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Croatia Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Croatia in 2022

Welcome to Croatia

Croatia is the perfect destination to enjoy beaches, nature, and fascinating history, all on the same trip. This beautiful country boasts more than a thousand islands, and many of Croatia's top destinations are on the Adriatic Sea coastline.

Croatia gained its independence in 1991. Since then, the charming Croatian cities and countryside has flourished into a popular tourist destination. In this ultimate Croatia travel guide, we will share our best travel tips for visiting Croatia.

COVID restrictions in Croatia

Document checklist for Croatia

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • Passport (issued less than 10 years ago and valid for at least 3 months after the scheduled date of departure)

  • Onward or return ticket

  • Proof of accommodation

  • Sufficient funds

Essential Croatia travel information

  • Currency - Croatian kuna (kn.). $1 is equivalent to approx. kn. 7.39.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - Allow a daily budget of kn. 574 ($78).

  • Language - The official language spoken is Croatian. Over 65% of the population speaks English.

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Rovinj.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Plitvice Lakes, Diocletian’s Palace, and Krka National Park.

  • Socket type - Types C and F, 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) : ET +5.

Visa information for Croatia

U.S. nationals and people from the European Union can easily travel to the country because they currently don’t need a visa for Croatia for tourism purposes. On the other hand, if you need a business or medical visa, it’s still necessary to consult your nearest Croatian embassy.

Croatia is on the road to become a member of the Schengen zone. Most foreign visitors will then likely need a Croatia Schengen visa. With this visa, Croatia allows tourists and business travelers to stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period, for tourist or business purposes. From 2023, visitors that are visa-exempt for the Schengen zone, need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver.

ETIAS explained

ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a visa waiver that is included in the new EU travel agreement. In order to improve security within the EU, it is designed to help Croatian and European border authorities monitor travel within the Schengen area.

While your ETIAS is valid, you can travel freely between the 26 Schengen countries. It is meant to be implemented in 2023.

Typical costs and budget for Croatia

A basic guide to what you'll spend daily on your trip to Croatia through the major cities on a decent budget.

Daily spending - Allow kn. 574 ($78)/per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:

  • Meals - kn. 73 ($24)

  • Transport - kn. 73 ($9.91)

  • Hotel - kn. 588 ($80), for two people.

A trip for two people for one week will cost on average kn. 8,039 ($1,092).

Transport and best ways to travel around Croatia

Exploring Croatia is generally very easy because the country is relatively small and has a good public transport network. If you have a tight budget, the bus is a great option to hop from town to town and even travel within cities. Especially in summer bus schedules are increased to accommodate the influx of tourists.

Croatia also has an extensive ferry network, an efficient and cheap option to visit cities on the Adriatic coast or the Croatian islands. If you have limited time, boat tours on the Croatian Coast are a slightly more expensive and more comfortable choice.

Unfortunately, train travel within Croatia is very limited, specifically in the south. Driving in Croatia is easy, that’s why most travelers prefer to rent a car and do a road trip to get the most out of their trip. Roads in Croatia are well-maintained and easy to navigate.

Safety in Croatia

Croatia is a very safe country to travel to. According to the Peace Index List of 2022, it’s ranked as the 26th World’s safest country, topping popular countries such as the United Kingdom and France. Crime rates are low and even petty crime is not a serious issue in Croatia. Pickpockets aren’t often reported, but it’s always recommended to exercise caution when in larger cities such as Zagreb.

Weather in Croatia

The best time for a trip to Croatia is during the spring season. June to August is the high season, expect crowds, but also the hottest weather to enjoy the Adriatic coastline. In fall, the nights get colder and in winter you’ll find freezing temperatures and gorgeous icy lakes.

  • Spring (March - May): between 13ºC (37,4ºF) and 21°C (69,8ºF).

  • Summer (June - August): between 15ºC (59ºF) and 27°C (80,6ºF).

  • Fall (September - November): between 4ºC (39,2ºF) and 22°C (71,6ºF).

  • Winter (December - February): between -1ºC (30,2ºF) and 10°C (23ºF).

Popular cities and towns in Croatia

Historic old towns and beautiful beaches: Croatia is a fascinating destination, and you surely won‘t be bored. Here are five of the most popular destinations in Croatia:

  • Zadar - A 3000-year old town with an archipelago full of gorgeous beaches and numerous national parks.

