Why You Need To Visit Croatia

Croatia is a breath taking country in the Balkans with rich history and a dreamy coastline- check out why you need to visit Croatia this year!

Croatia is a small country in the south-eastern Balkan region, filled with rich history, stunning architecture, magical beaches and a coastline that never ends. If you’ve been before, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, keep reading to see what you’ve been missing! These are the top 8 reasons why you need to visit Croatia this year!

Aerial view over the city center of Split, Croatia

Table of Contents

1. Beautiful Landscape

Croatia is a European oasis – known for its Adriatic Sea coastline and breathtaking inland waterfalls. Almost 10% of the country’s land is preserved and protected, with 8 National Parks you can visit anytime in the year! The country has low mountains and rolling hills covered in vineyards, forests and agricultural land. Since the country follows the Adriatic coastline so much, you can get to the coast with ease and jump into the sea at one of the many beaches – most of which have stairs and ladders built right onto the rock you can conveniently swim whenever you want! 

Waterfalls at Krka National Park
Source - Viator

2. Blue Water

Croatia has over 1,000 islands that run along the coast, and are easily accessible by boat with many options for tours. Many of the islands are scattered with ancient ruins, old towns that are still inhabited and hidden gems. Along the coast you can find sea caves, coral reefs and shipwrecks if you’re into Scuba Diving, and if you’re not yet – Croatia is a great place to learn! The water is a beautiful turquoise blue year round, although much cooler in the winter, it is still enjoyable! We went out on Sea Kayaks in mid-December, and were comfortable even being barefoot and getting a little wet! 

Tip of a kayak in a dark sea cave with turquoise water in Pula, Croatia
Sea Caves in Pula, Croatia

3. History & Architecture

Croatia’s history is among the oldest in the world, like most of Europe, with roots in the Roman and Ottoman Empires, as well as an Austro-Hungarian influence from the 1800s. The traces of heritage can be experienced in the towns and ruins that cover the landscape just waiting to be explored. 

The city of Split was constructed into a Palace for Roman Emperor Diocletiacian, where he spent his retirement in 305 AD. Meanwhile further North, the city of Pula on the Istrian Peninsula is home to a Roman Arena where gladiators fought to the death back in the 1st century (but now you can explore it for only 9 Euros!). 

It felt like every town had a prominent center with a massive bell tower overlooking the region – a true testament to the old culture of worship and community that still emulates in the region today.

Aerial view of the Pula Area, an ancient colosseum from the Roman Empire
Source - History Hit
Clothes hanging over the streets of Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia

4. Affordability

Croatia has been known as a perfect budget destination, and while that may have been true 5 years ago, the tourism has picked up and the prices have followed. You can still get a good meal in town for around 10 euros, and a day excursion to an island may cost you 25 euros. Although the prices have gone up in recent years, it is still more affordable than its comparable neighboring countries like Italy or Greece where things are definitely on the expensive side. With the adoption of the Euro, it is expected for prices to continue to climb, so you should get to Croatia before it is as visited as some of its Western Europe rivals! 

Read More - Check out this Detailed One Month Budget In Croatia For Travelers to see for yourself!

5. Ease Of Travel

Croatia is a great place to start your travels if you’re looking to get away from the Western Europe lifestyle but are not ready to fully send it into Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It is at the crossroads between the two continents, and surrounded by so many countries that are both in the Schengen and outside of it, so you can manage your 90-day ‘visa’ stays accordingly! Since Croatia is a popular tourist destination, which accounts for 20% of the country’s GDP, it was designed to support the needs of travelers. There is regular and reliable public transport in major cities, and plenty of tours and excursions to get out and explore!

In January 2023, Croatia joined the European Union, adopting the Euro and joining the Schengen Region. This is both a great thing and a bit of a bummer for those of us traveling on a budget. Croatia has gotten more expensive in recent years, which will likely continue on this trend with the adoption of the Euro, but it is also super easy to not deal with another exchange rate as you move throughout the rest of the EU. 

6. The People

Croatia has a dynamic influence from the surrounding cultures that have infiltrated the borders over the years. The north-western region is very Italian-influenced, while the southern and inland regions are more influenced by western Europe. Croatians speak Croatian, which definitely isn’t a language you’ll be able to pick up in a few short weeks, luckily over 80% of the population speaks English. However, Croatians really appreciate using their native tongue, and when tourists show a clear effort. Croatians are known to have a bit of a shell to outsiders, but after a little bit of conversation and mutual respect, they will open up to you like you’re family. Croatians can be the most hospitable people, and they definitely have a strong sense of nationalism! We were there when Croatia made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup 2022, and the people gathered in the streets to celebrate and support their country. 

Crowd of soccer fans viewing the 2022 World Cup in Pula, Croatia
World Cup 2022 Viewing Party - Pula, Croatia

7. The Food

Croatians have a diet rich in seafood, meats, and grains. It has a Mediterranean influence and some of the best fresh seafood caught right in the Adriatic. One of the most well-known dishes is a black risotto with squid, or a delicious sea urchin, however for a more budget dining option, try their cevapi! It is a combination of beef, pork, and veal in a sausage, and is common in southeastern Europe. Due to Croatia’s Italian influence, their pizza is phenomenal. Most pizza restaurants have an item or two that includes truffle oil, which is a delicacy in most of the world, but a lot of the world’s truffles are found right here in Croatia! 

8. Game of Thrones

If you’re like most of the world and have been sucked into the HBO series Game of Thrones, then Croatia will remind you of what went down in King’s Landing and the City of Meereen (with a little bit of CGI of course). And if not, you can skip to the next section.

The city of Dubrovnik is the main filming location for King’s Landing, where the city walls still stand today. Although you can’t see silk traders sailing in and out of the bay, you definitely get the feeling that you’re somewhere in Westeros.

The image to the right was taken at Klis Fortress, a key filming location for the City of Meereen, where Slavers were staked along the walls as a reparation for the crimes they committed. GOT filming locations are all over the place in Croatia, and it’s no wonder since the architecture was constructed around the time where Game of Thrones takes place.

Klis Fortress in Split, Croatia
Klis Fortress - City of Meereen

WHEN You Should Visit Croatia

Now that you know why you need to visit Croatia, when is the best time to go? Croatia has recently become a hotspot as a European destination, especially in the months of June-August when parties and beaches are packed with tourists. While that is a ton of fun, it’s also much more crowded, and expensive and you may miss out on the serenity the country has to offer. 

Luckily, the weather in Croatia has the benefits of the Mediterranean, where it is warm between April – October. Between October – April, the coast gets quite rainy and overcast while inland may experience some snow. That’s why the shoulder seasons are the best times to visit Croatia to get great weather, without getting the drunk and crowded tourism season. Most attractions have a discounted rate in the off-season as well, so you will save a lot more than if you visit in the middle of summer!

Read More - Learn more about the benefits of Slow Travel.

Summary- Why You Need To Visit Croatia

Croatia is a top destination for its Mediterranean climate, beaches surrounded by warm blue water, lush waterfalls, and breathtaking architecture. The history and heritage in Croatia run deep where the people are proud and the food is fresh. Croatia is a perfect place to visit for anyone new to Europe travel that wants to dip their toes in the water, while also saving a bit of money.

For the best experience in Croatia, visit in April-May or September-October when tourist crowds are low, and so are the prices! 

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

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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