourists visit this natural attraction. Lakes and waterfalls are simply stunning regardless of the time of year. Experience a winter wonderland or summer feast. Plitvice is always a good idea! Make sure to hire a guide for the best experience. We hired Nikola a couple weeks before our trip, and we had the best time.
Click here to watch my YouTube video on Plitvice Lakes
Explore Croatia's National Parks
Besides Plitvice Lakes, Croatia has to offer many other national parks and attractions. Krka National Park is a nature reserve with beautiful waterfalls and castles. For all those who want to combine national parks with hiking and trekking, Paklenica is a place to be. Furthermore, Kornati is a great choice if you want to see yachts in Croatia, go dolphins watching or experience incredible maritime flora and fauna.
Discover Croatia's traditional foods
Croatian traditional food is rich in its diversity as the cuisine is different from one region to another. Mediterranean spices, vegetables and fresh seafood mark Dalmatian cuisine that is light and healthy oriented. Istria represents a great mix of continental and Mediterranean cuisine (just think about delicious homemade pasta and olive oil!). On the other hand, the Continental region is famous for its tasty stews and meat dishes served in spicy sauces.
Additional Tips for traveling to Croatia
- Public parking in Croatia is charged. It depends on the city you’re visiting, but generally, the city center has the highest rates, while other parts of the town are less expensive. In addition to street parking, there is also garage parking and open-air parking lot. However, lots of accommodation options, hotels, and resorts offer a parking spot free of charge.
- Most of Croatians speak English or at least another foreign language. German and Italian are also widely spoken in Croatia.
- Tipping in Croatia is welcomed. Some of the bars and restaurants round up the bill but the majority expects the tip (around 10%).
- Wi-Fi connection is pretty good. Many cities offer free Wi-Fi hot spots in prominent parts of the city. In the same way, accommodation options will provide you with free Wi-Fi during your stay.
- Croatia uses European type C & F plugs, 220 V, 50 Hz frequency. If the plug in your device is different, you will need to buy an adapter.
Croatia travel guide conclusion
Croatia is an incredible country to visit. From Dalmatia to Zagreb the country is diverse and unique with incredible food and inviting people. It’s relatively inexpensive for European standards and English and Italian are widely spoken throughout the country. Make sure to add Croatia to your bucket list!
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