Five Things First Time Travellers To Croatia Should Know
- English is widely spoken in Croatia. Most of the locals speak some English and at least another foreign language like German or Italian.
- Croatia doesn't use the Euro. Even though the country is a member of the EU, it still uses its own currency the Kuna.
- There is WiFi almost everywhere. If you need to get online in between your sightseeing, you won't have a problem finding an internet connection. There's usually free WiFi in public areas as well as at restaurants and cafes. The only thing you'll need to keep in mind is that the download speed is only 5.6 Mbps and might not be as fast as what you're used to.
- You can drink the tap water in Croatia. But if you want to pay for bottled water, it is expensive here. For example, a 1.5-litre bottle will set you back HRK 6, which is more than three times what you'll pay in Italy.
- There is a tipping culture. At restaurants, you're expected to leave a 10% tip, even if a service charge has already been added to your bill. For service that goes above and beyond, it's common practice to bump the tip up to 15%.
Best Time To Visit Croatia
Croatia is one of the most visited countries in the world. Each year thousands of people flock to its shores to soak up the Mediterranean sun.
If you're looking for picture perfect conditions, the best time to visit Croatia is during the summer months. From June to August, travellers from around the world arrive to relax on pristine beaches and go island hopping in the Adriatic Sea.
The summer months are also known for hosting an array of international music festivals. If you can, plan your trip around INmusic Festival, International Folklore Festival or the granddaddy of electronic music festivals, ULTRA.
But with it being high season, hotel rates will be at their highest. If you don't mind the crowds, book your accommodation and flights a few months in advance.
If you want to escape the crowds, visit Croatia during its low season. From October to April, the country's top attractions are at their emptiest and it's the best time of year to snag a bargain at the many luxury hotels. The only downside is that the Adriatic coast won't be at its most hospitable with many resorts and beaches closed during the colder months.
If you want the warm weather without the hefty price tag book your trip for either May or September. These two shoulder months boast perfect conditions for the ultimate Mediterranean holiday but are less busy and cheaper than the summer months.
Dubrovnik is Croatia's most visited city and is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Adriatic", it is famous for its medieval wall, gates and towers that were used in the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones.
The massive stone wall dates back to 10th century and has a 1.2-mile walkway which gives visitors panoramic views of the city below. Other popular sites include a 16th-century church, the Rector's Palace and Onofrio Fountain.
Located on the Dalmatian Coast, Split is the second largest city in Croatia. It's known for its beautiful beaches, historic centre and ancient cathedrals.
Split's crowning jewel is the Diocletian Palace. The building features some of the country's best examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Built between 298 to 305 AD, the palace is a city within itself and is a maze of old buildings, cobbled streets and historic sites.
Zagreb is the capital and largest city of Croatia. Established in the 11th century, it's grown into a vibrant metropolis and is the heart of the country's culture, art and gastronomy scene.
Go on a walking tour and explore the ancient streets on foot. Visit the old medieval churches, towers and plethora of fascinating museums.
Rovinj is one of the most visited places in Croatia. Its history dates back to the Romans and it's full of colourful buildings and Venetian palaces.
Its most notable attraction is the St Euphemia Church. The 197-foot high bell tower is the best place to go for views of the city below - if you can handle climbing over 200 steps to reach the top.
Top Attractions in Croatia
Plitvice National Park
Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the country's most visited inland attraction. Covering an area of 114 square miles, it's home to 16 emerald blue lakes all connected by thundering waterfalls.
Spend a day exploring the eleven miles of hiking trails and keep a lookout for the creatures that call the park home. It's a haven for wolves, bears and birds of prey like owls and eagles.
The summer months see 15,000 people visiting Plitvice a day. So if you want to have this natural wonder all to yourself, book your trip for autumn or spring and stay in one of the hotels inside the park.
Located in Split, the Diocletian Palace is the city's most famous attraction. Built by Roman Emperor Diocletian as a retirement home, the site was abandoned until the 7th century when locals used the walled palace as protection against invading barbarians.
Today, the complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's made up of four massive gates, the Cathedral of St. Domnius and a beautiful Peristyle courtyard.
The best part about visiting this 2,000-year-old piece of history is that it's free. You don't need to pay any admission fees to wander around and explore its cobbled streets and attractions.
Dubrovnik’s City Walls
Ever since Dubrovnik's City Walls appeared on Game of Thrones, the site has exploded in popularity. Each year, more than a million people flock to the ancient city to visit the show's most famous set location.
One of the best ways to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the walkway on top. It stretches out for 1.2 miles and gives visitors beautiful panoramic views of the Adriatic sea and surrounding landscape below.
While there are guided tours available, it's best to explore the site on your own. This way you'll have more than enough time to explore the fortress, towers and cannons at your own pace.
Hvar is the most popular Dalmatian island in Croatia. With a history dating back to the 14th century, it's home to some of the country's best restaurants and top hotels.
Celebrities and luxury travellers flock here in droves to soak up the sun, indulge in the finer things of life and let loose on the luxury party yachts during the summer months.
When you're done relaxing on its pristine beaches, head inland to learn about Hvar's history. Its old city centre is car-free and has a beautiful 16th-century cathedral as well as other old buildings you can explore.
Zlatni Rat Beach
Located on the coast of Brac, Zlatni Rat is the most photographed beach in Croatia. Besides its natural beauty, the beach has a range of water sports activities to choose from. It's one of the country's top kitesurfing destinations and boasts excellent conditions for paddle boats and sea kayaks.
If you want the beach all to yourself, head there for sunset. It's often empty during this time as many spend the entire day here. Grab a bottle of wine, some glasses and watch the daylight fade away from one of the most pristine settings in the world.
Major International Airports in Croatia
- Zagreb Airport
- Split Airport
- Dubrovnik Airport
- Zadar Airport
- Pula Airport