Croatia is rapidly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and it’s not hard to see why. It has plenty of claims to fame to entice all sorts of visitors, from its beautiful Mediterranean beaches to its gorgeous national parks to its historic cities and castles. Visiting Croatia is a must for any true travel buff, and with a few pointers, you can be sure to make the absolute most out of your vacation to the most breathtaking country in the Balkans!
1. Buses Are Your Best Bet
Croatia is one of the few European countries where you’re usually better off skipping the trains. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Croatian railways, but if you ask the locals, they’ll swear by the buses. Croatia has a number of intercity buses which run as often as possible, and arrive at their destinations hours ahead of competing railways. Mind you, the trains are a touch cheaper, but at around $5 USD an hour, the buses are an absolute steal.
2. Use AirBnB – Not Hotels
Bustling tourist destinations like Dubrovnik, famous for being the backdrop of King’s Landing in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” can easily be overrun during the summer months, sending hotel prices to the sky. However, apartment and home rental services such as AirBnB are quite popular in Croatia, and offer some of the best, most welcoming accommodations you can get, and for much less money. Croatia doesn’t have to be an expensive destination, and cutting back on hotel costs can go a long way. With that being said, some fall in love with the city and do actually buy property in Croatia to save themselves the hassle of finding the right accommodation next year when they return.
3. Beat the Heat – and the Crowd!
Croatia is remarkably crowded with tourists during the summer months, but who could blame them? With 6,000 miles of beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean it’s no wonder that people flock to their shores come July. However, if you can manage to plan your vacation during the early Autumn – from September to as late as early October – you can enjoy a much less crowded vacation. Walk the walls of Dubrovnik, island hop all over the Adriatic Sea, and do it all without waiting in line for hours upon hours. And best of all, it’s still plenty warm for swimming!
4. Enjoy the Islands. Beware the Beaches
Croatia is a country of more than one thousand islands, each with its own unique flavor to add to the pot. “Island hopping” about Croatia is one of the most favored pastimes of eco-tourists the world over, and one can easily make a day of jumping from ferry to ferry and seeing what delights each island has to offer. However, before you embark on your maritime adventures, you should know that Croatian beaches aren’t the plush, white, powdery beaches of Hawaii. 80% of Croatian beaches are 100% rocks, and if you want to spare your feet a painful post-vacation recovery, you’d do well to bring sandals or water shoes with you.
5. Visit Istria Croatia is a true cultural melting pot, and nowhere is this better seen than on the Istrian peninsula. Long a part of Italy, the rolling hills and ripe olives that characterize this region are delightfully reminiscent of Tuscany. It goes without saying that the food is to die for, so if you’re a foodie then Istria is a must-see for your Croatian vacation.