  • Dubrovnik - The old town of this famous city is also known as the “Athens of Croatia”. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enchants travelers with numerous historical highlights and natural beauty.

  • Zagreb - The capital of Croatia is an ancient town that inspires artists with its mixture of Habsburg heritage, Balkan culture, and modernity. A great destination for nightlife, cozy street cafés, museums, street art, and gastronomy.

  • Rovinj - This beautiful city on the coast is where you find rows of colorful old houses, built closely together on a hill. Rovinj's beaches are a dream.

  • Pula - This Croatian town has a history dating back to the Neolithic Age. Here you’ll find numerous historical landmarks in combination with sun, beach, and sea.

Must do and see in Croatia

Don't miss these amazing things to do and see in Croatia:

  • 1. Visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The Plitvice National Park is made up of almost 30,000 hectares, and the breathtaking Plitvice Lake system keeps fascinating both scientists and tourists.

  • 2. Explore Krka Park. It’s one of Croatia's national parks and has a terrific natural area of 109 square kilometers along the Krka River. Pack comfortable walking shoes.

  • 3. Spend a day on Hvar Island. It’s one of the best sailing destinations in Croatia, and enjoys the longest and sunniest days of the country.

  • 4. Visit the Diocletian’s Palace in old town Split. The Palace was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd Century, an obvious choice as a Game of Thrones filming location.

  • 5. Try Croatian local wines. The amazing country is quickly becoming one of the trendiest place for wine tourism, so if you’re a wine-lover, it’s a must to visit some Croatian wineries on your trip.

Typical Croatian food to try

If you haven't eaten these incredible local dishes in Croatia, you haven't really visited. Croatia boasts simple but tasty Mediterranean cuisine, with varying delicacies in Dalmatia, Istria, and even Zagreb.

  • Crni rižot - This black risotto is made with cuttlefish or squid, olive oil, garlic, red wine, and squid ink, which gives an intense seafood flavor and black color. The dish is very popular along Croatia’s coastline. Be aware, however: it will leave a distinguishing (temporary) black imprint.

  • Boškarin: The white-grey, long-horned Istrian oxen are a Croatian delicacy. Boškarin is served at the best restaurants and konobas (taverns) in different ways. You'll find this meat in dishes such as carpaccio, in a savory sauce with pasta or gnocchi, salami or steak, and boškarin tail soup.

  • Brodetto: Also called brudet, this dish was traditionally made by fishermen over an open fire from their daily catch. They would add ample vinegar to the pot to preserve the stew for a couple of days.

  • Buzara: This simple Croatian dish is made of mussels in a wine broth with garlic and breadcrumbs. It is popular all along the coast of Croatia. Buzara means 'stew', and the preparation is similar to the way the French make moules marinière.

  • Fritule: These are donut-like fried pastries, they vary from region to region: egg yolk, raisins, grated lemon or orange rinds, and even rakija or rum can go into the mixture. Traditionally served during the holidays, but due to popularity you can usually find them year round.

Croatian UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Croatia has an ancient history and amazing natural landscapes. All these beautiful and important landmarks result in the country having an extensive collection of 10 locations and sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

There are eight cultural properties listed, such as the Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik, the Old Town of Dubrovnik, and the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian. UNESCO also listed two natural properties: the Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Plitvice Lakes Park.

Vaccine information for Croatia

Be sure you have travel insurance before traveling to Croatia in case you need medical attention. When traveling with medicines, find out if there are any restrictions. Check the CDC health advice for Croatia for the recommended vaccines, included against COVID-19, before you travel.

Fun facts about Croatia

There are some interesting characteristics about this coastal paradise and trendy European destination. Check out these fascinating facts about Croatia.

  • 1. The smallest town in the world is located in Croatia, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The town called “Hum” has a population of only 17 people.

  • 2. Game of Thrones had sets on the coast of Croatia, and in the cities of Split and Dubrovnik. Today, visitors can even tour some of these famous sites.

  • 3. There are eight national parks in Croatia, 11 nature parks, and two nature reserves in Croatia. They make up at least 10% of all the land in the country.

  • 4. Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country. These 14 goods consist of lace making, wooden toy carving, music customs, and even recipes.

  • 5. Dalmatian dogs are said to have originated in Croatia. The waterfront area is known as the Dalmatian coast, and the region has been known as “Dalmatia” since Imperial Roman times. There are illustrations of the breed dating back to the 17th century.

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