Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Croatia

If you're thinking about visiting Croatia, check out everything you should be aware of before you go!

Croatia has been moving up on everyone’s travel lists thanks to its beautiful landscape and impressive architecture. Located on the Adriatic Sea with a Mediterranean climate, Croatia is rich in history and activities for every traveler! With over 1,000 islands, 8 national parks, and UNESCO World Heritage sites and traditions, you’ll definitely want to add Croatia to your list as well! Check out everything you need to know before visiting Croatia to get the most out of your travel!

An outdoor hallway in an old Croatian building, with brick walls and a painting

Table of Contents

Not sure what Croatia has to offer? Check out Why You Need To Visit Croatia this year!

1. Is Croatia Safe For Travelers?

Just to clear your worries from the start, Croatia is very safe for travelers. Of course, crime can happen everywhere, but this is not a country where you will need to necessarily be on the lookout for someone following you or trying to pick-pocket you.  With that being said, always be aware of your surroundings, and don’t act in a way that will draw a lot of unwanted attention to yourself. 

2. Best Time To Visit Croatia

Croatia is almost always shown with the perfect turquoise water and beaches under the sun, but the summer months can be packed, and the winter can be not as ideal. The shoulder season is the best time to visit Croatia, which is May & June, or September & October. The attraction of Croatia as a holiday destination has made the summer months too populated to enjoy the scenery, and the winter gets quite cold and rainy!

The peak season is July & August, and tourism companies take advantage of this. Everything from ferry rides, national park entrance fees, rentals, etc. go up in price 2-5x what they are normally! This is another reason to avoid traveling to Croatia in the middle of summer.

3. Currency

As on January 1, 2023, Croatia has abandoned its currency of the Kuna and adopted the Euro. With this change, Croatia also joined the Schengen region, which is a shared border visa so travelers can move freely throughout, but cannot stay within the Schengen region for more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

Croatia has been a haven for backpackers in Europe to get out of the Schengen for 3 months until they can re-enter, so tourism may decrease a bit from travelers on this rotation.

Woman swimming in the Adriatic Sea of Croatia

4. Affordability

Speaking of currency, Croatia has commonly been known to be a very affordable country to visit.  And while it’s not expensive, prices are definitely rising.  The increase in tourism has allowed the country’s economy to bloom and grow comparable to its EU neighbors. However, if you’re looking for a Mediterranean destination, your other options are much more expensive! All the more reason to check out Croatia before prices are comparable to Greece or Italy.

5. Carry Cash

While traveling around Croatia, make sure to keep some cash on you! Not all places take cards, so cash is necessary for some purchases like a vendor or small restaurant.  At restaurants, while tipping is not expected, it is appreciated, however, you will never see a line on the receipt to leave a tip if you pay with a card, so keep a few extra euros on hand. 

6. Culture

Croatians are often viewed as reserved people with thick shells. They may not make eye contact on the sidewalk or say hello (don’t take it personally), but once you start to talk with a local and get to know them, they open up and make you feel the most welcome! 

The country has a strong Catholic influence, so be sure to be respectful of their religion, and dress appropriately! Too many tourists walk around town in a bikini, which is definitely not appreciated by the locals.

7. Language

If you expect to go to Croatia and pick up the local language, good luck! Croatian is definitely not easy, but props to you for whatever you do pick up, and it will go a long way with the locals. A friend shared the advice “when you speak in someone’s second language, you speak to their brain, but when you use their first language, you speak to their heart”. 

A few basic phrases to know to include good day (dober dan), good morning (dobro jutro),  thank you (hvala), and please (molim).

8. Croatian Food

Simply put, the food in Croatia is amazing. They have fresh seafood and an Italian influence in a lot of their traditional dishes. Not to mention, Croatia is a hotspot for harvesting truffles, a delicacy around the world. Nothing pairs better than a truffle oil pizza than a glass of local wine! Croatian is definitely a meat and dairy heavy cuisine, so be prepared to all the vegetarians and vegans out there. 

Affordable drinks in Croatia

9. Restaurants

When you are eating out, most restaurants are more casual than what you may find in other parts of Europe and the US. Unless a table has a reserved sign, if it’s open you can seat yourself and a server will come to you. Once you get your food, don’t expect your server to come ‘check in’ like they do a dozen times in the US. If you need something, get their attention with eye contact or a simple gesture and they will be right over! 

Tipping culture is very relaxed in Croatia. Tips are never expected, but always appreciated! Many people will just round up their bill, but around 10%-15% is a great tip if you loved the meal! Remember, tips can only be paid in cash so keep a few extra euros on you!

See how your Croatian vacation will work with this One Month Budget in Croatia. 

10. Getting Around Croatia

In general, the cities of Croatia are extremely walkable, especially since they were constructed centuries before cars were invented. If you’re looking to explore outside of the cities, you can either rent a car, go on a planned tour, or take public transport. The assumption that ‘you can get anywhere in Europe on a train’ does not apply here, but they do have reliable buses and ferries! Check out the Jadrolinija ferry line to take a ride along the Dalmatian Coast.

11. Book in Advance

For any excursions you are looking to do, definitely do your research and book in advance! This is especially true if your traveling in the peak season. As I mentioned, it’s a zoo in summer so things book up far in advance, and can even get pretty full in the shoulder seasons!

Summary - Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Croatia

Croatia is a country known for its picturesque landscape, never-ending coastline and rich history. Its affordability and ideal climate has drawn in tourists from around the world to relax on the beach or tour a medieval castle. It is safe, affordable, easy to navigate and get around, with amazing food and things to do for every traveler. Croatia’s recent adoption of the euro may make prices go up even further, so you better add Croatia to your travel-list and check out what this beautiful country has to offer soon!

What other destinations are on your bucket list? Find your Travel Inspiration here. 

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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