In this post, we share our tips for first-time travel to Croatia. We address some of the most common concerns, misconceptions, and general tips. Even if you’ve been to Croatia before, we hope you’ll find some useful tips for your next vacation in Croatia.
1. Book in advance
When planning a trip to Croatia, booking your travel, activities, and accommodations in advance is the way to go. Many services in Croatia book up entirely in the summer and come close to it in the shoulder seasons, so you don’t want to be left stranded once you arrive.
Booking ahead is made easy as so many services are online. I was able to book accommodations, ferries, cars, and attractions with ease.
2. Be aware of cruise ship routes
While Croatia attracts a lot of independent travelers, it also sees huge booms of cruise ship passengers from May through October. Dubrovnik, which is right on the cruise ship route, sees thousands of visitors each day.
Our advice to you is to plan accordingly. Therefore, try to avoid the throngs by visiting Croatia’s cruise ship port cities either early in the morning, later in the afternoon, or on off days.
3. Learn some Croatian
Don’t speak Croatian? Well, then you’ll be happy to know that many Croatians are fluent in English, especially in the major hubs. That said, out of respect for the locals, it’s always a good idea to learn some words in the native language when you travel.
For Croatia, some key phrases will do the trick such as “Hello (bok)”, “Goodbye (dovidenja)”, and “Thank you (hvala)”. Oh, and because you’re going to see it everywhere, “Hrvatska” is synonymous with “Croatia”.
4. Take day trips
If you have a week or less in Croatia, then we’d recommend picking a central location from which you can take day trips. This will cut down on logistics planning immensely.
5. Walk on the wild side
While Croatia is justly celebrated as a sea and sun destination, getting active is the best way to discover its wilder corners, not least if you’re into outdoor adventuring. In fact, Croatia featured in our round-up of the world’s best adventure holidays.
Paklenica National Park offers superb hiking and climbing, as does Plitvice Lakes National Park — a bona fide paradise of majestic mountains, lakes and waterfalls. With twelve trails to explore, Plitvice Lakes also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Drink up
While Croatia’s wines are world-class, small production and high domestic demand means you’ll be hard pushed to find it on the shelves of your supermarket back home, so enjoy it while you can.
When in Dalmatia, fans of full-bodied reds should try the mighty Dingac, and lovers of dry whites will fall for Pošip. Meanwhile, Istria is renowned for Malvasija — another dry white, great with seafood. When it comes to dessert wines, Malvasia from the Dubrovnik region range comes highly recommended.
7. Embrace island life
From decadent destinations for 24-hour party people, to car-less oases of calm, Croatia has an island for everyone. More correctly, Croatia has islands for everyone.If you have time, why limit yourself to just one island? With plenty of reliable, affordable ferry services, you could easily visit a few during a decent length trip.
Alternatively, the Adriatic Sea is the perfect setting for sailing holidays — it’s why Croatia is one of Europe’s most popular sailing destinations.
8. “Du” the tours
The best way to truly feel the soul of the city and bring home some interesting stories is by booking a walking tour. If you’re coming to Dubrovnik, don’t miss one of our tours! We have something for everybody whether you want to hear about the history or visit the Game of Thrones filming locations.
Maybe you want to have an unforgettable tasting experience and indulge your sense at some of Dubrovnik’s best restaurants? Check some of our Tasting Tours.
If you need any help with itinerary planning, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be more than happy to lend a hand!
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